How Much Does Electric Heat Cost Per Month

Introduction – How Much Does Electric Heat Cost Per Month

Electric heating is a major method in many households – EIA estimates that 53 million households (out of 148 million) use electric heat how much does electric heat cost per month.

Our analysis below delves into the costs of using electric heating, breaking down into two major devices: heat pumps and electric resistive heating. This article also explores regional variations.

Electric heating remains popular with 53 million households using it as of 2023

Lets take a look at our final numbers for traditional heater costs and heat pump costs. We use numbers from, specifically a winter fuels report and a residential survey report. See below for more info about data sources.

Traditional Electric Heater Average Cost (Electric Resistive Type)

RegionNov Cost (USD)Dec Cost (USD)Jan Cost (USD)Feb Cost (USD)Mar Cost (USD)Total Winter (USD)
United States (Total)$236.15$280.35$304.34$275.30$244.99$1,341.13

Heat Pump Average Cost (Heat Pump Type)

RegionNov Cost (USD)Dec Cost (USD)Jan Cost (USD)Feb Cost (USD)Mar Cost (USD)Total Cost (USD)
United States (Total)$78.72$93.45$101.45$91.77$81.66$447.05

Summary of Results

The analysis of heating costs across the United States, focusing on heat pumps and electric resistive heating, yielded several key findings:

  1. Regional Variations: There were noticeable variations in heating costs across different regions. The Northeast generally exhibited higher heating costs compared to other regions, which is indicative of regional climate variations and possibly different usage patterns.
  2. Cost Efficiency of Heat Pumps: The analysis reinforced the cost efficiency of heat pumps. Despite the higher initial installation cost, heat pumps, being three times more efficient than resistive heating, resulted in three times lower average monthly heating costs. This was consistently observed across all regions.
  3. Monthly Cost Trends: The monthly breakdown of heating costs from November to March revealed that the costs typically peaked during the coldest months (January and February). This trend was consistent across all regions and aligns with the expected increase in heating demand during the peak winter months.
  4. Comparative Costs: In every region, the inferred costs per household for heat pumps were consistently lower than those for resistive heating, underscoring the efficiency advantage of heat pumps. The difference in costs also highlighted the potential savings that could be achieved with wider adoption of heat pumps.
  5. National Overview: On a national scale, the data indicated that a significant portion of households still rely on resistive heating, which, despite being less efficient, remains a common heating method. The analysis showed that if more households could transition to heat pumps, there could be substantial cost savings in terms of national heating expenses.
  6. Implications for Energy Policy and Consumer Choices: The findings of this analysis have implications for both energy policy and consumer decision-making. Promoting the adoption of heat pumps could lead to reduced overall heating costs and contribute to energy efficiency goals. For consumers, the analysis provides a clearer understanding of the potential long-term cost benefits of choosing heat pumps over traditional resistive heating methods.

In summary, the analysis offered a detailed perspective on the heating costs associated with different heating methods across the United States, emphasizing the cost-effectiveness and efficiency of heat pumps. This information is valuable for policymakers, energy companies, and consumers in making informed decisions about heating technologies and energy consumption.

Why Did We Look At Traditional Electric Furnaces And Heat Pumps Separately

Why the specific focus on heat pumps and electric resistive heaters in addressing this question? The rationale lies in the growing prominence of heat pumps as an energy-efficient alternative to traditional resistive heaters.

While resistive heaters convert electricity directly into heat, resulting in higher energy consumption, heat pumps operate by transferring heat from the outside air or ground into the home, utilizing less electricity for the same heating output.

This distinction is pivotal, as heat pumps are 3-4 times more energy efficient than traditional resistive heaters. Therefore it makes no sense to lump them all together. Rather, heat pumps will be one of the cheapest ways to heat whereas traditional electric heaters will be among the most expensive!

Data Sources

These following primary data sources were instrumental in enabling a comprehensive analysis of heating costs associated with heat pumps and electric resistive heating across the United States.

The data were used to infer the average heating costs per household for each heating method, considering their different efficiencies and regional prevalence.

  1. Winter Fuels Data (Electric Heating Costs and Households): The data on the total cost of electric heating and the number of households using electric heating (regardless of the method) for the winter months were obtained from the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Annual Winter Fuels Outlook. This comprehensive report offers insights into various aspects of energy consumption, including detailed electric heating costs across different regions of the United States. The report is accessible at: EIA Winter Fuels Outlook.
  2. Residential Energy Consumption Survey (Heat Pump Adoption Data): The data detailing the number of households using heat pumps in every state was sourced from the Residential Energy Consumption Survey conducted by the EIA. This survey provides extensive information on residential energy use, including the adoption and usage patterns of different heating methods such as heat pumps across various states. This data was crucial for understanding the distribution and prevalence of heat pump usage in different regions. The survey can be found at: EIA Residential Energy Consumption Survey.


Data Integration and Regional Grouping: The first step involved integrating data from the Residential Energy Consumption Survey and the Winter Fuels Outlook. This integration required grouping states into standard U.S. regions (Northeast, Midwest, South, West) to align with the regional categorization in the Winter Fuels data. The grouping facilitated a coherent analysis across comparable geographical areas.

Calculating Households Using Each Heating Method: From the Residential Energy Consumption Survey data, we extracted the number of households using heat pumps in each state. We then aggregated these numbers into the defined regions. The total number of households using electric heating (including both heat pump and resistive heating) was already available from the Winter Fuels data. By subtracting the number of households using heat pumps from the total number of electric heating households, we inferred the number of households using electric resistive heating.

Efficiency Assumption for Cost Calculation: Based on the assumption that heat pumps are three times more efficient than resistive heating, we adjusted the cost calculations. This efficiency factor was critical in differentiating the costs associated with each heating method.

Inferred Cost Calculation

  • For each region, we calculated the weighted average cost of heating, which considered the number of households using each heating method and their respective efficiencies.
  • The formula used was: Weighted Cost= (1/3 * cost * N_h + cost * N_r) / (N_h + N_r) where N_h is the number of heat pump households, N_r​ is the number of resistive heat households, and ‘cost’ is the cost per household for resistive heating.
  • This approach allowed us to infer the individual costs for heat pumps and resistive heating for each region. The total cost for each region (from the Winter Fuels data) was used in the formula to calculate the inferred cost per household for resistive heating. Then, considering the efficiency factor, we derived the cost per household for heat pumps.

Monthly Cost Distribution: Using the inferred costs per household for each heating method, we distributed the total monthly heating costs across the months of November to March. This distribution provided a detailed view of the monthly heating costs for both heat pumps and resistive heating in each region, as well as for the United States as a whole.

Final Compilation: The final step involved compiling the monthly and total heating costs into comprehensive tables. These tables displayed the inferred costs for heat pumps and resistive heating, providing a clear comparison across different regions and the entire nation.

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