Electrical Wiring in the Home/Electric Heaters

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Question
QUESTION: Hello:

I want to purchase an economical electric space heater.  How can I identify one that is cost effective (cheap to use) when I shop for one?

I thank you for your reply.

ANSWER: Kenneth  I don't know if you meant economical by cost up front, or economical in the use of power,   I would lean towards the latter,   Low cost space heaters are inefficient, built poorly, often dangerous,  and eat power to no end,    

I use a Sunheat SH -1500 quartz  heater,  wood frame,  built in  USA  great heat exchanger,  I know it paid for itself in a winter, if not faster,  cost $349.00     no fancy controls   just an on off switch and a dial type thermostat,         

It is older now,  like 5 years   it has an amazing tip switch,   not a tiny piece of metal 1/2 inch wide  it had a foot long piece of brass or copper, that was a 1/16th inch thick   very safe

I just took it apart to clean it ,  because I can, and it looked brand new inside,   

But if you are looking for a 39.00 SPACE HEATER IT WONT BE ECONOMICAL   IT WILL BURN ELECTRICITY LIKE NO ONES BUSINESS AND HALF OF THAT IS WASTED IN HEATING UP THE TOASTER ELEMENTS,    

lIKE AN ELECTRIC WATER HEATER  THAT HEATING OF AN RESISTANCE ELEMENT,  THEN BLOWING WHAT IS LEFT OFF WITH A CHEAP FAN  WITH NO ENGINEERING IN HOW LONG AND HOW FAST THE HEAT SHOULD BLOW ACROSS THE ELEMENTS,        

MINE IS NOW OBSOLETE,   IT WASN'T fancy enough   TWO MODELS    ONE HAD A FANCY DISPLAY ON THE FRONT    MINE WAS PLAIN,    MINE HAD NO BOARDS TO GO BAD,  THE OTHER DID,   

sO YOU WILL HAVE TO EXPLAIN ECONOMICAL   BECAUSE THERE ARE TWO WAYS TO DESCRIBE A SPACE HEATER,   CHEAP UP FRONT OR TRULY ECONOMICAL TO OPERATE,   

I have a list of smaller units,  that might do you OK,    look at these:

http://www.treehugger.com/green-home/6-energy-saving-portable-electric-space-hea

What you want is to compare the Amps  and the rated output in watts,   the less amps for the most watts is what you want,    and of course safe,  no open grids,  good tip switch,   

They are all dangerous to some degree depending on the location and use,  but these I listed are probably as good as you can get  

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hello:

Thanks for your great reply!

When I indicated economical, I am referring how much it will cost to operate, not run up the electric bill amount.

How do I determine the following?

"What you want is to compare the Amps and the rated output in watts,   the less amps for the most watts is what you want, ..."  

I saw these two heaters. I indicated the links below. Will they be cheap to operate?

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Lasko-Ceramic-Utility-Heater-with-Adjustable-Thermosta

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Lasko-Pro-Ceramic-Utility-Heater-5905/21779157

I imagine that they are not cheap to operate.

I cannot thank you enough for your first reply and information.

Answer
Kenneth,  the best way is to find a list of heaters with many legit reviews,   at least start there    you will find all kinds of bogus reviews supplied by the distributor,  so watch for that,   

ON incoming power versus heat,    amps versus wattage     

Energy is not NOT created only transformed,  changed,  however it is stated    it is pure physics,   

The key is in the losses changing power from one type to the other,      

For example    an electric car uses no apparent gasoline, or electricity from a coal fired power plant,   but that is it APPEARS not to,   

But every time it is charged it is using gasoline or coal or whatever,   

BUT an internal combustion engine is about 45 to 50 percent efficient,    that is one gallon of gas   converts to about 1/2 gallon at the tires pushing the car,   the remainder is used in the conversion process,  friction, windage, heat, so on,   

An electric car or electric motor can be 93 %  efficient or more,     meaning only 7% is wasted

Very simplistic analogy,   because you have take into account the amount of waste to get the power to a charging station,      and then you have to subtract the same thing from transporting parts to build an internal combustion engine, plus all the other logistics of both

But a down and dirty  comparison for a heater   can be determined,    and watch the small print   when they say   1500 watts     anyone who thinks about that has to think    how do they get that heater to put out exactly   EXACTLY 1500 watts  ?

They don't,.    they are given tolerances to not break false advertising laws,  so some depending on the regulations  might only put out 1450

Technically any electric resistance element does turn electric to heat  but how it is enclosed and the time the air is in proximity of the element are all efficiency considerations.   

NOW something NO ONE ever considers,    the supply or wall power is rated at say 115 volts,  

What if you have 120 volts?  Is that better or worse?  Unfortunately you cannot tell,    

at least not from the box      

If you are concerned about efficiencies and good for you for doing so,    get yourself a very inexpensive device called a  KILL-O-WATT   meter,    it measures the true power used by any device a 115 volt cord can be plugged into,    it tells you exactly what that device costs you to operate,  and all you supply is the utility charge per kilowatt hour,

And how do you know what is coming out as heat   and what is wasted   ?

One formula is below,   and it is pretty good     and close enough      


http://www.heater-store.com/heater_calculator_info.htm

Now by the box   you want to know    and this narrows down the field    

Heater A     12 Amps    1500 Watts

Heater B     15 Amps    1500 Watts

Fairly simplistic example but check the info on the box or cut sheet or ad or whatever,  

It's pretty amazing  these low priced heaters are really nothing more than a toaster with a fan, again the element does turn to heat,  but it is how that heat is forced, contained then blown into the space.    

If you look inside one of these SUNHEAT units,  I just did,   there are quartz heater elements inside chambers,  that heat up the surrounding chamber instead of floating off,  then like the dwell on a thermostat,  when it shuts off the elements,  the fan continues to run, until the heat that is inducted into the chambers is pushed out the filtered vent,    so you get a lot more of the energy in the form of heat that you paid for,

Even better are these heaters with some form of oil or other liquid that holds the heat in a pure technical sense,   again as the manufacturer cheapens this and that,  a toaster with a fan could be a better mousetrap,     

Now think about this,  and I am working on this right now,   

This could work with solar, or wind, or anything else naturally occurring,

I am going with wind first,  and a small generator,  my first prototype I am going to build a direct drive fan on the end of a generator shaft [later on I will make a swivel base with a steering vane]  I will set it up  find the most effective blade pitch,  size, weight, material, mount the unit outside,  and use some sort,  maybe an automobile regulator,  and feed a deep cycle battery,    from the battery which is charged when the wind blows, I will power up some sort of element heater, oil filled container, with a fan or blower,  which will also be powered with the battery,   

I will run either the feed from the generator into the house with a couple wires   and of course I have to make it electrically sound but they run power in your house, not a big concern

From there I will store the battery and run it to the heater,   

Now do I use it as a space heater or do I run it to the furnace, preheating the air, so the furnace does not work as hard, ?

The interface from the homemade heater can be in parallel with the relay of the furnace,  when it comes on the homemade unit comes on,  and pushes "free" preheated air into the intake of the furnace.

Or I find a way to run a plug into various rooms and move it around as needed,    

I know it will work, but the cost of the battery, the wire, the components and labor have to be paid back before it is "free"   so some additional considerations are needed, but first I want to make a working prototype,   at least measure the amount of charge from the wind, so on,   

Solar could go the other way with some sort of compressor,   a version of a heat pump  solar powered  

Back to the SUNHEAT ,   another VERY cool feature is the filter,  it is attached to the back of the unit, with magnets,  it is a nicely built frame and washable filter media    you just pop it off   no screws   no searching down the right filter  and wash it   

And you can sit on the wood frame,  it is solid as a step stool,  no heat, because the guts are isolated in a big air gap,  the heating goes on in a metal box,    

I have three of these things,  and the heat is also not nearly as dry as some sort of bimetal resistive ni-chrome wire, that is not even chrome,  more a blend of junk wire,  also inefficient, but it is heat.

once more   http://www.heater-store.com/heater_calculator_info.htm

second article down:

http://www.eco-innovation.eu/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=405%3A

more on the type I have and have used:

http://www.edenpurestore.com/commonly_asked_questions

http://dc223.4shared.com/doc/yximaMGy/preview.html


Need anything else  let me know  
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Will Babbitt

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Electrical issues of all types, wiring, control, appliances, components, specialty in Electric MOTOR or APPARATUS trouble shooting, electric motors, electrical problems, single phase, three phase, DC, capacitors, elevator MG-Sets, modifications, reverse engineering, VFD Drives, single to three phase convertors. Repair of most any electrical/mechanical/electronic apparatus, OEM, AC, DC, Industrial Applications, Three phase, single phase failure mode, determining the root cause of the equipment failure BEFORE failure repeats, Antique appliances, electric motors, fans, ceiling fans, base mount fans, poor equipment performance, Modifications, habitual failures, vibration, redesign, obsolete issues, collectible items restored, rewinding. Owner of EMR Repair Inc www.emrrepair.com More information on electric motors, under Engineering/Motors Ask about any electrical or mechanical problems in the home, office, or even at your work. B2B or business to business CONSULTING I can do but it would be a much more complex issue, that would require a significant amount of time. repair@mearservice.com from there we can discuss and begin work on about anything. Industrial electric motors, controls, troubleshooting, vibration, alignment, any type of industrial or commercial electric/electrcical equipment For the home owner, renter, apartment if you have odd things going on, describe to me, photos are normally very helpful, appliances, heating and air conditioning issues, light switches, installation, DIY PROJECTS FOR THOSE NOT EDUCATED IN ELECTRICAL, we can do some things, but for safety and sanity reasons, I may refer you to a local electrician, and help you find one, help you with pricing and even speak directly with anyone you hire if you have issues,

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Over thirty years with a major repair and sales company, VP of Operations, and former owner of my own specialty repair shops, MEAR Services local to Kansas City Missouri EMR Repair Inc., located in Kansas City Missouri, 2014 sold both businesses to JCI Industries, Lee's Summit Missouri wbabbitt@jciind.com Evaluation and repair of electrical/mechanical apparatus. Electrical and mechanical repairs, trouble shooting including, vibration and balance issues. About.com provides this service, and the huge costs to provide help on about any subject. They provide the servers, the people to vet the experts, costs that would be the same as operating a good sized business, They should be appreciated for what they do, the huge costs and the great help they provide for free, Electric motor questions, can be answered here but there is a dedicated category that has other experts to help and add to a solution. Other common questions, are noises in the walls, breakers tripping, devices not starting or shutting down for no apparent reason, smoke alarms buzzing, thermostat change outs, or sizing wire or needing information for a new project, but anything can be resolved, anything, with enough effort and patience, DIY, with electrical is possible, but in most cases the use of a simple ohm meter or volt meter is needed, they can be purchased at any hardware store for a few bucks. If you have smoke, or smell smoke, don't be writing me, call 911 the Fire Department has no problem looking for smoke smells, better then spraying water on a blazing fire. DO NOT GET CAUGHT INVESTIGATING AND TRAPPED IN A BASEMENT LOOKING FOR A BLOWER FAILING< As to the tip jar, it is up to you, it is appreciated, every expert spends out of pocket that I know, we spend on IP time, computer wear, printing documents, books, and of course our time, but if we prevent a $400 service call, we did well,

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