Space Heaters

Posted on: November 30th, 2011 by Glen 1 Comment

Space HeaterThere are currently several types of space heaters on the market today. The most popular ones are Halogen, Electric, Propane and Kerosene. Halogen heaters are one of the latest types of heating equipment. They use light from an energy efficient halogen bulb to produce heat. They are lightweight and efficient, converting about 85% of the input power to the output source of energy.  Also, due to its halogen light-based emission, it efficiently transfers the heat to the object despite any atmospheric conditions. However, they are not among energy star products.

Modern electric space heaters usually have ceramic heating elements rather than nichrome wires. They are fan-forced with a blower or a squirrel-cage fan, and are encased in plastic. Electric heaters distribute heat much more evenly. This design eliminates almost any chance of burns or fire. Window and wall units, often seen in hotel rooms, are permanent space heaters. They often employ heat pumps, which use reverse-cycle air conditioning to transfer heat to the inside from the outside.The domestic incandescent bulb contributes a small but significant amount of heat to domestic interiors. This is important in extremely well insulated homes because such bulbs may be left on to extend their life.

Propane space heaters are generally one of two types:  radiant (infrared) or circulation-type space heater. Infrared propane space heaters function to heat objects, which in turn, heats the surrounding air. Circulation type space heaters heat the air directly using a fan or convection. Additionally, propane space heaters are either vented or unvented.  Unvented space heaters are low capacity heaters used to heat living areas. They are not allowed in bedrooms, bathrooms or confined spaces due to fire danger and the possible accumulation of flue gases at high levels.

Kerosene heaters, at one time, were once common. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), most of the 2,400 injuries involved children who drank the kerosene or inhaled the fumes.  Another hazard is the reduction in air quality. Additionally,  the amount of oxygen can be dramatically lowered in the air. Gases from kerosene, fuel oil or natural gas, if not properly vented, can cause headaches and irritate chronic respiratory ailments Carbon monoxide is more readily attached to the hemoglobin of the blood than oxygen. Hence, carbon monoxide reduces the blood's ability to transport life-giving oxygen to the body's cells. A person who inhales carbon monoxide recovers very slowly, even after being moved to good air. It may still be a long time (frequently 24 to 48 hours) before the carbon monoxide is completely removed from the blood.

Space heaters are known for providing an inexpensive source of heating. Due to the rise in energy costs, many people are forced to relyon space heating. However, space heating is also associated with issues like health risks and fire hazards. Unvented Kerosene heaters and gas heaters are common sources of carbon monoxide. Unvented kerosene heaters are also banned for indoor use  In addition, leaking furnaces, wood stoves and fireplaces also pose threats of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide poses serious health hazards including fatigue, chest pain, headaches, dizziness, impaired vision, and nausea. Also, space heaters are being reported for causing several fire incidents. Therefore, EPA does not consider space heaters as an Energy Star qualified product.

One Response

  1. Glen

    October 15, 2012

    With people cutting back on their energy bill many are using room space heaters to provide comfort to selected rooms. A couple of unintended consequence are happening.
    One is that heating different rooms to different temperatures may cause the wood framing between the rooms to expand or contract unevenly. Reports of a loud bang, popping or gun shot type sounds inside the home have be reported due to these structural movements.
    Second is tripping circuit breaker due a electrical overloads. Most homes are wired with 15 amp electrical circuits for the outlets and lighting in the rooms. Space heaters add about 12-13 amps load to the existing circuit causing a overload and the breaker to tripping. Adding a new power outlet just for the space heater might be required.

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