Portable and installed

Electric heaters all work the same

no mater how much they cost .

A 50 cent light bulb works as good as a $100 oil filled heater 

There is a big myth (or urban legend if you will) running around that one electric space heater works better than another. For example that oil filled heaters (like Holmes / Delonghi / Windmere / Lakewood / Honeywell / Duracraft) work better than a cheap light bulb because they heat the oil and the oil keeps radiating after the power is removed by the thermostat.

    The truth is that all electric heaters are 100% efficient. It doesn't matter if it is a light bulb filament, a fancy quartz heater, the elements in your electric furnace, the elements in your electric hot water heater or your toaster. The fact is that 100% of the electrical energy is converted into heat and there is nothing you can do to increase or decrease that energy conversion.

    I get a big kick out of the expensive heater that are sold in the home improvement stores and home
improvement magazines. The only major difference is that some are much safer than other but NOT more efficient.

    A recent scam that I have seen are companies touting products based on their low power consumption such as eheat.com  that has a product chart where they rate in cost per hour instead of BTUs per hour or cost per energy. They also ignore the fact that on a fan forced heater the fan motor adds all of its energy to heating the room via "frictional loses" (anyone who tells you otherwise is lying and has flunked basic physics).

    Response from me to an uninformed customer who thinks I don't understand this product:

    ALL electric heat sources (anything that consumes electrical energy) turns 1000 watt hours of electricity into 3,400 BTUS. These products (Econoheat) work no better and no worse than anything else that consumes electric power. I have actually read about a heating device that uses light bulbs and a fan which is a fraud when you consider the price.

When you stop talking about watts (a rate) and start talking btus or watt hours (a quantity), this will make sense.


From the Econo-Heat Website:

                 Efficiency is determined by how well a heater works for the amount of
                 electricity it uses. Econo-Heaters use less electricity than any other heater on
                 the market for a given area. They draw in cold air from the floor of the room
                 and then circulate the air for free. Using added electricity to force the hot air
                 around a room would be inefficient. Added by Scott when reference to the fan: "Bull Shit!!!"

                 Econo-Heaters are designed to be mounted six inches off the floor and flush
                 with the wall. There is a one-inch air gap behind the heater into which cold air
                 is drawn. Because the gap is so small, the cold air is heated very quickly and
                 rises out of the small gap at the top of the panel. More cold air then rushes into
                 the gap behind the heater and the natural circulation of heated air continues.
                 This natural convection eliminates the needs for a fan, thus increasing the
                 heaters efficiency. Bull Shit again!!!

                  Economical To Run
                 Each Econo-Heat panel heater costs approximately 3 cents per hour to
                 operate. This compares to up to 18 cents per hour for fan and radiator heaters
                 and other forms of central heating systems (gas and electric). The attic blower
                 fan on most central heating systems draws more power than just one 425-watt
                 panel heater.  Btus are btus, no matter how fast or slow you make them!

    They are "lying with the truth". To put this in perspective, you could say that the distance you drive from point A to point B in your car would vary depending on how fast you drive it and how efficient your car is. The distance is the same.

    I contend that most winter house fires in major cities are caused by electric space heaters either overheating the wiring and outlets (aka receptacles) or setting the furnishings on fire if the tip switch fails. I am quite sure that the use of cheap 16 or 18 gauge extension cords is the cause of a lot of these fires. Even christmas lights get blamed for what is most likely space heaters or candles. Baseboard electric heaters that are wired into the house or building are much safer.

    I have looked at some of the electric space heaters on the market and it amazes me that in this sue
happy liability happy society that they make such crappy stuff. What is more amazing is that UL will
actually put their label on this crap. I am talking about plastic electric heaters that if the fan were to fail
and the high temperature cut out failed they would be a blob of melted plastic if they didn't set the house
on fire. I would recommend only using heaters that are made of metal and preferably with a 3 wire plug.
Actually I would prefer hard wired equipment rather that anything that gets plugged in to a 15 amp outlet.

    If you have an all electric house including electric baseboard heat you are doing the same thing if you run the light as if you run the heating system . In some cases you are better off running light bulbs because the heat from the light bulbs stays in your house. If you have an electric forced air system located in the attic or crawl space chances are you are loosing heat into the un heated area but the light bulbs keep the heat in the room.

    The advantage of a radiant heater is that it can heat just the objects in the room but not the air but all the heat eventually ends up in the room which is less costly.
A radiant floor system works the same way and is much safer although more expensive to install.

    If you pay 10 Cents per Kilowatt-hour, then any electric heat costs you $2.90 per therm (100,000 Btus). If you have a heat pump then it will be about 1/3 to 1/4 of that.

    Where electric heat can be of great benefit is if you live in a larger older home and you don't mind most of it being cold in the Winter, you can zone off all but the rooms you are using

 This page will be updated soon.

Some makers of electric heaters are: Holmes, Delonghi, Windmere, Intertherm, Lakewood, Honeywell, Duracraft,
Dayton (Grainger), Emerson Electric, Pelonis, Vornado, Marvin, Cadet, Modine, Slantfin, Bionaire,
Hamilton-Beach, Arvin, Broan, and others.

  1. Blower: usually a squirrel cage centrifugal air moving device. Will move large volumes of air relatively quiet. Will use less energy with more back pressure.
  2. Fan: a paddle type air moving device used where noise is not a major consideration. Will use more energy with more back pressure.
  3. Combustion blower: A blower used on high efficiency gas furnaces or oil burners to move combustion air. usually 1/20 to 1/6  horsepower.
  4. OEM: Original equipment manufacturer.
  5. Horsepower: 746 watts
  6. RPM: revolutions per minute.
  7. Service factor: the extent to which a motor can be safely overloaded beyond its name plate ratting without over heating.
  8. Air over horsepower: The rating of a motor assuming air flow through the windings usually as a result of the air moving device.
  9. SAE: Society of Automotive Engineers.
  10. High efficiency furnace: Furnace that uses over 85% of the energy in the gas.
  11. Condensing furnace: Gas furnace that uses over 92% of the energy in the gas and condenses the gas into liquid condensate and hot air. If your furnace has PVC pipe venting it then you have a condensing furnace. 
To learn about your oil furnace click here.
To identify the components of your gas furnace click here.
To find out more about fan and blower motors click here
To find out what controls the fan in the heat mode or proper settings
To get parts look to Grainger or Johnstone.
For a list of my supply houses in Maryland and nationwide.
If your heat pump forms ice outside in the heat mode click here.
If your air conditioner or heatpump ices up in the cooling mode click here.
If you have water leaking problems with your air conditioner  click here to solve it.
For other heat pump problems click here.
For other heating system problems click here.
 Any other questions feel free to contact us. good luck Scott.
    If you were looking for Ice Machine repairs click here.

Written By:  Scott Meenen N3SJH of:
Specializing in Mechanical, Controls and Electrical Modifications Of
Heating, Air-conditioning, Refrigeration, Cold storage,
Ice Production and Food preservation.
Anything having to do with Heat and Energy.
Serving MD, DC, and Northern VA.

Contact us

Email us at: jsmeenen@toad.net

                 This text written by: Scott Meenen * G & S Mechanical

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