The reason that the title is true is that they charge like 500 percent too much money. I don’t care what Bob Vila says modern 40 $$$ electric heaters are not dangerous and have temperature controls. So why don’t all of these people go to jail? Well, for one, they change their companies’  names every year so they are hard to track down. But there is an argument in the energy efficiency community about what constitutes saving energy, ie. saving money.

Energy efficient space heater

Click here to see our selection of energy efficient space heaters.

Energy efficient space heaters are one of the best ways to cheaply lower your heating bill.  According to US Government statistics, the average American spends $1,900 per year for home energy of which nearly half goes to heating and cooling.  Space heaters can help lower this bill.  Here is the fundamental information you need to make the correct choice for your situation.

Potential Savings

By lowering your home thermostat only 5 degrees and employing the use of energy efficient space heaters in frequently used rooms you can lower your heating cost by 10% and eliminate 800 pounds of C02 emissions from the environment.  Space heaters will re-warm your space for a fraction of the cost associated with running the central heating.  But, to make sure you get the most savings, you have to select the space heater that is right for you and your home.  Numerous choices exist including Convection, Micathermic, Ceramic, Radiant, Kerosene, Wood Burning and Gas.  With so many choices, we recommend doing your research before making a purchase.   No one choice is the correct choice.  It will depend on your needs as to what the correct type of space heater is best for you.

Factors to Consider

The first, and obvious factor, is temperature.  You will probably want to exclude any that don’t have automatic temperature control as the space you are attempting to heat will either be too hot or too cool and you will constantly have to be monitoring the unit and turning it on or off.  This is both uncomfortable and time consuming.

Everyone is well aware of the effect of temperature on comfort.  However, the second, and less discussed component of comfort is relative humidity.  Relative humidity is the percent of water vapor in the air at a specific humidity.  In simple terms, a dry house with 20 percent relative humidity will need a higher temperature to feel as warm as a home with medium humidity of 60 percent.  That is because your body is giving up heat by the process of evaporation.  The lower the relative humidity the faster your body gives up this heat as the higher moisture of your body evaporates to the atmosphere.

A third factor to consider is wind speed.  As the air in your house moves it affects the rate at which your body gives up its heat.  This is due to the process of convection which is the attraction of hot air to colder air.  A house in which the heat is constantly running feels cooler.  This is one of the reasons the old steam style radiant heaters felt so warm.  There is little wind speed when compared to a centralized blower.  It’s also the reason a fan feels so good in the summertime.


Deceptive and Overpriced
Radiant Space Heater Scams

There are a number of companies selling electric heaters that imply that you will save a great deal of money, some even claim you will cut your costs by 50%. This is extremely misleading. It is sort of like claiming “Save 100% on your heating bills*” where * = “don’t turn it on”. It isn’t a fraud, but is certainly misleading.

Examples are EdenPure, iHeater, so called Amish heaters, the chinese made Heat Surge Roll-n-Glow (their marketing material is the most honest of the bunch).

All portable electric heaters consume electricity and degrade it into heat. All are 100% efficient for one obvious reason. The heat has nowhere else to go except into the room. Anyone that makes a claim otherwise, especially outrageous ones like “10x more efficient than a space heater”, is making a fraudulent claim.

In the images below, cut from an advertisement by Krystal Planet, we see some typical claims — let’s examine them:

a) no combustion, flames or fumes.This is true of all electric appliances,including your coffee maker unless something is terribly wrong.

b)less electricity than a coffee maker. If this is true, then it will give off less heat than your coffee maker. Can you heat your house with a coffee maker? If you can, I’d like to hear about it :-)

c)Does not dry out the air. Of course not. Electric heaters never dry out the air. How could they? Where would the water go? No matter how you heat up the air in a room, the warmer air can hold more moisture so the relative humidity will go down — unless you want to use a humidifier, vaporizer or keep the kettle boiling on the stove.

d) healthy comfortable infrared heating. Infrared is radiated heat, like you get from a heat lamp or the sun. The product details below imply that the heat source is four 375W heat lamps, but if they are inside the wooden looking box in the picture, then they are not shining on you. They would heat the box and the box in turn would heat the air nearby, which is called convection.


So do they make a natural gas space heater that is safe to use indoors?  I have no idea. More tomorrow.