When it gets chilly outside, the intense heat of a space heater can definitely sound appealing. However, this style of heating comes with some unique pros and cons. There are only a few specific situations where a space heater is actually a good idea. To optimize your heating system, there are a few things you need to know.
Space Heaters Are a Great Source of Supplemental Heat
One of the most common reasons to use a space heater is simply because there’s a chilly spot somewhere in your home. Due to the way certain homes are constructed, it can be hard to heat the whole home evenly. For example, you might have a chilly corner near a drafty window or a basement that doesn’t get proper heating. Trying to heat this spot with your central heating could mean you end up running your heater all day and overheating other parts of the home.
In these situations, a space heater is very useful. It provides the little bit of extra heat you need without requiring any lengthy remodels or new ductwork installations. There are quite a few different models of space heaters. Some people like larger, oil ones that can permanently sit in the chilly part of their home, while others use little, electric ones that can be moved from room to room. Both styles can be a convenient way of adding some additional warmth to your home.
Don’t Use a Space Heater Near Flammable Items
No matter how cold you are, you shouldn’t place a space heater directly next to flammable areas. The issue is that the air right in front of a space heater gets extremely hot. If an oily rag or old newspaper is sitting by your heater, it could catch on fire. There’s always a fire risk with improperly used space heaters whether they are oil, wood, or electric. Each year, there are roughly 25,000 residential fires linked to space heaters.
If you are operating a space heater, it’s important to put it on a flat, level surface at least 3 feet away from anything flammable. This includes papers, fabric, furniture upholstery, alcoholic beverages, and books. Make sure that there is nothing, including a wall or non-flammable item, blocking any of the heater’s vents. Furthermore, it’s never a good idea to run a space heater unattended. If you leave it running while you sleep or leave your home, you might not be able to stop a fire in time.
A Space Heater Can Warm Up Small Spaces Quickly
Another reason to run a space heater is when you need a room to be warm right away. Typically, the warm air from your heater or furnace has to travel through ductwork to a vent, and then once it leaves the vent, it quickly mixes in with the rest of your air. This provides even, steady heating that’s great for all-day warmth. However, when you step in from the cold and turn on your heater, it can take a bit of time for you to feel the warmth.
Space heaters have a more direct heating method, so when you’re right next to one, you feel the warmth immediately. If the space heater is in a small room, it can heat up the space much quicker than your central heater can. Ultimately, a space heater is a good way of getting an immediate blast of heat when you’re chilly. It can be especially nice for small areas, like a bathroom or bedroom, that you want to quickly warm up before you use them.
Avoid Using Space Heaters to Warm Your Whole Home
Though space heaters might feel nice and toasty, their main downside is that they aren’t the most energy-efficient device. A space heater technically uses less energy than your central HVAC system, but it produces significantly less heat. If you tried to heat your entire house with space heaters, you’d quickly find that your utility bills rise.
Most space heaters are only meant to warm up rooms of up to 150 square feet. Trying to run a space heater constantly to warm a big space will take a long time and waste a lot of energy. If you find that your entire home is always cold, space heaters are not a budget-friendly solution. In these cases, you will need to focus on improving your central HVAC system instead of relying on space heaters.
Space Heaters Can Be Helpful in Emergencies
Even if you’re generally satisfied with your central heating, it’s a good idea to invest in one or two space heaters. The benefit of space heaters is that they might work when your traditional heating cannot run. For example, if your heater breaks down on one of the coldest nights of the year, a space heater can warm a bedroom to a safe temperature.
Space heaters are also a practical way to stay warm because you can get ones that run on alternate fuel sources. For example, an oil heater can keep your home warm if the power to your electrical heater is interrupted. If you want to be prepared for the worst, having a space heater on hand during winter is a good idea.
Don’t Use Space Heaters Without Reading Instructions Carefully
It’s never a good idea to use a space heater without first reading all of the instructions carefully. Though space heaters are quite helpful, there are a lot of ways for things to go wrong. Unless you’re aware of the safest way to operate it, you should not be using a space heater. Here are some potential safety tips you may need to follow when operating your space heater.
- Don’t put the space heater somewhere it can be knocked over.
- Avoid putting a space heater anywhere near water.
- Never drape fabric over the space heater.
- Avoid using a space heater with extension cords or anything else besides a wall outlet.
- If possible, place the heater in the center of the floor.
- Don’t use a combustion space heater in an unventilated space.
- Turn off the space heater before sleeping or set a timer to automatically shut off the heater.
- Do not allow young children or pets to be near the space heater, and never leave them alone in a room with the heater.
Space Heaters Can Solve Heating Disputes
In some homes, running a space heater isn’t necessarily about fixing random cold spots or finding a way to address a broken heater. For some families, it’s a way of cutting back on stress and drama during winter. Everyone has their own unique temperature preferences, and when there are a lot of people in the home, it’s rare for everyone to agree.
A space heater can be a great solution to disputes. It lets you heat the home to match the coldest person’s preferences, and then those who need some extra heat can run a space heater in their part of the house. This allows you to create customized heating zones to suit everyone. Ultimately, this simple appliance can save you a lot of arguments during the winter.
If you want the most efficient heating possible, turn to HB Home Service Team. Our highly trained technicians help people throughout the Harrisburg and Baltimore regions with HVAC and plumbing services. We can fix broken heaters, help you find a more energy-efficient system, or maintain your current heater. Learn more about how we can help you by giving us a call today.