In the dead of a harsh New England winter, it may be tempting to purchase a space heater for some quick relief from the cold. After all, they’re relatively inexpensive up front and generate a lot of heat. But before you head over to your local hardware store, consider these problems with electric space heaters.
SPACE HEATERS AND YOUR ELECTRIC BILL
If you’re asking yourself, “Do space heaters save money?” you should consider a variety of factors. Many homeowners purchase space heaters to reduce their heating bills – which they do, but they will also drastically increase electric bills. Generally, electric space heaters only work for very specific scenarios. If you spend all your time in one, small closed-off room and have no children or pets, an electric space heater might be a good tool to use in conjunction with a standard heating system.
For most scenarios, though, a well-maintained heating system – whether it be a furnace or boiler – will heat a home more consistently and evenly than a space heater can. Using space heaters as heating elements often points to a bigger problem, such as ineffective insulation, a poorly maintained heating system, or lack of zoned heat. Fixing that root issue will often eliminate the need for a space heater and is often a better long-term solution.
Space heaters also use a lot of electricity, which can be taxing on an electrical system, especially if it’s older. Space heaters plugged into outlets can often cause an electrical panel to become overworked, which in turn will result in a tripped breaker.
ARE SPACE HEATERS SAFE?
On average, electric space heaters cause about 25,000 residential fires per year. Today’s space heaters are safer than the space heaters of yesteryear, but they’re still not 100% safe. Space heaters, when placed near flammable objects, can cause fires if they’re tipped over.
If you need to use a space heater, make sure to purchase one that automatically turns off when it’s knocked over. Never run it through the night, and keep a close eye on it while it’s in use.