Chilly temperatures and soaring gas prices can easily convince people that they’ll use space heaters to supplement their home or apartment building’s heating system.
Space heaters are great for just that – supplemental heat. The danger, however, is when even the most responsible types decide to use a space heater as a primary source of heat.
That’s rarely a good idea for two reasons. The first is safety. Despite a number of safety advances – both required by the government and imposed thanks to industry self-regulation – it’s still never a good idea to depend on space heaters for a majority of your warmth.
The second reason is efficiency. Most space heaters that run off household electrical current, if used as the primary heating unit – will probably end up costing you as much in electricity as you would have paid in gas or oil.
There are places and situations for which a space heater is ideally suited. The first and probably the most popular is the bathroom. Even if the rest of your house is comfortable, stripping down to step in the shower or bath can be chilly, so it’s naturally more efficient to heat that space a little more. Another place they can come in handy is chilly basements or other rooms that just don’t seem to get very warm.
There are dozens of small space heaters out there, but make sure that the one you buy has several important features. The first is a certification from a recognized testing laboratory like Underwriters Laboratories Inc. This certification means the heater has been tested under a variety of conditions and meets the lab’s standards for safety and performance, visit this web-site.
The second is a thermostat that will turn the unit off when the desired temperature is reached. This keeps the room from getting too hot and will also help conserve energy. Many units now also come with “auto-off” functions that cut the current if the heater is tipped over.
If you intend to use a space heater where it might get wet, such as in a bathroom, look for a unit specifically designed for such an area. Still, keep the heater clear of tubs, showers, sinks or any other place that may cause the heater to get wet.
Another important feature to consider is the heating element and what protects it. Many units now feature ceramic heating elements, which stay warmer longer and don’t glow red like the toaster-looking coils in older models. The guard should keep children and pets from reaching into the unit or even sticking part of a finger inside.