Tips for purchasing and operating space heaters

 Do your homework before buying a space heater, and make sure you know how to operate it safely. 

Posted by Darrell Erickson on February 9, 2016

 When the temps start dropping many of us turn to space heaters for a little extra warmth. Electric space heaters are a great way to save money by only heating the space we are using and not the whole home. With so many different brands and options, here are some things to consider when purchasing and operating space heaters. 

When buying a space heater there are a few different things to consider. First, decide which type of heat are you comfortable with. There are mainly two types of heat: convection and radiant. Convection heaters operate by heating the air within a room and may incorporate a fan to assist in moving the air through quicker. Radiant heaters operate by emitting beams of infrared light that warm the objects in sight of the heater – think of the sun. You should also consider the size of the area you are going to heat before making your purchase. Most heaters come with sizing instructions on them.

Supplement some of your heating with an electric space heater.

Many space heaters also come with different output settings, either marked high/low, or 1000w (watt) or 1500w. One thing to note is that if you run the space heater on the 1,500w setting versus the 1,000w setting it is going to cost more in the end. For example, if you run a heater at 1500w vs 1000w for eight hours every day for one month, and the electric rate is $0.12 per kilowatt hour, it will cost roughly $15 more per month to operate the 1,500w heater. So keep in mind how and when you use your space heater. 

Lastly, remember to use your space heater safely. The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) states that space heaters account for 1/3 of all home heating fires. So keep these tips in mind for operating your space heater safely: 

  • Always keep heaters at least 3 feet away from combustibles (clothes, curtains, furniture, etc.)

  • If you must use an extension cord, use the shortest one possible with at least 14 American wire gauge conductors

  • Make sure your heater is UL listed

  • Purchase a heater with an automatic shutoff if the heater were to tip over

  • Turn off the heater when going to bed or leaving the room


Darrell Erickson

Darrell Erickson

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