Space heaters get the hype they get because of how portable they are, and still, they produce a considerable amount of heat. In this guide, we would look at space heaters and the benefits of having them. Would you like to know? Then you should keenly read through this guide.
What is a Space Heater?
When looking for a simple means of providing heat to a room or series of rooms, the space heater is a great way to achieve that end. Compact and often portable, space heaters are ideal for use as a permanent source of heat as well as a temporary one. Here are some examples of the different types of space heaters, and where you can get them.
Space heaters come in all sizes and shapes. Some of the units are small enough to fit easily under a desk and can be used as a little extra warmth for the feet on a cold day. Other space heaters are large enough to fill an open hearth in a fireplace, with the ability to easily keep a large room at a comfortable temperature. Some space heaters are meant to be portable and are easily stored when not in use. Other kinds of space heaters may be mounted or inserted into the wall, making for a permanent fixture in the room.
What are the different types of space heaters?
There are multiple different types of space heaters out there, from electric to gas or oil, to space heaters than burn wood pellets to produce their heat output. We’ll walk you through them here.
Fan or electric fan space heaters
Fan or electric fan space heaters are hugely popular portable heating devices. They generate significant heat output very quickly, but the temperature increase won’t stick around for long! Essentially, the stream of hot air won’t effectively heat the room around it, so you won’t be able to feel the benefits of the temperature increase after the space heater has been turned off.
Fan or electric fan space heaters are some of the cheapest portable heater options out there, but they’re far from environmentally friendly and guzzle a lot of power. Plus, they’re not known for their reliability and can be quite dangerous to use – never leave a fan or electric fan space heater on and unattended.
Kerosene, oil, or gas space heaters
These space heaters are some of the oldest space heater models you can get and – as you might expect – have a seriously polluting output. They’re also fairly dangerous and expensive, so are gradually being phased out to be replaced with electric space heaters, or other portable heater options.
These types of space heaters are a fairly affordable purchase, even if they are more expensive when compared to other space heater models. However, the toxic fumes they emit by burning kerosene, oil, or gas directly affect those using these space heaters to stay warm, as well as damaging the environment.
What’s more, these space heaters pose a very real risk of fire, so they’re far from the safest option on the space heater market.
Wood or wood pellet space heaters
You might have come across wood or wood pellet heaters as part of central heating systems integrated into homes. They are an effective option for central heating, but can also be used as an additional, backup source of heat for a particular room.
Wood or wood pellet burning stoves are a far more environmentally friendly option when compared to other space heaters, but they’re a far more expensive initial purchase. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that, with time, you will save money by buying a wood or wood pellet heater, as wood or wood pellets cost less than other fuel or power sources.
Electric inertia space heaters
These space heaters are the most modern options, equipped with the latest output and safety technology. Given their inertia capacity, these space heaters are more economical and energy efficient than other space heaters.
These space heaters are comparatively the best in terms of heating output, cost, power usage, and being mindful of your environmental impact. However, they are fairly expensive to purchase.
Where to Place a Space Heater
Like most electrical and fuel-based appliances, you need to be mindful of where you place your space heater. When choosing a location, keep the following aspects in mind:
You should place your heater in whichever location you’ll stay at for the longest time. In your room, put the device in that spot where the heat reaches your bed quickly.
On other occasions, choose a room where most of your family members will spend their time, such as your TV lounge. Also, keep in mind that things like furniture or other objects aren’t blocking the way – a high corner table or a similar position might be a good idea.
Secondly, your space heater shouldn’t be near any dampness or leaking pipes. This can damage your heater and prove to be hazardous.
Select a dry place, away from any dangers of spills, leakages, and moisture. For instance, don’t place your space heater in a bathroom. If needed, purchase a space heater specifically designed for use in basements and other common damp areas.
Never set them against a wall. Space heaters have vents at the backside, and placing them against the walls means blocking these vents.
Hence, always leave a gap of more than one foot between the wall and the heater for safety.
People and Pets
Another thing to remember is that you should keep heaters away from foot traffic. Don’t place them at locations such as near a door or in a hallway where people and pets could mess with them or topple them over.
Keep it in a stable location and out of the reach of children and pets.
Benefits of Space Heaters
Space heaters offer numerous benefits worth being aware of. They include the following:
Less Energy Usage
Typically, a space heater will use less energy than traditional HVAC equipment. This means that running a space heater will usually cost you less money than running a full heating system. By using less energy, you’ll also be minimizing your impact on the environment, which might be important to you.
Most space heaters are relatively portable. This may be ideal if you travel often. While a space heater might not fit in your luggage (and may not be permitted) if you’re traveling by plane or train, if you tend to drive to various destinations, you can easily take your space heater with you.
This point highlights another way in which buying a space heater can help you save money. Unlike a full heating system, a space heater doesn’t require professional installation. Most space heaters can simply be plugged directly into a wall outlet. Not having to pay an expert to install your heater will reduce your spending significantly.
Ideal for Small Spaces
Some rooms and spaces are so small that it’s virtually impossible to install a full heating system in them. That’s one of the many reasons some people choose to purchase space heaters instead. They’re useful when installing a heating system isn’t an option.
For a number of reasons, you may need a heating solution fast. This is another reason to consider purchasing a space heater. If you purchase a traditional HVAC system, you’ll have to wait for it to be installed before you can begin taking advantage of its heating benefits. When you buy a space heater, you can begin using it that very day.
Easy of Use
Understanding how to properly use an HVAC system can be difficult depending on which kind of system you have. Because many of the components of an HVAC system are hidden from view, it can also be challenging to know when a system is in need of maintenance or repairs.
These aren’t issues you need to be concerned with when you purchase a space heater. Modern space heaters are extremely easy to use. They’re also reliable and effective.
Satisfying for Everyone
Sometimes, multiple occupants of a home can disagree quite a bit over what temperature is ideal throughout the home. Perhaps you like to be much warmer than others with whom you live.
This is yet another reason to strongly consider investing in a space heater. Space heaters allow for zonal heating, letting you heat the areas you’re into the degree you wish, while not making others uncomfortable.
Buyer’s guide for Space Heaters
let’s examine the top things to look for in a space heater.
When looking for a space heater, one of the most important things to consider is the amount of space you need to heat. And, while calculating the wattage required for primary heat for any given square footage is quite simple—10 watts of heating power per 1 sq. ft., calculating supplemental heating is a bit more challenging. Here are the guidelines:
- Determine the Needed Temperature Rise: This is the difference between the current temperature and the desired temperature. For instance, if your room temperature is 65 degrees (thermostat setting) and you want it to be 75 degrees, the Temperature Rise is 10 degrees.
- Measure the Volume of Space: Not the square footage, but the cubic footage—L x W x H. For example, if you have a 12 x 12 room, such as a bedroom with an 8 ft. ceiling, you multiply 12x12x8 = 1,152 cu. ft.
- Calculate BTUs Needed to Raise the Temperature: It takes 0.24 BTUs to warm 1 cu. ft. of air 1 degree. In our example, we want to raise the temperature by 10 degrees. So, we multiply the cubic feet times 0.24, times the temperature rise (10 degrees). 1,152 x 0.24 x 10 = 2,765 BTUs required to achieve our desired temperature.
- Convert BTUs to Watts: Divide BTUs by 3.41 to find the watts. 2,765 ÷ 3.41 = 811 Watts. You will need to look for a space heater with at least 811 watts of heating power to adequately meet the need and warm up your room.
The next thing to consider is what type of heater you need. While there are numerous heater styles, there are essentially three heating technologies under which every electric heater falls: convection, infrared, and fan-forced.
- Convection Heaters: These provide quiet, whole-room heating using one of a number of heating element types, plus natural convection to circulate the air, until the whole room is warmed. This includes oil-filled radiators, panel heaters, and some infrared heaters.
- Radiant/Infrared Heaters: These provide quick warmth, heating objects—that includes people—instead of air, so you feel instant heat. They work well in large rooms that may have a cold spot, underneath a desk, or in closed porches or sunrooms during the winter.
- Fan-forced Heaters: These heaters feature an internal electric heating element (micathermic, ceramic, coil, etc.) and a blower fan that distributes heated air throughout a room. The fan does create some sound, but not usually loud enough to disturb conversation or sleep.
Selecting the appropriate type of heater for your specific need is the best way to ensure effective performance and the desired result.
Conserving energy is not only earth-friendly, but it helps to maintain lower heating costs. Although portable electric heaters currently lack a standard level of efficiency like the EER ratings found on portable AC systems, heater operating costs are easy to calculate by multiplying the watts per hour (found in the specs) divided by 1,000, by your local provider’s cost per kilowatt-hour. Figure out how many hours per day you plan to use the heater to find the cost per day.
To keep your electric bills from skyrocketing, remember that most space heaters are designed to provide supplemental, and not primary heat, with the exception of baseboard/cove heaters and large wall heaters. You’ll want to choose a model that’s right for your environment and the size of your space, and consider a heater that draws a lower amperage.
Safe placement and operation of space heaters are essential so it’s important to read the owner’s manual with attention to safety guidelines regarding power cord placement and unrestricted airflow. To significantly reduce the risk of fire, most manufacturers equip their electric heaters with internal switches that automatically turn off the heater should undue heat levels be detected (overheat protection), or the heater is tipped or knocked over. Cool-to-the-touch surfaces and OSHA-compliant grilles are other safety features applicable to some models.
Like most electrical appliances, many portable heaters emit some noise during operation. Consider non-fan-forced units such as a baseboard heater or a freestanding convection heater for silent operation in quiet environments like your bedroom or office. Cadet wall and baseboard heaters, for example, excel at whole-room heating with little noise interruption. Radiant space heaters work well as silent space heaters for bedrooms and offices.
To conclude, space heaters are important, especially in areas where the weather is really cold. In this guide, we have been able to provide you with all the information you might need on space heaters.