Space heaters are common sights in most homes during the winter. Choosing the right space heater can be a cost-effective way of warming up a single room during a particularly frigid day.
But are space heaters really as energy efficient as they say?
In some cases, yes. It all depends on which space heaters you choose to buy. In this article, we’ll be exploring the 4 most energy-efficient space heaters and how they can benefit your home.
If you’re looking for energy-efficient space heaters, we recommend you first air seal and insulate your home.
Because air sealing and insulation can have a big impact on your energy consumption. They also help your home retain heat so that you can maximize the benefits of your space heaters during the winter.
Buying a space heater with poor air sealing and insulation is like putting a band-aid on a big, open wound. It’s not going to completely stop the bleeding. And it’ll likely do more harm than good down the road.
Air Seal Your Home
Air sealing is all about filling or covering air leakages in your home. While they may seem arbitrary, they actually account for anywhere between 25% to 40% of the energy lost when cooling or heating your home.
Think of it like a boat floating in the ocean. The smaller holes you have, the more water you’ll have in the hull. This causes your boat to sink and make it a bad day for everyone.
It’s a similar concept with air leaks. The smaller holes you leave unplugged, the more cold air you’re letting in. Your space heater and HVAC system can do everything it can, but your home will still be cold.
Air sealing is usually done with caulk, insulation, and spray foam depending on the size of your air leaks. Common places to air seal are your windows, attic hatches, attic floor holes, fireplaces, and even electrical outlets.
You can check for air leaks by placing a candle or incense next to a potential area and seeing if the smoke or flame moves.
Another way of maximizing your home’s energy efficiency and improving comfort before adding space heaters is insulation. Insulation helps maintain your home temperature by keeping warm or cold air inside your home.
The laws of physics dictate that heat travels upward, in this case towards your upstairs rooms and your attic. This means warm air produced by your heaters and HVAC system travels to your attic and escapes through your roof or other holes.
Learn more about how to build an energy-efficient attic to lower energy bills and improve comfort in your home.
Insulation can be installed in the attic or your walls to keep that heat from escaping. This translates to greater energy efficiency, as the EPA states that insulating attic floors, walls, and ceilings help homeowners save up to 15% on their annual energy bills.
Insulation comes in different materials. The most common types of insulation are fiberglass or cellulose, which either come shaped like mats or can be broken up into smaller pieces. There’s also reflective insulation which can be placed in attics to reflect heat back into or out of homes.
When to Use a Space Heater
If you’ve air-sealed your home and added insulation to your attic, floors, and walls but want even more warmth and comfort in the winter, then space heaters are definitely the way to go.
But why space heaters? Doesn’t your HVAC system give you enough warmth already?
Many homeowners choose space heaters because it lets them localize the heat more. Instead of heating their entire house, some people might only want to heat the rooms they more frequently occupy.
Using a space heater also simplifies the home heating process. While there are plenty of benefits to a comprehensive HVAC system, there’s nothing like plugging in a heater and flipping on a few buttons to enjoy the warmth.
Space heaters shouldn’t be used as replacements for an HVAC system, but they can be convenient solutions for particularly cold days.
Best Energy Efficient Space Heaters
Our picks for the best energy efficient space heaters are:
- Dr Infrared Portable Space Heater
- Stiebel Eltron CK 15E
- Lasko 6435 Designer Series
- Mr. Heater MH9BX Buddy
Looking to leverage energy-efficient space heaters for the winter? Here are our top 4 picks for the most reliable products available.
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The Dr Infrared Portable Space Heater is our top pick as the most reliable and energy-efficient space heater on the market.
It uses infrared technology to heat your rooms, meaning it can sense spots in your rooms that need heat and distributes it accordingly. The Dr Infrared heats objects in your room instead of filling out space with heat.
This means warm air won’t rise to the ceiling and disappear and remains constant without being intruded on by drafts. It can also retain moisture in the air, meaning your skin won’t dry out from using the Dr Infrared.
Best of all, it doesn’t have any exposed heating elements. This makes the Dr Infrared much safer to have around pets and small children.
While it’s not the cheapest option out there, the Dr Infrared is quiet, energy-efficient, and contributes to better home comfort.
If you don’t want a chunky space heater taking up floor space, wall-mounted heaters are the way to go. And when it comes to wall-mounted heaters, the Stiebel Eltron CK 15E is one of the most reliable options out there.
The slim compact design makes it unobtrusive and the white finish helps the Stiebel blend into most rooms. The wall-mounted design allows warm air to be blown downwards, helping heat spread evenly throughout the room. It also prevents cold feet.
The Stiebel comes with a timer, thermometer, and a frost protection setting, meaning you’ll get maximum energy efficiency. It heats up your room quickly and effectively.
While there are cheaper options out there, as far as wall-mounted heaters go, you can’t get much better than the Stiebel Eltron.
If you’re looking for an energy efficient space heater on a budget, the Lasko 6435 delivers like no other.
It has a unique design that incorporates a ceramic heating element with oscillation to heat large spaces. The Lasko does away with the drab and obtrusive space heater design and with a slim and tall design.
It comes with a remote control along with built-in safety features. Don’t let the low price fool you either – the Lasko has multiple temperature settings. It also has a digital thermostat to automatically adjust to its preset temps.
While it lacks an auto-switch feature, meaning it won’t turn off automatically unless overheated, it does have a timer that turns the heater off after a certain amount of time. The Lasko isn’t as fancy as the other entries on this list, but it’s easily the most affordable and doesn’t skimp on the features.
Finally, we have the Mr. Heater MH9BX Buddy. This is the best non-electric option for those looking for an emergency heater or a heater that doesn’t rely on electricity.
It’s capable of heating up to 225 square feet and runs on propane. It can easily be turned on by rotating a knob and pushing a few buttons. It’s one of the safest options out there, quelling any notion that propane heaters are dangerous.
It has an automatic turn-off feature if it’s tipped over, and an automatic shutoff option when the pilot light goes out. Mr. Heater also comes with a high-temperature wire guard as an extra heating safety element.
While it’s not the most defined heater in terms of digital controls, it weighs around 10 pounds, making it extremely portable and durable. If you need a heater for emergencies or to save extra on your energy bills by not relying on electricity, Mr. Heater is the choice for you.
Space heaters are a nice way to add additional comfort to an already energy efficient home. Use this article to find the perfect heater to fit your budget and style preferences.