Space heaters are a great way to add supplemental heat to your home without putting further strain on your HVAC system. While your heating and air conditioning circulate air all through your home, a space heater allows you to heat a single room or space without heating up the entire rest of the house. This can help you keep your energy costs low.
Space heaters come in a lot of sizes, shapes, and types. Here’s what you need to know to help you buy the right one.
Types of Space Heaters
Gas and Oil-Filled Heaters
These are a popular option that often look similar to old-school radiators. They work by converting energy to heat as the oil circulates through the heater. Since the oil isn’t burned as fuel, you don’t need to replace the oil.
These heaters can take 20 to 30 minutes to warm up, but maintain their heat for a long time after that. They also often have adjustable thermostats, programmable timers, and run silently.
Electric Infrared Heaters
Electric infrared heaters work by converting electric power into heat. They’re one of the more energy-efficient options for space heaters, making them an appealing option.
Ceramic heaters have a heating element made of ceramic material. The heater pulls air in, warms the air inside, then circulates the air around the room. These heaters are usually lightweight and portable and are usually encased in plastic, so they’re not hot to the touch.
Some ceramic heaters have a fan to help circulate the air throughout the space, while others don’t. Those with fans are called convective heaters; those without fans are called radiant ceramic heaters.
Convection space heaters work by pulling cool air into the heater, warming the air, and pushing out hot air to warm a space. The heater air rises while cool air stays low to the ground, letting the process continue as the heater produces a constant flow of warmth. Convection heaters can be wall-mounted or portable and do a great job of evenly distributing air around a space.
Things to Consider While Shopping for a Space Heater
Consider the size of the room you want the heater to work in. Most space heaters have a wattage rating to help you choose the right strength for the size of the space you have in mind.
If you’re buying a space heater to keep your heating costs low, you want to choose a heater that’s energy efficient. Otherwise, you risk losing out on those savings. We suggest looking for models with energy-saving modes, adjustable thermostats, low wattage, and programmable timers.
Like any heating unit, space heaters can come with safety concerns. To keep you and your home safe, you may want to look for a heater with these traits:
- Cool-to-the-touch surfaces
- An internal switch that automatically shuts off the heater if it tips over
- Overheat protection that automatically shuts off the heater if it gets too hot