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One of the most common appliances used in households for staying warm comfortably inside during the winter months is a space heater. While electric space heaters are more commonly used in homes but other fuels such as kerosene, natural gas, propane are also used to power the heaters. The first electric heaters appeared on the market in the late 19th century and in some of the early models, bulbs were used for heating the air. Thanks to the technological advances, the space heaters have become highly energy-efficient these days but the basic technology remains the same. These days, electricity is used for warming coils or other materials that transfer heat directly into the room by warming the surrounding air. These heaters are mostly used for small areas and these are great for supplementing as well as reducing the need for central heat.
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These are most commonly used during change of seasons when only slight warmth is needed to keep things comfortable without firing up the central furnace. These are also used in areas where there are cold spots inside the home. These heaters are used for making small space comfortable without raising the thermostat temperature for the whole house. Also, different people feel comfortable with different temperatures even when they are in the same room. In such cases, these heaters offer an option to remain warm without overheating the whole room. There are mainly two types of electric heaters and these use different types of heating techniques. As far as the choice between these two types is concerned, it depends on the intended use.
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The first type is called the convection heater and these heaters heat the air around them to raise the temperature in the room. Electricity is used for heating the wires, coils or ceramic elements in the heater and these transfer the heat to the surrounding air. These are excellent for raising the temperature of a whole room and can keep several people warm at once.
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These also do not take long to reach their peak but heat keeps lingering even after shutting down the heater. These are also available without a fan but those models take a long time to warm a room as natural air currents take some time to spread the warmth around. However, these are really quite. On the other hand, heaters with fans work faster but they do produce noise. Some of the models available in the market also come with oscillating fans for directing heat towards specific areas in the room.
The other type is known as radiant heater that makes use of infrared technology for producing heat. In these models, electricity is not used for heating elements. In these models, electricity is run through a ribbon filament or a quartz tube that produces heat and this heat is directly transferred to people and surrounding objects. This type of heater is good for warming up a very small space or when one or two people are in the room. These also heat up very quickly and the warmth fades off quickly once they are shut off. While some of the models come with fans, typically these radiant heaters are not used for warming up a whole room.
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The output of the unit is also affected by the size. The tower models available in the market come with long heating elements that can warm bigger areas whereas small units are good for warming someone’s feet or for keeping under a desk. Overall, a radiant heater is meant for short-term use and small range.
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One of the biggest issues with space heaters is that these can lead to fire issues if proper precaution is not taken. The heaters can lead to fire if these come in contact with flammable materials. Also, these may overheat when used improperly. Therefore, it is important that proper precaution is taken while using these heaters. It is important to keep any flammable items such as furniture, curtains or clothing away from a space heater. It should never be operated around flammable liquids such as alcohol or paint. These should also be kept away from matches and aerosol cans.
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Space heaters that are left unattended can be accidentally knocked down by children or pets and may lead to dangerous situations. Experts also recommend running cords over the carpeting and rugs to ensure that they are always visible. It is also recommended to plug the unit directly into the outlet instead of using an extension cord. As far as choosing the right type of heater is concerned, the typical heaters available for home use come in 900 W and 1500 W settings. Some of the units also come with switches to allow the user to switch between these two settings. Most of the heaters available these days also come with an automatic shut off switch. These switches turn off the heater if it overheats or tips over.
Overall, space heaters help in saving a lot of money in terms of energy cost as turning down the thermostat even a couple of degrees can result in significant savings on energy bills. The space heaters are ideal for keeping only a particular room or an individual comfortable inside the room.