What is the most energy efficient space heater - and the best solar air heater?
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Space heaters are a convenient way to heat up a small space quickly and efficiently – and with newly developed technology, you can practice being more energy efficient by purchasing a solar air heater.
Brave the cold weather and invest in environmentally friendly technologies; here are a few of our top picks for energy-efficient space heaters and solar air heaters.
Even if your home is already equipped with a heating system, having a space heater can be very beneficial. Space heaters provide excellent supplemental heating that can be a useful (and energy efficient) alternative to your heating system. For example, if your heating system breaks down in the middle of winter, a space heater will help ensure that you and your family will remain safe and comfortable as you wait for your heating system to be repaired or replaced.
Space heaters can be used for more than just emergency situations in which your heating system is on the fritz. The following are just a few things you can use your space heater for:
If you're going to invest in a conventional space heater, then you should look for an energy efficient model to help keep energy costs down. The following are a few examples of some of the most energy efficient conventional space heaters on the market today:
Like most things, the amount of electricity a space heater needs to run depends on the size of the appliance and its energy efficiency. You can find the exact amount of electricity needed by searching for the power and energy efficiency ratings on the product label.
On average, a 1,500-watt space heater is the most common and they will need at least a 100-volt outlet. Luckily, most homes have 110-volt outlets throughout.
Tip! Watts, kilowatt-hours, voltage: what do they all mean? There are a few key terms that you need an understanding of to fully grasp how electricity works and what watts have to do with your appliances. The basics - one kilowatt (kW) equals 1,000 watts and one megawatt (MW) equals 1,000 kilowatts. Voltage, or volts, is essentially the speed at which electricity passes through a circuit. You might be familiar with kilowatt-hours (kWh) from your electric bill because kWh is the measure of electricity use over time. Altogether, the voltage your outlet can handle dictates how many watts your space heater can be and your bill will show how much electricity is used via the total kWh usage.
Solar air heaters are a little different than traditional space heaters. Instead of using natural gas, propane, or electricity to produce heat, they use thermal energy. This is done through the use of solar collectors. Unlike traditional space heaters, many solar air heaters typically need to be mounted to a roof, wall, or window, in order to collect the sun's heat. Some of these collectors can be heavy and installation may require a building permit.
The way they work is relatively simple. Cold air is pulled from the bottom of the room via a fan. That cold air then picks up the thermal heat stored in the collector. Warm air is then blown out into the room. Because solar air heaters are more effective at heating smaller rooms, they have more in common with traditional space heaters than whole-house heating systems.
Solar air heaters can be incredibly energy efficient and can reduce your heating costs by as much as 70 percent. Besides their energy efficiency, they are also extremely durable and can last upwards of 20 years.
Solar air heaters are not as commonly available as conventional space heaters (yet), but they are beginning to catch on in popularity due to how incredibly energy efficient they are, especially when compared to even the most energy efficient conventional space heaters. Keeping that in mind, the following are some of the different companies that manufacture some of the best solar air heaters currently on the market:
If you’re interested in exploring solar energy for your own home, check out our list of the ten best solar companies in the U.S.
You may notice when comparing appliances that energy efficient models tend to be slightly more expensive. Despite this, you should always look for appliances that are energy efficient, even when you're shopping for space heaters. The following are a few reasons why the more energy efficient an appliance is, the better:
If the cost of running a space heater is unappealing to you, solar panels can keep your monthly electric bill costs down. While installing solar panels is more expensive than buying a space heater, they can make your electric heating bill next to nothing. With solar, you can run a space heater for any amount of time for practically no electricity cost.
Using space heaters is an efficient way to keep warm even if you have a thermostat-controlled central heating system or baseboard heaters in your home. They can give more drafty rooms an extra warm boost or provide a heating element in your bathroom during cold winter months. You can expect most space heaters to need 1,500 kWh to run, and most average home outlets can provide that power with no issue.