Energy efficient space heater??

postum(9b CA (S.F.))October 6, 2008

Hi -

DH and I like to have the heat off at night, but DD kicks off her blankets and wakes up freezing. I've tried pinning down the blankets but it doesn't work. I have a space heater (one of those oil filled radiator type) that I put in her room, and that works out great - except it uses a ton of electricity, even on the lowest setting. I have seen ads for "super efficient space heaters" but am looking for some honest advice. I need something that will heat a small room (8x10). It has to be safe - no hot elements that might burn. Another idea I had was to put a timer on the heater - so it would just go on between 3-4:00 a.m.?

Any advice on this would be greatly appreciated!


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How old is the child? And how cost efficient do you expect a space heater to be?

Do you think a timer would prevent the child from kicking off the blankets?

Not enough info in your post for a response.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2008 at 12:14AM
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postum(9b CA (S.F.))

Sorry about that! Let me clarify:
We live in California and it never gets that cold at night, but chilly enough in the wee hours so that when DD (9) kicks off her blankets she will get cold and either call out for MAMA or come into bed to snuggle. With the space heater on, she'll sleep through the night.

The trouble is that the current space heater heats her room to about 80 degrees (too warm) and our energy bills went up by almost 100 dollars a month for the two months we used it last winter. The heater doesn't have a true thermostat on it, and none of the ones I've looked at do either.

My thought about the timer was that I could turn the heater on for a short while before bedtime, and then have it go on again during the night, with the hope that it would keep her bedroom at a comfortable 72 degrees or so temperature.

I would much rather heat just her small bedroom than the whole upper floor - I sleep better at 60 degrees anyhow.

So what I'm looking for is a small, low wattage, safe heater, preferably with a thermostat.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2008 at 12:51AM
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Thanks for the details - now we're cookin'! If you google 'space heaters with thermostat' you'll get lots of places to explore in a myriad of price ranges. Spend some time rifling thru them. Also, access Consumer Reports (website or library copies) and find their product/brand assessment report. They're most always right on target.

I use a timed space heater in my all glass sunroom to keep plants from freezing on very cold nights (set to cycle on around 2 am and off around 6 am - works great). The second is used for portable warmth wherever I want it in the house. I have two 15 year old, steel housing ceramic cube heaters (cutting edge back then) - one in the sunroom on a plug in timer, the second roams at large. Great little workhorses and they cost around $50 back then. They have dial thermostats, lowest setting is 55 degrees, highest 80 or Max for no limit, and shut off if tipped, even just a little. Very important!

Couple of years ago I bought another "new, improved, digital control/thermostat", very mod looking for around the same price as the older ones. Caveats - the digital wouldn't work w/the plug in timer; it did NOT shut off if tipped (big issue!) and died after just a year or so. It was also very noisy when running. So much for "new & improved"!

So, you're going to have to shop this out, but be sure to test for safety first and noise. As for cost to run, I don't feel mine add much significant cost - very hard to guage in this climate of constantly rising rates.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   October 8, 2008 at 1:06PM
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Way back in my younger days, we didn't have central heat and when I brought my baby home, we put him in blanket sleepers. He also liked to kick off the covers, so in a blanket sleeper, he was still covered, so to speak. I see them made in sizes now right up to and including adult. Just a thought, and safer than a space heater. They make me nervous.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2008 at 9:58PM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

Calliope, you reminded me of something - I've seen something similar to blanket sleepers for adults. They are basically blanket sleepers with openings for one's feet to pop through. I don't know if they would come in children's sizes.

Of course, there are always footie pajamas, lol. My son wore these until he was 12. He loved them. I have no idea how my MIL always found them in his size, but she did!

And let's not forget long johns...

Although, come to think of it, even if I wore footie pajamas and kicked off my covers, I'd still be cold!

I have to admit that the idea of a space heater running while people are sleeping, even for a short period, makes me nervous too.


Here is a link that might be useful: slumber sack

    Bookmark   October 11, 2008 at 7:41PM
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You could try running the space heater when you put her to bed, and then turn it off when you go to bed. Put some sort of reminder by your toothbrush or on your pillow. I don't know which are energy efficient, I'm trying to figure that out myself!! Good luck, Christy :)

    Bookmark   October 12, 2008 at 9:12PM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

First thing you do is make her a princess bed, with a screen of pink material (not like bug screening, but finer) with a lacy edge going from the ceiling and surrounding her bed, this screen will do wonders for keeping in just a bit more warmth, next thing you do is to but her an electric mattress pad,she can't kick it off and it will keep her warmer than she is. Be sure her blankets aren't too thick to, you don't want to give her extra incentive for kicking them off.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2008 at 4:02AM
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Simple answer, Buy an electric blanket, and put it between the mattress cover and the bottom sheet. Surprise!!! the child is warm, thus you will only have to cover the little one with a lite sheet or there favorite blankee. It worked for my children, and the beauty of it, it does not use a great deal of electric. Hope this is a viable solution.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2008 at 11:43PM
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An important thing to consider with a space heater is not just how much heat it creates (many are 1500 watts) but what it does with the heat. In my experience, heaters without some kind of circulation heat the room slowly because the heat is not being distributed, it's just migrating through the space. No circulation means leaving a heater on longer in order to achieve a sense of "warmth" in a room, using more energy in the process. It's like comparing a fireplace with a blower to one without. Even if the fire's the same size, the one with the blower will heat your room more quickly and effectively.

It is the circulation of heat that has lead me back to the Vornado brand of heaters on several purchases. Vornado seems to be better known for powerful fans, but when they apply their technology to heaters, it works amazingly well. I also like the safety features - they have tip over shutoff, they shut off if the air gets restricted in any way, and the heater's surface doesn't get hot even after hours of operation. They are more expensive than standard heaters, but they seem to last a long time and work much better.

1500 watts is alot of juice- for sure- and that kind of power consumption makes many people cringe at the concept of an electric heater being "green". To me, it makes more sense to use "regional" heating to keep the room I spend the most time in warm instead of trying to keep my whole apartment at one comfortable temperature. Between judicious use of a space heater, and wearing warm clothing, I have reduced my natural gas consumption considerably.

I'll post the link to the vornado site below if it helps.

Here is a link that might be useful: Energy efficient heaters

    Bookmark   December 4, 2008 at 2:05PM
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All electric heaters will basically be the same efficiency. Electric resistanct heat doesn't really vary. What you need is a setup that is efficient. Either way heating a small room a few degrees for a few hours is not that big of a deal. Focus on controllability (or the other great suggestions) of the heater and not efficiency per se.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2008 at 7:03AM
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Will she sleep in a zippered up sleeping bag on her bed?

I cannot stay asleep through the night unless I've got me long johns AND socks on (and a long sleeved t-shirt in the winter, short sleeved in summer), and I'm under the covers. I've tried to sleep without the socks on, and then I wake up @ 3:00am, not cold, but wondering why I'm up. Socks on, I stay asleep.


    Bookmark   January 28, 2009 at 12:14AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

We use 3 hot oil registers as the sole source of heat for this house and don't feel they are any more dangerous than any other electric thing. Nothing on them gets hot enough to cause anything to ignite. They don't zap all of the humidity from the air which is important trying to feel warm at cooler temps. 68 degrees at 70% humidity feel so much warmer than 68 degrees at 35% humidity. For the same amount of money we would spend running the heat pump (and feeling cold the whole time,) we can be much more comfortable. I would call that very efficient. I set ceramic floor tiles on mine to "shoot" a lot of the heat sideways and these make a great place to warm up shoes and slippers, or set a pot of water if more humidity is wanted. I hate static-y hair and have lots of sinus and breathing difficulty in very dry air.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2011 at 10:45AM
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An electric blanket is as likely as a electric heater with a standard "hot" coil to start a fire, and actually more likely as more fires are started by electric blankets than little space heaters.

I have used in an unheated porch, in Minn., during the winter, with a small cheap space heater with multi-thermostat settings so it will only make the room as hot as the setting.
I can sleep on the porrch in Nov. without a jacket, as I have while waiting for some one to arrive before five A.M. the next moring.

It gets well below freezing here at night in Nov. and the porch does not have energy efficient windows.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 1:26PM
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HI postum! I used to live in SF so I know how cold it can get! Have you ever thought about getting a portable electric fireplace? They are small and can be carried around easily, and give off more heat than a regular space heater. Just a thought

Here is a link that might be useful: Portable electric fireplaces

    Bookmark   November 24, 2014 at 8:49PM
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