Heating System Guides

Consumer Buying Guides to Home Heating and Air Conditioning Systems

Space Heaters or Portable Heating Systems

One of the easiest ways to break the chill in a small area are with space heaters. Space heaters or portable heating systems are used in most homes to provide supplemental or emergency heating.  This type of home heating is not efficient if used to heat an entire home. However, when the equipment makes it possible to turn down the primary heat in the home and only heat occupied space to a comfortable level, the use of less energy overall is very possible.

In addition, every home, especially in cooler climates, should have some form of heating that can be used in an emergency.  If used correctly, space heaters and portable heating systems can be an effective and useful part of a home’s heating equipment.

Types of Space Heaters and Portable Heating Systems

Here are the most common types of equipment used to provide space heat, supplemental heat or emergency heat.

Kerosene Heaters – Small kerosene heaters can create a lot of heat quickly. They also produce light.  Most models can provide all the heat needed in small homes or large rooms.  They can certainly provide supplemental heat too.

Kerosene heaters are affordable and efficient.  They burn cleanly and do not produce carbon monoxide so are safe for indoor use. They do, however, use up oxygen so having a window opened slightly is a good practice.

Propane Heaters – Some of these products can also be safely used indoors with a small amount of fresh air added to the room to replace oxygen. Be sure to check before you buy one that it is rated for indoor use. They are lightweight, efficient and clean-burning.  As detailed at the Energy Savers website, most propane space heaters or portable heaters operate off of one-pound propane bottles or can be converted for use with a 20-pound bottle.  Both propane and kerosene portable heaters are an outstanding source of supplemental and emergency heat.

Electric Space Heaters – Common in bedrooms, offices and bathrooms, electric space heaters can provide enough heat to make a room comfortable that is inadequately heated by the primary heat source in the home.  There are many different types and styles of electric space heater, including popular Amish heaters that use infrared heat elements housed in a nice wood cabinet.

Electric space heaters are not cost-effective for large rooms but can be useful when they supply a limited amount of heat in a confined space. To add heat to one room, it may be more cost-effective to run a space heater than to turn up the heat for the entire home.  Requiring an energy source, electric space heaters can be used during a power outage only if a generator is available to power them. If you choose a small electric portable heater, look for Energy Star products that are more efficient.

Summary, in limited use, portable heating systems such as electric space heaters, kerosene or propane heaters can be an essential part of home heating.  The equipment is usually very affordable and the portability makes it easy to move to where the supplemental or emergency heat is required.