Best Energy Efficient Space Heaters For Your Home

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The San Francisco Bay Area’s mild winters often make us forget how bone-chillingly cold a home can be, especially those charming older houses. While we may not need to crank up the heat as much as our East Coast friends, a little extra warmth is sometimes essential. This is where the best energy efficient space heaters come in, offering a fantastic way to stay cozy without breaking the bank on energy costs.

We’ll talk about how they work, the different types available, essential safety features, and how to pick the perfect one for your space. By the end, you’ll be well-equipped to choose from the best energy efficient space heaters, ready to face those chilly evenings.

Key Takeaways:

  • Necessity in the Bay Area: Space heaters are essential for warming cold, older homes in the Bay Area without incurring high energy costs.
  • Types of Heaters: Choose from convection, infrared, or oil-filled heaters, each offering benefits like quick heating, gentle warmth, and energy efficiency.
  • Heater Selection: Match the heater’s wattage to the room size; small spaces need around 750 watts, while larger areas may require 1,500 watts. Ensure good insulation for efficiency.
  • Safety Features: Prioritize heaters with tip-over switches, overheat protection, and cool-touch exteriors for safe use.
  • Energy Efficiency Tips: Use programmable timers, dress warmly, and seal drafts to maintain warmth efficiently and reduce energy usage.

How Space Heaters Work

There are a couple of main ways that space heaters make your cold room feel toasty: Convection heaters use a heating element to warm up the air around them, similar to a miniature furnace.

A fan then helps to circulate this warm air throughout the room. Some use oil-filled fins, giving a more gentle, radiant warmth similar to an old-fashioned radiator.

Infrared space heaters, on the other hand, warm up objects directly instead of heating the air. Imagine basking in the sun’s rays—it’s that kind of cozy warmth.

Choosing the Best Energy Efficient Space Heaters for Your Home

Bay Area homes come in all shapes and sizes. Picking the right space heater depends on the area you’re looking to heat. For small spaces like a home office or cozy nook, a smaller heater of around 750 watts could be perfect.

A large living room or master bedroom might need a more powerful 1,500-watt space heater to properly provide heating to the entire space. But remember those drafty Victorian homes.

Even the best energy-efficient space heaters will work harder in a poorly insulated room, so factor this into your wattage needs. Check for things like window seals and consider supplemental insulation.

The Best Energy Efficient Space Heaters

**We here at Bellows Service do NOT recommend having space heaters in your home. The best solution is to install a heating system for the safest option**

We touched upon some space heater basics, but let’s explore a few of the common types available in more detail. These factors might help narrow your search for the best energy-efficient space heaters for your specific needs.

1. Ceramic Heaters

Ceramic heaters are among the most popular. They use a ceramic heating element to heat up quickly, and they often have built-in fans to spread the warmth. They’re generally lightweight and portable, making them a convenient choice for supplemental heating in many rooms.

The Kismile Small Space Heater for Indoor Use is a great example of one with these features. Look for features like tip-over safety switches, overheat protection, and cool-touch exteriors when considering the best energy-efficient space heaters in this category.

2. Infrared Heaters

Infrared heaters are known for their quiet operation and for providing a gentle, radiant warmth that some find more comfortable than the forced hot air of ceramic heaters. These types of heaters work particularly well for people who experience dry skin during colder months because they don’t dry out the air as much as convection heaters.

A great example of an infrared heater is the Duraflame 3D Infrared Electric Fireplace Stove.

3. Oil-Filled Heaters

Oil-filled heaters use oil that’s heated by electricity to create comfortable, radiant heat. Once the oil is heated, these can continue to provide warmth for a while, even after you turn them off, so they use less electricity overall.

This can be a good option for longer-term use, especially in smaller rooms where you want to maintain a consistent temperature.

You also won’t get the blast of hot air that some other best energy-efficient space heaters provide, but it takes them a while to fully warm up a space. They also have that old-fashioned radiator feel.

Some even have a timer feature, making them great for bedrooms as you can set them to automatically shut off a few hours after you’ve gone to sleep.

The Real Cost of Space Heater Use in the Bay Area

Even if the Bay Area’s energy costs aren’t the highest in the country, they’re still significant. It’s best to choose from the best energy-efficient space heaters and look for helpful features that can reduce energy costs. Some features to consider are adjustable thermostats, timers, and multiple heat settings. 

Wattage Matters When Choosing the Best Energy Efficient Space Heaters

A space heater’s wattage rating directly impacts its electricity consumption. It also affects how much space it can efficiently heat. The higher the wattage, the more quickly it can heat a given area, but also the more electricity it consumes.

 The good news is that even the best energy-efficient space heaters on the market are compatible with standard household outlets. A 1,500-watt space heater needs a 100-volt outlet which are what we typically have in our homes.  

But even with the best energy-efficient space heaters, consider running it for shorter periods when needed. Use it to boost a room’s temperature and then rely on sweaters and blankets to stay warm instead of keeping it running constantly.

Essential Safety Features of Space Heaters

While those vintage homes might have a special charm, older wiring can be an issue. Using the best energy-efficient space heaters with built-in safety features is essential for peace of mind, especially for families.

Look for Features Like:

  • Tip-Over Switch: These shut the heater off automatically if it’s knocked over, reducing fire risks.
  • Overheat Protection: This automatically cuts off the power if the heater gets too hot.
  • Cool-Touch Exteriors: Prevents burns if accidentally touched. Perfect for households with small children.
  • Safety Certifications: Look for labels indicating the space heater has been tested for safety by a reputable third-party lab. Some examples of these third-party testers are; UL Solutions, ETL (Intertek), or CSA.

A tip for extra caution is to make sure to plug space heaters directly into the wall outlet. Using extension cords increases the risk of overheating. Avoid using these unless absolutely necessary.

Maximizing Energy Savings

Remember, energy efficiency doesn’t just come from choosing the best energy-efficient space heaters. You also have to use them strategically.

A Few Energy-Saving Tips:

  • Utilize Programmable Timers: Turn the heater off when you leave the room or use a timer to automatically shut it off at a certain time.
  • Dress Warmly: Layer up those clothes. That extra sweater will help the heater work more efficiently.
  • Seal Up Drafts: The Bay Area’s iconic fog rolls in bringing with it chilly air. Properly sealing windows and doors minimizes heat loss and helps your heater maintain your ideal temperature.

FAQ About Best Energy Efficient Space Heaters

What type of space heater is most energy efficient?

Both infrared and oil-filled heaters have the potential to be highly energy-efficient because they provide radiant heat rather than forced hot air. However, what is “best” for your situation comes down to room size, features, budget, and preference.

It is also worth considering portable DeLonghi Mica panel heaters for the rooms you use most. Their low wattage and adjustable thermostat make them energy-saving options that also happen to be very stylish.

What space heater is the cheapest to run?

Generally speaking, infrared heaters tend to be more cost-effective than convection models due to radiant heat technology, and how they warm up objects directly. However, the exact answer will be tied to the specifics of the heater model and usage habits. 

It is helpful to remember that even the best energy-efficient space heaters still use electricity. Minimizing runtime, lowering wattage when possible, using timers, and taking steps to insulate your home properly, can help keep your heating bills in check, even when choosing less powerful heater models.

What is the most energy-efficient heater to buy?

Again, there is no one-size-fits-all “best” answer, especially when thinking about costs. Infrared heaters excel at quickly heating a room without significant air drying. On the other hand, the continuous warmth of an oil-filled model (like an old radiator) might appeal to you.

Or maybe you live in an area prone to power outages and are interested in options powered by natural gas or propane as a backup. Consider all the factors we’ve discussed in addition to what matters to your particular circumstances.

What is the best space heater that doesn’t use a lot of electricity?

Again, infrared and oil-filled space heaters tend to come out ahead when it comes to minimizing energy usage. Think of it as similar to cooking methods; convection ovens heat the air, while slow cookers work their magic through continuous low heat. Infrared heaters use a similar direct-heat approach.

For small, personal spaces, low-wattage ceramic space heaters provide a concentrated blast of warm air and could be a more affordable way to get heat exactly where you need it.  We have found low-wattage Lasko oscillating models to be remarkably efficient. The movement of the heater allows for better coverage of a small space than a non-oscillating model, even on low-power mode.

Final Thoughts

As winter chills the Bay Area, having an energy-efficient way to stay warm becomes more than just about comfort. Choosing the best energy efficient space heaters can contribute to keeping those Bay Area energy bills manageable. 

It’s all about a conscious approach to energy usage while remaining safe. This guide can help you make an informed decision so you can remain cozy even as those beautiful San Francisco Bay Area nights grow colder. For more information or to speak with reputable, qualified heating and cooling experts, contact Bellows Service today.

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