Is it cheaper to heat one room with an electric heater?

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April’s energy price cap increase has allowed firms to charge up to 54 percent more on household energy bills, leaving families across the UK forking out nearly £700 more for energy costs. With the price cap only expected to rise by a further 24 percent in October, Brits are clambering for ways to be more financially savvy – starting from altering habits in the home.

Currently, there are no cheap energy deals due to wholesale gas prices – what providers pay – soaring through the roof.

Using less energy appears to be the only way to beat the dramatic rise in costs, and aside from wearing jumpers and making sure to turn the lights off, there are a few less obvious ways households can cut down on costs.

One method circulating is the use of electric heaters. Is it more energy-efficient to power one up in one room than to turn on the central heating?

Electric heaters are a handy alternative if you need to heat up an area quickly, and, depending on where and for how long you plan to use one, it doesn’t come without an added cost.

READ MORE: Most expensive household appliances to run – and how to cut costs

Is it cheaper to heat one room with an electric heater?

The Energy Saving Trust says electric heaters are one of the most expensive forms of heating.

However, individual costs very much depend on the heater you have and how much of your home you are trying to warm up.

Electricity is sold by the kilowatt-hour (kWh), but this is usually referred to as ‘units’ on your electricity bill.

According to Energy Saving Trust, gas heating now costs approximately 7.4p per kWh.

“Therefore, it may be better to use [an electric heater] to heat the room all day (however make sure all the other radiators are turned right down) and only use the electric radiator if you just want a short blast of heat at certain times of the day.”

It’s advised to measure the size of the room you’re hoping to heat, as well as consider all other variables, such as window size and how well your house is insulated, before making a decision to make the switch.

You will then need to decide what type of electric heater would be the most suitable for you as each of them has different benefits – as well as different running costs.

The CSE explained: “Halogen heaters tend to be the cheapest radiant heaters as they have a low power rating (but also produce less heat), while oil-filled radiators are often the cheapest convector heater because there is a thermostat to control the temperature.”

More generally speaking, if you do choose to use an electric room heater, CSE provided the following tips to help keep costs low:

  • Use a timer if it has one, if not, you can buy a time switch for the plug from a hardware shop.
  • A thermostat will reduce running costs, though how much it reduces costs by depends on lots of factors, such as room size, insulation levels and making sure the thermostat is not turned up too high.
  • If you are on Economy 7, avoid using heaters for long periods within the peak hours if you can. It’s better to use night storage heaters that are charged at night.

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