Using space heaters

When things get cold, the cold turn up the heat

As the cold winds of winter approach, it's time to turn up the heat.

For most of us, turning up the heat means setting the temperature on the central heating system thermostat to warm.

However, some of us need only to heat a small area of our home for a short period of time, that’s where space heaters come in handy.

Some people use space heaters for comfort heat in addition to the heat produced by their central heating system.

While effective for warmth, this approach can inflate heating bills and doing so doesn’t fix heating system inadequacies that can otherwise be solved in cost effective ways.

Studies show that the cost of heating with central heating systems is less than half of what electric space heaters cost to heat the same space.

Electric space heaters warm rooms in a couple of ways: radiant heat or convection heat. Radiant heat is much like the warmth that you feel when you are in the sunshine.

The closer you are to a radiant space heater the more warmth you’ll feel. Convection heaters warm the air around the heater. The warm air rises from the heater to the ceiling while pulling the cooler air towards the heater to create a convection loop.

Some electric heaters have built-in fans to spread heat further than relying on convection alone.

There are several benefits to electric space heaters. First, they don’t have the costs and regulations associated with combusting fuel and they can be installed in pretty much every room.

Electric heat is 100 per cent efficient and since electric heaters have a limited amount of working parts they are very reliable and have long life spans.

Of course, electric space heaters capitalize on the green energy factor. Besides being 100 per cent efficient they don’t produce carbon dioxide while generating zero local emissions.

Today’s portable space heaters include a variety of safety features. Models with Tip-Over protection automatically shut off when they are tipped over for any reason. Models with overheat protection automatically shut off when the upper limit is reached.

When buying a space heater look for CSA (Canadian Standards Association) or UL (Underwriters Laboratories) certifications so that you can be confident it's safe to use at home. Look for heating element guards and read and follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions for operation and care.

To make the most of your space heater, use it in a small or enclosed space, and try placing it in the corner of the room. Keep doors shut to keep the heat in the room that you're using.

When winter gets cold, and it’s time to turn up the heat, it’s almost impossible to find another heating appliance that delivers the same amount of comfort for such a small investment as a space heater does.

So go ahead, use space heaters as a secondary heat source for a small room or a way to add a little heat to a chilly space.


This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.


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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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