New energy efficient space heating may be the best solution for an unusually cold room in an otherwise comfortable building. Even if your smart thermostat was the class leader, you can fix cold spots quickly with energy efficient space heating. If you remember chilly days last winter when you could have used space heating, now is an excellent time to take advantage of the off-season sales when manufacturers’ stocks are full.
Here are our top tips for energy efficient space heaters:
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How to choose a space heater
Electric heaters are less efficient, but are usually safer and more versatile than petroleum-powered models. Electric heaters can be further subdivided into convection heaters, radiant or infrared heaters, ceramic heaters and plate heaters (also known as micathermal heaters).
Convection heaters are generally the most energy efficient electric heaters, especially for large, enclosed spaces. Convection heat warms the surrounding air. And while it can take a while for a room to warm up, the warmth remains even after the device is turned off.
Radiant or infrared emitters direct the heat to certain people (or objects). They heat up pretty quickly, but the hot air is expelled just as quickly once you turn off the heater.
Ceramic heaters circulate air and concentrate the heat where it is needed most. And they can feel cool to the touch.
Finally, you can also purchase panel (or micathermal) heaters that combine both radiation and convection technology. These devices often heat up quickly and distribute warm air around the room.
Other factors to consider
Heat distribution – The best energy-efficient heaters distribute the hot air quickly and evenly in the room. This means that they don’t just add warmth to the people or objects that are directly in front of them. They are designed to have a wider distribution and push the air further away. Space heaters with oscillation systems are particularly suitable for even heat distribution. Because they’re relatively quick in boiler rooms, you won’t have to use them for that long.
timer – Timers are a great way to save energy. You can set certain times / parameters for switching your heater on and off to prevent the heater from being operated unnecessarily.
Thermostats – Most energy efficient space heaters have easy-to-use thermostats so they don’t use extra energy.
Programming options – Some of the high tech heaters on the market are programmable so you can set temperatures for different times of the day. A handful of space heaters are smart devices that you can control over your phone.
Automatic shutdown – You don’t want space heating to run indefinitely. Besides being a security risk, it just isn’t efficient or inexpensive to do. The best heaters automatically turn off once they have been running for a while.
Safety / kill switch for overheating – Overheat protection functions cut off the power supply if your heater gets too hot. That way, you no longer have to worry about damaging electrical circuits or starting a fire.
portability – Portable space heaters such as patio heaters and garage heaters can reduce the number of devices required. Many people just need a good device that can be moved from room to room. Look out for lightweight heaters with handles or castors.
Room size – Choose space heating with an output that corresponds to the size of the room in which you want to use it. The higher the heat output, the more energy is consumed. A small room might only need 750 watts of power, while a larger area might need 1,500 watts. Choose a heater that offers enough heat for the area and nothing more.
Fan-only option – Space heaters with fan-only options can be used as fans in warmer weather.
size the heater – The size is important. Many people want relatively compact space heaters so that they are easier to move and store, and that they are relatively inconspicuous with each use.
noise – Noise is another factor to consider. While most space heaters are relatively quiet, there is a range. Some could whir or click or hum. Make sure you find a heater that is as quiet as possible or gives off a white noise that you know you can tolerate.
Intuitive controls – As with any technology, look for space heating with simple controls. You don’t want to accidentally set your heater to the highest possible temperature and then don’t know how to set it accordingly.
Security is also important
We would like to mention security issues. Misuse of space heaters poses risks. They can lead to anything from burns to house fires.
- Do not leave the heating on in unattended rooms.
- Do not leave a space heater on overnight while you sleep.
- Do not place space heaters on a carpet or near flammable or combustible objects.
- Space heaters should not be used with extension cords or power strips. Do not use your heater near wet objects.
- Look for space heaters with a kill switch. These machines shut down automatically if they should ever accidentally tip over.
- Look for a space heater with a protective housing that feels relatively cool even after the device has been switched on for a long time.
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