Space heaters

space-heater.jpegWhen it’s cold — and when money’s tight — they can help you cut costs and keep warm.

But, if you go this route, be sure to get a quality heater and be sure to operate it correctly to limit your risk of fire (from any heater) or carbon-monoxide poisoning (from heaters that burn fuel, such as kerosene).

In fact, if your home isn’t already equipped with smoke detectors and a carbon monoxide detector or two, you’d do well to invest in these devices, too. If you already have them, go check them to make sure they’re working properly. Go! Do it now. If you procrastinate, you’ll forget and it’ll never get done. I’ll wait right here…

…All right.

space-heater1.jpgToday’s column gives a brief rundown on what to look for in an electric space heater. Here are some other resources to check for info on all sorts of space heaters:

*Even if you’re not a subscriber to Consumer Reports, you can access the nonprofit mag’s basic information about space heaters. That includes advice on how to choose a space heater and information about safety risks.

What you can’t see, unless you’re a subscriber, is its ratings and quick recommendations about space heaters. If you keep it on the down low, I’ll sidle over and say the mag gives good marks to some DeLonghi, Pelonis, Honeywell and Holmes heaters, whose prices range from $30 to $110.

*The U.S. Department of Energy has information about both electric and combustion space heaters.

 *The Consumer Product Safety Commission has detailed information about both sorts of space heaters.

*There’s a good feature on space heaters at the This Old House site.

Meanwhile, some safety highlights

If you get a portable electric space heater, make sure it will turn off automatically if it tips over. Plug it directly into the wall or, if you must use an extension cord, make sure it’s a heavy-duty 14-gauge cord.

kerosene-space-heater.jpgIf you get a combustion heater, it must be vented properly. Never, ever, ever fill it with gasoline. Never fill it while it’s hot. Don’t overfill it with fuel (because the fuel may expand). And don’t store unused fuel inside the house.

With any sort of space heater, don’t go to sleep with it on. Keep it at least 3 feet away from flammable objects such as bedding, furniture and drapes. Don’t put it in a place where something flammable might fall on it, such as a towel.


3 Responses to “Space heaters”

  1. Jim Says:

    Not mentioned but saw a photo of a Vornado whole room heater in the CR video you linked to.

    We love this company. I think everything they build is done in Kansas-USA. I’ve bought 5 electric heaters from them, 3 for our house and then 1 each for our parents who love them. They don’t do radiant heat, but have a unique way of warming the whole room very (very!) effectively. And they really work-the parents like them because they are very safe with little grandchildren around, and they warm the whole room. No hot parts to burn little children.

    We’ve also bought the Vornado circulator fans from them, 1 full size whole room air circulator and probably 7 compact ones-given several as gifts, one for the office. They sell them at Bed Bath & Beyond but they only sell the 3 setting fans, not the ones with a complete range like a rheostat. You have to order those on line. Those are the best. They can be cleaned-as they pull a lot of air through (and pet hair!) so they have to be cleaned periodically. I’ve had to return a couple for repairs and never had a problem. They really cool very well.

    I also have bought 3 of the Zippi fans, the tiny desk fans with fabric blades so you don’t get you hand cut off. In fact, picked up 2 on at a great price…someone gets those this Christmas.

    Needless to say, we love this company and think very highly of their products. But to the point of the blog post, their heaters are great. I found their heater on sale at BB&B half price in the summer as an open box item and snapped it up then. I knew how good it was and what a deal, even if no one else did.

    No, I don’t work for the company or have financial interest. I just know what works and everyone to whom we’ve given their product loves it.

  2. Catherine Pritchard Says:

    Thanks for the info! It always helps to hear someone’s personal experience with a product.

    The only space heater I ever owned was a Pelonis. I bought it when I lived in New Hampshire because my feet were always cold at work. It lived under my desk and kept my feet toasty on a near-daily basis — yes, even in summer. Sigh. I can hear my former co-worker Eric razzing me about the heater even now.

    It was an excellent heater.

  3. Mike Arno Says:

    About 3 weeks ago my business caught fire. The Pierce Mill fire department and 2 other stations came with about 10,000 gals of water, dumped maybe 1,000 gals and left, leaving us to fight the fire our self. The Pierce Mill Chief was in charge.
    Needless to say we are not equipped to fight fires. We thought that is what we pay a fire tax for. We were in another fire district, had a fire, and the fire department came and put out the fire.
    Who do I need to contact to report this fire department and hopefully recoup some of the money we have had to spend?

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