Metro Heating & Cooling van (for space heaters)

5 Common Questions About Space Heaters

As the chill of winter sets in, many of us turn to space heaters to keep our homes cosy without cranking up the ducted heating. Compact and convenient, space heaters can be a great solution for warming up specific rooms or areas in your home.

But with so many types and models available, choosing the right one can feel overwhelming.

In this blog, we’ll tackle five common questions about space heaters. Whether you’re wondering about the different types available, how much energy they consume or their safety features, we’ve got you covered.

We’ll also discuss how to select the right size heater for your space and whether it’s practical to use them as your primary heating source.

Our goal is to arm you with the knowledge you need to make informed decisions about using space heaters effectively and safely. So, grab a hot cup of tea, and let’s delve into the ins and outs of selecting the best space heater for your needs.

1. What Types of Space Heaters are Available?

When you start shopping for a space heater, you’ll quickly find there are several types to choose from, each with its own advantages. Let’s break them down:

  1. Convection heaters: These electric space heaters warm up the air in a room, making them ideal for enclosed spaces. They operate quietly and can maintain a consistent temperature over time.
  2. Radiant heaters: Perfect for quickly heating up a specific area or person, radiant heaters emit infrared radiation that directly warms objects and people in front of them. They’re great for draughty rooms or open spaces.
  3. Gas space heaters: Gas space heaters offer robust warmth and can be more cost-effective than electric models, especially in areas where gas is cheaper. Always ensure they are well-ventilated to prevent carbon monoxide build-up and adhere to strict safety guidelines for installation and use (which applies to all gas appliances).
  4. Oil-filled heaters: These operate more quietly than others by heating oil inside sealed columns, with heat radiating outward. Although they take a bit longer to warm up, they provide steady heat and are very energy efficient.
  5. Ceramic heaters: Known for their safety and rapid heating, ceramic heaters use a ceramic plate to heat up air being pushed through by a fan, dispersing heat throughout the room quickly.

Each type has its benefits, depending on your specific heating needs and the layout of your space. Whether you need quick warmth or gradual heat distribution, there’s a space heater out there that’s right for you.

A modern radiator

2. How Much Energy Do Space Heaters Consume?

One of the first questions people ask about space heaters is about their energy consumption. It’s an important consideration, especially when thinking about your electricity bill (or gas bill if you’ve got gas heaters) during the colder months. Here’s what you need to know:

Space heaters are typically rated by their power usage in watts, with common models ranging from 750 to 1500 watts. To put it in perspective, using a 1500-watt heater for an hour is roughly equivalent to running a hair dryer for the same duration.

The energy consumption of an electric space heater largely depends on how long it runs. To keep costs down, it’s wise to use it only when necessary and to turn it off when the room is not in use. Some models come with thermostats or timers that help manage usage, which can be a big help in controlling how much energy you use.

For those looking to maximise efficiency, consider a heater with an energy-saving mode, which adjusts the power usage based on the ambient temperature, ensuring that you’re not using more heat − and energy − than you need.

3. Are Space Heaters Safe to Use?

Safety is a major concern when it comes to using space heaters, and understandably so. While modern space heaters are designed with a variety of safety features, it’s essential to use them correctly to avoid any risks.

Here’s what you should keep in mind to ensure safe operation:

  1. Automatic shut-off: Look for heaters with an automatic shut-off feature that triggers if the heater tips over or overheats. This is crucial for preventing fire hazards.
  2. Certification: Ensure that any heater you purchase is certified by a recognised safety organisation, such the BSI Australian Gas Safety Certification. This certification means the heater meets strict safety standards.
  3. Proper placement: Always place portable space heaters on a hard, flat surface away from flammable materials like curtains, bedding or furniture. Keep it out of high-traffic areas to avoid tripping hazards.
  4. Regular maintenance: Like any appliance, most electric space heaters perform best when well-maintained. Check and clean filters regularly and inspect cords for any signs of damage.

By adhering to these safety tips and using your heater responsibly, you can enjoy the warmth it offers without worrying about your heater becoming a fire hazard. Always prioritise safety to keep your cosy corner safe and snug.

4. How Do I Choose the Right Size Space Heater for My Room?

Selecting the right size space heater for your room is crucial for efficiency and safety. A heater that’s too small won’t adequately warm the space, while one that’s too large could overheat the area.

Here’s how you can choose the perfect size:

  1. Measure your space: Calculate the square footage of the room you want to heat. You can do this by multiplying the length and width of the room in feet.
  2. Consider the wattage: Generally, you’ll need about 33 watts of heating power for every square metre of space. So, a 45m² room would require a 1500-watt heater. This is a basic guideline and can vary based on your room’s insulation and whether there are draughty windows.
  3. Adjust for ceiling height: If your ceilings are higher than the average 8 feet, you might need a more powerful heater. Heat rises, so higher spaces require more power to keep the entire room warm.

By considering these factors, you can find a space heater that fits your room perfectly, ensuring that it heats efficiently and safely. Make sure to also look for models with adjustable thermostats for better control over the temperature and energy usage.

An electric space heater

5. Can Space Heaters Be Used to Heat an Entire Home?

Many people wonder if it’s feasible to use space heaters as the main heating source for their entire home. While many space heaters are great for warming individual rooms or small areas, they typically aren’t efficient or practical for heating an entire house. Here’s why:

  • Cost-effectiveness: Using multiple space heaters to heat a whole house can be very costly. Space heaters consume a lot of electricity, and using several simultaneously can lead to a significant increase in your energy bills.
  • Safety concerns: Operating multiple space heaters increases the risk of electrical hazards and potential fire risks. Each unit needs to be monitored and maintained to ensure it operates safely, which can be a considerable safety challenge with multiple devices involving power boards, extension cords etc.
  • Uneven heating: Space heaters are designed to heat a confined area. Relying on them for an entire home often results in uneven heating, with some rooms being warmer than others.

For those living in colder climates or with larger homes, investing in a ducted heating system, using reverse cycle air conditioning or upgrading insulation might be a more effective and safer choice. Space heaters work best as a supplemental heat source, providing additional warmth where and when you need it most.

Stay Safe and Warm

We hope this guide has illuminated some of the key aspects of choosing and using space heaters effectively and safely. By understanding the different types of heaters available, you can select the one that best suits your needs.

Remember, while space heaters can be excellent for adding extra warmth to your home, they should be used wisely to avoid high energy bills and potential safety risks. If you’re unsure, consult with a professional.

Safety should always be a priority, so make sure any space heater you choose comes with essential safety features like automatic shut-off and tip-over protection. With gas space heaters, always be aware of the potential dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. And when it comes to sizing, getting the right fit for your space ensures efficient operation and optimal warmth.

Although space heaters are not typically suitable for heating an entire home, they are perfect for targeted warmth in specific areas, making those chilly winter days and nights more comfortable. With the right practices in place, a space heater can be a wonderful addition to your winter comfort arsenal. Stay warm and safe.

Please note: This information is provided for advice purposes only. Regulations differ from state to state, so please consult your local authorities or an industry professional before proceeding with any work. See our Terms & Conditions here.

Published: 21 May 2024