Using electric space heaters to heat an entire house is expensive. They are less efficient than an HVAC system, and can cost you much more in hydro charges. If you find that you need space heaters because your furnace doesn’t provide adequate heat, your best bet is to have your furnace inspected and maintained by a certified technician.
Apart from inadequate heat from an undersized or inefficient furnace, there can be other reasons to use a space heater when the temperature drops. Some people like to shut off the heat to rooms that are seldom occupied and use space heaters to maintain a lower temperature in those areas. There may be an area such as an enclosed porch that the heat doesn’t reach because there isn’t ductwork running to it. Some people use them to combat cold air seeping in from doors and windows. Space heaters can also be useful if you want extra heat in one room.
Portable space heaters can be useful but there are some things to keep in mind when shopping for a model that meets your needs.
Tips for Choosing a Space Heater
The basic function of a space heater is to make a room more comfortable as outdoor temperatures drop.
The first thing to determine is the type of space heater that would be best suited to your space. Generally, space heaters are rated for rooms of specific square footage. In general, a space heater uses 10 watts of heating power for each square foot of space. For example, a 1,500-watt heater can heat a room of up to 150 square feet.
Heating estimates based on square footage are based on using a space heater as a supplemental heat source, not as a replacement for an HVAC system.
Heating technology is another thing to think about when shopping for a space heater. Choosing the right type of heating technology will allow your space heater to function more efficiently.
Generally, there are three types of heating technology: radiant, convection, and fan-forced. For small spaces, heaters that use radiant technology provide steady heat in smaller areas like bedrooms and dining rooms. Because they retain heat when cycling on and off, they are more energy efficient than convection and fan-forced heaters. Convection heaters are well-suited to larger spaces particularly for quickly warming a cool space for a brief period of use. Fan-forced heaters house a heating element combined with a fan that blows over the coils to produce heat. Fan-forced heaters are suitable for quick warm up but less efficient than radiant heaters when used as a steady heat source.
After determining the room’s size and type of heating technology, it’s time to think about energy-efficiency. Heaters that use less electricity will help keep energy costs manageable and this is why it is so important to choose a heater based on the size of your space. If you purchase a small heater for a large room, you will have to run the heater longer and at a higher power level to warm the space, which could cause a spike in electricity bills.
Keep Safety in Mind
Last, but certainly not least, safety is a major consideration when looking for the ideal space heater. No matter how many safety features a space heater has, it is essential to keep the following tips in mind:
- A lot of models have automatic shut-off functions and cool touch outer housings and understanding how these safety features work is important.
- Keep your space heater away from sources of water. Use a space heater in a bathroom only if it is a model that was specifically designed for bathroom use.
- Never leave your children or pets unattended in a room with a heater. Even cool touch heaters can have hot spots that could cause serious injury.
- Always place your space heater at least 3 feet away from flammable objects like drapes, bedding, and clothing.
- Do not place your space heater on top of furniture or anything where the unit could be easily knocked over.
- Never place the heater outdoor as extremes in weather can both damage the unit and increase the risk of property damage and loss through fire.
- Unplug the unit when it is not in use.
Is Your House Too Cold Without Space Heaters?
If your house is too cold without using space heaters, it could be time to have your furnace thoroughly inspected and maintained.
A trusted name in the HVAC installation and maintenance, Forney Air has helped homeowners maintain a comfortable indoor environment for over 30 years.
The professionals at Forney Air offer unmatched customer service and can help answer any questions you may have on any HVAC topic from small space heaters to large, commercial HVAC systems.
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