As colder weather sets in, space heaters typically make their way out of storage and into homes. Space heaters are a matter of convenience. They allow you to supplement your heating in the draftiest rooms of your home or provide heat where there may be none in spaces like garages and sunrooms. But they come with lower efficiency and a higher risk of fire.
How Much Electricity Does A Space Heater Use?
Space heaters can provide a very direct source of heat for small areas, sometimes at a lower cost than other sources. If you’re looking for heat under a desk while you work, or confined to a very small part of a room, they can be quite inexpensive. A Consumer Reports test of electric space heaters found the following:
- Space Heaters consume about 1500 Watts per hour.
- Cost of watts per hour vary, but averages are about $0.15 / hr
- Cost per day averages around $2.50 per day (not including sleeping hours, which is hazardous)
Recognizing Space Heater Fire Hazards
The top issue with space heaters is that they are a huge fire safety hazard. Different types of space heaters present a variety of dangers including fire, burns, air depletion, and introduction of combustibles to air in the living space.
According to the US Department of Energy and their work with the Consumer Product Safety Commission:
- 25,000 residential fires every year are linked to space heater use
- More than 300 deaths result from these fires
- About 6,000 people visit the emergency room for burn injuries linked to space heaters
Can a Space Heater Catch On Fire?
The Ohio Fire Chiefs’ Association warns against plugging space heaters into extension cords to avoid overheating and a fire hazard as they aren’t built to handle the amount of energy needed to power them.
The Nashville Fire Department’s Fire Marshal Division notes that these fires can be avoided and recommends:
- Maintaining a distance for all objects of at least 3 feet from any heat source. This would include paper, fabrics, curtains, blankets and more
- Always turning off space heaters when going to bed or even leaving the room
- Regularly testing your smoke alarms so they can be ready to come to your aid
The Ductless Heating Solution to Replace Space Heaters
Ductless heating systems are gaining popularity in Nashville-area homes and are paving the way of future HVAC systems with their functionality, convenience, energy-efficiency, and financial savings.
What is Ductless Heating and Cooling?
Ductless HVAC systems, also known as ductless mini split systems, provide both heat and AC without the use of a duct system. It is a year-round solution that allows you to control the temperature of individual rooms with a remote control, providing greater overall efficiency than space heaters.
How Does a Ductless Mini Split Work?
Mini-splits have one outdoor unit that is connected by wiring with one or more indoor units. Each indoor unit resides in the room you need to heat or cool and is controlled by its individual remote. Refrigerant circulates between the indoor and outdoor units.
This system setup and the level of control are what makes them one of the most efficient HVAC systems available. Where a space heater can provide heating for a small area, a ductless unit can heat an entire room in the winter, then seamlessly switch gears to provide AC during the hot months.
You can control the temperature setting (heat, cool, dry, or auto), fan speed, and direction of airflow for the room(s) you use the most and not waste energy heating or cooling those you are not occupying.
How Ductless Mini Splits Outshine Space Heaters
Installing a ductless mini-split has its pros and cons just like any other HVAC system. The Department of Energy again provided a breakdown to help you see them clearly and make the best decision for your Nashville home, and we added a few of our own to the list.
The Pros of Ductless Units
- Ductless systems both heat and cool
- Size and flexibility for zoning or heating/cooling individual rooms
- Easy install with little more than a 3-inch hole in the wall for the conduit
- Up to 50 feet between indoor and outdoor units
- Energy efficient (~30% is typically lost through ducts)
- Installation placement options, including ceiling suspension, mounting flush into a drop ceiling, wall-mounting, and floor-standing
- Saves space
- Retrofit capable for spaces without ducts like sunrooms, garages, additions, and small areas
- Quiet operation
Considerations to Keep in Mind
- Investment runs higher than space heaters
- Must be properly sized and installed or can result in short-cycling or expensive operating costs
- Regular maintenance required, but Do It Yourself options exist. If skipped, it will need a professional cleaning.
FAQ’s About Space Heaters and Ductless Systems
Space heaters require much more energy to heat a large space than a heat pump or furnace and, therefore, cost more. In order for a space heater to be the most economical choice, you would need to shut off the heat for the rest of your living space and occupy smaller spaces. This strategy would mean you run the risk of frozen pipes, which could cause a whole host of other and expensive issues.
Yes. Easy installation, energy efficiency, low operating costs, quiet operation, and approx. 20 year life expectancy make ductless mini splits worth it for your home and your finances in the long run.
They can. When considering a house with an older HVAC system or no HVAC system at all, having a ductless mini split could shift the scales to a higher value. Plus their efficiency and ability to control only the rooms you occupy most just add to the equation.
Ductless HVAC for Your Home This Winter
As you weigh your options for heating and cooling your home, leave behind the common routine of dragging out the space heaters in winter and the fans and portable AC units in summer. Consider choosing the safer and more efficient solution of a Nashville ductless heating installation.