Is CO2 Released from an Electric Space Heater?

Electric space heaters are a popular choice for supplemental heating in homes and offices, providing localized warmth without the need for a central heating system. However, one common question that arises is whether these devices release carbon dioxide (CO2) during operation. In this comprehensive blog post, we will delve into the technical details and explore the answer to this question.

Understanding the Heating Mechanism of Electric Space Heaters

Electric space heaters generate heat through the process of electrical resistance. When an electric current flows through a heating element, typically made of metal or ceramic, the element heats up due to the resistance it encounters. This heat is then transferred to the surrounding air, warming the immediate area.

Unlike combustion-based heating systems, such as gas furnaces or wood stoves, electric space heaters do not involve the burning of any fuel. As a result, they do not produce any byproducts of combustion, including carbon dioxide (CO2) or carbon monoxide (CO).

Comparison of CO2 Emissions: Electric vs. Fuel-Burning Heaters

is co2 released from an electric space heater

To better understand the difference in CO2 emissions, let’s compare electric space heaters with their fuel-burning counterparts:

Heating System CO2 Emissions
Electric Space Heater 0 kg/kWh
Natural Gas Furnace 0.18 kg/kWh
Propane Space Heater 0.23 kg/kWh
Wood Stove 0.36 kg/kWh

As the table shows, electric space heaters have a distinct advantage when it comes to CO2 emissions, as they do not produce any during their operation. This is because they rely solely on the conversion of electrical energy into heat, without any combustion process involved.

Energy Efficiency and Environmental Impact

In addition to the lack of CO2 emissions, electric space heaters are generally more energy-efficient than their fuel-burning counterparts. This is because they can convert up to 100% of the electrical energy they consume into heat, with minimal energy losses.

Furthermore, the environmental impact of electric space heaters is often lower than that of fuel-burning heaters, as the electricity they consume can be generated from renewable sources, such as solar, wind, or hydropower, depending on the local energy mix.

Safety Considerations

While electric space heaters do not produce CO2, they can still pose safety risks if not used properly. These risks include:

  1. Fire hazards: Electric space heaters should be kept away from flammable materials, such as curtains, furniture, and bedding, to prevent fires.
  2. Burn injuries: The heating elements and surfaces of electric space heaters can become very hot, posing a risk of burns, especially for children and pets.
  3. Electrical hazards: Improper wiring or overloading of electrical circuits can lead to electrical shocks or fires.

To mitigate these risks, it is essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions, use space heaters with safety features (such as automatic shut-off and tip-over protection), and keep them away from high-traffic areas and out of reach of children and pets.

Choosing the Right Electric Space Heater

When selecting an electric space heater, consider the following factors:

  1. Heating Capacity: Choose a heater with the appropriate size and power output for the room you want to heat, as underpowered or oversized heaters can be inefficient.
  2. Safety Features: Look for heaters with safety certifications (such as UL or ETL), automatic shut-off, and tip-over protection.
  3. Energy Efficiency: Consider the energy efficiency rating (EER) or the Coefficient of Performance (COP) to ensure you’re getting a energy-efficient model.
  4. Thermostat Control: Opt for heaters with adjustable thermostats to maintain a comfortable and consistent temperature.
  5. Noise Level: If noise is a concern, look for heaters with low decibel (dB) ratings.

By considering these factors, you can select an electric space heater that meets your heating needs while prioritizing safety and energy efficiency.


In summary, electric space heaters do not release any carbon dioxide (CO2) during their operation, as they rely on the conversion of electrical energy into heat rather than the combustion of fuel. This makes them a more environmentally friendly heating option compared to fuel-burning heaters. However, it is crucial to use electric space heaters safely and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to minimize the risk of fire, burns, and electrical hazards.