Space heaters come in different varieties. Various styles include conventional electric heaters, propane heaters, kerosene heaters and quartz infrared heaters. Quartz infrared heaters are now in high demand, even though the technology is not exactly new. Infrared heaters generate waves in the infrared section of the light spectrum. A light prism, or rainbow, reveals the colors that the human eye can see. Infrared and ultraviolet wave lengths are just beyond what the human eye can detect. Infrared heaters do not consume oxygen nor do they emit deadly carbon monoxide. Infrared heat is not an instant heat source. It warms the objects in the room, such as walls, ceilings and floors with infrared radiation. A room is not warmed from air circulation with an infrared heater. It may take up to a day for an infrared heater to bring a room up to a comfortable temperature.
Many people are under the impression that an infrared heater will replace their furnace, while drastically cutting their heating bill. A quartz infrared heater primarily functions as a supplemental heat source. It is not intended to replacing a furnace. While it may operate more efficiently than other space heaters, it is still a space heater.
An efficient supplemental heat source can reduce the total heating cost, depending on the type of supplemental heat source and how it is utilized. Manufactures that claim a quartz infrared heater reduces a heating bill by 50% are basing their claims on furnace on/off cycle counts. Even if using a space heater cuts the furnace on/off cycles in half for a given period of time, the cost of running the space heater must be added back into the total heating cost.
I purchased an infrared heater to provide supplemental heat while lowering my overall heating bill. The unit that I purchased is an iHeater, model IH1500W. It is 16" x 13" x 19" and weighs 22 lbs. The electrical specifications are 120V, 60 HZ and it consumes 600-1500 watts (depending on the setting). The heat output ranges from 2000BTU to 6000BTU. It includes a thermostat to set the operating temperature. Safety protections include overheat safety shut-down and a tip over safety switch. This particular unit can heat a space up to 1500 sq. ft and the expected life span is 60, 000 hours.
The manufacturer claims the infrared heater that I purchased will often operate for around $1.00 per day (this information is printed on the package). When I purchased my heater the outdoor temperature was starting to drop after the sun went down. I ran my new quartz infrared heater in the evenings and throughout the night. This was my only source of heat for the first month, bear in mind that the temperature was chilly, not freezing cold. My electric power bill for that month increased in the $30.00 range. I felt that this was a fair price to lower the chill factor for a whole month without having to turn on the furnace.
When the cold weather became more extreme I moved the infrared heater into the bedroom. The bedroom door remains closed most of the time. I am able to lower the furnace setting throughout the night and the bedroom temperature remains warm and cozy. Surprisingly, the heater does not constantly run overnight. Granted, as I write this article January and February are still left, however, December was a cold month this year so I feel that I am able to adequately gauge the heater’s performance.
My home has gas heat and there is only one thermostat in the main living area. In previous winters, I had to close off unused rooms and heat all other living spaces. All rooms remained the same temperature and the only alternative to lowering the heating bill was to lower the temperature throughout the entire house.
My infrared heater is cool to the touch, even after running for awhile. There is no flame to worry about. The tip over safety switch and overheat safety shut down also provides peace of mind. The furnace can be turned down when there is no one home. By leaving the bedroom door closed and the infrared heater turned on, the walls, ceiling, floor and all other objects in the room remain warm. I have found that a quartz infrared heater operates well within this environment.