Where can I find what heater is most energy efficient?

I’m looking for electric heater ratings so I can buy the most efficient space heater available. I have a two-bedroom apartment that is freezing cold – it has baseboard heaters that look about 30 years old. I want to buy the most energy saving space heaters I can find and use them instead of the baseboard heaters. Where can I find electric heater ratings? I’d like to buy an ENERGY STAR rated heater if possible. I pay for the heat either way so I’d like to save as much as possible.

Answer from Green Energy Efficient Homes

Unfortunately for you – or fortunately, depending on how you look at it – all electric space heaters are 100% energy efficient at converting electrical energy to heat. So you may not get much of an advantage from using electric space heaters instead of the baseboard heaters you already have. On the other hand (here’s where ‘fortunately’ comes into play), since they’re all 100% efficient, you probably don’t need to buy a new heater.

Government agencies don’t provide electric heater ratings for the simple reason that there is nothing to rate. Electric heaters use electrical resistance to convert electrical energy to heat, and all the electricity is converted to heat, so there’s no question of one heater being more efficient than another.

I can see three ways, however, where energy saving space heaters might help. Why do I call them energy saving space heaters? They’re no more efficient than your baseboard, but they’ll save you energy because they can be more effective at distributing heat around your apartment. Here are the three ways in which using a new space heater may help:

  1. Use a radiant heater if there’s a room where you just want to stay warm yourself, and you’re usually in the same spot. Radiant heaters don’t heat the air; they heat the objects they are pointed at. So you can heat just yourself, seated in the TV couch or at your work desk, without wasting energy heating the whole room.
  2. Use a space heater in each room, and keep the bedroom doors closed and the heaters off (both energy saving space heater and the baseboard heater) when you’re not using the rooms. But you may already be able to do this with the baseboard heaters if there’s a thermostat for each heater.
  3. Place the energy saving space heaters away from outside walls. Baseboard heaters are usually against outside walls, and if the walls are poorly insulated, the inside of the wall gets hot from the heater, and more of the heat escapes outside. By placing the space heaters away from outside walls, more of that heat will stay inside where you want it.

Green Energy Efficient Homes articles cited

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