Space heaters are generally used when central heating system doesnt provide adequate heating or when the central heating is too expensive to maintain. Space heaters are economical heating systems widely used as heating sources for single rooms or small spaces. Though they are ideal sources of heating small spaces, they can be dangerous if not handled properly. With proper safety considerations, you can use them effectively without any issues.
In this article, we will learn about heating safety tips. But before going into that, we will have a look on different types of space heaters.
Types of space heaters
Depending on the method of heating, space heaters are classified into two types convection and radiant heaters.
Convection heaters: Convection heaters use a heat source to warm up the air. They rely on convection (the circulation of air in the room) to transfer the heat throughout the room. Some convection heaters come with a fan that forces air past heating coils to heat the air in the room.
Radiant heaters: These heaters, unlike convection models, directly warm the objects and people present in enclosed areas. They do not heat the air in the room. Heating costs can be reduced using these devices as they avoid the energy needed to heat the entire room.
Based on the fuel used, space heaters are classified into different types. Some of them are:
Kerosene heaters: These heaters use kerosene as the power source and are ideal for outdoors and at places with enough ventilation.
Oil-filled space heaters: The heating elements of oil-filled space heaters rise the temperature of the oil. The heat from the oil is transferred or radiated to the surrounding space. Generally, it takes time to feel the warmth provided by oil-filled space heaters.
Electric heaters: Electric heaters are most preferred and widely used space heaters. They are available in both convection and radiant modes. Electric infrared space heaters among the radiant types are popular owning to their efficiency. Infrared heaters from some companies will also have a fan to dispel any heat that is generated inside the unit.
Which one to choose?
You need to take many things into consideration while choosing a space heater such as safety, efficiency, and cost of maintenance. Few things you may need to know are:
Kerosene heaters add a large amount of humidity. They could produce carbon monoxide if the fuel doesn’t burn properly. Therefore, they are ideal for outdoor heating.
Oil-filled space heaters provide constant heat for longer time. However, they do not provide instant heat. Their usage involves a lot of maintenance costs.
Electric heaters, particularly radiant, are preferred mostly as they are efficient and economical (cost of electricity is cheaper compared to other fuels).
Heater safety tips
Safety is an important consideration while using space heaters. There are certain safety precautions you should take when using space heater. Here are few of them.
Choose a safe location: A space heater should be placed on a nonflammable flat surface. You should provide enough space for the heater. It should be placed at least 3 feet away from window treatments, furniture, clothing, bedding, rugs and combustibles. Ensure that the unit has thermostatic controls and auto shut off features to avoid overheating. It also saves energy.
Provide proper ventilation: Some space heaters which use kerosene, oil or natural gas require proper ventilation. Place them next to an outside wall to allow exhaust of carbon monoxide, nitrogen or other dangerous gases.
Keep kids and pets away: Make sure that you keep your kids and pets away from space heaters. They may get injured when they accidentally touch or get in contact with the heater. Purchase a heater which does not have exposed heating elements or whose cabinet does not get hot.
Keep it dry: The space heater should be dry. Hence, it should be kept out of kitchens, bathrooms or other damp locations. However, some specific designs of space heaters can be used at such places. Do not to touch the electric space heater if you are wet as it increases the risk of electric shock.
Inspect regularly: Before using the heater, inspect the cord and plug for any damage. Examine the space heater annually. Take the help of a qualified professional if there are any repairs. Clean it frequently to ensure that it is in a safe working condition. If you suspect that your heater is damaged, do not use it.
Consider the plugging requirements: When purchasing an electric heater, make sure that there are appropriate plugging requirements. It is better to plug the heater directly into an outlet instead of using an extension cord. The extension cord increases the chances of fire, overheating and electric shocks. If an extension cord is necessary, use a proper rated one that is suitable for the heater. Switch off the heater and unplug it when left unattended.
Replace old model: If your space heater is too old, consider replacing it with a new one. Old and damaged ones are more prone to accidents. Electric heaters available today are safer compared to the earlier ones. While purchasing a new heater, make sure that it has all latest safety features.
Space heaters are one of the best heating systems when used properly. Consider all the above mentioned safety tips to make your small space heating safe.