A reader sent the following question to Mr. Tight Watt:
“What is the most efficient electric space heater?”
Answer: Mr. Tight Watt contacted Richard Hiatt at the Rural Electricity Resource Council.
According to Richard, there are three types of electric space heaters: High-Temperature Radiant, Natural Convection, and Fan-Forced. He goes on to describe each:
High-Temperature Radiant: Has the glowing red heating elements and shiny mirrored reflector behind the coils. Like the sun, this type of heat doesn’t heat the air; instead it heats people and objects.
Natural Convection: Instead of using coils, heat is distributed over a wider surface of the unit; these may look like the old-fashioned radiator heaters. They don’t get really hot to the touch; an oil-like substance spreads the heat around the surface. Watt for watt, these heaters put out as much warmth, but they don’t feel as hot as radiant heaters.
Fan-Forced Heaters: Like a mini furnace, these heaters use a blower to heat the air. These heaters are often smaller than the others. (Note: Some radiant heaters also have a fan, but do rely on the coils to provide the heat.)
ALL THREE TYPES DELIVER THE SAME AMOUNT OF HEAT (FOR EXAMPLE, 1,500 WATTS) AND ALL ARE 100% EFFICIENT.
As Richard explains, you might choose one over the other because of the way you want to use the heater. They each deliver heat to people and objects differently.
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