Author Topic: Space heaters -- cold basement in winter  (Read 4037 times)

1967mama

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Space heaters -- cold basement in winter
« on: September 02, 2015, 05:32:17 PM »
I have 2 teens with bedrooms in our basement and since we keep the house temperature quite cool, I find that they are actually freezing cold down there! On the main floor, we have 2 gas fireplaces that we turn on intermittently to take the edge off the cold. Additionally, kitchen appliance heat radiates onto the main floorl. This main floor heat rises and keeps the upstairs bedrooms cool but comfortable at night. 

I am considering investing in a couple of portable space heaters for the basement bedrooms and wondered if anyone had experience with oil heaters? They look to be 2 1/2 - 3 feet tall. I've seen them in the flyers on sale this week and wondered if they would be a more steady, efficient heat than those little box space heaters? I also worry about the fire hazard of the little box heaters with sloppy teen boys leaving clothes lying around, etc.

Any thoughts or suggestions most appreciated :-)

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Space heaters -- cold basement in winter
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2015, 05:51:13 PM »
AFAIK oil radiators are far more of a safety risk than the ceramic space heaters. The little ones we had came with two modes. On the lower output mode they still produced plenty of warm air but were basically safe to touch (hot but not capable of burning or melting anything).

Ultimately, however, something like an electric blanket is far more efficient. How often are they in their rooms other than sleeping?

justajane

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Re: Space heaters -- cold basement in winter
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2015, 05:52:16 PM »
We have an oil heater. They are nice, because like normal radiators they retain heat for a while. I will say, though, that they are not completely safe either since they can malfunction.

What about installing baseboard heaters down there? Of course they could still pose a fire hazard if clothes were thrown on top of them.

There's not really an easy solution. An electric blanket and a hot water bottle?

1967mama

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Re: Space heaters -- cold basement in winter
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2015, 05:56:07 PM »
The older one is a 2nd year university student, so he will be here in the evenings and on weekends. The younger one is 17 and in his final year of homeschooling before he heads off to university as well. So he is here all day, every day.

There was a terrible house fire caused by a little box space heater a few years ago when we lived in another province - several deaths, IIRC. So I've been kind of afraid of them ever since.

One of them has an electric mattress pad and quite likes that. The other one isn't a complainypants but I know they are both cold down there and I feel badly about that :-/ Just trying to get something set up in anticipation of the coming fall/cool weather.

Thanks for your suggestion -- GC. I didn't know about ones with 2 modes. That could work.

lbmustache

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Re: Space heaters -- cold basement in winter
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2015, 06:04:30 PM »
I have about 3 of these in various areas of the house:

http://www.amazon.com/Lasko-100-MyHeat-Personal-Ceramic/dp/B003XDTWN2/ref=sr_1_6?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1441238561&sr=1-6&keywords=space+heater

$15.99 is pricey, I've gotten them for around $8-$10. They really only heat up a small space if you leave them running (like a bathroom), but I usually only need heat to be ON ME rather than the whole room (kind of like the electric blanket idea). So you can keep these fairly close to yourself wherever you are sitting or sleeping and it will keep you nice and toasty. They barely use electricity.

Jacana

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Re: Space heaters -- cold basement in winter
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2015, 06:20:38 PM »
Have you seen the wall mounted panel heaters?http://www.eheat.com for example. We got one of these for our daughter's nursery 3 years ago. It worked very well and we felt it was pretty safe; the surface never got hot, no chance to knock it over, etc. We plugged it in to a thermostat and her room was always comfortable.

Learner

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Re: Space heaters -- cold basement in winter
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2015, 03:25:39 AM »
Don't forget about MMM's article about the oil well in your pants (wearing long underwear, etc).  I had a basement office.  When I was doing a lot of work on the computer, I would run a ceramic heater once in a while, but I tried to keep warmly dressed as much as possible.  When I was spending a lot of time working there, I found my electric bill increased by about $100/month.  I often got a little lazy and mostly focused on the space heater.

On the other hand, it's not fun to be working in the cold if you're not moving around.  Good luck!

Axecleaver

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Re: Space heaters -- cold basement in winter
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2015, 11:51:47 AM »
We used the oil-filled electric heaters for an unheated finished basement, in the winter when we were down there. The ones we bought were about $20. It still uses electric heat, so it's not terribly efficient. What kind of heat is in the rest of the house? You might want to consider adding a wall unit to the furnace and extending out the heat to the basement. We got a quote to do that for $250, but ended up selling before we implemented that idea.

You could also look into improved insulation, especially basement casement windows which are notoriously leaky. If you have a walkout, you're losing a lot of heat there.

Gone Fishing

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Re: Space heaters -- cold basement in winter
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2015, 12:11:08 PM »
There may be some minor comfort differences between convection and conduction electric space heaters, but basically a watt is a watt whether it comes out of a oil filled heater, ceramic heater, baseboard, or other electric heater. 

Upfront cost would be higher, but the return (especially in Canada) on the installation of a craigslist woodstove (make sure it meets all regs) would probably be positive in short order as long as your insurance does not go up too much.   With two boys to feed it, you should be good to go.  Would probably make quite a bit of difference in the main house, too. Great exercise as well!

Either way, be sure they have working smoke/CO detectors and multiple ways to get out in in the event of a fire.   

Joggernot

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Re: Space heaters -- cold basement in winter
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2015, 05:03:17 PM »
If you decide to go the electric blanket way, consider looking at the ones that go under your body.  This puts the heat where you want it.  The blanket radiates out into the room.