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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Suburb Chicago
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    28

    Default Electric heaters

    What is the most economical electrical floor heater? i want to heat my sunroon, but don't want to have to pay a big ytlity bil to Com Ed every month. I live in illinois and iut gts down minus degree often. Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    554

    Default Re: Electric heaters

    A snide response to a search for a space heater could be don't buy one in the first place.

    They're a leading cause of home fires, especially if you have young children or active dogs that may tip over the unit; since they are electric, usually around 1500 watts, it is the most expensive way to heat a room.

    At approx. $1.50 to $2.00/day that adds up fast & can add $40 or $50 to your monthly elec. bill, if used regularly.

    What kind of central heat do you have; what is the square footage of the room; how high are the ceilings; how much square feet of glass; are the exterior walls insulated????

    A common rule of thumb is that the main heating system of gas or oil can heat the room for 1/2 the cost of an elec. heater---the problem is taking the time & expense to have extended conductors or ducting installed, and perhaps additional insulation---this usually pays for itself within a few years, while the elec. heater is an ongoing expense.

    If you post the info requested we can do a HEAT LOSS CALCULATION to determine the size of elec. heater you need, & if there is an alternative way of tying into the central heat.

    Another sensible option is to have a VENTED (vented to the outside thru the outside wall or a chimney--never install an unvented gas or oil heater) gas heater installed that will give you quicker heat at 1/2 the cost with less fear of a fire hazard; some of these don't need elec. to run, & thus serve as a good backup heat source if elec service is lost.

    Also check out the Oct. 2010 issue of Consumer Reports at your local library to get a rundown on the best performing elec. heaters.

    Honeywell HZ-817 for $70
    Kenwood HHP1500K $80
    SoleusAir HM2-15R-32 $80
    Vornado 500EHI-0032-28 $150

    These are mostly 1500 watt heaters intended for a room 15 X 10 or smaller with 8' ceilings & not too much window glass.
    Last edited by NashuaTech; 11-19-2010 at 11:43 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Suburb Chicago
    Posts
    28

    Default Re: Electric heaters

    Thanks for the iinformation. My sunroom is 18x12, with 8 foot ceiling. It has windowa from floorto ceiling on three sides and the fourth wall is attched to the hme which is brick. It is about 3 foot off he ground. the only insulation it has is what is in the Vinyle sheets and under the floor which I did with R-13 insulation.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    554

    Default Re: Electric heaters

    The heating/cooling needs of such a room with that much glass is well beyond the capacity of any portable heater.

    In regards to heat output, the portable heaters listed put out approx. 5,000 btu/hr; the btu/hr heat loss of such a sunroom is approx. 20,494 btu/hr; clearly, buying 4 portable elec. heaters doesn't make any sense.

    Depending on what you have in there now as any heating or cooling from your central system, (along with the heat gain you'll get from the sun during daylight hours), something more substantial will have to be done to get adequate heat/cooling in there.

    Consult the Yellow Pages under "Heating Contractors" & have several heating techs come over to make their suggestions and give a cost estimate on what should be done at a reasonable cost.

    Also Google "heating a sunroom" and "sunroom heating alternatives" (with and without the quotes) to get some good articles on what others have done.

    Problems in heating & cooling sunrooms are actually compounded by the sharp swings in temp due to solar heating on sunny days, and the sharp dropoff of heat on winter nites.

    Cooling during the summer runs into the same problems; heavy moveable curtains will certainly help to some degree.

    You didn't mention what type of central heat you have, but most systems don't have an extra 20k capacity to spare.

    There is also the issue of COOLING as well as HEATING; for this reason many contractors may suggest something like a mini-split AC that also heats the room; there are also PTAC units, which are basically reversible heat pumps; there are also thru-the-wall ACs in the 20k BTU/hr range that can both heat & cool.

    You will probably need something large costing in the $4k to $5k range at approx. 21k btu/hr to get & keep the room comfortable.

    Another alternative is more expensive; radiant floor heating, either electric or hydronic (water), but that would not provide cooling in the summer.
    Last edited by NashuaTech; 11-20-2010 at 01:41 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Pacific Northwet
    Posts
    1,598

    Default Re: Electric heaters

    For what it's worth, no resistance heater can be said to be more efficient than another of the same wattage. For every 1500 watt heater, it draws 1500 watts of p0wer and delivers 1500 watts of heat. In those terms, electric resistance heat is 100% efficient.

    That said, some heaters are more effective than others in that they provide a more constant heat and stable temperature, or that they direct heat only where it is needed.

    Fan-forced convection heaters excel at quickly heating up a space, but they do so by heating air and moving it around the room. The disadvantage is that the temperature in the room tends to fluctuate over a wider range, and you can end up with hot and cold spots in the room.

    Radiant heat can make you feel warm without spending the energy of heating up the air and everything else in the room, too. However, as soon as you turn it off, you might feel cold again. Any place the heat is not directed will be a cold spot.

    Oil-filled heaters are often termed "radiant," but the radiant output is lower than an infrared radiant. It also heats up the air and generates convection currents. An advantage is that they tend to keep the temperature fairly stable and prevent hot and cold spots. The disadvantage is they can take a long time to heat the room.

    Picking the right heater for your application, considering the pluses and minuses of each type, can make the heating more efficient by using the energy most effectively, saving you money.
    Last edited by Fencepost; 11-20-2010 at 07:17 PM.
    The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Suburb Chicago
    Posts
    28

    Default Re: Electric heaters

    Thank you for all yuor information. I recently called my AC/Furnace person and they said they have a gas heater for about $1300 and after hearing your advice it seems like this is the best way to go. Thanks again it helped.

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