Taking the edge off the chill in a room or two by relying on a portable heater is a time-tested way to increase comfort when temperatures drop. While it’s effective, it’s not the most economical approach, since these heaters use far more electricity than the central heating and cooling system.
Cold rooms often indicate something’s amiss with the central heating and cooling system, and a portable heater is a good way to provide heat on a temporary basis.
A portable heater that uses electricity for heating is safer than unvented combustion heaters to use indoors. You’ll find electric heaters as
- Boxy fan heaters
- Radiator-style heaters
Safety Is Essential with a Portable Heater
- More important than their shape, however, is their safety. If you have children or pets, choose a radiator-style portable heater. Even on high, it won’t get hot enough to burn tender skin. Regardless of the style, the heater should bear the UL (Underwriter’s Laboratory) label on its cord and packaging.
- The heater should have an automatic shutoff switch in case it tips or falls over.
- Avoid unvented gas, propane, or kerosene heaters altogether. You’re putting your safety in the hands of oxygen sensors and anti-tip switches that can fail.
Convenient Features to Consider
- Thermostats on the heaters help you regulate the temperature in the room. It could be as simple as a dial that indicates low, medium and high heat.
- Timers are not only convenient, they’re energy savers. Should you forget to turn off the heater off, the timer will do it for you.
- Handles or wheels. Handles make moving them from room to room easier and more convenient.
Energy Efficient Options
There is no such thing as an energy efficient portable heater. The heater is likely to cost much more than heating the room with a heat pump or gas furnace will. Unless it’s a temporary measure, instead of investing in space heaters and paying top dollar for heating, consider using that money to find the cause behind those cold rooms.
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The problem might lie with your HVAC system unless it’s inadequate insulation or a large air leak. A cold room in winter translates to a hot one in the summer. If the furnace isn’t working right, odds are the A/C won’t either. Investing the money into fixing the problem will pay you back now and in the summer with lower conditioning bills and a much more comfortable home.
Although it could be a mechanical problem, more often than not, inadequate heating in a particular area is associated with ductwork design imbalances or distribution problems. Depending on the material from which they’re constructed, ductwork sections can break apart, kink, clog with excessive debris, or tear. Ductwork problems can occur at any time and homes of all ages are vulnerable.
Any of these signs can indicate ductwork leaks:
- Cold temperatures in one or more rooms that are close together.
- Dust or dirt that collects near a register cover on the wall or ceiling.
- Low air pressure coming from the duct in a room when the HVAC system runs.
Leaking ducts waste tremendous amounts of energy since the air leaks into places where you don’t need it.
If you’d like more information about identifying HVAC issues that might be compelling you to use a portable heater for cold rooms, contact Forrest Anderson. We want to get people’s units working correctly so they’ll save money and have a unit that works all year round.