Heating Equipment

Room Heater Buying Guide







Assess the cost and availability of each energy source in your area before you decide what type of fuel your heater will use. Some energy sources are more readily available and less expensive in certain areas than others.

ROOM HEATER TYPES

Gas heaters

Natural gas heaters generally run more efficiently and cause less pollution than electric or solid fuel heaters. You can determine the heaterís fuel efficiency by checking its Energy Star rating (a number between one and six; a higher number indicates higher efficiency). When heating your home using gas, you can choose central gas heating to warm the whole home or gas space heaters to heat only certain rooms. You can also use your central gas heating to heat only certain areas of your home, called 'zoning'. Using a timer can also cut down on heating costs.

Electric heaters

Electric heaters are the most commonly used type of heater, but are significantly less efficient than gas heaters, and can be up to three times more expensive to operate. Electric space heaters can be used to heat a room and should be used sparingly; theyíre best for rooms that are only used for part of the day, like bedrooms or bathrooms. Another electric heating option is slab heating, where a central heating system heats a concrete slab floor using electric cables in the floor.

Radiant electric heaters often feature quartz heating elements and heat up quickly. Oil-filled radiators offer a retro look and provide warmth to slightly larger areas by heating oil within the unit. The oil, which stays warm and radiates heat for a long period of time, is permanently sealed into the heater, so there is never a need to refill it. Baseboard heaters are long and provide quiet, efficient heat for larger rooms. They often feature an adjustable thermostat for greater control. Convection heaters warm air throughout the entire room rather than focusing it in one spot. Ceramic heaters remain cool to the touch and sometimes oscillate to circulate heat better. Heater fans feature coil heating elements and a fan that pushes warm air throughout the room, making them ideal for offices and bedrooms.

COMPARE ROOM HEATER PRICE AND FEATURES





ROOM HEATER REVIEWS

Radiant heaters generate fast heat for focused warmth Convection heaters provide more general warmth for a larger area Heaters with quartz elements may give off a bright light Oil-filled radiators with wheels provide easy mobility Convection heaters can reduce heating costs by allowing you to lower your thermostat Some units feature fan-only settings for use during the summer months.

Solid fuel heaters

A heating system involving a chimney or flue that generally uses wood or coal to heat the house is a solid fuel heater. While wood and coal are cheap and readily available, they create more pollution and are less efficient than gas or electric. Portable heaters: Small, lightweight portable heaters are made to heat single rooms or small areas for a limited amount of time. While much cheaper to buy than other heating systems, they are much more costly to run. Solar heaters: Solar heaters can cost a bit up front, but there are no continuing fuel costs and the system does not create pollution. While solar power is a constant, renewable source of energy, it can be less dependable in cloudy weather.


Power Source

Heater Type

Points to Consider

Electric (Convection)
Ceramic Heater Fan
Remain cool to touch. Circulate air for even heating.
Electric (Radiant)
Radiant Oil-Filled Baseboard
Ideal for heating small spaces Provide steady heat for entire room Provide quiet, efficient heat 
Non-Electric
Natural Gas Propane Kerosene
May or may not need to be vented Provide hours of heat with 1-gallon tanks Ideal for heating very large areas 




ROOM HEATER FEATURES

After youíve chosen what type of fuel your heater will use, decide which other features are important to you.

Variable settings

A heater with variable settings gives you more control over your energy consumption and heat output. Variable settings are especially useful when the weather gets warmer. Built-in blower or fan: Use of a built-in blower or fan in conjunction with a heating system is another effective way to conserve energy. A blower or fan helps distribute heat throughout your home, increasing efficiency.

Safety features

Consider safety when buying a new heater. Options such as automatic shutoffs, anti-tipping devices, and heat guards help ensure that your heating system is safe.

Power

Be careful to match the power output to the size of your home. You want to make sure that you arenít using a unit that is too powerful, wasting energy and money.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Look for heaters that monitor carbon monoxide levels and shut off automatically if they get too high to prevent health risks.

Air Conditioning

Some portable air conditioners can be used to provide heat in colder weather, giving you a versatile unit that fulfills multiple needs.

Timers

If your bedroom or kitchen is often chilly first thing in the morning, look for a portable heater with a timer that allows you to program a time for the unit to turn on automatically.

Back-up Fuses

Should the fuses blow and the unit begin to overheat, back-up fuses will act to turn the heater off to prevent a fire.

Halogen

Radiant heaters with halogen elements provide greater energy efficiency while producing the same amount of heat as standard elements.

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter

If an electrical short or ground occurs, this feature automatically shuts down the system to prevent shocks.

FIREPLACES

You can read about buying fireplaces here.

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