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Better Than Space Heaters

Updated on July 23, 2015

Japanese kotatsu

Japanese Kotatsu will save you money in the winter
Japanese Kotatsu will save you money in the winter

Why a kotatsu is better than a space heater

The average household in the United States spends 32% of its total electricity bill for a year on space heaters according to Wikipedia. That is a lot for what we are told is a more efficient way to heat a house.

The prevailing theory states that using space heaters to heat one living space is more economical that using central heating to heat a whole house, most of the space of which is not being occupied. The theory is correct but what the proponents of using space heaters fail to mention that even within a room most of the living space is unused and unoccupied. When we sit and watch TV we only need the space around us warm to stay warm. And that is exactly what a kotatsu does. It is a table with a small electrical heater on the underside. The heat genrated by the heater is trapped under a blanket or quilt that covers the table. Over the blanket is fiited a table surface so a kotatsu also functions as a coffee table. To stay nice and toasty you simply slip half your body under the table and sit on a cushion.

This is the traditional way of staying warm in Japan where the price of electricity is high. The family sits around the kotatsu watching TV and drinking green tea or sake. It is communal and really keeps you warm.

The average space heater uses 1000 to 1500 watts. Even with a thermostat control it has to be on full or nearly full for the entire time you occupy a room. In contrast a kotatsu uses 400 or 500 watts, and because the heat is trapped it is normal to only have the kotasu on half setting. There is an adjustable thermostat fitted to most modern kotatsus. That means a kotatsu on average uses a quarter of the electricity that a space heater uses. That is a massive saving. Times that saving by a whole winter and you can easily pay for a kotatsu in the savings you make in one winter.

And what's more saving electricity not only saves you money but helps save the planet from environmental catastrophe because unless you are one of the few who use green electricity from a renewable energy source then your electricity has come from burning fossil fuels. Scarcity of fossil fuels cause wars and the conversion of oil, gas and coal into electricity causes pollution and global warming.That's something worth thinking about.

Upside down kotatsu

Underside of a kotatsu
Underside of a kotatsu


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