Some people love winter, and others love to despise it. One thing they can agree on, though, is that the cold temperatures it brings aren’t so nice when they’re found indoors. Needing to heat your home during winter is a necessity for most Americans, even if it’s just to take the chill off each morning. If you’re in a colder part of the country, you’ll need that heat to stay warm and to keep your house pipes from freezing. The unfortunately reality is that home heating does a number on your bank account, and if you’re not careful you could end up with rather sizable heating bills each month.
Now, if you’re not interested in starting up the wood stove each morning, or if you’re in an apartment and couldn’t go that route anyway, where does it lead you? The good news is that alternatives do exist. Space heaters with both high and low settings are an affordable, convenient way for you to keep your home warm, whether you have a one-bedroom apartment in the city or a large family home in the suburbs. Ceramic heaters in particular are becoming more and more popular for people seeking speedy heat without the hefty costs. What are ceramic space heaters, what are their benefits, and how do you know when to choose them over other heaters? We’ve created this heater buying guide to help you make the best decision for your needs.
An Introduction to Ceramic Heaters
Contrary to their name, ceramic heaters aren’t made entirely from ceramic. These heaters typically feature plastic in the majority of their components, along with some metal. The ceramic part of the heater is the heating element, made of positive temperature coefficient (PTC) ceramic, which heats the air that passes over it. Due to the durability of ceramic, the heater should operate for many years without breaking down, provided you routinely wipe it free of dust and other particles.
Still scratching your head and thinking, “so, exactly what are ceramic space heaters”? Not to worry. Things should begin to make sense soon. Your research will also turn up two types of ceramic heaters: radiant and convective. Let’s take a look at each type and see how they differ.
Convective Ceramic Heaters
By and large, ceramic heaters appear most often in convective form. In this type of heating method, electricity heats a series of aluminum parts (called fins) that transfer heat to a ceramic heating element. At the same time, the unit draws in cool air from the base of the heater and pushes it over the ceramic element and metal parts, heating the air and dispersing it into the room. Most convective heaters also use a fan to blow the warm air into the surrounding space; this has the added benefit of helping heat the entire room at a quicker pace.
We know that hot air rises and cool air sinks, so we know that the cooler air will be pushed downward, conveniently closer to the intake slot on the heater, where it will work its way through the heater’s system until it emerges from the top as warm air. How quickly the electric heater can heat the air depends on the size of the room, how high the ceiling is, and how many gaps or drafts exist in that part of the home.
Radiant Ceramic Heaters
Conversely, radiant ceramic heaters still use electricity to heat the ceramic plate, but they don’t use any type of fan to bring in or blow out air. Instead, the heater radiates the heat directly at objects in its path. The temperature of the heat released is high compared to surrounding objects, which will have lower temperatures; these objects will absorb the heat as it reaches them, naturally increase their own temperature.
Radiant heaters won’t heat the entire room like convection heaters do, but the heat is longer lasting because it resides within objects rather than in the air. In this way, radiant ceramic heaters are generally believed to be more effective at generating heat where it’s needed. However, they won’t be as effective if you need to move from room to room, since the heat won’t travel with you.
Benefits of Ceramic Heaters
Regardless of whether they’re convective or radiant, ceramic space heaters have a number of benefits over other types of heaters. Let’s explore those now.
More Consistent Heat Output
Ceramic is semi-conductive on its own, so it quickly begins to generate heat and will continue producing steady, reliable heat. This means you’ll begin to feel some amount of heat almost instantly, although it will take time until the entire room is warm.
Cooler to the Touch
Ceramic heaters are quick to heat up, but they are also quick to cool down. However, they never get as hot as other types of space heaters, such as radiant or infrared heaters. As a result, they are better for families with small children or pets, or even adults who forget and unknowingly touch an active heater.
PTC ceramic has built-in safety features in the form of heat resistance, which means that once the polycrystalline ceramic reaches a certain temperature, its thermistor resistance features come into play and prevent the ceramic from taking on any more heat. With ceramic that can’t exceed a certain heat, the risk of overheating or fire hazards is reduced significantly. To keep your home environment even safer, never plug your heater into an extension cord. Always use a grounded outlet.
Types of Ceramic Heaters
You’ll find several types of ceramic heaters on the market, including compact models, tower models and wall models. Nearly all modern heaters have safety switches, automatic shut-off buttons, variable heat settings and adjustable thermostats. Some also have a remote control and a fan heater feature.
Compact ceramic heaters are ideal for small bedrooms and other rooms where space is at a premium. These personal heaters are lightweight and have a low profile, making them less likely to tip over if something knocks into them. Even though they’re ideal for personal heating, they still need to remain on the floor at least a foot (but preferably two feet) from any objects, including table legs, curtains, chairs, bed frames and so on.
Ceramic tower heaters are becoming especially popular, and they work well for small rooms or mid-size rooms without drafts or high ceilings. Since they offer more height, they’re able to disperse hot air over a greater area. Most also feature oscillation capabilities, which will move the hot air around the room quicker than through natural convection.
Ceramic wall heaters are mounted on the wall, which makes them a permanent addition to a room – as opposed to compact and tower heaters that are portable. They’re also practical for small spaces where you need spot heating, or longer heating in a small office. You could also use wall heaters in the bathroom, a room that’s not ideal for other ceramic heaters due to the high humidity levels. Just make sure you purchase a wall heater that also has an exhaust fan to remove moisture and discourage mold or mildew accumulation.
When Should You Choose a Ceramic Heater?
Ceramic space heaters work well if you only want to heat a few rooms, not the whole house. These portable heaters are also more energy efficient for short time periods and can help take the chill off a room while you’re preparing for work in the morning. You’ll enjoy the most energy savings when you use these heaters as a supplemental heat source. If you intend to use a separate space heater in each room, you might be better off investing in central heating system, otherwise your heating costs likely wouldn’t result in any savings.
If you have small children or family pets, you may also be concerned about little fingers and paws burning on a hot electric space heater. This isn’t a problem with a ceramic heater because the ceramic itself is designed to resist excessive heat.
When Should You Choose Another Type of Heater?
If you have a large, drafty house, high ceilings or a preference for both energy-efficient and long-lasting heat, you might want to purchase an oil-filled radiator heater or perhaps a heater that runs on natural gas. Oil-filled heaters use radiant heating in which the electricity heats the oil that heats the tubes, and then releases the heat for surrounding objects to absorb. The oil naturally retains heat for much longer, so you won’t need to run the heater as often if you’re using it as your primary heat source.
Space Heaters You Can Rely On
When you conduct research and see names like Lasko, Hunter, DeLonghi, Dimplex, Honeywell and Pelonis, it can be overwhelming. That’s why trusting your heating needs to NewAir is the better choice; you’ll see how our heaters far exceed the mass-produced products you’ll find in typical retail stores like Home Depot. From portable ceramic heaters to oil-filled radiator heaters, we have you covered.