Winters can be harsh in most American states and if you like to keep your place warm throughout those cold months, you might be considering a space heater.
Not many know much about space heaters, though. That’s mainly because over 75% of American homes feature central heating systems, with 47% of them depending on natural gas for warmth.
In this guide, we’ll help you figure out whether or not space heaters would be a great home investment. So, what are space heaters?
What Are Space Heaters?
Put simply, space heaters are compact devices that are used to quickly warm up small areas of any room. In other words, space heaters are considered self-contained heating appliances that you use to heat up an enclosed space of your choosing.
While all space heaters serve basically the same purpose, their differences mainly lie in how they operate, their sizes, and of course, their pricing tags.
With that in mind then, let’s go through the six main types of space heaters currently available on the market.
Ceramic Space Heaters
Ceramic space heaters use ceramic plates and metal coils to heat up a room. As such, they’re the most effective type of space heaters since they can quickly warm you up.
Additionally, some ceramic space heaters come with an in-built fan to spread the heat around faster. Note also that ceramic heating appliances are better in small areas and should be placed where no obstacles are in their way.
Fan Space Heaters
Fan space heaters make use of metal coils to generate heat before using their inner fan to blow this hot air around. They’re just as fast as ceramic space heaters in warming up small rooms, too.
Not only that, but fan space heaters are similar in size and weight to most ceramic ones as well. Fan heaters can be less expensive though, as well as feature a turn-dial thermostat for better control of the temperature.
Infrared Space Heaters
Similar to the two aforementioned types, an infrared space heater also operates on electricity. Its mechanism, however, relies on the emission of electromagnetic waves in its surrounding space.
One advantage of infrared space heaters is that they can heat up large basements and not just small rooms. On the downside though, infrared space heaters are rather heavy and pretty expensive.
Oil-Filled Space Heaters
From their name, you can tell that oil-filled space heaters run on heating oil and circulate it in the appliance’s fins. The main oil used is primarily diathermic.
While oil-filled space heaters don’t come with in-built fans, they’re still able to heat up a room quite quickly. Plus, they don’t need to continue running on electricity to keep the space warm as they can do that even after being plugged out—similar to infrared space heaters.
Propane Space Heaters
Propane space heaters are the quickest way to ensure both your indoors and outdoors stay warm. Since they use propane gas, or the burning fuel method to produce heat, these appliances are portable.
Additionally, propane space heaters are at least 20% cheaper than most space heaters, but that does come at a price. Propane space heaters pose a fire risk and a health hazard as well, mainly since they emit carbon dioxide into the air.
Panel Space Heaters
Panel space heaters are the modern version of what a standard heater looks like. Because they’re a relatively new invention, the focus has primarily been on design and convenience, rather than functionality.
As a result, panel space heaters aren’t the best option if you want to properly warm up a room. At best, they can eliminate any chilliness, but won’t give you the same strong heat as a ceramic space heater, for example.
Do Space Heaters Use a Lot of Electricity?
Now that you know the different types of space heaters, you’re aware that not all of them run on electricity. That said, those that need to be plugged in include ceramic, fan, infrared, panel, and oil-filled space heaters.
In case you’re leaning towards getting one of them, you should ask yourself first how much electricity this appliance will be using. As a rule of thumb, devices that generate heat generally take up a lot of electricity to get by, such as water heaters and ovens for instance.
Space heaters are not so different, either. In fact, some electric space heaters use up more electricity than others.
Take the ceramic-based or fan-operated heater as an example. These two appliances don’t continue to release warm air after being disconnected from the outlet, unlike infrared and oil-filled space heaters.
In other words, you need to keep ceramic and fan space heaters plugged in at all times if you want to keep your space warm. Panel heaters use up the same amount of electricity as their counterparts and don’t even generate the same heat as them.
To put matters simply, space heaters can be cost-consuming when not used wisely. An electric heater will use 1,500 Watts of electricity when operating and will cost you 15 cents an hour as well.
How Long Does It Take a Space Heater to Heat a Room?
As we’ve established, since each space heater functions differently from the others, the time it takes for any of them to heat a room will also differ.
It’s just as important to factor in the size of the room the heater is expected to heat up and what temperature you have dialed the appliance to (if applicable, of course).
For instance, infrared space heaters take no less than five minutes to warm a small space—provided that there’s a lot of furniture around to absorb the heat and release it in turn.
Overall, it generally takes more than 30 minutes for a space heater to completely warm up a room. The amount of insulation also affects how long this takes. If the room is not insulated, it is possible that the heat just disappears.
Before you get a space heater, you might have to take a look at insulation as well.
If you use the highest settings on a space heater, it can heat quite fast but this uses a lot of electricity or energy. If you plan to heat up bigger rooms, you should take a look at central heating. This produces heat faster and more efficiently.
To Sum Up
What are space heaters? In short, space heaters are heating appliances that come in a variety of types and whose purpose is to provide you with the warmth you need. Space heaters can be ceramic, infrared, oil-filled, propane-based, or even fan-operated.
Regardless though, each kind of space heater operates differently so you should choose according to your purpose and budget. Just keep in mind that space heaters that run on electricity can be costly if you’re not careful with your consumption.