Energy efficient space heaters can be used to supplement or replace a central furnace or boiler. These units are designed to heat a single room or even a small section of a room. Homeowners who live in mild climate zones may rely on space heaters instead of more costly central heating systems. By choosing the most energy saving space heaters available, homeowners can not only save money each month, but also reduce the effects of global warming and pollution associated with energy production.
Space heaters rely on either electricity or fossil fuels for energy. Electric models are nearly 100 percent efficient because all of the energy they consume is transformed into heat that is used in the home. Gas- or oil-powered furnaces are less efficient because some heat energy is lost through exhaust during combustion. While electric units are the most energy efficient space heaters, they are also the most costly to run. This is due to higher electricity prices compared to oil or natural gas costs in many parts of the world.
When it comes to choosing the most energy efficient space heaters for the home, the best options depend largely on how the heater will be used. Convection units rely on infrared heat, and often resemble that traditional radiator used with a home boiler. The most efficient units contain some form of heating liquid or oil. An electric current passes through the liquid, causing it to generate heat, which them radiates out into the room.
Convection units are the best space heaters for energy saving for long-term use, or large areas. Because the liquid provides a medium for heat storage, they use less energy than other types of units. They tend to take a long time to heat up, and should not be used for short-term heating needs.
Radiant heating units are the most energy efficient heaters for short-term use or small areas. They use electricity to heat a metal coil or heat exchanger. An integral fan blows air onto this coil to heat the room. Radiant heaters provide heat fairly quickly, but tend to be less efficient overall than convection units.
No matter which type of space heater is used in a space, there are a number of ways to maximize energy efficiency. Units with a built-in thermostat allow users to set the desired temperature and avoid wasted energy. Thermostats also keep the room more comfortable, and make the heater more affordable to operate. It is also helpful to weatherize the home to prevent air leaks, which can cause even the most energy efficient space heaters to waste energy and money.