What to Look for When Buying a Whole-Room Heater
We were sent a Honeywell HZ-980 MyEnergySmart® Infrared Heater to review and tell you about. As always, our opinions are 100% our own.
Since I had been looking to buy a whole-room heater, I learned that there are LOTS of things to consider before purchasing. So, I wanted to share that with you here and help you make an informed decision! I looked at the top 6 things to consider when buying a heater. For example, what to look for in terms of safety, choosing the right type and size of heater, energy efficiency and cost savings, how easy they are to use and how noisy they are – a point to consider depending on where you’ll use them.
I hope these tips help you make the best decision for your family’s needs.
Top 6 Things to Look for When Buying a Whole-Room Heater
When plugging in something whose sole purpose is to create heat, you can imagine the possible safety hazards you’re introducing in your home. But, more than just fire hazard, there are lots of things to consider when selecting the best whole-room heater for you.
- Tight protective grills (to keep little fingers out!)
- Automatic thermostat
- Tip-over sensor
- Overheat cut-off
- Case stays cool to touch
- Approved by UL, ETL or CSA (UL: Underwriters Laboratories Inc., CSA: Canadian Standards Association, and ETL: Originally a mark of ETL Testing Laboratories, now a mark of Intertek Testing Services)
Additional safety tips:
- Heaters should not be closer than 3 feet to furniture, draperies, walls, etc.
- Plug directly into the wall (do not plug into an extension cord, power strip, surge protector, multiple outlet adapter, cord reel or outlet-type air freshener). Also, sharing a circuit with other appliances or electronics can cause you to overload circuits and possibly damage appliances
- Unplug your heater when not in use; don’t just turn it off
- Don’t leave the heater running unattended
- Keep heater on dry, flat surface
- Keep children away from heater
The Honeywell MyEnergySmart Heater we tested gets great grades for safety! Some of the top safety features include a cool-touch housing and handle, 4-way tip-over switch, overheat protection and grounded 3-prong plug.
2. HEATER TYPES
Besides the size of a heater, there are also different types of heaters. Two of the most popular types of heaters are convection and radiant heaters. There are lots more though, such as natural gas and propane gas heaters, heater fans, wood-burning, gas and electric fireplaces. If you venture into a different type of heater, be sure to check local regulations and venting requirements.
Convection heaters warm the air directly or by heating oil or other substance (e.g. ceramic) which transfers heat to the air. If you’re looking for a heater that provide constant, diffused heat in well-insulated rooms this is the heater type you want. For example, oil heaters warm up slowly but never get so hot that you’ll get burned by touching it. Conversely, wire-element heaters (with or without a fan) get hot much faster, but may pose more of a fire hazard.
- warm the air
- use in well-insulated rooms
Radiator heaters use filaments in heat-resistant casing that sit in front of a metal reflector. They work like halogen light-bulbs, but radiate infrared energy. Radiative heat radiates to one’s clothes and skin rather than having to heat the air around you. That’s why they’re great for poorly insulated rooms and outdoors.
- warm your skin and clothes, not the air
- use in well-insulated or poorly insulated rooms, or even outside
The Honeywell Infrared Heater is a radiant heater with 6 long-lasting quartz elements which provide invisible heat that is evenly distributed throughout the room.
3. HEATER SIZE/CAPACITY
You’ll want to get a big enough heater for the job so it doesn’t have to work too hard and run inefficiently. Start by determining where you’re going to use the heater. How big is the room? For example, if your room is 10′ x 15′ then it is 150 square feet (10×15=150). Heaters are rated by wattage, so look for that on the label. A typical whole-room heater uses 10 watts of heating power per square foot of your space. So, a 1,500-watt heater should cover average-sized rooms as large as 150 square feet (10′ x 15′) when used as primary source of heat. This is a general rule of thumb which depends on technology, environment and application. For example, an old fan heater used in a drafty room will not work as well as a new fan heater in a well-insulated room.
The Honeywell Infrared Heater has a heat output of 5,200 BTUs of soft, non-drying heat, it’s fast, quiet and comforting with excellent advantages. Given the general formula above, this size heater would heat a 20′ x 26′ room!
4. ENERGY EFFICIENCY
Energy efficiency is a huge factor in selecting a good whole-room heater. At this point in time, portable electric heaters don’t have a standard level of efficiency like portable air conditioners have with their EER rating. That makes it a little harder to determine which are good choices.
If you’ve ever tried to heat with an electric heater you may know how costly they can be! To keep your electric bill low, select a heater that’s the right size and type, and that feature energy saving modes, adjustable thermostats and programmable timers.
Note: while electric space heaters are generally more expensive to operate than combustion space heaters, electric heaters are the only ones safe to operate inside your home without installing ventilation. Combustion space heaters run on fuel such as natural or LP gas, fuel oil, kerosene, wood, or coal and must be properly vented. Other combustion appliances include gas ranges and ovens, furnaces, gas water heaters, gas clothes dryers, wood or coal-burning stoves, and fireplaces.
Example Savings using a portable heater:
- Save $316 per year by lowering thermostat from 70 to 62
- Total cost per year: $94 to run portable heater
- Total savings: $222 per year by heating the room you’re in, not the whole house
- California was used in this example, to see how your state ranks, and for more cost-saving ideas, check out this portable heater savings calculator:
The Honeywell MyEnergySmart Heater has EnergySmart® technology which helps regulate power consumption, saving you up to 35% on energy bills vs. conventional heaters. This electric heater also features an automatic shut-off timer and 2 MyTemp settings, which let you pre-set two favorite temperatures. The digital readout shows you at-a-glance how much energy you’re using and how to set it to be more efficient.
5. EASE OF USE
Newer heaters on the market have all kinds of neat features such as temperature settings, relative temperature, and settings to save energy (low, medium, high, or even more intricate). You may even find heaters with a remote control or that are WiFi enabled so you can control them anywhere.
Honeywell MyEnergySmart takes the guesswork out of electric heaters. Digital LED lights accurately indicate the room’s temperature and desired temperature. There’s a 1-8 hour automatic shut-off timer, remote control and digital touchscreen controls.
Most portable heaters emit some noise during operation. Baseboard heaters and oil-filled radiators which are not fan-forced, operate silently and are best for bedrooms and offices. When using a baseboard heater in a bedroom, however, be sure to elevate it to aim the heat at the bed, not at the floor.
The Honeywell HZ-980 MyEnergySmart® Infrared Heater, has rich safety features, radiant heat that works in almost any space, is efficient, easy to use and very quiet. This makes it a wonderful choice for any home.
- Quartz heating technology creates powerful, even heating for any room
- 6 premium long-lasting quartz bulbs
- Efficient, money saving operation*
- Beautiful modern design fits any room décor
- Perfect for extra large rooms
- Easy-to-access top controls
- Cool touch housing and handle
- 4-way tip over switch
Model Number: HZ-980
Dimensions: 18.11″ x 15.75″ x 18.50″ in
Weight: 20.99 lbs.
Room Size: Whole Room
Warranty: 3-year limited warranty