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Central heat vs. Space heater

Central heat vs. Space heater

In theory, a space heater may sound like a more practical option, especially for homeowners. But is it? The Energy Department estimates that the cost to heat an entire home with electric space heaters cost 43% more than a gas furnace. Using a space heater in your bedroom only while you sleep is a practical way to use a space heater and won't make much of a dent in your electricity bill. However using multiple space haters in order to warm your entire home will result in a hefty electricity bill. The temperature in a home is controlled through the use of a central heating system. Gas and electricity are some of the more common power sources.


In a centralized HVAC system, the heat is delivered through a system of ductwork. When the heat is on, the entire house is heated at the same time because of the ductwork, including rooms that are seldom used. This means the operating costs are higher. The system has to move air over long distances. Poor duct connections, holes, or leaks can lower the system’s efficiency.

You might think you can save money by closing vents to unused rooms in wintertime. However, a centralized system is designed to serve a minimum amount of square footage for optimal performance. Closing the vents in some of the unused rooms to save energy, can actually put more strain on a system that is designed to service more square footage.

Installing a centralized HVAC system is more expensive due to the amount of ductwork involved and the size of the system itself. Not only is installing ductwork expensive, it adds to the amount of construction time. However, If you need to replace an HVAC system in a home or building with ductwork in good condition, a centralized system may make the most sense.

The biggest threat associated with space heaters is fire. In fact, each year space heaters are responsible for about 55,000 fires, 450 deaths, and more than 1,500 injuries. Space heaters use a lot of electricity. They can easily overload circuits, causing a power failure.

If you are only using a space heater in one room for a limited amount of time getting central heat installed might not be worth it. A space heater is ideal for single rooms that don’t need to bee heated for long periods of time.


Since there aren’t any installation requirements for space heaters, you don’t have to wait to use them. This feature makes a space heater a good temporary option if your heating system breaks down.

For advice on which of the heating systems is best for your needs, talk to a reputable HVAC contractor. Your HVAC contractor can help you identify the most important considerations and suggest which of the heating systems would be the most suitable. Call an experienced HVAC contractor before the cold weather arrives to schedule your heating maintenance, repair, or installation service.


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