Space heaters are a great way to give your home heating system a little extra help for small and large rooms. Space heaters may use electricity or burn natural gas, propane, kerosene, fuel oil or wood pellets.
Portable electric heaters are the most popular because other heating does come with added safety concerns. They are typically used when the main heating system is inadequate or when central heating is too costly to install or operate. In some cases, they can be less expensive if you only want to heat one room or supplement inadequate heating.
They can also be used by individuals who are sensitive to cold, especially elderly persons, without overheating your entire home. Electric space heaters are generally more expensive to operate than combustion gas space heaters. Although electric space heaters avoid air quality concerns, they still pose burn and fire hazards and should be used with caution.
When buying and installing an electric space heater, you should follow these general safety guidelines:
- Should be plugged directly into the wall outlet. If an extension cord is necessary, use the shortest possible heavy-duty cord of 14-gauge wire or larger. Always check and follow manufacturer’s instructions for use of extension cords.
- Buy a unit with a tip-over safety switch, which automatically shuts off if the unit is tipped over.
Space heaters come in three basic types: convection, radiant, and combination heaters. Electric space heaters will range in price from $35 to around $300.
Most space heaters work by convection heating, which is just the circulation of air in a room. Air is blown over a heating element, and then the warm air circulates through the room. some rely on radiant heating.
Radiant heaters emit infrared radiation that directly heats objects and people and are a better choice when you will be in a room for only a few hours. They can also be more efficient and save energy by directly heating the occupants of the room and the occupant’s immediate surroundings rather than the whole room.
If you need to quickly warm up a small space, like a 10-foot-by-10 -foot bedroom or office, a ceramic heater’s low price and compact size is a great choice. Most models use fans to circulate warm air across the room, so these are great heaters for rooms you spend a lot of time in. Most are priced around $40-$75.
A good choice for radiant heaters are the oil filled models. They will heat up to 300 square feet and are priced around $80-$175. They are best for spot heating because they deliver warmth directly in front of the heater. This makes them suitable for chilly or poorly insulated rooms.
A popular choice lately are quartz heaters. They are radiant heaters which are more efficient by having instant warm up time and low operating cost.
Safety Concerns: Safety is the most important factor when choosing portable heaters. In addition to making sure that the portable heaters you buy carry a certification such as Underwriters Laboratory. You’ll want to choose a size and style of space heater that’s appropriate for the size of your room. You also don’t want an electric heater to be closer than three feet from any wall, furniture or fabric.
Space heaters are an excellent way of warming up an individual room without turning up the thermostat. Small portable heaters are compact and can be placed almost anywhere in the house.
When used as supplemental heat sources, space heaters can also reduce the home’s overall heating bill. Your electrical bill will increase slightly, but will generally result in savings for your entire heating bill.