How to Choose The Best Space Heater for Your House

How to Choose The Best Space Heater for Your House

If you are living in a cold area where the price of oil just keeps rising, the best space heater is one of the ideal options for you to reduce heating costs. They can keep your home warm and comfortable if they were used safely.

In fact…

…not using a space heater properly can cause fire and other major problems.

This article will help you get to know more about this convenient device and avoid any issues while using it.

I.    What Is a Space Heater?

Never overlook this essential information!

A space heater is a device used to heat or warm up an enclosed area, in contrast with central heating. It heats many connected spaces at once.

This is an ideal choice for rooms with inadequate heating or where central heat cannot be installed such as a garage.

Combustion space heaters operate by burning gas, propane, fuel oil or wood pellets, so on, which may consequence in having byproducts of combustion enter your house. Electric heaters are safer for portable use than gas heaters.

However…

…they can be dangerous if used improperly. The best space heaters will help you minimize and eliminate those risks.

II.    Types of Space Heaters

Purpose of use

a.    Propane heater

Propane heaters operate by burning propane.

Do you know?

They have two specific forms, which are freestanding and attachment. The freestanding style heater included a base, body, and a propane tank. On the other hand, the attachment model is for attaching with a standard liquid petroleum tank. Both of these types are portable.

Propane heaters operate by burning propane

Image source: Walmart

People usually use them on decks, lawns for outdoor activities since propane heaters do not need electricity.

Moreover, they are lightweight and easy to transport.

A propane heater is a great option for…

…people who are looking for a convenient, cost-saving heater. However, this type of heater is more suitable to use outdoor than indoor.

When having a propane heater, you must pay attention to these rules:

  • NEVER use a propane heater in an enclosed area that does not have sufficient oxygen, except for some heaters that are labeled for indoor use.
  • Remember to clean the furnaces regularly.
  • ONLY use propane heaters in a ventilated area.
  • Pay attention to see if any leaks are presented by getting a leak detector.

Some models for you to consider are:

  • Dyna-Glo 40,000-BTU Portable Propane Tank Top Propane Heater
  • Dyna-Glo 30,000-BTU Portable Propane Tank Top Propane Heater
  • Mr. Heater 125,000-BTU Portable Forced Air Propane Heater.

b.    Kerosene heater

A kerosene heater is an unvented, portable space heater that uses kerosene as a fuel.

There are two types of kerosene heaters:

  • Convective heater
  • Radiant heater

Radiant heaters are suitable for small places because they include reflectors which direct heat at people or objects.

Why I should choose this heater?

If you are living in a rural area that has limited electricity supply, kerosene heater is an option to choose.

Moreover…

…if you want to have a heater in your garage, which has no power supply, a kerosene heater is a more money-saving choice than installing a new power supply in the garage.

One more important factor:

In the United States, they are used as a backup heater in case of power outage or as a supporting heat. In fact, most states have banned using kerosene heaters at home.

The reason for that is…

…during the burning kerosene process, byproducts of combustion such as carbon monoxide will enter your home.

Carbon monoxide is not good for health and can lead to poisoning.

When using a kerosene heater, it is important to keep adequate ventilation throughout the rooms. Open your window or door to have fresh, outside air enter the room.

Furthermore, do not go to sleep with an operating kerosene heater. It can easily catch fire when placed close to combustible materials such as clothes, curtains, papers.

Also…

…keep an eye on your children or pets since touching any part of an operating kerosene heater could consequence in a severe burn.

My recommendation is:

You should have a safety cage to keep young children and pets away from the heater. It is also important to have a smoke detector and a fire extinguisher in your house.

A typical product is DFA50 Portable Kerosene Forced Air Heater.

Image source: Alibaba.com

c.    Electric heater

Electric heaters use electrical energy and turn them into heat.

By using heating elements, which is an electrical resistor. Their materials are nickel-base or iron-based materials such as nichrome, electrical energy will be converted into heat and radiated it out in all directions.

An electric heater is suitable for

…small, narrow spaces like bathrooms or bedrooms.

Advantages:

  • The initial investment cost is also lower than other types of heating sources.
  • There are no risks of air pollution since no combustion is in need.
  • Electric heaters are safer to use than other heaters.
  • Also, they are easy to control due to the thermostat mounted on the unit.
  • The heating process is clean, quiet, and suitable for noise-sensitive environments.

When deciding to get this heater, there are a few things that you will need to remember:

  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid risks of burning, catching fire, and electrocution.
  • Keep the surrounding area of the heater clean and free of any flammable objects.
  • Make sure that the heater is placed on a stable surface to prevent it from tipping over.
  • Keep your children and pets away from this heater to avoid any possible accidents.
  • Bear in mind that your cost of electrical energy will be high.

Typical products that you can consider are:

  • Dimplex DFI2310 Electric Fireplace Deluxe
  • Dimplex CS33116A Compact Electric Stove

d.    Infrared heater

Infrared heaters have different types. Several heaters create heat directly on the object they reach by straightly spreading their infrared light into a room or space.

Other infrared heaters produce heat by three major components:

  • Infrared light bulbs
  • A heat exchanger
  • A fan

Infrared heaters also use different sources of fuel and material.

Infrared heaters are suitable for using in small areas or specific rooms.

Why?

  • Provide warmth instantly
  • Unlike other heaters, you do not have to wait for the infrared heater to warm up.
  • A great option to choose if you want instant, direct warmth when sitting on a couch or at your office desk.
Infrared heater

Image source: Design Builders Inc

  • Work silently, which is ideal for environments that need to be quiet such as bedrooms.
  • Create a gentle source of warm heat without reducing oxygen and humidity content in the room. This way, your skin will not be dry out.
  • Efficient heating with low cost because it only heats up a particular area, you do not have to waste energy heating the whole room.
  • Minimal maintenance works. All you need to do is clean the reflectors, and the heater will work just fine.

However…

…there are some risks while using this heater.

It is dangerous to have children and pets near the heater since the coils are boiling. If you want to warm up the whole room, this is not the one for you since infrared heaters only heat up a small area.

They also do not retain heat and will stop heating when turned off.

Typical products are:

  • iLIVING Infrared Portable Space Heater
  • Lifesmart Medium Room Infrared Heater with Remote
  • EdenPURE A5095 Gen2 Pure Infrared Heater

d.    Gas heater

A gas heater operates by burning natural gas, propane, butane, or liquefied petroleum gas.

There are two types of gas heater: flued and non-flued. A flued is a pipe that vents all exhausted gas out of your room, prevents it from filling with toxic byproducts of combustion.

However…

…flued gas heater is usually not portable, which is not suitable for renters. Therefore, if you want a portable gas heater, an unflued one might be right for you.

So which is the problem here when using the flued and unflued heater?

A flued gas heater is suitable for almost every type of areas from large to small one. Since people vent all emissions outside, it is safer to use for people with allergies or respiratory problems.

The installation process is not a complication thing and the heating cost is also cheaper than electric heaters.

In contrast…

…unflued gas heaters are portable, efficient, and provide instant heat.

However, it is not suitable for small rooms or badly ventilated areas, since exhausted gas can be trapped inside and threatens your health.

To use a gas heater safely, read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully before installation. Most of the gas heaters accidents happened because of improper installation.

Moreover, ventilation is vital, especially when using gas heaters. Therefore, always keep your rooms ventilated by open windows or doors for fresh air. Additionally, never put flammable objects near your heater.

Here are some common products that you can check out:

  • Mr. Heater 30,000 BTU Natural Gas Blue Flame Vent Free Heater
  • Rinnai Dynamo 15; Everdure Lancer

e.    Ceramic heater

A ceramic heater provides heat by using a heating element made from PTC (Positive Temperature Coefficient) ceramic. They are usually portable and suitable for small rooms.

Want to know the best part?

Advantages:

  • Safe to use and reliable.
  • Steady and unlikely to tip over.
  • Small to use in small areas such as bathrooms or office cubicles.
  • The operating temperature of a ceramic heater is low, which eliminates the risks of burning or catching fire.
  • Reduce electricity bills.
  • Don’t waste energy and work efficiently.
  • Fave fans and thermostats inside to prevent it from overheating.
  • Some have tilt detection unit which allows the heater to automatically shut off and switch on.
  • If you have allergy problems, this heater is perfect since no fuel is burned in the heating process and no poisonous fumes are created.

Just like any other heaters, there are some cautions that you need to remember:

  • To prevent the heater from tipping over, place it on a flat, secure surface
  • Keep your children and pets away from it
  • Never go to sleep while leaving the heater on to avoid any possible accidents

A typical product to consider is Lasko 754200 Ceramic Heater.

f.    Convection heater

This is the most common type of technology in single room heating.

They have the ability to heat the whole room evenly and efficiently within an extended period of time. This technology also ensures you a clean, humid, and healthy air environment.

Warm air might be accumulated at the ceiling of the room. Therefore, convector heaters are often incorporated with ceiling fans to boost up air circulation process, which makes the room feel warm.

This type of heaters suits best for a house with high ceiling.

g.    Radiant heater

Radiant space heaters are best known for the ability to deliver quick, spot heating in small places.

This type of heaters is usually used in small offices or bedroom. A radiant space heater is the number one choice if you want to warm up a particular area instantly.

h.    Micathermic heater

This is the combined technology of both convection and radiant heating.

This technology provides fast and widespread heat without consuming much space. If you have an allergy or is sensitive to dust, this is the best choice.

A micathermic heater does not re-circulate dust or allergens all over the room.

They are also lightweight and have low noise level.

Overall, when buying a heater, consider the type that suits best to your house structure.

Ways to produce heat

a.    Portable heater

Portable heaters are easy to transport and can be moved without any problems. They provide warmth without wasting any energy.

If you are a renter and want to avoid complicated installation, portable heaters are perfect for you. You can move them easily to bring it anywhere you want.

There are also a variety of styles and designs for you to choose. Two basic types of portable heater are gas and electric heater, which I have mentioned above.

Portable heaters are easy to transport and can be moved without any problems

Image source: TreeHugger

When selecting a portable heater, only consider one that has certification about safety. Look for heaters that have tip-over switches, overheat protection, or flame-resistant cases.

Moreover…

…do not forget to turn the heater off when you are not at home. You should also get smoke and carbon monoxide detectors for further safety use.

Typical models are:

  • Mr. Heater Big Maxx Natural Gas Garage/Workshop Heater
  • ProCom Dual Fuel Vent-Free Blue Flame Garage Heater

b.    Garage heater

Garage heaters are used to warm up your cold garage.

The garage is usually colder than another part of the house because of the concrete floor that just does not retain heat that much. By installing a garage heater, you can prevent pipes and equipment from freezing, keep your cars warm, and do workshop projects without any worries about the cold.

  • If you have a small garage, a simple one-stall heater is enough.
  • For the larger garage, consider getting a large heater.

To save space, look for the wall-mounted heater. It can protect your valuable floor for other necessary tools.

If you want to have a portable heater, look for models that are lightweight and easy to move.

You should NOT get a propane heater for your garage. It is not safe and can cause you carbon monoxide poison and other health issues. Propane heaters are also extremely flammable and not a safe choice for families with young children.

You should consider heater that has safety features such as overheat protection, tip-over switch to have a warm and safe environment for doing workshop projects.

Some best models are:

  • Modine HD45AS0111Natural Gas Hot Dawg Garage Heater
  • Mr. Heater F232000 MH9BX Buddy 4,000-9,000-BTU Indoor-Safe Portable Radiant Heater
  • Dr Infrared Heater Portable Space Heater

c.    Baseboard heater

They are usually installed in basements due to steady heat, low-cost, fairly-quite operation. If you want to know more about baseboard heater, read here.

d.    Outdoor heater

The most common outdoor using heater is patio heater.

Patio heaters produce radiant heat by burning propane, butane or liquid petroleum gas. Some of recent heaters use electric instead.

The Patio heaters provide constant heat to your outdoor space without severe smoke or dirty ashes. They are available in different sizes and designs such as full size, table top, or wall mount.

Patio heaters work best for people living in a mild climate. The Wind can affect your heater in many ways. High wind can make heaters harder to light and create tipping issues.

Therefore, consider buying a massive, stable patio heater if your place is windy.

Moreover, it is best to have a heater with a tip-over switch for safety use. A tabletop patio heater is a perfect choice when you need portability.

Outdoor heater

Image source: taylorrentalholland.com

If you have children and want a safe outdoor heater, electric patio heaters might be the right one for you. Since they use electrical energy, no flame is present.

For further safety features, look for one that have child-proof connections, tip-over switches, and well-balanced bases.

Some important products include:

  • Fire Sense Hammer Tone Bronze Commercial Patio Heater
  • AZ Patio Heaters HLDS01-WCBT Tall Patio Heater
  • AmazonBasics Havana Bronze Commercial Patio Heater

e.    Wall heater

They are typically mounted on walls to provide heat in bathrooms, basements, or any cold spaces. Wall heaters are commonly used in hotels and small areas.

The wall-mounted heater is a great option if you want to have extra space for other necessary objects.

You can hang them up with brackets or recess it into the wall. They are powerful and operate quietly.

f.    Floor heater

They are usually space-saving and portable. Fans are often paired with this to spread the warmth evenly throughout the room.

However…

…they can be tipped over or knocked down due to the vertical design. Therefore, try to look for a heater that features tip-over switch.

III.    Features and Factors to Consider in the best Space Heater

Space heaters come in a variety of sizes, styles, and capacities. When looking for the best space heater, you need to consider several factors carefully.

A good space heater should be safe to use, reduce heating costs, so on.

Here are seven factors and features that determine the best space heater:

1.    Air quality:

A good space heater should be able to vent the air actually.

Or else, byproducts of the ordering process including carbon monoxide will enter your house and cause health issues.

2.    Heater size:

Size is also a critical factor in determining the right heater. A heater that is too big will consume a lot of valuable space and waste energy dramatically.

On the other hand, a small heater will not provide sufficient warmth needed for the whole room.

To decide which size is right, you can do a simple calculation. A square foot of floor area will need 10 watts of heating power. Base on that equation, you can calculate how many watts are required to heat your house.

For example, a 200 square feet area will need a 2000-watt heater to heat efficiently.

However, this rule cannot apply to every model. You may use more space depend on the technology, indoor environment, and application.

3.    Safety Features

A heater can be a life threat if you don’t use it correctly. Manufacturers should design good heaters to minimize those risks.

Features that you should look for are…

…tip-over sensor and switch. They will automatically shut off the power if the heater knocked down. Some heaters also equipped with a cool-to-the-touch surfaces.

Another feature is overheat protection. It will turn the heater off if the inside components became too hot. Many heaters also have sensor that can identify objects which are lying too close to it and shut down the heater.

Remember:

  • Check whether the heater has safety certification such as UL (Underwriters Laboratory) or any similar ones.
  • Do not forget to check out the insurance policy to ensure that it will be valid if any accidents occurred.

4.    Power consumption:

Power levels of the heater are measured in watts, amps, or BTUs. A rating that is extremely useful when comparing the energy output is BTU (British Thermal Unit).

The reason for that is because BTU measures the heating capacity of different kinds of fuels, cooling systems, and heating units.

It is a good idea that you should also compare the heating efficiency when buying a heater. By this way, you can reduce the heating costs and reserve energy. To minimize the costs, remember to choose a heater that is suitable for your environment and the size of your space.

Furthermore, try to find heaters that include unique features.

For examples energy saving mode, adjustable thermostats, and a programmable timer to save energy and reduce costs.

5.    Noise levels:

Most of the electrical appliances make noise while operating, so does space heater.

However…

…depending on which type of heater it is, the noise level will be different.

For example, for non-fan-forced units such as a baseboard heater or an oil-filled radiator, the noise level is typically low. It makes them suitable for quiet environments like bedrooms or office.

On the other hand, fan-equipped heaters are noisier than fanless heaters.

A good space heater WON’T make loud noises that can wake you up at night. Consider the acceptable noise levels of your place before getting a heater.

For example, if you want to get a heater for your office, which needs to be quiet for concentration, you ought to purchase a heater that does not make any loud noise.

To determine the noise level of a heater, look for the decibel rating listed in the heater’s specification.

If the rate is high, that means the heater is loud and noisy. Micathermic heaters usually include quietest models.

6.    Temperatures:

The temperatures should be balanced throughout the whole house. It will create a comfortable atmosphere in your living area. Not mention that this is excellent for your health.

7.    Location:

When purchasing a space heater, you need to consider where you are going to place it.

Where to place your heater

Image source: Your Home

As its name had mentioned, a space heater needs its space.

If you place it too closely to flammable objects such as curtains, some dramatic accidents could happen.

8.    Spot heating or zone heating:

Spot heating is a must when you only want to heat up only a portion of the building. Zone heating allows you to control the temperatures from anywhere instead of depending on a single thermostat in the center of the house.

This system also raises the temperature quicker. It is because only one part of the house need to heat up instead of the whole building.

Before getting a heater, you need to consider which type of systems. It required and whether it suits your intended purpose.

9.    How will the dock door area be heated and the speed of temperature recovery:

Extreme temperature changes will affect your dock door. Because of that, the heating system should be able to burn this door efficiently.

When the heat can be recovered quickly, there will be a significant reduction in wasted heat.

As consequences, the cost of heating will also be reduced.

10.    Is make-up air (MUA) needed?

A composition air unit will help improve the quality of indoor air by replacing exhausted air with fresh air outside.

11.    Other Features

Another factor to consider involves heat consistency. Most of the heater users usually rely on its ability to deliver consistent heat and leave it operates while sleeping at night.

However, our recommendation is:

You should not go to sleep with heater still working.

An oil-filled radiator space heater is the best choice for bedrooms. They warm up much slower and retain heat longer after your turn them off.

Moreover…

…a heater that features timers which can turn the heater on or off at a preset time is convenient.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, heaters are available in a variety of types and styles. What you have to do is look for one that suit best to your house structure and your expectation. However, choosing the best space heater is only one half; the other half is how you use it. Many dramatic accidents have occurred each year due to improper use of the heater.

Therefore, always remember to follow instructions and safety rules to have a safe environment for you and your family.

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