A space heater can be a great way to take the chill out of the air and stay warm. However, while they can be highly effective, they have some safety concerns.
If you plan to use a space heater to heat your home or a room, you must use it appropriately. So is a space heater safe to run 24/7? What are their limits?
Today, we’ll answer these questions and walk you through how to stay warm and safe when using space heaters.
Let’s get started!
What Is a Space Heater?
A space heater is a source of heat that sucks in cold air from the ground level and blows out warm air. Because warm air rises, this creates an exchange of air that can quickly create a much more comfortable space. These are fantastic options for heating a smaller area or room that may not stay as warm as you’d like.
Space heaters aren’t designed to replace a home’s heating system. However, a space heater can be a great way to supplement the heating source. Space heaters use electricity or gas to generate heat.
What Are the Types of Space Heaters?
There are several types to consider when shopping or considering a space heater. Let’s look at each style and see which fits your heating needs.
Ceramic Space Heaters
Ceramic space heaters use several ceramic plates inside the space heater. The space heater uses electricity to heat these plates to the point where they start radiating heat. Fans inside the space heater blow the air out of the heater and into the air.
These are typically very lightweight and portable options that can continue giving off some heat after they’re powered off.
However, ceramic heaters can take a tremendous amount of time to heat a room and require a well-insulated space to keep it warm.
Fan Space Heaters
Fan space heaters use electricity to heat a heating element or metal coils to generate a tremendous amount of heat. A fan then pushes the warm air out of the heather and into the air. A fan space heater will suck in air from the rear of the unit and heat the air as it travels through the heater.
Fan space heaters are one of the cheapest and least efficient ways of generating heat. They work great in small spaces but are relatively ineffective in larger areas.
The second you turn off these units, you’ll notice the room cooling down. As a result, you’ll need to run your fan space heater almost constantly to do its job effectively.
Infrared Space Heaters
An infrared space heater emits electromagnetic waves that vibrate the molecules in the air to warm them. These provide instant warmth, are highly energy-efficient, and are quiet.
However, these space heaters can get extremely hot on the exterior and immediately stop warming as soon as you turn them off. An infrared space heater works similarly to how the sunshine heats the earth. However, it lacks any of the dangerous UV rays the sun emits.
Propane Space Heaters
A propane space heater utilizes liquid propane to generate heat. Many of these heaters combust fuel and release fumes, which requires venting to maximize safety. On the other hand, some ventless units are incredibly convenient.
However, you’ll need to have a constant supply of propane. In addition, they may require venting and are less safe options compared to electric heaters.
We don’t recommend these for home usage.
Oil Filled Space Heaters
An oil-filled space heater operates almost identically to a ceramic space heater. However, instead of ceramic plates, an oil-filled space heater uses, you guessed it, oil. The electricity passes through the heater and warms the oil, generating heat to warm a set of rods.
An oil-filled space heater is an excellent option as it works quietly, is safe for kids and pets since no hot elements get exposed, and can keep a room warm for a long time. However, these heavy units can take a long time to heat a room.
Can You Heat a House With Just Space Heaters?
While space heaters can generate tremendous heat, they won’t replace a furnace. A standard space heater is approximately 1500W, which is typically sufficient for a 150-square-foot room. You’d likely need at least one or two space heaters to heat each room in your home.
If you live in an area that experiences extreme winter conditions, you’d likely end up with all the space heaters running 24/7. You’d quickly notice the massive increase in your electric bill as these units require an immense amount of power to run, which could create some serious safety concerns.
Is a Space Heater Safe to Run 24/7?
Space heaters can be a great heat source but should not be used 24/7. Again, these are supplemental heat and not a primary source of heat.
They should only be used for shorter periods and are not meant to be used 24/7. These portable heaters require a break to avoid overheating. A space heater that overheats can be a safety risk and potentially cause a fire.
Can I Leave a Space Heater On When Not Home?
Never leave a space heater on when you’re not home. If you plan to leave, it’s a good idea to use the timer feature if your space heater has one. This can help you avoid forgetting to turn it off before you leave.
You should only use a space heater when you’re actively able to monitor it. This drastically reduces any chances of a fire occurring and causing serious damage or a dangerous situation.
How Long Can You Safely Leave a Space Heater Running?
While most modern space heaters can safely run for 10+ hours, you’ll still want to check the documentation that came with your space heater. Space heaters feature a variety of safety mechanisms that cause the unit to shut down when it gets too hot or if it tips over. However, you cannot take safety too seriously when it comes to space heaters.
Is It Cheaper to Heat the Whole House or Use a Space Heater?
A space heater is likely the best option if you only need to increase the heat in a single room. Turning up the thermostat to raise the temperature in the entire house will cost substantially more and likely less effective for the room where you need the heat. Space heaters are a relatively safe and efficient way of heating a room.
Are Space Heaters Worth It?
Space heaters can be a fantastic way to heat a small space. However, if you’re expecting to replace a wood stove or furnace, you will be seriously disappointed in any space heater you choose.
Space heaters can be an excellent source of supplemental heat, especially in drafty rooms that tend to be chillier than others. Always stay safe and follow the recommended safety precautions mentioned in the documentation provided by the space heater manufacturer.
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