Straight Talk Articles

How to Use Space Heaters Efficiently: More Information
January, 2016

If you are considering purchasing a space heater and want more information, here are some useful resources we found while writing this column.

  • The U.S. Department of Energy has a comprehensive guide on portable heaters, including electric space heaters, and

  • Consumer Reports has tips on what to consider when buying a new space heater.

  • The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce’s Energy Smart website has information about how to make the most efficient use of your space heater.

  • Associated Electric Cooperatives produced a brochure, “The Truth about Space Heaters” (pdf), describing what a consumer should consider to determine if a space heater is right for their home.

  • The National Fire Protection Association has statistics on home fires caused by heating equipments and carbon monoxide fatalities from non-electric space heaters. They also have information on what consumers can do to minimize safety risks.


An alternative to purchasing a space heater is addressing the reasons why your central heating system can’t keep you comfortable enough. Poor insulation, drafty or thin windows, and leaks in your duct work are all possible reasons why your home may not be retaining heat. A home energy audit can help you identify what changes would make your home more comfortable. Contact your electric cooperative or utility for more information – they may offer a free or discounted energy audit or have a list of qualified and experienced energy auditors in your area.