Best Whole Room Space Heaters

Many space heaters are advertised as “whole room heaters” – but exactly how big is a whole room? One possible answer can be found in the Vornado heater manual which describes a whole room, relative to the heater’s capacity, as 16′ x 16′ with an 8′ ceiling. These dimensions work out to 256 sq. ft. and 2048 cu. ft. respectively – easily the size of most family rooms, kitchens, or living/dining spaces.

Over the last year a major shift in space heater technology has re-shaped consumers’ taste in whole room space heaters. Among the winners are those that employ ceramic or quartz infrared heating elements.

Among whole room heater manufacturers, Lasko holds the number two spot for bestselling heaters with its model 755320 tower heater with digital display ($45). (Number one is Lasko’s 754200 compact heater $20).

Ceramic heaters have gained wide spread popularity for a number of good reasons. One is reliability. Speaking from personal experience, our Lasko 5141, no longer available, refuses to give up the ghost after 6 or 7 birthdays – or approximately 52.4 space heater years.

A few more reasons behind the popularity of ceramics for heating are quick heat-up and safe operation. Ceramic heaters are also relatively quiet and produce an even heat which is often described as “soft.”

Radiator Space Heaters
A radiator will always be a radiator so there isn’t much you can do with it. Despite the lack of any game changing technology, the radiator type heater remains one of the safest. Among radiator heater makers, Delonghi dominates the market with its model D0715T Safe Heat Oil-Filled Radiator ($55).

Micathermic Heaters
Micathermic heaters are basically radiator heaters enclosed by mica panels for enhanced heat distribution. Since they depend on convection for heat distribution they are fan-less and noise-free. Designed for versatility, they can be mounted on casters or hung on a wall, and are said to be a good bathroom heater – which I don’t recommend for any portable electric heater.

Once all the rage, micathermic heaters have all but fallen by the wayside. Maybe it had something to do with a customer complaining about sparks shooting from his DeLonghi HHP1500 Mica Panel Radiator. So it’s interesting to note that the Kenwood HHP 1500, also made by Delonghi and strongly resembling the original, is one of Consumer Reports’ highest rated heaters.

However, all is not lost. The Bionaire BH3950-U micathermic heater ($85) rates 4 out of 5 stars from its users for silent operation, portability, and whole room, non-drying heat.

Convection Heaters With Fans
Fan-forced convection heat is the M.O. of most whole room space heaters. The top rated heater makers in this category are Lasko and Delonghi, mentioned previously, along with Holmes, Honeywell, and Vornado.

New from Vornado this heating season is the PVH, or Panel Vortex Heater ($60). This heater is a departure both in price and design from Vornado’s most popular heater, the round cornered EH1-0034-06 AVH2 Vortex Full-Room Electric Heater ($97). The new, easy to operate flat panel design houses the same technology used in their more expensive models.

The secret to harnessing Vornado’s vortex of heat is to locate the heater at one end of the room with a clear path to the opposite wall. When the air hits the opposing wall it splits and is deflected back around the perimeter of the room to heat every square inch of space.

From Holmes, sold under the Patton brand name, is the new PQH307-UM Tower Quartz Heater with Adjustable Thermostat ($45). This fan equipped unit is on the smaller end (150 sq. ft.) of whole room heaters and offers two heat settings corresponding to the number of quartz tubes turned on.

This year Honeywell has the distinction of a recommendation from Consumer Reports for its model HZ-817 Electric Convection Heater ($70). The 30″ long, baseboard type heater has no fan and relies solely on convection for heat distribution.

Unfortunately, this heater is a victim of its own success and is either unavailable, back ordered, or sold at highly inflated prices resulting from scarce supply. Kaz USA Inc., the manufacturer of Honeywell, is aware of the problem and suggests the HZ-617 Whole Room 2-in-1 Heater ($70) as an alternative. The main difference is the addition of a fan to the HZ-617 which can be turned on or off at your pleasure.

Without a doubt, the biggest shift in consumer preferences for electric space heaters has been to furniture style quartz infrared heaters. The introduction of EdenPure a few years ago was followed by an onslaught of competing makes and models.

Infrared Quartz Heaters
The newest of these is the Dr Heater infrared heater. Dr Heater features a dual quartz/ceramic heating system, gets food reviews, and costs $150 – $200 less than its competitors.

Finding the best whole room space heater is easy once you know the size of the space you want to heat, how fast you want it heated (heaters w/fans are 3x faster), and your budget.

Do It Yourself-Tankless Water Heater Installation With Recirculating Pump

Abstract

For years, I wanted to have the efficiency of a tankless water heater, but I never knew how to get a heater installed in our house since it contained a recirculating pump connected to the existing tank heater. I didn’t find any information on the Internet on how to deal with both a tankless water heater and a recirculating pump. The challenge with this configuration is that in order for the tankless water heater to turn on the burner it requires flowing water. The recirculating pump doesn’t draw enough water to ensure that the burners turn on so therefore another solution needs to be created to have a hot water configuration that includes a tankless water heater and a recirculating pump. This article will describe the hot water topology to use for creating a hot water system in a domestic house that contains both a tankless heater and a recirculating pump.

Introduction

Designing a water heater system for a domestic house that contains both a tankless water heater and a recirculating pump requires thought and consideration. This article will describe how to design a tankless hot water installation, what you need to purchase, how to prepare for the installation, installing the heater itself and expectations with a tankless water heater.

Design a Tankless Hot Water Installation

When designing a tankless water heater system, you need to consider: water hardness, gas flow, exhaust and venting, drains, and the dreaded recirculating pump.

Water Hardness

Hard water will destroy a tankless water heater. The calcium build-up destroys the efficiency of the heater and will eventually prevent water from moving. Testing your water before you install the heater is critical, and you want water that is less than 50 ppm. If your water isn’t soft, you must install a water softener.

Gas Flow

Tankless water heaters need a lot of gas to the heater when it is running. If the heater cannot get the necessary flow of gas, the onboard computer will generate a fault and the heater will not function correctly. Most heater manufacturers specify that you need a 3/4″ gas line to the heater. Some manufacturers suggest that you test that you have enough pressure from the gas meter and to install a larger gas meter from the gas company. For my installation, I didn’t perform any modifications to the gas line since it was already 3/4″ from the meter. I was definitely nervous the first time the heater fired up awaiting a fault from the computer, but gas pressure has never been an issue with my installation.

Exhaust and Venting

Exhaust and venting is the biggest source of issues with tankless hot water systems. Many installers connect the heater directly to existing duct work which will most certainly lead to system failures. You have to make sure that you use the venting that is specified by the heater manufacturer. If you do not use the correct venting the heater will absolutely fail. The venting manufacturers have worked directly with the heater manufacturer to make sure that the vent pipe is sized correctly and that the heater operates at peak efficiency. Also, make sure that you follow all of the recommendations for connecting the vent to the heater and venting it to the outside. Expect to pay 20% of the heater cost in vent pipe. Vent pipe for a tankless water heater is not galvanized and not something that you can pick up at the big box home improvement stores.

The heater not only uses the vent pipe for exhaust, it also uses it for fresh air intake. Using the correct vent pipe is critical to the success of your installation. There is so much caustic molecules on the exhaust of the heater that you will destroy the heater if you don’t use the correct venting.

Drains

Many homeowners choose to install a condensing heater. A condensing heater is more efficient, but it does have two drains on it. The first drain is a pop-off valve in case of a over-pressure situation like a regular tank water heater and the second drain is for the condensing liquid. My heater came with a plug installed on the condensing drain. If you forget to remove this plug, or you don’t correctly install a drain to remove the condensing fluids your water heater will rust out.

The combustion byproducts of natural gas are water and other petroleum byproducts. The water that is produced from the combustion needs to be drained. I chose to drain the liquids into an outside area that is full of vegetation. You should consult your city and or county code on the proper disposal of the condensing liquid. Water heater manufactures provide mechanisms for treating the condensing liquid.

Recirculating Pump

Challenges with a tankless water heater is that they need a flow of water to turn the burner on. I honestly wasn’t sure that the recirculating pump that was installed on the existing tank heater in the house could generate enough flow to trigger the burner to ignite. Not wanting to take a chance with this installation, I chose to install a buffer tank that would keep a small amount of hot water always hot. Installing a buffer tank also eliminates the phenomena known as a “cold-water sandwich” when the heater takes time to respond to new demands on the hot water flow as faucets are turned on and off throughout the system.

I calculated that my house had over 6 gallons of water stored between the location of the water heater and the furthest faucet. You can calculate how much water is stored in your pipes with this formula:

Gallons = [1/2 * pi * [radius of pipe (in)]^2 * length (in)]/231

1 Gallon = 231 cubic inches

pi = 3.14159

Since I had to move 6 gallons of water from the furthest faucet to the heater, I felt that a 7 gallon water heater would be big enough for the demand. I purchased a 7 gallons point of use water heater from Bosch.

I connected the recirculating pump to draw water directly from the tank instead of the tankless water heater. The cold water from the point of use water heater is fed directly from the tankless water heater.

System Expectations

With this hot water system, you will never run out of hot water and you will gain the efficiency of a tankless heater. There is one design flaw with this system, and that is if you run the recirculating pump without drawing any hot water from any of the faucets the hot water coming out of the faucet will be luke warm. This is due to the fact that the water is constantly heating the pipes and slab if the pipes are in the slab. This heat exchange is a lot for the small point of use water heater to keep up with. In my house, I manually control when the recirculating pump is turned on and wait about 30 seconds for the hot water to reach the furthest faucet. I can then turn on the hot water and not notice any cooling of the water because the tankless water heater is mixing water into the recirculating loop.

I would recommend this system to anyone that wants unlimited hot water.

Everything You Need to Know About Space Heaters

Space heaters are one of the most useful tools for keeping costs low during cold winter nights. A space heater enables the user to turn off the heater for the whole house, and just heat one or two rooms at a time. Space heaters are very useful, but it can be hard to decide which type of heater to purchase and use.

When purchasing a space heater there are several different criteria to use in decision making before you can choose the best space heater for you. These categories are:

– Size
– Heat output
– Budget
– Safety
– Temperature
– Labels

The size of the space heater is very important. The larger the room, the larger you want the heater to be. There is a formula for figuring out how many BTUs you need your heater to produce. Multiply the height times the width times the length of the room. Then multiply that number by 3. That number is how many BTUs you need to heat the room effectively. The best space heater for each room will have the right amount of BTUs for the space.

When you go to the store to look at space heaters ask someone at the store if they can turn on the heaters for you. That way you can see how far the heat is produced, and how hot the surfaces get. The best space heater models also have temperature control so that you can set a temperature for the room and the heater will keep the room at that temperature. This will save money because the heater will not have to run constantly.

Decide how much you want to spend on your space heater. The cheapest space heaters are electric. More expensive heaters are made from propane and natural gas. When you know your budget beforehand then it will be easier to make your final decision. It is also important to check the labels on any heater before purchasing. Try to get a heater that has an energy saver label on it. You also want a heater that has a UL label, which means it has been inspected by the Underwriter’s Laboratories.
Safety is also extremely important when choosing a space heater. Since the heater will most likely be on while you are asleep, it is crucial that the heater is completely safe. Some safety categories to watch out for are:

– Make sure the heater is placed at least three feet from any other objects at all times.
– Keep the heater away from water.
– Unplug the heater when not in use.
– Do not use around combustible materials such as gas, oil, or fires.
– Do not use a space heater with an extension cord. This raises the chance of fire.
– Keep children and babies away from the heater.

The final aspect to consider when purchasing a space heater is design. There are many different designs of heaters, and there are also many different types of heaters. The different heat sources of the heaters have a lot to do with the design. Electric heaters come in many different designs. Some of the most common shapes are square or circular. Propane and natural gas heaters are usually rectangular. They are usually smaller than the electric heaters. Infrared heaters are also usually rectangular or square. Most space heaters are designed more for function than beauty, so there are not very many models that are attractive. Oil space heaters usually look like an accordion. Most original heaters were run by oil.

Using the tips in this article should help you determine what the best space heater is for you and your family. Remember to always use the heaters safely and in the way they were built to be used.