Whenever I see a big spike in an electric bill in the winter time I know the culprit is most likely a space heater. I have this conversation with a lot of my customers who are of the belief that heating with a space heater is more efficient because it's more targeted. There is some truth to that, but there's a couple other important considerations in addition to that such as the cost per therm (natural gas) and the cost per kWh of electricity.
To make a long story short, heating with electricity versus heating with gas is far more expensive.
The University of Maine did an interesting study where in they determined the cost to generate a million BTUs with different kinds of fuel, at a wide range of prices and using differing heating element that.
When heating with a gas furnace operating with a 75% efficiency rating and the cost per therm is $1.50 (which is on the high end for California) they found it costed $18 to generate a million BTUs
When heating with electricity even with a unit that is 100% efficient, and at $0.20 per kWh they found it costed $58 to generate a million BTUs. The cost of electricity in California can range from $.18 to $0.45 per kWh and average around $0.25/kWh. Heating with electricity costs more than twice as much as gas to generate a million BTUs.
What about heating with solar generated electricity? Solar electricity when financed with $0 down is around $0.15/kWh give or take 5 cents depending on the roof, shade, system size and type of financing. That means even if your running a space heater on solar, it will still cost more than heating with gas.
The only variable we haven't addressed yet is the amount of space that's being heated. If you are heating 300 square feet with a space heater and not heating an entire 3,000 square foot house, in that case if will costs less to heat with a space heater. And in that case you better have solar!
Seriously though, if you're still paying the full price of your utility's power it's time to reconsider solar. If you're with SCE, SDG&E or PG&E, you're likely paying an average of $0.25 - $0.35/kWh. $0 down solar runs around half that cost of utility on a monthly basis.
Find out how much you can save and book a call today with an energy expert.