Room Heater

How to choose a room heater?

An electric space heater is great choice to heat enclosed areas. Today most homes have central heating systems that heat up the whole area through air ducts. But you can keep these small units as they are handy in certain situations. These heaters can work with variety of fuels such as natural gas, propane, fuel, or wood pellets. They can also use electricity for resistance heating. They can also be based on heat pump principle and will cool and heat the room as on when required. In houses,which do not have permanent flue electric portable heaters are best options. Gas heaters can be dangerous in such circumstances.

If you are adding room(s) in your house or office and do not want to take the hassle of extending your ducts to new the space, then room heaters are best choices. You can just plug it on heat up the room. These are great for spaces that are extra chilly and are not warmed enough through central heating system. These create warm and welcoming atmosphere for people living inside.

Room heaters are generally classified in two broad categories- radiant and convection. This classification of heater sis done according to their form.

Radiant: These are very commonly available room heaters. The models that are available today are designed for better safety and effectiveness. These models can be upgraded with temperature control and automatic shut-off devises.

The heaters generate heat through quartz, some type of meal element, and reflectors.If given to heat up small space they will heat up the immediate area quickly. However when placed in big rooms, they cannot heat up the whole room quickly. These are best as bedside heaters. All you need to do is mount these on nightstands to keep yourself warm all night.

Convection: These heaters pull hot air form room and pass it overshot coils. The air becomes warm and is resent back to the room. These heaters are designed to heat whole rooms. Some of the units have fans for better distribution of air in the room. These are quick and efficient source of heat. It is their advantage over radiant heaters. But so far the intensity of heat is concerned, radiant heaters are more powerful. But convection heaters provider better coverage with minimal cold spots. They are good heating solution round the year. In summer months you can just turn the fan on for some coolness.

There are unassisted convection room heaters as well. These generate heat through conduction. In these heaters, energy flows through a resistor. The job of the resistor is to convert the electric energy into heat. There is a molecular structure that spreads the heat around the room and warms it sufficiently. These are suitable for people who suffer from asthma as these heaters will not loosen up the dust or pet dander.

The size of your room plays key role in choosing you heater. Before you buy a heater you should know the dimensions of the room(s)that you want to heat. The cover area of a heater is determined by the watts produced by it. So you should select the wattage of the heater according to square footage of the room. Say, a 1600 watt room heater can warm a 150 sq. ft. area. This will surely vary from brand to brand. The best way to shop for a heater is providing the dealer the sizes of your room. They will suggest you the options that are there in that range.

Disclaimer: Although the sizes quoted above are typical average rates that can be seen across USA, they can vary in certain areas depending on the associated variables.

Besides size,a heater is also to be selected according to their design. Let us take a look at the major designs in room heaters.

Baseboard heater: These can be called modern form of old cast iron radiators. But in baseboard room heater there is a notable difference. These units are not as bulky as iron radiators. Their advantage is that they do not occupy much of room space. You can place them in any corner of the room. But keep the units away from furnishing to prevent damages.

Freestanding portable heater: In these you have two options - oil-filled radiator heaters and ceramic heaters. These are convection heaters. They are quite popular among modern customers. The oil-filled radiators do not have fans to circulate hot air around the room. They usually take longer time to heat up the whole space. But once the room is heated, the heat stays for long even after you shut off the heater.

Ceramic room heaters have fans which enable them to distribute hot air uniformly around the room. The unit takes cold air from the room and passes it over ceramic plates and then release sit to heat the room. They will heat up the room very rapidly.

Wall heater: These are convection heaters that have fans to force out the produced heat. They are great space savers. They have a very low wattage and they save your power bills to a great deal. If you have pets and children in the house they are a great option. You can easily keep the unit out of their reach.

Electric fireplace heater: They look absolutely great and remind you of fireplaces, hearth,and rugs of the old times. They produce good heat and can easily warm up spaces of 400 sq. ft. You can keep them in bedrooms,dining rooms, and living rooms too. They are good alternative to traditional room heating.These room heaters can be convection as well as radiant. They also have fans to circulate the heat around. They are just like any other electric appliance and need almost no renovation for installation. All they need is an electric socket to plug them in.

The capacity of Space heater generally ranges between 10,000 Btu and 40,000 Btu per hour. However when buying heaters you have to follow the following guidelines:

When you buy a heater always see if it carries the Underwriter's Laboratory (UL) label. Check if has all the safety features that a modern unit should have. This is because accidents from unsafe heaters are quite likely. You should always see that the heater is run though a thermostat. The thermostats of today can adjust temperatures automatically. It saves a lot of energy.

Sizing is very important for heating and cooling solutions. Do not buy oversize heaters. There are sizing charts according to room dimensions.Select accordingly. Place your heater in such a position which is away from foot traffic. This is especially applicable in homes that have pets and children.

If the cord you get with you heater falls short of reaching the outlet, use the shortest possible heavy-duty cord of 14-gauge wire. The best method is to place the heater in such a place so that it can be plugged directly in the outlet. Always strictly follow the manufacturer’s instructions related to using extension cords. Always ensure if your unit has a tip-over safety switch. This will stop the heater if it tips-over accidentally.

Space heaters are also classified as vented and ‘unvented heaters’. The unvented heaters are not recommended for use as they bring in unwanted combustion products inside the rooms. These include nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, and water vapor. These remarkably diminish the quality of the air.

It is always recommended to buy vented units. These are located next to wall, with a flue gas vent installed through a ceiling or directly through the wall to the outside. Always opt for sealed combustion. Sealed combustion heaters are much safer to operate than other types of space heaters. They do not take in the heated air from the room and exhaust it to the outdoors. They have a low risk of back draft.

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