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Ebook Preview Part 3 - How to Buy a Garage Heater - What Capacity & Features to Look For
Buying a garage heater is a pricey decision. Don't just jump on the first offer you see online. Before you set out to shop for a garage heater, make sure you have the answer to the following questions:
- What is the size and dimensions of the place where you intend to use the garage heater?
- What type of garage heater best suits your needs?
- What is your budget, both in terms of initial cost and ongoing operating expenses?
- How often do you plan on using the heater?
- Which energy source do you plan on using; that is, electric, natural gas, propane, infrared or any other?
Now explore the market and make a list of all the potential heaters. Evaluate the selected heaters on the basis of cost efficiency and energy efficiency. Both these elements are explained in the previous section.
As mentioned earlier, it is very important that you get the right-sized heater to make the most cost-efficient use of it.
Make sure you know the heating requirements of your garage and the heating capacity of the heater that you intend to buy for it. Both the specifications should be in sync to each other or else you may end up buying an under-efficient heater that does not fulfill the heating needs of your garage, or you may end up buying an over-efficient heater that may heat more than is required, hence consuming more energy and costing more.
When it comes to determining the heating capacity, there are two concepts that you should understand; Watt and BTU.
Wattage, shortly read as watt, is a unit of power which is equivalent to one joule of energy per second. Normally, all the heaters that carry 120 volts of current are rated up to 1500 watts. In terms of heating capacity, just remember the ten-to-one ratio of wattage to square feet that is to be heated. So for example, a garage heater that is rated up to 2000 wattage can easily and effectively heat an area of 200 square feet.
You can calculate the square footage of your garage by using any of the following formulas:
If your garage or the place where you intend to use the garage heater is rectangular, then simply multiply the length of the room to its width, to find the square footage:
(Square Footage = Length x Width).
If your garage or the place where you intend to use the garage heater is triangular, then multiply the length of the room to its width and then divide the product by 2, to find the square footage:
(Square Footage = (Length x Width) / 2).
While wattage is an important factor in determining the heating capacity of a garage heater, even more important is its BTU.
A BTU (British Thermal Unit) is a unit of energy that refers to the power and heating capacity of a heater. When used as a unit of power, it is expressed in BTUs per hour, which indicates the amount of heat needed to increase the temperature of 1 lb of water by 1oF.
Here is how you can convert a British Thermal Unit into a watt and vice versa:
1000 BTU/hour = 293 watts
1 wattage = 3.41 BTU/hour
UL AND ETL
Is the garage heater UL approved? Or ETL listed? Now this is another very important consideration that you must make sure of while buying a garage heater. UL and ETL are certifications that give you surety that your heater confirms to the safety standards set by the respective organization.
UL refers to a set of safety standards established by the UL (Underwriters Laboratories) and approved by the OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration).
These rules set forward in UL serves as a standard for assessing the safety features of TVSS (transient voltage surge suppressors) and SPD (Surge Protection Devices).
Compliance to the UL safety standards has been made mandatory by the NEC (National Electric Code). Also it must be approved by a NRTL (Nationally Recognized Test Lab).
When you are shopping for garage heaters, do not forget to check if it contains a UL mark. If a product or an electrical appliance is UL certified, it implies that the Underwriters Laboratories have checked the sample of the underlying product and have found it to be in compliance with the UL's safety requirements.
If a product or electrical appliance contains ETL mark, it means it has been certified by the ETL (Edison Testing Laboratories) and conforms to its safety standards. Just like the UL certification, ETL listing also entails a set of standards that must be met in order for a product to be qualified as safe to use.
UL and ETL are both recognized certifications and are accepted worldwide. Presence of any mark on a device proves its compliance to the safety requirements set by the respective laboratory. While both are quite known and reliable, it is the difference in the quality of the customer care that differentiates them from one another.
In addition to evaluating the cost and energy efficiency of a garage heater, there are several other features that you should consider before making the final purchase.
When purchasing a garage heater, safety should be your topmost concern. Make sure the garage heater that you intend to buy features high temperature heating limit.
This will save your garage from overheating. Then your heater must have finger proof intake and discharge grills to help avoid burns.
Finally, it should contain the automatic shut-off feature that shuts off the appliance if the unit tips over.
If you are planning to use the same heater in different places, go for a light weight, handy and portable heater that you can easily move between different rooms. To make the moving of heater more convenient, get one that comes with wheels and handles.
Thermostat allows you to maintain a certain temperature in the room. Having a thermostat in a garage feature allows you to control the temperature and keep it fixed on certain degrees.
Mounting brackets are perfect for heaters that are to be used in a single room only. As the name suggests, it allows you to mount your heater on a wall or ceiling. So if you don't intend to move your heater between different places, go for a mounting bracket. Not only is it less expensive than portable ones, it will also save a whole lot of space in the room.
Many garage heaters feature a fan which attracts the air into the heater. The air is then passed over the heated element and then thrown out in the room. A fan not only optimizes the functionality of a heater but also helps disperse the warm air in the entire room.
If you are very conscious about the interior designing of your house and office, get a garage heater that compliments the interior of your garage or the place where you intend to use the garage heater. However, this must be the least of your concerns. Color, style and design are far less important than safety and other functionality features.