The real running costs of infrared heating (compared to gas)

Running a typical 1500 W infrared heater for 6 hours a day will cost 36 dollars per month. Heating an average-sized 330 square foot living room requires about 2300 watts and therefore costs 55 dollars per month.

The monthly costs above are based on the following assumptions:

  • The average electricity price in the United States: 13.31 cents per kilowatt-hour.
  • Heating a living room of 330 square feet (based on the average living room size in the US).
  • Running the heater for 6 hours a day.
  • The room has average insulation.
  • Infrared heating is the only form of heating being used.

In order to heat a 330 square foot room with infrared, you will need approximately 2300 W of infrared heaters (more on that later in this article).

This amounts to a little less than 2 typical 1500 W portable infrared heaters. If you are using infrared heating panels, 3 to 4 panels are required depending on their wattage. (I highly recommend these awesome infrared panels! you can read all about my experience with them in my article: my firsthand experience with infrared heating panels).


Total running costs

The following table is based on the US price of electricity (13.31 cents per kilowatt-hour) and running the heaters for 6 hours a day. We are assuming a use of 2300 watts (2.3 kilowatts) per hour to heat a living room of 330 square feet.

TimeCost ($)
One hour30.6 cents
Day (6 hours)1 dollar and 84 cents
Week12 dollars and 86 cents
Month (30 days)55.1 dollars
Table 1: running costs of infrared heating


This might cost a bit more than you are used to because, unfortunately, electricity prices are comparatively high. Natural gas prices are normally about 2 to 3 times lower than electricity prices.

If your electricity price is different, you can take your electricity price per kilowatt-hour and multiply this with the kilowatts your plan to use. In this way, you will get the cost of running your heating for one hour. later in this article, I put links to the US and European electricity prices.

A stylish infrared heating panel with flowers (Image credits: Arno Reijnen from www.infrarood-warmtepanelen.nl)


Infrared running costs vs other forms of heating

To get a clear picture of the running costs of infrared, I made the following table showing the costs of gas vs infrared. This table again assumes a 330 square foot living room that has medium insulation and is heated for 6 hours a day.

The required amount of energy for infrared heating for this room is 2300 watts. The required amount of energy from gas is 3300 watts.

The assumed electricity price is 13.31 cents ($) per kWh, and the assumed gas price is 3.8 cents ($) per kWh. (based on the average US gas price in December 2020).

Timecosts infrared ($)costs gas ($)
One hour30.6 cents12.5 cents
Day (6 hours)1 dollar and 84 cents75 cents
Week12 dollars and 86 cents5 dollar and 27 cents
Month (30 days)55.1 dollars22 dollars and 57 cents
Table 2: running costs of infrared heating vs gas

As you can see in this table, even though infrared heating requires much less energy, the running costs are still higher. Therefore, factors other than the energy price should influence the choice for infrared heating.

I personally really enjoy the type of warmth that is coming from my infrared panels. Also, I am not using any fossil fuels because I purchase green electricy.

Additionally, there are many advantages to infrared heating. For example, infrared heating panels are very safe and do not contribute to indoor air pollution. You can read all about the advantages and disadvantages of infrared heating in my article: Infrared heaters pros and cons.



Electricity prices in the US and Europe

The electricity price I used for the table above is the average US price (based on December 2020): 13.31 cents ($) per kilowatt-hour (kWh).

If you are in the US and want to know the exact costs of your electricity, take a look at the website of the energy information administration.

The average electricity price in the European Union (based on the first semester of 2020) is 21.26 cents (€) per kilowatt-hour. You can find the prices per country on the website of the European Union.



Why does infrared heating require less energy?

Normally, a rule of thumb for space heating is to use 10 watts per square foot. That means that a 330 square feet living room would need 3300 watts instead of the 2300 W I used in the costs calculation above.

I used a much lower amount of watts because we are using infrared heating instead of conventional heaters based on gas, oil, or wood. Infrared heating uses a lot less energy because the method of heating is very different.


Conventional heating is wasteful

Conventional heating heats up the air in the room. This is a rather ineffective way of heating since warm air rises to the ceiling where it is least needed. Therefore, the heater must run for some time to feel the warmth, and you are heating parts of the room that do not need to be warm. Additionally, warm air is easily lost by opening a door or window, or by poor insulation or a draft.

Infrared heating is not affected by these issues as it heats directly, heating the people and objects with rays just like the sun. Therefore, less energy is required, and the air temperature can be lower while you still feel warm. Similar to feeling the nice warm rays of the sun even though the air is relatively cold.

If you would like to know more about how infrared works exactly, please read my article: How do infrared panels work? a simple explanation.