Running a home is expensive – especially in winter. It’s estimated that over half of the money spent on fuel goes towards heating and hot water. Home heating systems can vary wildly in terms of cost, so this article aims to equip you with the knowledge that will enable to choose the most energy efficient heaters available to you.
It is important to make the distinction between cheap heaters and the cheapest heaters to run – although a heater may cost a little more initially if it’s the most economical heater to run. In general, it’s cheaper to heat your home using your central heating, BUT if you only need to heat one room, it may be more energy efficient to use a single heater.
It is well known that gas is by far the cheapest form of fuel (and the most popular fuel for central heating), but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the most energy efficient.
There are 2 the main types of heater available: portable and fixed (usually in the fireplace).
There are a number of electric heaters available, the main types being:
- Fan Heaters – Emits hot air by using a fan to blow air over a heat source. They’re good at quickly heating small rooms but can be noisy. Upfront costs are low because of their simple construction, but are better suited for infrequent use as they are costly to run constantly. Fan heaters come in the form of portable fan heaters or ceramic tower fan heaters.
- Halogen Heaters – Uses halogen elements to emit heat. Halogen heaters usually oscillates which helps to circulate hot air around an enclosed space. They usually have auto safety off switches incase the heater gets knocked over. They take a bit longer to heat up than a fan heater but is more economical.
- Oil-Filled Radiators – This type of heater is filled with oil but uses electricity to generate heat. The oil inside is simply used as a heat reservoir to effectively maintain temperature. They’re typically more expensive to run than gas and fan heaters, but are safer due to lower surface temperatures. You can see our top 10 oil radiators here.
In term of energy efficiency, portable heaters are all pretty comparable. The difference lies in the speed at which they heat up and cool down, and the amount of space they take up. There are some very cheap electric heaters available.
- If they have a thermostat like a tower heater, electric heaters can be very efficient, since they’ll switch off once they’ve reached a certain temperature.
- Electricity can be a renewable source of energy (if derived from solar, wind or geothermal power) and is a clean fuel.
- There is a huge price range and there are cheap electric heaters available: fan heaters can be as cheap as £15, and as expensive as £600.
- Electricity is more expensive than gas or oil.
- Even small ones draw in air, so they need plenty of space surrounding them, which can cause a tripping hazard – especially dangerous if you have children.
Energy Efficiency Rating: 4/5