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Do Heat Lamps Use A Lot Of Electricity?

Have you ever wondered if those handy heat lamps use a ton of electricity to run? I know I’ve thought about it! I love having a heat lamp in my bathroom or pointed at my desk on chilly days. But I also want to keep my energy bills under control.

In this post, we’ll break down the electricity usage of heat lamps so you can decide if they work for your space. Let’s weigh the pros and cons of these directed warmth devices!

Yes, Heat Lamps Do Use A Significant Amount Of Electricity

Heat lamps are designed to turn electricity into heat.

That heat has to come from somewhere! Generally, heat lamps use between 250-500 watts. For comparison, a standard incandescent light bulb uses about 60 watts.

Since heat lamps run continuously, they require a constant flow of energy to keep heating up. I like to think of wattage in terms of the everyday household items we use.

A laptop might use around 60 watts. My hairdryer can use anywhere from 1800-2500 watts! With heat lamps ranging from 250-500 watts, you can see they consume a decent amount of power.

While heat lamps are great for providing focused warmth right where you want it, they aren’t as efficient as central heating. Central heat warms your whole house from a single source. Heat lamps only heat the area they’re pointed at.

Estimating The Operating Cost Of A Heat Lamp

Let’s look at some examples to estimate how much it costs to run a heat lamp. I’ll calculate the average electricity rate of 14 cents per kWh.

  • 250W heat lamp running for 1 hour = 0.25 kWh. At 14 cents per kWh, that’s about 3.5 cents per hour.
  • Run that 250W lamp for 24 hours a day for a month = $21.84
  • A 500W heat lamp for 1 hour = 0.5 kWh. Around 7 cents per hour.
  • 500W lamp for a month = $43.68

Now compare that to running a 1500W space heater for 1 hour, which would use 1.5 kWh. That’s 21 cents per hour, still less than the 500W heat lamp! Space heaters are more cost-effective since they heat the whole room.

Heat Lamps Are Relatively Efficient For Heat Output

Even though heat lamps use more electricity overall compared to heaters, they’re actually designed to be relatively efficient. Traditional incandescent light bulbs convert only about 10% of energy into light. The other 90% becomes wasted heat.

With heat lamps, it’s the opposite – they’re optimized to produce heat instead of light. So most of the energy gets converted into efficient heating. Much better than a regular bulb!

Consider LED Bulbs For Efficiency

If you’re looking for more energy-efficient spot heating, LED bulbs are a great option. LEDs use around 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs and last much longer.

The downside is LEDs don’t get nearly as hot. So while they produce light efficiently, they won’t throw off the same ambient warmth as a traditional heat lamp.

It depends on your specific needs. Do you just need a little extra brightness and warmth? Go LED. Looking for more intense directed heat? Stick with the tried and true heat lamps.

Tips For Reducing Heat Lamp Energy Use

Here are some handy ways to use your heat lamp more efficiently:

  1. Only turn it on when you need it. Sounds simple, but remember to flip the switch off when you leave the room or don’t need the warmth.
  2. Inspect the bulb regularly and replace it about once a year. Old bulbs lose efficiency.
  3. Use a smart plug or timer to control when your heat lamp turns on/off. Set it on a schedule to match when you need the warmth.
  4. Position the heat lamp close to where you need it instead of blasting an area far away.
  5. Add insulation around the heat lamp to focus warmth right where you want it.

In Summary

While heat lamps do use quite a bit of electricity, they’re actually pretty efficient for heating small spaces. Just be mindful of your usage. Turn them off when not needed and explore energy-efficient LED alternatives.

With some smart use, heat lamps can be cost-effective solutions for adding extra warmth to any room. Cozy up and stay energized!