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What Should I Consider When Buying Space Heaters?

Amy Hunter
Amy Hunter

Space heaters allow you to keep your home warm and comfortable, no matter what type of heat you have. Space heaters are small, typically electric, heaters that can be used to raise the ambient room temperature. While once considered dangerous, the mechanisms on today’s space heaters make these a safe choice.

Keeping an entire home comfortably warm in the cold winter months can be very expensive. It is particularly difficult to justify if your family typically spends much of their time in one or two rooms. Add to that the fact that most people sleep better in rooms that are slightly cooler than normal and the wisdom of purchasing a space heater becomes apparent.

A space heater.
A space heater.

Before you purchase a space heater, carefully consider which room you will use it in. The box that the portable heater comes in should tell you exactly how many square feet that it is designed to heat. A smaller heater, designed for a bathroom, will not keep a living room warm, and it will not last long running on high constantly. A large oil heater will make your small bathroom too hot and too crowded, not to mention the energy it will waste.

A halogen space heater.
A halogen space heater.

Once you have decided what size heater you want, it is time to consider the safety features. There are several ways that a space heater can cause a fire. If it tips over, it can ignite the carpet. If it is too close to a curtain or upholstered furniture, it can ignite the curtain or furniture. Finally, if the cord becomes frayed or damaged, a fire can start.

When you shop for a space heater, choose one that will "kick off" if it is not level. This safety feature means that it will turn itself off if it falls over. This safety feature is relatively common on space heaters, and it is worthwhile to shop around until you find one that offers it.

Another safety feature that some space heaters offer is that they kick off if they overheat. This can often mean that they will kick off if they are placed too close to furniture or other flammable objects. As the heat builds up between the object and the space heater, it will shut off.

Finally, make sure that the device is UL rated. The Underwriters Laboratory provides a quality check program that ensures that you are getting an electrical device with quality and safe wiring. While all of the improvements in design have made space heaters much safer, it is important to use common sense. Be careful where you place the heater and never leave it on unattended. If follow these two safety precautions, you should be happy with your space heater.

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    • A space heater.
      By: Denis Gladkiy
      A space heater.
    • A halogen space heater.
      By: Lusoimages
      A halogen space heater.