How Much Energy do Space Heaters Use?Space heaters are typically not an efficient means of heating, especially compared to a central heat pump, geothermal heating, or solar energy. Small electric heaters can use about 3,000 watts (about 10,000 BTU/hr) and larger ones may use over 11,000 watts (about 40,000 BTU/hr). Fuel powered portable heaters are often less expensive to run, using about 2,300 watts (7,848 BTU/hr) to 4,100 watts (13,990 BTU/hr). Electricity is one of the most expensive energies to use to heat an area, costing about twice as much as natural gas to produce the same amount of heat.Compared to Other Heat Sources and AppliancesRunning an electric space heater that uses around 1,500 watts for 24 hours a day for a month would take about 1,070 kWh per month. In comparison, running a baseboard heater for the same amount of time would take between 100 and 500 kWh/month, while running a heat pump could use anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 kWh/month. It's important to remember, however, that a space heater can only heat a small area, while a heat pump can do the same for an entire house.In terms of comparisons to other household appliances, running a microwave takes about 25 watts (85 BTU/hr), while an oven uses about 5,000 watts (17,061 BTU/hr) and a refrigerator uses about 780 watts (2,672 BTU/hr). This means that a person could run a refrigerator for about four hours before using up the energy it would take to run a small space heater for one hour.Electric vs. Combustion HeatersSince fuels like natural gas are typically less expensive than electricity, combustion heaters are often less expensive to operate than electric models. Even so, they are not recommended for regular residential use since they require very good ventilation. Combustion heaters can produce poisonous fumes that build up and become a danger to people in the area if they aren't vented properly. They can run on natural gas, diesel, or kerosene, but never gasoline. Typically, these devices are only used in residential settings during an emergency power outage.Using Space Heaters Cost-EfficientlyEven though space heaters do consume a great deal of energy, in some situations they are both practical and cost efficient. With a central heaters, every room is heated equally, even if some rooms do not require the same amount of heat. The advantage of portable heating is that warmth is easily directed towards a single area. If the central heater is set to low temperature, and a single room or portion of a room is warmed with a portable heater, it can be more energy efficient than using the central unit.It is important to note that portable heaters are rated for specific room sizes. If a small heater is used in a large room, it will use a great deal of energy without providing enough heat. A large heater in a small space will use excessive energy and provide too much heat.
What are Air Source Heat Pumps?Air source heat pumps are highly efficient devices that use the heat gathered from the outside air to heat the inside of a building. Like other heat pump devices, an air source heat pump can reduce heating costs and lower the building's carbon footprint. Air source heat pumps require very little maintenance, and the operating costs are minimal after the initial expenses of purchase and installation.There are two kinds of heat pumps: air source and ground source. When the phrase "heat pump" is used, it generally is in reference to an air source heat pump. This is because the air source heat pump is the most common heat pump installation. Ground source heat pumps are more efficient than air source heat pumps, but the additional expenses for their purchase and installation is often prohibitive.The basic function of air source heat pumps is quite simple. A coolant liquid is pumped through the coils within the heat pump, and it transfers heat from a cooler area to a warmer area, using the warmer area as a heat sink. The outside coils of air source heat pumps gather or release heat depending on whether the thermostat control is set for heating or cooling.Air source heat pumps are used to heat buildings in the cooler months, but they also are used for cooling during warmer periods and, in the case of air-to-water systems, the system is also used for the production of hot water. The air source heat pump is considered to operate at 300-400 percent efficiency, meaning that it consumes one-third to one-fourth of the electrical energy used by typical electric heating units to produce the same amount of heat. Although air source heat pumps are not as efficient as ground source heat pumps, they are much more efficient than gas, oil or electric heating units.The outside coils of air source heat pumps are installed on an outside wall or concrete pad in a location where the unit has plenty of room for air movement. If the air source heat pump is installed in an area where the outside coils will be heated by the sun, it can further improve the unit's efficiency. Air source heat pumps can be installed in preexisting buildings, but installing the heat pump system during construction can minimize the total cost. By replacing existing heating systems with an air source heat pump in well-insulated homes, energy use can be reduced to the point of making the installation a cost-effective heating solution.
What is a Heat Pump?A heat pump is typically used to assist with heating and cooling systems both in the home and in commercial buildings. The device is designed to emanate cold or hot air when needed. A common example of this type of device is a refrigerator. In a refrigerator, a special working fluid is placed around the refrigeration circuit in order to operate the heat pump. The refrigeration circuit contains four elements: the condenser, evaporator, compressor, and expansion valve.As heat is drawn away from the source, the working fluid evaporates with the help of the evaporator. Heat is then released, resulting in the area being cooled down. As the heat is released to cool the air, the working fluid is condensed by the condenser. As this occurs, a reversing valve creates cool air and the direction of the working fluid is reversed in order to start the process over again. Just like with a refrigerator, a heat pump removes the heat from the source in order to keep a specific area cool.Heat pumps are generally used in locations where heating or cooling is needed, but where the current heat or cooling source is inadequate. Therefore,they are often used with space heating and cooling systems, with domestic and industrial dehumidification, and in the heating of domestic water. In standard heating applications, a heat pump separates the heat from various sources such as water, air, soil, and bedrock. In cooling applications, on the other hand, heat is discharged rather than separated. This device is the preferred choice in industrial and domestic settings where heating and cooling are needed because it uses less energy than electricity and other methods.There are several different heat pump types available, each with its own specific benefits. One of the most popular forms is the ground source heat pump. This does not have an external fan. Therefore, it is very quiet. In addition, it carries a lower risk of damage than models with external fans. It generally also has a life span of over forty years.