Most Efficient and Safest Portable Space Heaters

Most Efficient and Safest Portable Space Heaters_398x398

Little space heaters are generally used when the primary heater is insufficient or when main heating is too pricey to set up or run.

In some cases, little space heating units can be less costly to use if you only want to heat one room or supplement insufficient heating in one space. They can also boost the temperature of rooms used by people who are sensitive to cold, particularly seniors, without overheating your whole home.

Area heating unit capacities usually vary in between 10,000 Btu and 40,000 Btu per hour, and typically operate on electrical power, lp, natural gas, and kerosene (see wood and pellet heating for information on wood and pellet stoves).

Although many space heating systems work by convection (the circulation of air in a room), some rely on radiant heat. Glowing heaters release infrared radiation that directly heats up objects and individuals within their view, and are a more effective option when you will be in a room for only a few hours and can stay within the line of sight of the heater. They can likewise be more efficient when you will be utilizing a space for a brief period due to the fact that they conserve energy by straight heating the occupant of the space and the occupant’s instant environments instead of the entire room.

Safety is a leading factor to consider when utilizing area heating units. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission approximates that more than 25,000 domestic fires every year are connected with the use of area heaters, resulting in more than 300 deaths. In addition, an approximated 6,000 individuals receive health center emergency clinic care for burn injuries connected with contacting the hot surfaces of room heating units, mostly in non-fire scenarios.

When buying and setting up a small area heating unit, follow these standards:

  • Only purchase more recent design heating systems that have all of the existing safety features. Ensure the heating system carries the Underwriter’s Lab (UL) label.
  • Select a thermostatically managed heating unit, since they prevent the energy waste of overheating a room.
  • Select a heating system of the proper size for the room you wish to heat. Do not purchase extra-large heaters.
  • Many heaters feature a general sizing table.
  • Find the heating unit on a level surface area away from foot traffic. Be especially mindful to keep children and pets away from the heating unit.


Area heating systems are classified as vented and unvented or “vent-free.” Unvented combustion systems are not advised for use inside your home, because they present unwanted combustion items into the living space– consisting of nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide gas, and water vapor– and diminish air in the area. The majority of states have actually banned unvented kerosene heating systems for use in the home and a minimum of 5 have actually banned using unvented natural gas heating units.

Vented units are created to be completely situated next to an outdoors wall, so that the flue gas vent can be installed through a ceiling or directly through the wall to the outside. Search for sealed combustion or “100% outdoor air” units, which have a duct to bring outdoors into the combustion chamber. Sealed combustion heating units are much more secure to operate than other types of space heating systems, and operate more efficiently since they do not draw in the heated air from the room and exhaust it to the outdoors. They are likewise less likely to backdraft and negatively affect indoor air quality.

Cheaper (and less efficient) systems use the space air for combustion. They do not have a sealed glass front to keep space air far from the fire and need to not be puzzled with a sealed combustion heater.

In addition to the producer’s installation and operating directions, you ought to follow these general safety standards for operating any combustion area heating unit:

  • For liquid-fueled heating systems, use just the approved fuel. Never ever use gasoline! Follow the producer’s fueling instructions. Never fill a heater that is still hot. Do not overfill the heater– you must enable the expansion of the liquid. Just use authorized containers clearly marked for that particular fuel, and store them outdoors.
  • Have vented space heating systems professionally checked every year. If the heating system is not vented appropriately, not vented at all, or if the vent is blocked, separated, rusted, or corroded, unsafe levels of carbon monoxide gas (CO) can get in the home triggering sickness and death. CO likewise can be produced if the heating system is not correctly established and changed for the kind of gas used and the elevation at which it is installed.


Electric area heaters are normally more expensive to run than combustion space heating units, however they are the only unvented space heating units that are safe to run inside your home. Although electrical space heating units avoid indoor air quality issues, they still present burn and fire hazards and must be used with caution.

For convection (non-radiant) area heating systems, the best types include a heat transfer liquid, such as oil, that is heated up by the electric aspect. The heat transfer fluid provides some heat storage, allowing the heating system to cycle less and to provide a more constant heat source.

When buying and installing an electrical space heater, you must follow these basic safety guidelines:

  • Electric heaters must be plugged straight into the wall outlet. If an extension cable is essential, use the shortest possible durable cable of 14-gauge wire or bigger. Constantly check and follow any manufacturer’s directions referring to the use of extension cables.
  • Buy an unit with a tip-over safety switch, which instantly shuts off the heater if the unit is tipped over.


Last updated on September 16th, 2019

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