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Space Heater or Central Heat? What’s the Difference?

Dec 8, 2023

This is the time of year when cold air sets in and seeps into our homes. Have you asked yourself whether you should use a space heater or central heat?

A space heater is a practical way to add warmth to an individual room. It can be costly to turn up the thermostat on your central heating system to keep your whole house comfy. Space heaters heat up a single space and can save you money on your energy bill.

It’s not a good idea to put a space heater in every room of your house as the cost of electricity to run them adds up. A furnace that’s fueled by natural gas is a more efficient and cheaper option to heat up multiple rooms at a time.

Space heaters can also supplement an inadequate central heating system. Here are some of the reasons to consider adding them to your abode.

Benefits of Space Heaters

The biggest benefit of a space heater is that it can be used to heat up just one room. This allows a person to turn down the central heat. A person who is home alone can use a space heater to warm up a home office, for instance. The other rooms in the home will cool off, but it won’t matter if no one is using them.

Types of Space Heaters

There are two primary types of electric space heaters. Radiant heaters emit infrared radiation that heats up nearby objects and people. Convection heaters circulate warm air and heat an entire room.

Choose a thermostatically controlled heater to avoid overheating and wasting energy. Look for a unit with a tip-over safety switch that will automatically turn it off if it’s knocked over. Always plug an electric heater directly into a wall outlet. Do not use an extension cord or power strip. Most modern space heaters have a cord with enough slack to let you put the device in a convenient spot and still reach an outlet.

Space Heater Electricity Usage

The energy consumption of space heaters varies depending on the model. The amount of wattage used directly impacts your electricity bill. A 1,500-watt heater will use twice the energy of a 750-watt heater and cost twice as much to operate. However, it will heat the space more efficiently.

Portable Heater Safety Tips

Buy a portable heater that fits the size of the room you want to use it in. Make sure your heater carries the Underwriter’s Laboratory, or UL, label. Place the device on a level surface away from foot traffic and flammable objects. Never leave a space heater on in an unoccupied room or while you are sleeping. Keep it out of wet areas like kitchens and bathrooms. Don’t plug another electrical device or an extension cord into the same outlet as a heater.

How to Stay Warm and Save Energy

A well-insulated home will stay warmer and cost less to heat. Seal any air leaks that occur around windows or cracks. Close the door of a room where a space heater is being used to keep the heat inside. Dress in layers. Wear wool socks and a sweater and use a blanket to keep warm when the heat’s down. Also, get your HVAC system checked to ensure it’s working properly.

Let Us Keep the Heat On

Will Air is a high-quality, residential, and light commercial heating and cooling company in Central Maryland. We specialize in HVAC systems, duct cleaning, and preventive planned maintenance. We service residential properties with the best equipment at the most affordable prices. Call us today at 410-549-9300 or visit us online to request a free estimate.

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  • Carroll County, MD
  • Howard County, MD
  • Frederick, MD
  • Baltimore County, MD
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5389 Enterprise Street, Suite F, Sykesville, MD 21784


Licensed & Insured: MD HVAC 3303 | WSSC FG7 | MD Gas Fitter License Number 92788

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