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Electric Room Heaters

The simplest way to heat a single room is by using an electric heater. They are the easiest type of heater to install because they can be mounted to the wall and do not require any venting to the outside. Electricity is a reliable and clean source of energy, and electric heaters require very little maintenance. However, even though these heaters are often the least expensive to buy, they can be the most costly to operate, and even the largest models produce only about 24,000 BTUs of heat, far less than other types of heaters.

If you are thinking about installing an electric room heater, consider the following:

  • One type of electric heater uses a fan to force air over electric resistance coils and into the room. Other popular types heat by radiation or by creating a natural convective current. Electric baseboard styles will need clear space at the foot of the wall. All these electric heaters are available in sizes from 500 to 8000 watts.
  • Electric infrared heaters are also available. Small models (1000 watts) can provide spot heating, but it takes several of these units to heat an entire room.
  • Electric heat pumps are another option. These are installed in the wall of the room just like an air conditioner. They extract heat from the outside air and transfer it indoors. They can produce 7000 to 15000 BTUs. Heat pumps work best in moderate climates where it does not get bitterly cold, but their performance can be enhanced if they are manufactured with auxiliary electric coils which operate in colder weather. Heat pumps can also cool the air on hotter days.

Smaller size electric heaters can run on 120 volts,

but larger models require 240 volts, which may not be available in all rooms of a house (240 volt circuits are usually run only to kitchens and laundry rooms to supply high wattage appliances such as electric stoves and washing machines). Because of their high current demands, these heaters will need a dedicated circuit.

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