Warming Up to an Infrared Quartz Heater

Warming Up to an Infrared Quartz Heater

A clean, low-cost, portable Infrared Space Heater gives you heat when and where you need it.

Clean, smart, efficient, and good-looking, to keep me warm on a cold winter evening. Sounds like a personals ad, doesn’t it? And that’s not so far off the mark, because – don’t tell the wife! – I’m half in love with an infrared quartz space heater that looks like a piece of real furniture.

Featured here is the one I chose, the 1500-watt iLIVING Infrared Portable Space Heater with a remote-controlled Dual Heating System, so you can adjust the temperature without getting off your couch. I like the classic look of the Dark Walnut Wooden Cabinet.

Cool to the touch so the cat won’t singe her fur and the kids won’t burn their fingers, infrared heaters are clean, safe, convenient, quiet, and energy-efficient.

Warm up the room you’re in and you can turn back the thermostat in the rooms you’re not using, getting more comfort for your energy-bill bucks.  Why heat an empty room, after all?

Sure, there are other kinds of space heaters…

There are plenty of different ways to add a little extra heat to a chilly room, so you can stay comfortable without cranking up the heat throughout your home and paying to waste it, and I’ve had a fair amount of less-than-comfortable experience with a number of them.

kitten on radiator

Kitten on a radiator: I has a warm by ericskiff [CC BY-SA 2.0] on flickr

Like many of us in a northern climate, I grew up in an old house with those big hot-water iron radiators of ancient vintage, supplemented by a few  electric bar heaters in the house – my frugal father’s attempt to cut the heating bills, during the energy crisis. How many of us got a burned hand or a scorched shoe, trying to cuddle up to those scary glowing bars to keep fingers and toes from going numb?

I have a particularly vivid memory of one cold damp winter as a college student, living in a drafty apartment in an old house converted to flats. If there was any insulation in the walls, you’d never have guessed it, and there was often a layer of white frost on our windows for weeks on end during the winter.

Can you keep warm without burning your budget?

That can be a challenge…

Back in those student days, we tried every kind of heater that could be scrounged from parents’ basements or picked up at discount shops, from electric fan heaters to sealed kerosene units, but nothing quite did the job.

The smell of scorched air seemed to hang in the atmosphere, inside, and my roommates and I were always fighting over who got to have the chair closest to the heat source.  One of us over-heated while the others got chilblains from sitting outside the circle of warmth. And you don’t want to know about the power bills!

Then we discovered the magic of Infrared heat…

I listened very carefully when my friend Carol came back from a business trip full of praise for the spiffy little infrared space heater that warmed up her chilly motel room in just a few minutes.

Plug it in, turn it on, and enjoy – simple as that – but without the hot spots or blowing air of old-fashioned space heaters, and without the safety concerns, thanks to a cool-touch exterior case. Even better, the heater that Carol found was a hardwood-cased unit that looks like furniture, so decorative enough to please any finicky homemaker.

Since then, our senior friend Betty bought herself a new infrared space heater on Carol’s recommendation, and I’ve had plenty of chance to enjoy its warmth and to hear her sing its praises. Betty’s up in her eighties now and she really feels the cold in her bones, due to poor circulation and limited mobility, but the compact infrared quartz heater she’s added to her sitting room gives off plenty of extra BTUs to keep her comfortable.

And I can see a good-looking infrared space heater as an equally handy asset to a young family for kids gathered together in the playroom on a storm day, or in the nursery for when Daddy has to get up for those late-night feedings, can’t you? 😉

Top 3 Picks: Best Infrared Quartz Space Heaters

“Best” is a relative term, of course, and what’s best for me may not be quite the thing for you. Which of the heaters you want to go for will depend on your needs and living situation – but we’ll get into those considerations in more detail, below.

Meanwhile, here are my top 3 picks for good solid models of quartz infrared heater that are worth your time to take a good look at.  You can get all the technical details, pricing and shipping info at Amazon.com, along with reviews by other people if you want a second opinion:

iLIVING Infrared Portable Space Heater with Dual Heating System, 1500W, Remote Control, Dark Walnut Wooden Cabinet

iLIVING Infrared Portable Space Heater with Dual Heating System, 1500W, Remote Control, Dark Walnut Wooden Cabinet

The simple design and dark walnut finish is a good match for my vintage-inspired decor , as as I mentioned before it’s the one I picked for our place.  I also like a remote control (most of the good heaters do have a remote) to adjust the heater back to its energy-saving setting when we’re warm enough – some of us can get lazy about these things if we have to get off the sofa, sad but true. “Dual Heating” here means it uses both the quartz tube and PTC systems, in combination.

Duraflame-1000-sq-ft-infrared-space-heater

Duraflame Carter 1,000 Sq. Ft. Infrared Heater in Cherry – 9HM9342-C299

This is an updated model of the infrared quartz space heater that my friend Carol so much enjoyed in her hotel room, the heater that turned us all on to the beauty of infrared technology. That’s real wood there! With a discreet front control panel, this style looks even more like a classy piece of furniture.   Once feataure I really like is the cool-t0-touch case, as with any of these space heaters, means some of us don’t need to worry about our cats jumping up on top under the impression that we ‘ve bought a new cat perch or end table.

Black Portable Lifesmart Low Profile Two Element Infrared HeaterBlack Portable Lifesmart Low Profile Two Element Infrared Heater

For a senior like our friend Betty, a compact heater will often do nicely. Her apartment is small and as she lives alone she only needs to worry about bumping up the temperature in one or two key rooms. With an infrared heater, the unit doesn’t get hot to the touch so although her memory is not what it was, we don’t have the same concerns about safety as we did when she was using an old-fashioned electric bar heater. This is not the exact same model as Betty’s but it is quite similar – and this one comes with a remote control.

Will a space heater cut your home heating costs?

For many of us, the answer is Yes – but let’s be clear, a space heater is not necessarily the solution for everyone in every living situation:

  • In part, how much money you can save will depend on the kilowatt-per-hour cost of electricity where you live, compared to the cost of whatever other energy source (natural gas, furnace oil, electricity, solar, etc.) you use for central heating or as the main source of heat in your home.
  • It also depends on the construction of your home. Open-plan houses are obviously going to be a greater challenge for temperature control than a home that’s divided into separate rooms or zones, where you can close off an unused area and turn down the thermostat in that area.
  • How well-insulated your home is – how much heat escapes through walls, windows, and other openings in the envelope, and so must be replaced by your space heater – is another vitally important factor in home heating costs.
  • Consider, too, whether you and your family tend spend time in one part of the home, like a family room or den, or you’re all spread out in different areas that all need to be heated in order for everyone to be comfortably warm.

But that’s just the technical-science-y end of it.  In the real world, the cost-efficiency of any space heater will also depend on human factors – that means such things as how warm or cool you personally like to be, how much clothing you’ve got on, how active you are at the time, whether you’re sitting by a drafty window or near a cold outside wall, and so on.

In general, if you often find yourself wanting to warm up a particular room in your home, without having to bump up the thermostate for your central heating to raise the temperature in the whole zone, a space heater can be a cost-effective way to increase your comfort level where you are sitting or working, while you save money on the cost of heating your whole living space when you’re not using those other rooms.

How do infrared space heaters work?

Understanding how the technology behind an infrared space heater works will help you to make an informed decision about whether an infrared space heater is a practical choice for you, what size you need, and which model you will choose.

Remember, we’re not talking about using a space heater to heat your whole home here – that would not be energy efficient and I can guarantee that’s not the way to use a space heater to save money.

The purpose of these little darlings is to take off the chill in a limited space, so you can turn down your central heating by a few important energy-saving degrees or crank back the temperature in the rooms you aren’t using (guest room, formal dining room, or your bedroom during the daytime, for example).

This way, you don’t waste money on heating the space that’s not in use.

I’ve found, too, that in those “in-between” seasons like early Fall or late Spring, when all you need is a small bit of warmth at the coldest time of day, a space heater can often make it so you don’t need to fire up the furnace.

More savings, right there!

Features to look for: What infrared quartz space heater is right for you?

Bottom line?  As long as you go with a reputable brand name, which one of the infrared space heaters will be the best choice for you is going to come down in large part to which one you like the looks of, as well as size – 1500 watts is a good size for most family homes, but you can get away with a smaller one if you’re looking at using it in a small home office or compact apartment.

Among the key features you might want to consider:

  • Does the space heater has a remote control?  Even if you don’t always choose to use it, it’s handy when you’re cuddled up on the couch in the middle of a movie and you don’t want to get up to adjust the heat settings!
  • Rolling casters on the bottom can make for easy moving around, if being able to use the one heater in different locations is a top priority for you.
  • More than one power setting can be helpful, too, so you can adjust for the amount of warmth you need at any given time and save even more energy – or an automatically controlled thermostat that is “set it and forget it” to achieve the same ends.
  • Look for a good solid stable design that won’t tip over if it’s bumped into, if you share your home with pets or kids or seniors, too.  Most of the models we’ve seen do fit this category, but some of the smaller heaters with super-modern hipster-home type designs (towers, for example) tend to be somewhat less stable.
  • In the “nice to have” category, you might also want look for a timer so you can pre-warm your bedroom before bedtime, for example, or a thermostatic/automatic shut-off, if you are one of us who tend to forget to turn off an appliance when you leave a room.

Still undecided?  Check out the reviews and product specs of the best-selling infrared quartz space heaters over at Amazon.com for a quick overview of the top features that other folks find most useful.

Author

Solar-powered and semi-retired; a self-confessed hoarder of tool catalogs; big fan of spaghetti and classic chrome.

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