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#1
Old 11-29-2011, 12:40 PM
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Infrared Heaters- Any good?

My parents are thinking about getting a heater like this: http://sportsmansguide.com/net/c....aspx?a=904121

I have heard that infrared heaters are junk. But some people love them. What is the straight dope?
#2
Old 11-29-2011, 12:59 PM
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i find the infrared quartz heater, where you see the tubes and they are fully exposed (behind a wire guard), to be useful for heating a person within a few feet of them, even in low humidity. they don't heat the air very effectively especially in low humidity.
#3
Old 11-29-2011, 01:43 PM
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The advantage of an infrared heater is you can target the heat very precisely. They won't heat a whole room very well, but they can heat the very small portion of the room where a person has to be. If you're staying in one spot, that's just as good, and since you're not even trying to heat the rest, it takes less energy.
#4
Old 11-29-2011, 01:52 PM
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I hope you don't mind if I piggyback a second question onto your thread: What is the most economical heater for heating an entire room? (3 people, not seated next to each other, all cold.)

We keep our thermostat at 55F because if we go higher we can't afford our heating bills. We have oil heat in the house. But it would be nice to be able to warm up the living room during the evening when we're all three of us in there.
#5
Old 11-29-2011, 02:26 PM
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Well, a 1,800 watt electric space heater will cost about $0.30 / hour in Boston, at full blast. I'm not sure there are too many other options. If you run it an hour a day that's $9 / month. If your living room is well-insulated and free of drafts that might work okay. Make sure you put towels under doorways and such.
#6
Old 11-29-2011, 02:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Man In Black View Post
My parents are thinking about getting a heater like this: http://sportsmansguide.com/net/c....aspx?a=904121
That infrared heater is $180, which seems like a lot, although it comes in a cool wooden box and has an air filter. You can get much cheaper space heaters on Amazon or at a local store. I have one that I bought from Target for about $40.
#7
Old 11-29-2011, 02:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Absolute View Post
Well, a 1,800 watt electric space heater will cost about $0.30 / hour in Boston, at full blast.
I believe a heat pump is much more efficient from a output heat/input watt perspective than a resistance heater (space heater), as long as outdoor temperatures are moderate. You're limited to 1W out /1W in with a space heater.

They're not as portable, however.

Last edited by YamatoTwinkie; 11-29-2011 at 02:38 PM.
#8
Old 11-29-2011, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by YamatoTwinkie View Post
I believe a heat pump is much more efficient from a output heat/input watt perspective than a resistance heater (space heater), as long as outdoor temperatures are moderate. You're limited to 1W out /1W in with a space heater.

They're not as portable, however.
Isn't that something that needs to be installed? We rent and we're only living here until next July...
#9
Old 11-29-2011, 02:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OpalCat View Post
I hope you don't mind if I piggyback a second question onto your thread: What is the most economical heater for heating an entire room? (3 people, not seated next to each other, all cold.)

We keep our thermostat at 55F because if we go higher we can't afford our heating bills. We have oil heat in the house. But it would be nice to be able to warm up the living room during the evening when we're all three of us in there.
Kerosene or propane.

A small radiant kerosene heater will heat the people around it first, the room second. Kerosene hasn't gone up in price in my area in about three years (if you can find it) and is still one of the most economical means to heat your home.

I own this heater, and can vouch for it. It can be placed against a wall which is quiet handy.

It'll run about 12 hours on a tank (1 gallon) of kerosene, but you don't run it continuously in most cases.

Here is the go to man for questions about Kerosene heaters btw: The Wick Guy

For propane, I've used the Mr. Heater Buddy and for portability it can't be beat. It runs off of either the 1lb. propane cylinders or a large propane tank you use for a gas grill.

Last edited by Bloodless Turnip; 11-29-2011 at 02:54 PM.
#10
Old 11-29-2011, 03:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OpalCat View Post
I hope you don't mind if I piggyback a second question onto your thread: What is the most economical heater for heating an entire room? (3 people, not seated next to each other, all cold.)

We keep our thermostat at 55F because if we go higher we can't afford our heating bills. We have oil heat in the house. But it would be nice to be able to warm up the living room during the evening when we're all three of us in there.
a quartz infrared heater warms people within a few feet of it. 1, 2 or 3 of these will keep your group warm. the type where you see the whole heating tube work best, they can be found for about maybe $50 (USA).

use them only when a person is sitting within the range they can feel the heat. they have high and low setting. great comfort for a situation like yours at lower cost and higher safety.
#11
Old 11-29-2011, 03:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bloodless Turnip View Post
Kerosene or propane.

A small radiant kerosene heater will heat the people around it first, the room second. Kerosene hasn't gone up in price in my area in about three years (if you can find it) and is still one of the most economical means to heat your home.

I own this heater, and can vouch for it. It can be placed against a wall which is quiet handy.

It'll run about 12 hours on a tank (1 gallon) of kerosene, but you don't run it continuously in most cases.

Here is the go to man for questions about Kerosene heaters btw: The Wick Guy

For propane, I've used the Mr. Heater Buddy and for portability it can't be beat. It runs off of either the 1lb. propane cylinders or a large propane tank you use for a gas grill.
I wouldn't run any combustion heater inside a closed room. I thought those things are meant for heating garages, workshops, etc.
#12
Old 11-29-2011, 03:24 PM
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So they don;t really heat an entire room then? Just whichever way it is facing then, right?

And are those Edenpure heaters any good? Or just hype?
#13
Old 11-29-2011, 03:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Absolute View Post
I wouldn't run any combustion heater inside a closed room. I thought those things are meant for heating garages, workshops, etc.
I have been running kerosene heaters in every home I've lived in all my life.

Did you know if you breathe enough in an actual airtight room, it'll eventually run out of oxygen? Thing is, very few homes are airtight.

A very small cracked window is all you need to get enough fresh air, in any case.

The little propane heaters come with a low oxygen safety shutoff.
#14
Old 11-29-2011, 03:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Absolute View Post
I wouldn't run any combustion heater inside a closed room. I thought those things are meant for heating garages, workshops, etc.
Yeah I think I'd be wary of bringing kerosene or propane into the house. Especially with cats. Wouldn't they smell, too?
#15
Old 11-29-2011, 04:22 PM
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I use one of these in my basement and have it set about 6 feet away from my sectional. Heats of the TV viewing area quit nicely and the rest of the room does get a little warmer (but not much). The basement is about 800 square feet; I imagine one of these would work well in a small living room of about 15 feet x 20 feet.

Last edited by Si Amigo; 11-29-2011 at 04:23 PM.
#16
Old 11-29-2011, 04:26 PM
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No, a properly running kerosene heater doesn't smell as much as a scented candle. It only produces any smell when lighting or turning off.

A properly running propane heater doesn't smell at all.

My cats lay directly in front of mine where the floor has been warmed toasty.

I can heat my place for very little a month running kerosene, but it certainly isn't for everyone.
#17
Old 11-29-2011, 06:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bloodless Turnip View Post
My cats lay directly in front of mine where the floor has been warmed toasty.
Mine do the same in front of my propane heater.
#18
Old 11-30-2011, 03:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OpalCat View Post
Yeah I think I'd be wary of bringing kerosene or propane into the house. Especially with cats. Wouldn't they smell, too?
If we're talking about kerosene fan heaters like these, they are very safe - there are no exposed hot surfaces, and they turn off automatically if bumped or tipped over. The odor is barely noticeable.

But if we're talking about something like this, they may be more dangerous, I don't know - I have no experience with these.

Last edited by scr4; 11-30-2011 at 03:26 AM.
#19
Old 11-30-2011, 04:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OpalCat View Post
I hope you don't mind if I piggyback a second question onto your thread: What is the most economical heater for heating an entire room? (3 people, not seated next to each other, all cold.)
We use one of those oil-filled radiator gizmos in the bedroom and it does a good job of maintaining an even, warm temperature throughout the room over time. It takes a while to get going if you start it up in a cold room, but left on it is wonderful.

In the bathroom, we use a mica panel heater because it is much faster to heat up nearby areas (and in the bathroom, everything is nearby). With the oil-filled one, we'd have to turn it on an hour or so before hand to warm things up.

This just leaves the lightning-fast run across the cold hallway from the bathroom to the bedroom.

Quote:
We keep our thermostat at 55F because if we go higher we can't afford our heating bills. We have oil heat in the house.
I know exactly what you mean. I have a 1920's house, brick with no insulation, and oil heat installed in the 50's by the most incompetent people ever - there are four 50-foot long 4" pipes in the basement piping water to the radiators, powered by an oil burner we call "The Beast". Left to its own devices, The Beast would burn 1000 gallons a month and keep the basement (only) toasty warm.
#20
Old 11-30-2011, 09:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scr4 View Post
If we're talking about kerosene fan heaters like these, they are very safe - there are no exposed hot surfaces, and they turn off automatically if bumped or tipped over. The odor is barely noticeable.

But if we're talking about something like this, they may be more dangerous, I don't know - I have no experience with these.
Those little Japanese Kerosene heaters are not sold in the U.S. unfortunately. I hear they are fantastic. We've been so thoroughly frightened away from kerosene heat in this country, it's really a shame.
#21
Old 11-30-2011, 10:07 AM
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combustion of fuels consumes oxygen and produces carbon monoxide (deadly) or if burned completely (which isn't what inexpensive consumer devices do) carbon dioxide (which doesn't support life).

you have cases where people use small combustion heaters indoors and claim no problem. you also have do the same and die, especially when used long hours like when sleeping.

people that are safety nuts like fire departments advise against them for use in living spaces.

newer style quartz infrared heaters are very safe when used as directed and efficient.
#22
Old 11-30-2011, 10:38 AM
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johnpost,

People all over the world have been using kerosene heaters, for centuries. We haven't had any mass fires or die outs each winter that I'm aware of.

Candles are also dangerous, and some people use them claiming no problem - yet every year some people use them and die as a result.

Newer style quartz infrared heaters heat only the person sitting right in front of them, not the room around them. They are useless for keeping pipes from freezing, handy for keeping one or two stationary people warm. And to nitpick, quartz space heaters are no more efficient than any other electric space heater.

Back to the OP: For a breakdown of electric space heater costs go here. It gives you a nice visual of what costs what, in a general way.

Here is another site that helps you decide which type electric space heater might be the best for you.

Another good breakdown of what type heater to use in what situation.

Note:
Quote:
Important:
You should know, however, that while all electric space heaters can pose a fire hazard, metal-rod and quart radiant heaters can be particularly dangerous. The metal-rod heater can focus
too much heat in one place, while the quartz tube is fragile and easily broken. As with all
space heaters, please use them carefully.
Scary stuff

Last edited by Bloodless Turnip; 11-30-2011 at 10:42 AM.
#23
Old 11-30-2011, 11:31 AM
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central heat keeps pipes from freezing yet the air be well below the human comfort zone, that is what seems to be the topic.

radiant infrared quartz heaters are more efficient for heating people in their vicinity because you are feeling the radiation directly. you can feel warm and still have the air temperature well below the human comfort zone, the room can be 40F and you would feel warm.

there are people who die every winter, from nonlife supporting air, in the USA from using local indoor combustion for heat.

people elsewhere in the world who have only local indoor combustion have lived with it for generations and have dwellings that it can be done in and know how to do it without dying.

open unattended candles are a hazard, people do die from that situation. yet people can live a long life while being stupid and hazardous because of good luck.
#24
Old 11-30-2011, 12:13 PM
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Ok, so if I'm irrationally afraid of liquid/gas fueled heaters, what is the next best thing for heating a whole room, rather than just what's in front of it?

We have one of those parabolic dish heaters, and we have something kind of like this with white tubes/bars in it that heat up and glow orange, but both of those heaters are very directional. When all three of us are in the living room, we would need a heater with a 180 range to hit all of us, based on where we sit.

Also, if you can take into account how much it would cost to run the heater, that would be good. We can't afford something that's an electricity hog. Right now we dress in layers, use throw blankets, wear hats, and I wear fingerless gloves while I'm on the computer.
#25
Old 11-30-2011, 12:21 PM
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The oil-filled radiator gizmos mentioned by Terry Kennedy might be a good fit for you OpalCat.

Like this one.

That model is 1600W. So it's 1.6 Kilowatts/hr I believe. You would need to see how much your power company charges per Kwh to figure out your costs.
#26
Old 11-30-2011, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by OpalCat View Post
We have one of those parabolic dish heaters, and we have something kind of like this with white tubes/bars in it that heat up and glow orange, but both of those heaters are very directional. When all three of us are in the living room, we would need a heater with a 180 range to hit all of us, based on where we sit.

Also, if you can take into account how much it would cost to run the heater, that would be good. We can't afford something that's an electricity hog. Right now we dress in layers, use throw blankets, wear hats, and I wear fingerless gloves while I'm on the computer.
i have something similar though a taller unit with 2 tubes. it has a high (1500W, both tubes) or low (700W, one tube) and a continuously adjustable thermostat control which controls how long the tube provides heat (from continuously on to on for part of a minute and off for part of a minute). set it to give the amount of heat that keeps you comfortable.

i find it good being 2 to 6 feet away in front of it. if people are farther away or multiple directions then you may need more than one.

dressing as you do is a help. lightweight long underwear worn indoors is a help.
thermally reflecting socks (shiny fabric woven in, no thicker than a usual sock) is a great help. felt boot liners (for snow boots) can be used indoors for great effect.
#27
Old 11-30-2011, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by johnpost View Post
i have something similar though a taller unit with 2 tubes. it has a high (1500W, both tubes) or low (700W, one tube) and a continuously adjustable thermostat control which controls how long the tube provides heat (from continuously on to on for part of a minute and off for part of a minute). set it to give the amount of heat that keeps you comfortable.
That sounds just like ours. It has the same features--I'm just not sure what the numbers are for mine. I'm not sure if it even says (but I'm at work so I can't look at it now).
#28
Old 11-30-2011, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by OpalCat View Post

Also, if you can take into account how much it would cost to run the heater, that would be good. We can't afford something that's an electricity hog.
If you're only looking at electric resistance heat, everything is exactly the same, efficiency wise. Whether its a lightbulb, a toaster, the television, an oil filled radiator, the electric stovetop on the oven, or a space heater, they all put out (almost) exactly the same heat for the amount of power that they draw. So there's really no need to worry about which one is an "electricity hog" - as they all waste exactly the same. Some may be more powerful than others, but that just means that you'll need it less.

The only thing that separates them is the amount that they concentrate the heat -a parabolic dish or a fan work well for this. They're still putting out the same amount of heat for every watt that they draw, but just focusing it on a smaller area. This works well if everyone is stationary in one area, but not so well for heating a whole room, ceiling to floor. But even if you have multiple people, buying a parabolic dish heater or (even better) electric blanket for everyone is still going to be better for your power bill than buying one big space heater, as the heat is still concentrated only where its needed.

The only things that are generally going to be more efficient than electrical resistance heat are heaters that burn fuel directly, or a heat pump (A/C operating in reverse).
#29
Old 11-30-2011, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by YamatoTwinkie View Post
If you're only looking at electric resistance heat, everything is exactly the same, efficiency wise. Whether its a lightbulb, a toaster, the television, an oil filled radiator, the electric stovetop on the oven, or a space heater, they all put out (almost) exactly the same heat for the amount of power that they draw. So there's really no need to worry about which one is an "electricity hog" - as they all waste exactly the same. Some may be more powerful than others, but that just means that you'll need it less.
I had no idea. Thanks for the info.
#30
Old 12-01-2011, 06:01 PM
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I have a little heater that I got at Lowe's for about $80. It looks like a small freestanding woodstove, with fake flames and everything (cracks me up), and has a small fan that circulates the warm air. It heats my small living room (12x14) quite well, even with the vaulted ceiling (which opens into the kitchen). I can only run it for short periods of time until it gets too warm. Certainly worth checking out--it's nice to have the heat circulate enough that you don't have to sit right in front of it to stay warm. I wasn't able to link to it but someone else may be able to...
#31
Old 12-01-2011, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Bloodless Turnip View Post
That model is 1600W. So it's 1.6 Kilowatts/hr I believe.
To be precise, it's 1.6 kilowatt-hours per hour. So if you pay $0.15/kwh, it will cost $0.24 per hour to operate.
#32
Old 12-02-2011, 10:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Xema View Post
To be precise, it's 1.6 kilowatt-hours per hour. So if you pay $0.15/kwh, it will cost $0.24 per hour to operate.
Numbers like this are only relevant if the unit doesn't have a thermostat or the thermostat is set so high that the unit will never cycle off. Otherwise, the actualy consumption will be lower, as a factor of the "duty cycle" (on/off ratio).

If you have to set the thermostat that high, you need a heater with higher output (or one that can direct its output to where you are instead of the whole room).
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