Electric heating offers many tools to make your home comfy efficiently

Published date13 May 2021
Publication titleClutha Leader
In this issue we are looking at electric heating options which can be cheaper to buy but more expensive to run than heat pumps or wood burners.

Having said that, choosing the right type of heater for the situation is important to get the full benefit of all of the heat you are paying for.

Types of electric heaters


Flat-panel heaters are often promoted as ‘‘eco’’ or cheap to run.

However, they produce very little heat — usually not enough to heat up a room to comfortable and healthy temperatures.

A higher wattage heater controlled by a thermostat is usually a better alternative to panel heaters — you can turn off a higher wattage heater when you do not need it and the heater will be able to heat up the room again within a reasonable time. A thermostat can cycle the heater on and off so you can maintain a comfortable temperature without wasting energy.

Low surface temperature — panel heaters usually do not get hot enough for children or pets to burn themselves, but covering them with towels or clothes still poses a fire risk.

Can take a very long time to heat up a cold room because of their very low heat output.

Good for heating very small rooms, such as bathrooms or small studies, continuously — however, leaving the heater on when you are not there will result in unnecessarily high power bills.

Often do not have a thermostat.


Convection and oil column heaters mostly heat air rather than surfaces. The hot air rises and then slowly circulates around the room, providing background warmth. Oil-column heaters also provide some radiant heat.

Usually have a thermostat — good for quiet background heating.

Good for heating bedrooms overnight — quietly on a thermostat.

Struggle to heat rooms with high ceilings evenly and effectively.

Can take a long time to heat up a cold room, because the heated air rises and collects beneath the ceiling, reaching the lower parts of the room only slowly. A fan or fan heater can be used to mix the heated air more effectively during the warm-up period.

May have a built-in fan to mix the air more effectively. Built-in fans are often small and not as effective as some fan heaters.

Surface temperatures of convection and oil-column heaters are lower than micathermic and radiant heaters — so they are safer, but still get hot enough to burn skin.

Safety first — convection heaters can easily be tipped over and the weight and sharp fins of oil column heaters can be dangerous to children.


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