Background and Identification
A space heater is a device that heats a small area as opposed to a whole building like central heating does. There are various sources of power depending on the machine and can include electricity or a burnable fuel such as natural gas, propane, fuel oil, or wood pellets, however devices that burn fuel need an exhaust system to allow gases to go outside.
There are two types of space heaters: convective and radiant heaters.
Convective heaters fall into two categories, those with a fan and those without. Those without a fan heat a room more slowly. They work by warming up water or oil that surrounds the heating element, then the room heats up. A convective heater with a fan heats up the air and blows the air into the room and as a result the area gets warmer. Both pass electricity through a heating element made of either ceramic or metal in a process called joule heating. The transfer of heat by the movement of the liquid between areas of different temperature is called convection.
Radiant heaters are good for warming people in poorly insulated rooms. They produce infrared radiation which is absorbed directly into skin and clothes. It does not need to heat the air first. A radiant heater might be made of a quartz, ceramic or halogen depending on the quality, age or price. They pass electricity through a conductive wire, heat it, and emit infrared rays.
There are several risks to consider when using a space heater and no type is safer than another. Be cautious of fires, burns or carbon monoxide poisoning when operating a space heater. Be sure to keep flammable materials away from space heaters. Make sure your fire and carbon monoxide detector is working. And it is a good idea to take a look at the cords every once in a while, they might need to be replaced! Also, don’t operate a space heater with an extension cord.
As of 2020, a good space heater can run about $40-$200 depending on the model and features.