Engine Block Heater wattage and cost

  • 1998 OLDSMOBILE 88
  • 3.8L
  • V6
  • 2WD
  • 100,000 MILES

I was just wondering if you know the wattage of the standard block heater installed in an Oldsmobile 88/1998. I have to pay to plug it in in the winter, and I'm trying to figure out how much electricity it uses. I've tried looking in the manual etc, but cannot find that specification. I've noticed most of them are 700watts but not all. My LL claims that it costs him 5.00 a day for me to plug in my car for about 4 hours, but I'm not sure if I believe that. After I find out how much electricity it uses (I've considered getting a multimeter but the heater isn't thee only thing running on that line); I can contact thee electric company and go from there. I live in the tundra, so I have to plug it in at least four hours before I start it most days. I have a timer set up so that it only runs for four hours a day.

I'm just afraid he's going to try and charge me an extra 100.00 a month through winter just so I can use my vehicle. Is there any way you could provide me with an estimate of what it would cost to plug in a vehicle for four hours a day about 15 days a month? Any help you could provide me with regarding this matter would be most appreciated.
Do you
have the same problem?
Thursday, January 2nd, 2014 AT 5:50 PM

1 Reply

Block heaters are an aftermarket product not installed at the factory so you're not going to see anything in the owner's manual. 750 and 1000 watt units are common, but it definitely won't cost $5.00 to run it for four hours. Think of seven or eight 100 watt incandescent light bulbs in your apartment. You run the equivalent of that more than four hours per day. That means it would cost $150.00 per month just to run light bulbs. Not very likely.

Visit your utility company for help. Here in Wisconsin they have a watt meter that can be borrowed by their customers. You plug that in, then plug the device into the meter. It will tell you the watts or kilowatts, then you multiply that by the hours you use that device to get watt-hours, and the utility will tell you the current charge per kilowatt-hour. Kilowatt is 1000 watts.

I just looked at my last electric bill, and I'm being charged a fuzz over 12 cents per kilowatt hour. That means a 1000 watt heater, times four hours equals 4 kilowatt-hours per day, times 12 cents equals 48 cents per day to run that heater. For 15 days, I think ten or 20 bucks extra per month would be fair, and I'd be grateful the landlord provided the outlet for me to use. Of course your electric rate will be different.
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Thursday, January 2nd, 2014 AT 6:15 PM

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