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How to Choose a Portable Space Heater


After a long hot summer we all look forward to the cool fall weather and the holiday season. However, winter weather can be harsh and heating our homes can be expensive. Winter heating bills especially in the North Eastern States can be very high, running into the hundreds of dollars each month.


For many years people have used portable space heaters to keep warm during the cold winters. These heaters offer comfort without spiking the winter heating bill. Let’s take a look at the types and styles of portable heaters available and determine which one is best for you.


Ceramic Heaters



Ceramic heaters use electric elements imbedded in ceramic plates, the ceramic plates radiate heat to the passing room air, ceramic heaters are best used in small rooms for spot heating they are quiet and are safe for pets and children as they remain cool to the touch when operated.


Forced Air Heaters


Forced air heaters use a fan to force air past the heated elements, they usually use electric coils to heat the air, some use an osculating fan to move air throughout the room. Many have thermostats to control the temperature. Forced Air heaters are best for warming larger room such family or living rooms.


Baseboard Heaters


Baseboard heaters use electrical coils inserted into copper tubes to generate heat, As the names implies they are designed to be low profile and unobtrusive, they use the natural air flow in the room to heat the air, as a result they are very quiet and will heat a large area such as a basement, family or game room.


Radiator Style Heaters






Radiator heaters resemble old style cast iron radiators which many homes still have. Electric elements heat oil filled chambers in the radiator. They use natural convection to heat the room air as it passes through the radiator vanes.  They are quiet and work best in bedrooms and living rooms where noisy fans might disturb sleep or interfere with watching television or listening to music.


Fireplace Style Heaters



One of the more interesting styles of heaters is the faux fireplace heater. The cabinet simulates a fireplace and an electric display simulates the flames, while an electric heater generates the warmth. Some even double as entertainment centers.


Safety Considerations


When purchasing a portable heater always look for the UL (Underwriters Laboratories) seal of approval, this seal assures the buyer that the unit has been test and is a safe and effective device. In Canada it’s the CSA (Canadian Standards Association) seal of approval.


Always make sure any heater you purchase is placed at least three feet away from any combustible items, bedding, drapes, clothes closets, linens. Never use an extension cord with an electric heater, they will lower the amperage on the circuit and cause the heater to overheat and create a fire hazard.


Never place a heater on top of furniture or on a chair, a small child or pet may knock it over and cause burns or even a fire. Never run cords under a rug, this will result in abrasion and or overheating of the cord, a fire hazard.


Never leave an electric heater running in a room unattended, the unit could overheat or malfunction causing a fire or injury to a pet or small child.


Finally never use a propane or gas powered device to heat any interior living space, every year we read stories of desperate families who use a Bar-B-Que or gas heater to keep warm inside the house with disastrous results.


So which heater should you choose?


1. For keeping toasty in a small space, a ceramic heater will work fine they are inexpensive and portable.


2. To heat a larger space quickly choose a forced air heater, they heat the space quickly and efficiently. Baseboard heaters work best for rooms where quiet comfort is desired.


3. For a TV or family room consider one of the newer fireplace style heaters, they add an element of style to the room, look great and the simulated flames actually make you feel warmer.


Finally remember space heaters are for temporary use and should not be used as your primary source of heat. Used properly they will make your winter more comfortable and save on your energy bills.



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Posted 2014-11-06T22:31:03+0000  by Mike_HD_OC Mike_HD_OC