Cutting back on heating fuel consumption is especially attractive in difficult economic times. This is why many homeowners use efficient electric space heaters to replace or supplement their central heating system in rooms where they congregate or sleep. Radiators and hot air heating vents can be turned down or off to reduce fuel costs. Unused rooms can be “warmed at will” with attractively designed portable or permanently mounted economic electric space heaters.
Types of Electric Space Heaters
The variety of space heaters now available and the type of heat provided allow homeowners to select models, sizes and designs exactly suited to their needs. Among the features available are timers, thermostats, heat settings by watts, automatic reset temperature limit controls and remote operation capabilities. Portable units will shut off should they accidently tip over.
Purchasing decisions, however, should be based on three basic points: (1) the type of heat desired, (2) the design of the electric space heater itself, and perhaps most important (3) the size of the area to be heated. This article will help you sort through and understand the options available.
Type of heat
When all boils down there are two basic types of heat provided by electric space heaters: radiant (think standing in the sunshine) and convection (think standing in the shade on a warm day). Radiant space heaters warm objects and people, convection space heaters warm areas and the people within the area. In many of today’s designs the distinction is not hard and fast. Some radiant space heater designs do in fact warm an area. Following is a “sampler” of electric space heater options. For a comprehensive menu visit an electric space heater specialist such as HeaterStoreOnline.com.
Space heater design options
Radiant heaters – also called infrared electric heaters or halogen electric heaters – are available in several styles. An example is the familiar “satellite dish” design. Many oscillate and direct heat to a larger area. A highly styled option is a radiant space heater housed in a wooden cabinet with an oak or cherry finish. Wall- or ceiling-mounted radiant heaters are great for garages or unheated basements turned into a workroom or exercise room.
Or you might prefer the ambiance ambiance created by an electric fireplace space heater. An electric fireplace insert can be installed in an existing fireplace. Cap the chimney to avoid heat loss. Floor and corner fireplace heaters are available with framing and mantles. If space is at a premium select a wall-mounted electric fireplace.
Fast, efficient vortex space heaters operate on the principal of a vortex – or spinning action – to circulate heated air throughout the room. Some models are equipped with a thermostatic remote control that can be placed anywhere in the room to sense the heat and relay the reading to the heater. This serves to maintain a more accurate and uniform room temperature.
Ceramic and oil-filled space heaters provide radiant and convection heat. Electric ceramic space heaters operate when ceramic elements transfer heat to aluminum baffles that radiate the heat into the room. Pedestal, tower, stationary and oscillating models are among the many designs available, some equipped with fans, ionizers and/or humidifiers. Ceramic space heaters are good choices for areas where children are at play because touching the casing does not result in a burn.
Oil-filled space heaters resemble steam or hot water radiators. They are highly efficient because the mineral oil filling holds heat and continues to radiate it into the room after the heating elements turn off. Wheel mounted, they can be rolled where needed such as the guest bedroom when company arrives.
Good examples of convection space heaters are baseboard and wall mounted designs resembling conventional hot water heating systems. They can be plugged into an outlet or connected to the home’s electric grid. Integral or wall-mounted thermostats control the temperature. These units are especially desirable to heat a room addition without having to extend the central heating system.
Whichever you choose be confident that electric space heaters must conform to applicable codes. With few exceptions they operate at 110 to 115 volts and can be plugged into standard 15-amp household outlets. A GFI (ground fault interrupt) outlet should be used in kitchens, bathrooms or other areas where water is present. Be careful not to overload the circuit with other appliances, and if at all possible avoid the use of extension cords for electric space heaters.
Size of the heating area
The size of the area to be heated by an efficient electric space heater is rather easy to determine: length x width x height. But impacting that are other points such as adjacent rooms (can doors be shut?), stairwells, windows, how well the home is insulated and prevailing weather conditions during the heating season. These factors are used in part to calculate your heater size – namely the amount of watts or BTUs (British thermal units) you will need. To assist in this, sources such as HeaterStoreOnline.com offer an online heater guide that reviews the types of space heaters available and provides information on accessing online BTU calculators.
Shop at a Space Heater Specialist
When it comes time to shop for an electric space heater seek an outlet such as HeaterStoreOnline.com that specializes in electric space heaters. You’ll find a comprehensive listing and explanation of the many types of space heaters available to satisfy residential or workplace heating requirements. Satisfaction guarantees and product warranties apply to all transactions.
Space Heater Glossary of Terms
It’s useful to understand terms used in categorizing the many types of electric space heaters available. The following are common terms that you can find on the model or tag.
Amps: Amperage, also called current, is the amount of electrical energy flowing through a space heater or any other appliance at any given time. Amps also rate household circuit breakers.
BTUs: British thermal units, a basic measure of heat energy. BTU numbers as well as watts can be used when comparing different heating systems.
Volts: A measure of electrical current flow. The higher the voltage, the more current will flow. In North America most household electrical current operates at 110-120 volts. Electric ranges, some dryers and air conditioners require 220 volts.
Watts: The measure of energy conversion. The amount of watts consumed is reported on your electric bill. The wattage delivered by space heaters relates directly to the amount of heat it can deliver. Some space heaters provide a choice, such as 750 or 1500 watts.