Space heater facts

In the winter, some people look to supplemental heat to provide warmth to portions of their homes using electric space heaters. Every room used as living space should have a permanently installed heating source. Instead of using space heaters, better circulation of the warm air provided by the home’s primary heating source is preferable. Homes with electric baseboards are zoned heated to begin with, so adjusting the warmth of a certain area is as easy as turning the thermostat up.

If moving around the warm air produced by the furnace isn’t the answer, better air sealing may be required. Cool air can enter through gaps around windows, doors, electrical outlets, light fixtures and by heat conduction through construction materials. To make matters worse, as cold air leaks in through cracks, warm air is escaping by other means resulting in increased energy bills.

Generally, when operating on its “high” setting, electric space heaters are using about 1500 watts of electricity. That translates into roughly the same amount of energy used by 20 standard 75-watt light bulbs. Most 1500 watt heaters create 5,000 BTU’s of heat per hour. A standard conventional furnace produces the same amount of heat for less than 1/3rd the cost. Most space heaters don’t have fans to help spread their heat around the room. So as you can see, they are usually not the most economical or efficient solution for home heating.

Turning up the heat during the coldest days of the year costs more, but often the cost is much less than what one thinks and better comfort is achieved. Moving air around the home in a continuous fashion usually leads to better overall comfort. Doing so will cost a bit more to run the fan, but that is often offset by the furnace cycling more efficiently, and you will not have to pay for the energy consumed by the space heater.

Because space heaters are high wattage users, it is important to use a branch circuit that is properly rated. Usually no other appliance should be used on the circuit supplying power to the space heater.

Basically, space heaters are not the most efficient way to heat your home. Should you have to use them, the best application for space heaters recommended is for temporary and or emergency uses only.

For safety more tips on space heaters click here.

Hugh Cairns welcomes your questions, comments and suggestions. Contact him through www.subject2homeinspections.com or interiorinfrared.com.

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About the Author

When you need advice or guidance with DIY home improvement and repairs, Hugh Cairns can help you with the answers.

Home improvements can be rewarding, turn your home into a nicer more comfortable place to live, and increase its value.

Whether you are renovating your kitchen, converting a loft, giving a room a lick of paint or making improvements to your home’s energy efficiency, this column is here to guide you with useful information and key things to remember.

Do you have a renovation question or concern? Please feel free to send Hugh your questions. Contact him through www.subject2homeinspections.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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