The same way ceiling fans supplement air conditioning in the summer, space heaters help out your furnace in the winter. Running the right type of space heater under the right circumstances can help lower your heating bills without decreasing comfort. Use this guide to strike the perfect balance between heating costs and home comfort this winter.
Types of Space Heaters
Your first task is to purchase one or more space heaters to use as needed throughout your home. You’ll come across several different brands and styles in your search. The three main types include:
- Convection space heaters: These units generate heat slowly, and the warmth sticks around long after they’re turned off. They’re quite heavy, though still portable. Some attach directly to the wall as a permanent room heating fixture. Convection space heaters operate almost completely silently and some use fans to circulate heat around the room.
- Radiant space heaters: To generate heat quickly, these space heaters circulate liquid, usually diathermic oil, through a series of pipes. They’re best for spot heating, such as keeping your feet warm while you work at your desk, rather than warming an entire room.
- Conductive space heaters: Electric plug-in space heaters use heating elements to produce heat, much like a toaster oven. They often include a fan to push heated air into the room.
When to Use Space Heaters
Opting for space heating over central heating makes sense in certain situations. Here are four examples of good times to use space heaters.
Heat the Basement
On stormy winter days when the furnace runs often, the basement is often actually the warmest part of your home because the earth insulates it against harsh winds. However, on sunny winter days when the furnace runs less, the basement may become quite cold.
Don’t let the weather dictate if you can spend time in the basement or not. When it’s chilly down there, run a space heater so you can enjoy this part of your home to the fullest.
Heat the Room Everyone is Gathered In
Maybe everyone in your family is spending time in the living room for an evening of football followed by a family movie. With everyone sharing the same room for several hours, it makes sense to bring in a space heater and lower the central thermostat setting. With everyone’s body heat and extra warmth generated by the TV, you may find you hardly have to use the space heater at all.
Heat Spaces Susceptible to Drafts or Bad Heat Circulation
Perhaps you renovated your home with an add-on and opted not to extend the furnace ductwork here. Maybe the room above the garage has poor insulation and feels cold all winter long. Instead of closing off rooms with drafts or bad heat circulation in the winter, keep them comfortable with space heaters.
Heat Bedrooms at Night
While portable space heater manufacturers recommend turning off space heaters before going to sleep for safety reasons, you can run a permanently installed convection space heater without trepidation. If you heat the public areas of your home with fireplaces during the day, you can turn these off for the night and run permanent space heaters in each bedroom for your own version of zoned heating.
No matter when, where, and what type of space heater you decide to use, always follow the manufacturer’s safety instructions. For instance, never leave a space heater running unattended and keep flammable objects at least three feet away from all sides of the unit. For more tips on selecting and using space heaters to save energy this winter, please contact Aire Serv®.