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Space heater suggestions?
Old 04-19-2008, 01:08 PM   #1
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Space heater suggestions?

I get heat and hot water as part of my rent, and have no control over the heat other shutting off the radiator valve if it gets too hot.

So I get up this morning, it's 34 degrees outside my apartment, maybe 45 inside but I don't have a guage to be certain of that. I'm wearing a fleece and a jacket and a watch cap and two pairs of wool socks. Next week I will get some of those Scandinavian Booties for house wear.

Just now it is trying to decide if the stuff coming from the sky will continue as hail, or become coarse snow.

I call the resident manager, thinking he will want to know that the heat is not working.

Guess what? It is spring, so he turned it off. It will come on again sometime next fall, deal with it.

What space heater is best? Our electricity is cheap, so it will be fine to warm me up while I am at the computer or watching TV or reading on the couch. I could move it into the bathroom when I shower so I don't freeze when I get out. At least there is plenty hot water. I have modern wiring with plenty capacity.

How about those oil filled radiators? I won't need it or use it when I am away from the apartment, or at night as I have really warm blankets and like to sleep cold anyway.

I want to go get one this afternoon if possible!

Ha
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Old 04-19-2008, 01:23 PM   #2
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the oil filled are probley the best of the lot but i have never found any of these 1500 watt and under heaters to do very much in a normal size room. they need to run for hours generally to accomplish much.... i use one in our vacation home in the winter at night. i set the main stat on the heat for the house to 63 and use our portable baseboard in the bedroom...... with the door closed and an hour or 2 head start it gets comfy. same heater in our basement by my computer is useless
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Old 04-19-2008, 01:36 PM   #3
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Your two major choices are a unit that heats the air or one that provides radiant heat.
- The oil filled heaters heat the air, though if you sit realy close you'll get some radiant heat. All the small cheap heaters that have a fan are convection heaters.

- The radiant heaters have a reflector and you feel the heat instantly if your are fairly nearby (within 5-10 feet). Your side facing the heater will get toasty, but the leeward side might remain cool. The radiant heater will also heat the room eventually (since it is heating up the objects in the room, which will warm the air), but it will take quite awhile to see the temperature in the room go up.

Radiant heaters tend to be a little more expensive.

We have two Patton-brand radiant heaters (with dual quartz elements) that also have a small fan in them. they have worked reliably for over 3 years, have a handle so they are easy to carry, and they aren't ugly, either.

Based on your described need, I think I'd go with a small radiant heater, unless your rooms are small and well insulated, in which case a convection heater might actually do the job of warming the room. But, due to the time of year, you may not have many choices when you get to the store (but what they have on the shelf might be on sale)

Be advised that any 1500 watt heater puts quite a load on a circuit, and you'll be popping breakers/fuses if you put other high-load stuff on the same circuit.
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Old 04-19-2008, 02:31 PM   #4
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Old 04-19-2008, 03:46 PM   #5
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I bought this several years ago (at ACE Hardware):

WINDCHASER - PRODUCTS - HEATERS

The heat is focused and immediate and it has a timer on it.

I mainly use it on winter mornings while the house is warming from 50F to 60F.
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Old 04-19-2008, 04:13 PM   #6
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Update- heaters are pretty well sold out- but my son brought a Honeywell cermaic over that is helping immensely.

Also, looks like this will get turned around. Res manager misunderstood the message to him from the contract manager. The boiler is broken, a guy is working on it now, but it may be some time as he is having trouble getting this old system figured out. Also says parts may be an issue.

But I am starting to warm up- I took off one jacket and my hat!

Thanks for all your suggestions.

Ha
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Old 04-19-2008, 04:50 PM   #7
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Ha...the law requires your landlord to provide you with adequate heat.

By the way, your oven is probably a perfectly good supplier of heat, as are your cooktops. If they're gas, you dont want to overdo it due to CO, but if they're electric, fire away. You've got a 99.9% efficiency electric heater already in the kitchen. Small fan to distribute and you're good to go.

The oil filled radiators are really safe and really nice for gentle longer term heater boosts. Some of them "ping" when they heat up and cool down, so get a good one.

The radiant "dish" models are also pretty nice. Basically they only heat what they point at, and not the air in between. Cheap and fairly efficient for heating one thing, particularly if the one thing is just one person. Set it in front of your chair about 4' away and point it in your direction. Immediately, you'll be warm. Can also be used on a patio or garage to warm you up when its cold outside. One of my wifes favorite things for the early spring and late fall, and comes in handy when I'm working in the garage for a couple of hours in mid winter.

Kerosene and electric ceramic heaters can blast out a lot of hot air. They're a bit more risky IMO and can be very costly.

We keep a radiant dish and two medium size oil filled radiators in our spare room. Between the oven, two fireplaces and a radiator in our room and Gabes, no problems with being toasty warm.

I think the dish and the radiators were all about $40 each. All the hardware stores and department stores clearanced their heaters a month or two back at the end of the winter, so any bargain basement stores might have some overstocks.
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Old 04-19-2008, 07:06 PM   #8
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Note that none is more efficient than any other. That is, they are all 100% efficient (all energy converted to heat).

If it directs heat at you, you'll feel warmer than with others.

The law requires that all are 1500 watts or less.

You'll find tons at garage sales, rummage sales, and thrift shops.
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Old 04-19-2008, 08:52 PM   #9
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Note that none is more efficient than any other. That is, they are all 100% efficient (all energy converted to heat).
Well sure, once you subtract any ducting losses, drafts and any requirements to bring stuff other than you up to warm temps...like air and all the other stuff in the room.

A radiant dish is fully efficient as is a ceramic heater in the same room. Pointed right at you the radiant dish will feel warm immediately. The ceramic blower will make you feel cold and the room drafty until the room temps are high. An oil filled radiator right next to your chair or bed will feel warm and toasty almost right away as it radiates heat and provides circulated heat slowly throughout the room and its contents.

Turn your oven on to 350 and open the door, whole area will feel pretty dang warm in a short while

After that you just have to discuss cost/btu delivered. Elec vs gas vs kerosense. And the risk of burning your house up and/or stopping with the breathing thing.

One thing I learned from furnace shopping is there are two parts with an intersection...cost and comfort.
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Old 04-19-2008, 08:57 PM   #10
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An electric blanket or throw is also good for sitting on the couch or at the computer. Doesn't work so well when getting out of the shower, though a hot shower can warm up a small bathroom anyway.
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Old 04-19-2008, 09:01 PM   #11
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Or maybe its time to find something a touch nicer than a flophouse when the lease is up.
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Old 04-19-2008, 09:18 PM   #12
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I have found a good source of heat is a heated floor mat with a lap robe.

A cat on the lap is also a good source of heat.

Of course when you have to get up, you have to extract cat and lap robe.
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Old 04-19-2008, 09:24 PM   #13
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Hmm, another good use for a cookie sheet.
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Old 04-19-2008, 09:29 PM   #14
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The ceramic heaters are good for a small room, they don't work very well for a small part of a large space.
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Old 04-19-2008, 10:44 PM   #15
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A cat on the lap is also a good source of heat.

Of course when you have to get up, you have to extract cat and lap robe.
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Hmm, another good use for a cookie sheet.
Leave the poor cat alone CFB
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Old 04-20-2008, 05:36 AM   #16
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electricity generates heat at the rate of about 3.1 btu's per watt of electricity in any kind of resistance type heater. .

since most home outlets limit you to 1500 watts at 120v all the heaters are about the same output somewhere around 5000 btu's. . some couple themselves to the room radiantly, others by convection, some by trying to store a little extra heat in a fluid and dispense it a little slower after the heater is off but pretty much a btu is a btu.
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Old 04-20-2008, 06:34 AM   #17
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If you need one now, best look at Home Depot, Lowes, or Walmart quickly. They may have some end of season specials, but with the weather warming they won't be around much longer. We have had both ceramic and oil filled. Both do fine, ceramic warms faster, oil stays warm longer.
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Old 04-20-2008, 08:02 AM   #18
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Leave the poor cat alone CFB
Hey, if you've ever had a cat sitting in your lap kneading away with the claws out, you'll like a cookie sheet too!

Or at least a cup.
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Old 04-20-2008, 08:42 AM   #19
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I call the resident manager, thinking he will want to know that the heat is not working.

Guess what? It is spring, so he turned it off. It will come on again sometime next fall, deal with it.
Spring!!!!! Where on Earth do you live? Even in Denver, which is pretty far south, the last killing frost is May 15th. I would suggest that this "manager" needs a slap up side the head... except for the "resident" part. I would be curious to know what (s)he is using to offset mother nature or what extra incentive causes him/her to ignore this unnecessary suffering.
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Old 04-20-2008, 08:54 AM   #20
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Last fall I bought a "Calore Low Profile Heater" (portable baseboard) for our newly completed lower level assuming a boost might be needed for the coldest of nights. As it turned out, much to my delight, the home system kept it just a couple of degrees below the upper level negating the need for more heat.
I did try it in the 13 X 16 bedroom and after an hour it was quite a bit warmer.
About 40 bucks at Home Depot. Operates quietly and seems to be safe and sturdy. It has an auto or manual mode with a thermostat. A good backup unit for a bedroom size space.
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