How to Buy a Radiant Space Heater
Heating bills represent one of the largest expenses for American households. With this expense concentrated in the winter months, many people look for ways to reduce their costs as winter draws near. For many, supplementing furnace heat with localized space heaters in the most often used rooms is a good option. Radiant space heaters, which work by directing heat at a specific object rather than heating the air in a room, are commonly available wherever space heaters are sold. They can be electricity powered or work with propane or natural gas.
How Radiant Space Heaters Work
Recent changes to key features and temperature control of radiant heaters has helped to improve the safety of space heaters, which is always a concern. Radiant heaters warm a glowing quartz or an alternative type of metal element with a reflector. Heat focuses on a specific area, such as a person watching TV, providing a strong source of heat to a centralized point.
Radiant Heaters Versus Convection Heaters
Because radiant heaters direct warmth upon a specific object, they are best used in circumstances that require direct and intense heat; for example, warming one's feet beneath a desk. Radiant heaters are not popular for heating an entire room, which convection heaters can do better. However, because radiant heaters do not rely on fans to move air over a heat source, they do not cause drafts and are quieter than heaters with fans.
Oil-filled radiant heaters offer an interesting compromise. Designed to look like old-fashioned radiators, oil-filled heaters are permanently filled with oil that does not need to be changed or refilled. Plug in the heater and its radiant heat can fill an entire room. Units on wheels can easily be moved from room to room.
Typically, radiant heaters can be purchased from $30 to $110 for most models. Recommended brands include the Honeywell HZ950 Oscillating Carbon Radiant Heater and the Marvin 5460 Steam 'n Heat for traditional radiant heaters. The Pelonis Digital Oil Filler Heater and the Lakewood Oil-Filled Low Profile 750 are popular choices for oil filled radiant heaters.
Safety and Use Guidelines
Space heaters are known to cause burns, fires and severe injury or death if not used carefully and as instructed. The U.S. Fire Administration reports that up to 40% of fire related deaths each year are caused by space heaters. When using a space heater, always make sure to follow manufacturer instructions to prevent injury and accidents. Radiant heaters can also become very hot to the touch and should be used with extreme care around small children and pets.