Space Heaters

What you need to know about Space Heaters

Space Heaters are medium to large sized portable Electric, Diesel, Propane or Paraffin powered Heaters, & provide more warmth than heaters designed for home use. They are usually employed in commercial contexts such as garages, warehouses & workshops, or any professional setting in which a relatively large, enclosed space requires heating. Generally they will be used when central heating is unavailable, or where a specific area requires additional warmth. The majority of Space Heaters are fitted with a fan which circulates air past a heated element & spreads it around the room, to ensure that the desired temperature is achieved rapidly (much like Fan Heaters used at home, only more powerful). Infrared Space Heaters emit harmless infrared radiation, which gently but effectively heats the surfaces it comes into contact with (again, much like the home varieties of Infrared Heater). The most inexpensive models of Space Heater are simple Propane Burners, with inbuilt reflective surfaces to redirect thermal rays outwards from the heater.

Most Space Heaters require connection to an electric power source to power the inbuilt fan. However, the energy source for the heating element varies between Electric, Diesel, Paraffin & Propane (often with the option to use either Diesel or Paraffin). Electric Space Heaters are less intensive, & will be preferred in small unventilated environments, where carbon monoxide emissions may pose a hazard. Diesel & Paraffin Space Heaters are larger, & are more suitable where large areas need to be heated effectively, as are Propane Fan Heaters. Propane Burner Space Heaters do not require a nearby power source, & can be connected to a propane canister & used anywhere, like a camping stove. Therefore they will be a good choice if portability &/or price are priorities. Look for a model with an inbuilt thermostat if you want to maintain a desired temperature without having to turn your heater on & off manually.

The most important specification to pay attention to with Space Heaters is their BTU output per hour. BTU's are British Thermal Units, & a high BTU per hour rating corresponds to greater heating capacity. A single BTU is equivalent to 293 Watts, or 1055 Joules. The larger the volume of the space you need to heat, or the greater the temperature increase you want to effect, the higher the BTU/hour rating of your Space Heater should be. Assuming you are heating a space with an ordinary ceiling height, & an ordinary level of insulation, it takes 30-35 BTU/hour per square foot to heat a building in warm weather, & 50-60 BTU/hour per square foot to heat a building in cold weather. You can find BTU Calculators online to give you a more precise estimate of how powerful a Space Heater you will need.

Tips for using your Space Heater

Space Heaters can be expensive to run in the long term if used in an improperly insulated environment. More insulation permits less heat to be lost, which means that the heater will have to be run less often. Avoid touching the heater during use, & keep it at least a few feet away from curtains, upholstery or any flammable substances. Do not allow water or other fluids to come into contact with the heater. Propane, Paraffin & Diesel powered heaters are not suitable for use in small, unventilated rooms, as this can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, which prevents oxygen from being absorbed by the body. Have the heater serviced by a qualified technician annually to ensure that combustion remains efficient & emissions are kept to a minimum.

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