Space heaters are a great way to heat small areas quickly or to boost your comfort on chilly winter nights. But they are not designed to be a permanent solution to your heating problems. Knowing the pros and cons of using a space heater will help you decide when and where to use one.
Pros of Space Heaters
Efficiency: Space heaters are typically efficient and heat the area quickly, keeping you and your family comfortable when the temperature outside gets chilly. Because they are designed to heat a small space, you don’t need to wait for the furnace to heat the entire house before you get warm.
Energy Savings: Many space heaters are energy-efficient and cost about 10 to 15 cents an hour to operate. By using a space heater in the living room while the family watches TV, you can often turn the thermostat down for the rest of the home, saving you money on your energy costs. Likewise, using a space heater in seldom used rooms for a few hours a week is typically more cost-effective than heating the room with your furnace.
Portability: Space heaters are typically small and easy to move. Many even have wheels to roll them from room to room. That means you can move the space heater with you throughout the day. This comes in handy when you commonly only use one room at a time, such as spending time in the kitchen or dining room during the day and the living room in the evenings.
Comfort: Space heaters heat the immediate area, which means placing a space heater near sitting areas will warm chilled feet and create a cozy place to relax. They are especially useful in older homes with cold drafts near the floor or around windows. Space heaters can even be used for when one person in the family tends to get chilled and needs a little boost of heat. Older people, people with diabetes or those with other circulation problems may find space heaters to be an effective solution for keeping the feet warm during winter evenings.
Cons of Space Heaters
They Only Heat Small Spaces: Space heaters aren’t designed to heat large rooms or to be your primary source of heat. They are great for supplemental heat or to keep the home warm during an emergency, but shouldn’t be depended on for heating your home on their own.
Energy Costs: Older space heaters may be energy hogs and cause your electric bill to rise significantly. Most newer space heaters are cost-efficient, but always check to be sure.
They Require Supervision: Many new space heaters are equipped with an automatic shutoff if the unit tips or falls, but you still need to be cautious in regards to where you place them. Most require a radius of three feet from flammable materials like curtains and fabrics. If you have children or pets that may accidentally bump or move the space heater, use extreme caution.
If you are considering a space heater for you home, talk to your HVAC contractor about the best type for your situation. Space heaters come in a variety of sizes and shapes and produce heat via ceramic plates, electric coils, fans, halogen lights or oil-filled coils. The type that will work best for you will depend on your circumstances.