A common wintertime complaint in any old house is, “It’s cold in here!” Even in homes that are not so old, on particularly chilly mornings it is hard to step out of bed and place your feet onto a cold floor.
While you no doubt have an ongoing list of home improvement projects including adding insulation, recaulking older windows, and sealing other nooks and crannies where heat seeps out, sometimes all it takes to improve your older home’s comfort is a portable heater. That way you can heat the room you’re in rather than increasing the thermostat for the entire house. A portable heater can save money on your energy bill and improve your quality of life!
Today’s portable heaters come in a variety of energy-efficient styles and sizes. Before you head to the hardware store it’s a good idea to go online and find a BTU calculator. This can give you a rough idea of how much heat you need for a room so that you buy the right size. For most BTU calculators you’ll need to know the room’s square footage, temperature increase desired, average outdoor temperature, and, sometimes, the amount of insulation.
Once you have a general idea of what sized heater you need to warm the room, you can decide what type of heater you want in your home. There are many choices.
Oil-filled radiators are portable since they usually come on wheels. They hold their heat and with most models you can program them to go on and off during the day or evening.
Radiant heaters emanate heat immediately but affect a smaller area. They tend to get quite hot to the touch so place them with caution.
Propane and natural gas heaters can attach to a wall or come as a free-standing gas stove or fireplace. Most work without using electricity, which is an advantage if you lose power.
Ceramic heaters are electric. They are usually portable and will not burn when touched making them a safe alternative for homes with children and pets.
Anytime you use a portable heater in your home you must evaluate its placement and use for safety. Keep heaters away from curtains or flamable materials. If you have small children or pets, consider a space heater that will not burn if touched. Never leave space heaters unattended.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 25,000 home fires are connected to space heaters each year. You can read more about portable heaters at the U.S. Government’s evergy savers website.
Tell us about your favorite space heater.
Joaquin Erazo, Jr. is the senior vice president of marketing and public relations at Case Handyman & Remodeling, the country’s largest home remodeling company.