Why Oil Filled Space Heaters Are Energy Efficient | NewAir

NewAir oil filled space heaters are a reliable way to supplement your central heating system and reduce your utility bills. They offer both the flexibility and power required to warm rooms up to 150 square feet and compensate for under heated rooms in your home. In these situations, the best way to achieve a stable and even temperate is with a space heater. Unlike traditional convection heaters, which transfer heat directly to the air, or radiant heaters, which heat people and objects, oil filled space heaters heat oil inside the heater, which then gradually lets heats your home in a controlled manner, creating an even, stable temperature. The unique thermal properties, combined with their portability, make oil filled space heaters the most energy efficient and reliable way to heat rooms in your home, office, or workspace.

How Oil Filled Space Heaters Work

Oil filled heaters are built from a series of stacked radiator fins, like the NewAir AH-450B Space Heater, or a large, flat panel, like the NewAir AH-400 Space Heater. The fins and the panel are filled with diathermic oil and connected to an electric resistor in the control panel. When the heater is plugged in, the electricity activates the resistor, which begins converting it into heat. The heat is absorbed by the oil in the body of the heater. As the oil warms up, it begins to circulate through channels built into the radiator fins and flat panel, transferring its heat to the heater’s metal exterior through the process of thermal conduction. As the metal warms up, it heats the air through the process of thermal convection. Air near the heater absorbs its heat and rises, drawing in cool air that’s heated in turn. This creates a convection current that distributes the heat evenly across the entire room.

Why Oil Filled Space Heaters Are So Energy Efficient

The biggest advantage of oil filled space heaters is that they can be moved from room to room, allowing you to concentrate their heat where it’s needed most. One of the biggest problems with central heating is that its heat output is based on the average temperature of the air being returned to it through your central heating ducts. Because the air is an aggregate, drawn from air all over your home, air from the warmest parts of your house can mask cold air from the coldest parts, so it becomes difficult to maintain an even temperature throughout the day. There are a lot of factors that affect your home temperature – sun exposure, leaky windows, degree of insulation – that it is extremely difficult to program a furnace thermostat in order to compensate for them all.

Oil filled space heaters provide the flexibility that allow you to overcome this difficulty. They’re designed to be moved from room to room and draw a relatively small amount of power, compared to the average furnace (400-1500 watts on average), so you can add heat strategically in order to optimize your environment . Both the NewAir AH-450B Space Heater and the NewAir AH-400 Space Heater have convenient carrying handles that allow them to be picked up and moved without risk of burns or injury. The NewAir AH-450B Space Heater even comes with four caster wheels, to make it easy to transport from room to room. To find out what size space heater to use in any room in your house, read How to Pick the Perfect Size Space Heater for Your Room.

Oil filled heaters are also over 99 percent energy efficient. Almost all the electricity the consume is converted directly into heat. A small amount (less than one percent) is diverted and used to operate the control panel and extra features, which, depending on the model you own (the NewAir AH-450B Electric Oil Filled Heater or the NewAir AH-400 Portable Oil Filled Space Heater) may include a thermostat, timer, and energy settings to modify the amount of electricity your heater uses. The NewAir AH-450B has three energy settings: HIGH (1500W), LO (900W), and ECO (alternates between HIGH and LO).

Compared to Water Filled Space HeatersHowever, the main reason oil filled heaters are so energy efficient is due to the unique thermal properties of the oil. Diathermic oil has a high specific heat capacity, which is the amount of energy a substance can absorb before its temperature rises one degree. A high heat capacity allows the oil can absorb and retain a very large amount of heat. Its a heat reservoir that allows the unit to keep radiating heat even after the resistor has been deactivated. This means that once the room has reached your desired temperature, a NewAir oil filled space heater requires less power in order to maintain it. Space heaters monitor temperatures with a built in thermostat, which triggers the resistor whenever the temperature in the room falls below your pre-set level. Since the resistor consumes the majority of the electricity used by a space heater, the less often if has to be activated, the more energy efficient your space heater will be. Oil filled space heaters, which are capable of radiating heat without a resistor, are the most energy efficient of all.

Water filled space heaters operate very similarly to oil filled space heaters. They’re constructed with a series of stacked metal radiator fins filled with water. The water is heated through a boiler or heating coil, which causes it to expand and circulate through the structure, transferring heat to the metal, which then transfers it out into the room via natural convection. Hot water can also be pumped in and circulated through the heater by connecting them directly to your boiler or hot water heater.

Water filled heaters are an older type of heater and the advantages of oil filled heaters are gradually making them a less desirable heating solution, but are still in use in some places. Water filled heaters are permanent structures, not portable heaters. They have to be fixed in place when they’re installed, so don’t provide the same heating flexibility as an oil filled heater. Their lack of portability is due to their relatively low boil


ing point. Because they’re normally heated to 160°-180°F, water filled heaters require additional structural support in order to contain the vapor pressure of the water as it approaches its boiling point. The diathermic oil in NewAir oil filled space heaters has a boiling point three times higher than water, so it remains liquid during operation, which means the heaters don’t have to function as a high pressure vessel, allowing them to remain light and portable.

How You Know You Need an Oil Filled Space Heater

If you’re uncertain whether you really need a NewAir oil filled space heater, check to see how well your furnace heats your house. Heating every room of a house to a uniform temperature is difficult to do. If your thermostat’s set to a comfortable temperature and you find some of the rooms of your house are still too chilly, an oil filled space heater is the right remedy. They’re just what you need in rooms with big windows, poor insulation, or drafts.

If you really want to save money, turn down your thermostat a few degrees to where it’s just barely comfortable, and use an oil filled space heater to warm up just the rooms you’re using at the moment. If the cost to heat a few rooms is less than half the cost to heat your house, you’re losing money by not supplementing central heating with an oil-filled space heater.

Downside of Oil Filled Space Heaters

There is a drawback to using an oil filled space heater you should be aware of before purchase. Because oil has a greater thermal mass than water, they take two to four times longer to warm up and begin heating than water filled space heaters, or even ordinary convection and radiant heaters. Their thermal mass also means NewAir oil filled space heaters also continue radiating heat for two to four times as long as other heaters, but it fast heat is critical to you, they may not be the right choice.


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