Space Heater Tips on Use, Safety, and More. We Answer Your Questions Here!
1. How many square feet does it cover?
How much area a space heater warms depends on the wattage of the unit. Basically a 100 watt unit is only going to warm your personal space up to a 10 ft. area. If you need to warm a small to mid-size room you'll need a heater with a minimum of 1500 watts. This unit is capable of warming a 150 sq. ft. area.
Measure the room you plan to heat and determine the amount of watts you need that way. You need to also consider how high the ceilings are. The higher the ceilings the more watts you need. The more windows the room has, you'll need to increase the wattage to accommodate that too.
Basically, measure the length and the width of the room and multiply the two measurements. To calculate wattage, estimate 10 watts per square footage. Multiply the square footage of the room by 10. Convert the wattage to BTUs. A single watt is equal to 3.41 BTUs. Multiply the total wattage to 3.41. For rooms with higher ceilings and more than one window increase the BTUs by 10% for effective coverage.
Other factors to consider are: insulation, the amount of open space in the room, or if there's a staircase.
A few tips to increase efficiency are:
- Weather strip and properly seal all doors and windows to keep cold air out.
- Insulate windows with lined draperies or blinds and draperies if necessary.
- Further insulate your living space with rugs. Hang tapestries and quilts on the walls to keep cold air from seeping through too. Some homes are under insulated or aren't insulated at all. This will help.
- Another way to help with the insulation problem is to rearrange furniture so it rests against the wall. The materials against the wall will absorb the cold.
- Also seal that space between the ceiling and the attic. Because heat rises and cold air drops, the warmth you're creating escapes. As cold air seeps in, negative pressure occurs.
- Make sure you caulk and seal around bathroom fixtures, plumbing, bathroom vents, electrical outlets, switch boxes etc. Not only does this keep pests out but it keeps the cold out too!
2. What safety features does it have?
Safety features are based on the unit. Some models feature a tip over safety switch. This shuts the unit off should it get knocked over accidentally. Other models might include automatic shut off that turns the unit off if it gets too hot. This feature prevents overheating.
Some models will offer only one feature and some will offer both. Look for the heater that will meet your needs.
Additional safety tips include:
- Keep sufficient clearance all around the heater.
- Don't place combustibles on or near it like paper, clothing, bedding, draperies etc.
- Shut it off when you leave the room. Never leave the unit to operate unsupervised.
- Monitor all pets and children around the unit at all times.
3. Are space heaters efficient and about how much do they cost to run?
Space heaters are typically electric and because all the energy used is 100% converted, it's an extremely efficient way to stay warm. Also, most models are low wattage so there is a low energy draw. Your bill will not increase by much; however, this also depends on how much or how little you actually run the heater.
The benefit of using a space heater is that you can keep energy use down by heating one room at a time. No need to heat rooms you're not occupying.
4. Can it be used as my main heat source?
Basically, these heaters are used for spot heating only. They are not a primary source of warmth. They only heat the space you're in and can't reach the entire house. So it is better to consider them a supplemental heat source instead.
Don't buy a space heater thinking it will heat the whole house. Although effective, it only heats one room at a time or your personal space.