There’s a time and place for everything, so the saying goes. Electric space heaters probably didn’t pop into your mind just now. But the adage applies to them, too. The right timing and placement of electric portable or “space” heaters is important if you’re at all concerned about heating and electricity costs. And if you want to create extra comfort where you need it most at home, or in your business or office using space heaters, here are a few tips for you.
Space heaters have proven themselves effective for heating small areas. why waste energy and money cranking up the central heat in your house or building when you only really need extra heat in one or two areas — like on your toes while you’re sitting at your desk creating a blog about space heaters. (How delightfully coincidental is that?)
When you use them at the proper time (only when you need them) in the proper place (with the help of portability), space heaters are not only smart economically, but they’re also a greener solution.
Besides being portable (to varying degrees), thus easy to install in any room with an electrical outlet, can they save money? Generally speaking, you can expect to consume less energy and save money only if you’re warming one or two rooms — and if you remember to shut them off when you’re not around.
If you find that your home or business has turned into a kind of space heater farm, you not likely saving money. In fact, you’re probably paying much more. And it likely means it’s time to assess your overall heating situation. Have you checked your furnace? Is it functioning properly? If you have electric baseboard heating, has it been adequately installed to meet your needs?
Perhaps you’re using space heaters where cold air is seeping into your home. Weatherstripping and better insulation are likely better solutions. If you can keep less cold air from coming in, the less heating you’ll have to do. Simple, right? And more economical in the long run.
So, let’s assume that you’ve decided to use space heaters as they should be used — in thoughtful moderation.
There are three main types of electric space heaters available:
- Radiative (infra-red) heaters
- Convection heaters
- Oil-filled radiators
All of the above can not only save you money (again, we emphasize) when properly used. They can also add some extra toasty-warm comfort that central heating can’t. Radiant infra-red space heaters are a good example. Turn them on and they immediately radiate a sun-like warmth to warm your body. Thus, they’re particularly popular in bathrooms. But they’re not ideal for the room itself. So, in selecting and placing a space heater, it’s important to keep in mind its primary use.
If it’s quiet operation in a room where you like to rest, watching TV, read or just relax you need, a fan-forced convection heater is your least desirable choice. However, a low-profile, “old-school” baseboard convection heater is worth considering.
Consider not only the room’s function but also its size, when selecting a space heater. Don’t purchase oversized heaters. Most come with a general sizing table that allows you to match it to the room’s size.
Last, but not least, make safety your primary concern. Even though any heater you buy should have a shut-off feature that is activated when the heater is tipped over, it’s best not to put this to the test– especially if it’s a room used by kids or pets. Look for a sensor that shuts the heater off if it overheats.
Look also for a label from a recognized testing laboratory such as UL (Underwriters Laboratory), ETL (Intertek), or CSA (Canadian Standards Association). These labels verify the heater’s construction and performance meet voluntary safety standards.
Wherever you place your new space heater, make sure to regularly inspect its electrical cord for damage. And never use an extension cord with an electric heater!
If it’s time to install a heater but find there aren’t enough electrical outlets in the room to allow you to plug them in without an extension cord, don’t risk electrocution or fire! Call us at Stapleton Electric if you’re short an outlet or two. Also waste no time in calling us at 778-985-9395 if, after you install your heaters, your breaker keeps tripping or your fuses continue to blow. When these things happen regularly, it’s always a safety concern.
Keep checking our regularly-posted blogs for all things electrical, practical and safe. Again, don’t hesitate to call us. You’re also welcome to get in touch with us on our contact page. Meanwhile, stay warm, stay safe.