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(618) 345-7498 | Serving Metro East Illinois

Space Heaters: What You Should Know

Portable heaters can be used for a variety of situations in homes, old and new. If your main heating system is inadequate, it’s best to call Viviano Heating and Air Conditioning to assess your home’s comfort levels and find a long-term solution. It may be time for a new system or repair.  However; in some cases, space heaters are used to supplement heating for family members who are more sensitive to cold weather or used in areas of the home, like sunrooms, that were never meant for year-round use. Energy.gov offers some tips on purchasing and using portable heaters for the home.

Convection vs. Radiant Heat

There are different types of space heaters: convection and radiant heat. Radiant heaters are a more efficient choice for use in a room for shorter periods of time because they do save energy. Radiant heaters emit heat onto objects and people within their line of sight and not the entire room, like convection heaters, which circulate heat throughout a room.

Energy.gov recommends these tips when buying and using a small space heater for the home:

  • Purchase only heaters with safety features (i.e. automatically shut-off if knocked over) and make sure the portable heater carries the Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) label.
  • Newer heaters offer a thermostat-controlled feature, so they won’t overheat a room.
  • Rely on the heater’s sizing label to purchase a heater that’s adequate for your room.
  • Portable heaters should always be placed on a level surface with little foot traffic, preferably closer to a wall and not within a walkway.
  • Try to keep pets and small children away from the portable heater.

Other considerations include purchasing vented vs. unvented units. Unvented are not recommended for home usage and most states have banned them, along with unvented kerosene heaters for use in the home and unvented natural gas heaters. They bring unhealthy and unwanted combustion products into your house that include nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide. Vented units, designed for permanent installation and installed through a ceiling or wall, are safer to operate than other kinds of space heaters.

The only unvented space heaters considered safe for in-home operation are electric space heaters. When using an electric space heater, it’s best to plug directly into a wall outlet and avoid using a long extension cord. Always follow manufacturing labels pertaining to the particular unit that you buy and keep in mind using space heaters will increase your utility bill.

At Viviano Heating and Air Conditioning, your home’s comfort is our priority. Using a space heater is not only an added expense, but it also poses safety hazards. Based on statistics from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, it’s estimated that over 25,000 fires happen each year because of inadequate use of space heaters. It’s also estimated that 6,000 people each year visit the emergency room due to burns from portable heaters. Give us a call at (618) 345-7498 so we can help determine the best, safest, and most effective way to heat your home this winter. www.VivianoAir.com.