What you should know about portable heaters

October 15, 2014

If you’re looking to heat the chillier corners of your home this winter, consider portable heaters – both natural gas and electric. What are the benefits? Which one is right for you?

Central heating is the obvious choice for an entire home. But what about that family room you added on last summer? Or that room on the north side of the house that never seems to really warm up? How about the damp basement?

What you should know about portable heaters

Portable heaters are perfect for…

Many folks are choosing portable heaters for these and other areas that need a heating boost. In fact, portable heaters can be ideal for a number of situations:

  • Transitional seasons like spring or fall, when you have your central system off
  • Rooms often occupied by cold-loving people or the elderly
  • Cold snaps, when your central heater just can’t keep up
  • Single rooms occupied all day – leave the expensive central heat off and just heat one room

When you do choose to use a portable heater, you’ll notice a number of benefits. First of all, unlike central heating systems, you’ll never have to pay an installation fee. Just turn the unit on and it warms up! Furthermore, portable heaters are extremely efficient.

Safety features

If you purchase a portable heating unit, be sure it includes safety features such as tip-over switches and over-heat protection. Lack of these features can result in hazards such as fire. Remember that portable heaters are not designed for safe use in bedrooms or bathrooms.

Natural gas or electric portable heaters?

And speaking of purchasing portable heaters, should you buy a natural gas heater or an electric unit? Portable natural gas heaters can be elegant and decorative, with some of the more expensive models even boasting flame effects. Natural gas heaters, like their electric counterparts, come in a range of prices.

Natural gas portable heaters

Natural gas is, of course, the cleanest-burning, lowest-emission fossil fuel, and it offers the fastest heat. However, ventilation is of the utmost importance, since natural gas portable heaters emit potentially deadly carbon monoxide, nitrous dioxide and water vapour. It is recommended that at least one window be open to allow these fumes to escape, which would seem to defeat the purpose.

Electric portable heaters

Electric portable heaters tend to be less expensive than natural gas units, and they’re both cheaper and simpler to operate – just plug them in. There’s no changing of natural gas cylinders or bottles. Electric portable heating units do not emit potentially deadly gases or require an open window for ventilation.

Whether you choose a natural gas or an electric portable heater, be sure you know the hazards and benefits fully. Talk to your local HVAC professional today for advice.

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