When it comes to space heaters there are many options to choose from online and in big box stores. Generally, space heaters are designed and used to deliver spot heating to a specific small area, or on a person. Examples would be placing a space heater under a desk to warm a person's legs and feet, or placing the heater in a small room, like a bathroom for extra heat.
Typically we think of a space heater as a small inexpensive unit with metal ribbons or coils inside of it that heat up (kind of like a toaster) to radiate heat. Others are designed to have air flow over the coils to deliver fan forced warm air. Most of the inexpensive units are made with plastic components and are not designed to last very long.
Other units are more expensive and can last years or decades. But are they really space heaters, or something more? I believe they are actually something a bit more than a space heater.
You have undoubtedly seen the ads and infomercials for the wonderfully built, hand-crafted, wood cases that can heat a whole room. I am referring to the EdenPURE GEN4 models. There is a similar unit that does the same job called an iHeater 1500. The question is; do they work and which is best?
The answer is they do work when used correctly and the decision point on which is best is really personal preference. What is preferred is whether you like infrared heat technology that is solid state or quartz tube, or if you like heat lamp bulb technology.
The EdenPURE units have generally used Sylvania heat lamp bulbs in the past. The primary issue with these units is the bulbs burning out and needing replaced. Recently the EdenPURE GEN4 (approximately $397) has been improved to include infrared technology that is basically a glass quartz tube that heats up a metal cylinder. There are three of these quartz tube/cylinder combinations. These glass quartz tubes can also burn out and need replacing. The three tube/cylinder units are built into a rounded triangular housing through which fan-forced air moves. The fact that there are three of them built into a housing would make it hard to detect if any of them are burnt out or not. Ambient room air enters the rear of the unit, moves through the quartz tube cylinder housing, and exits the top front of the EdenPURE unit and warm air fills the space it is located in.
The Eden Pure Gen4 uses three Sylvania infrared quartz bulbs that have an advertised life expectancy of 10-15 years for the unit, 20,000 hours for the bulbs. They cost approximately $50-$60 to replace.
The iHeater uses a solid state copper heat chamber with a lifetime warranty and claims it can last 9 years of continuous use, or 15 winter seasons.
The iHeater 1500 (approximately $379) uses a solid state copper heating chamber infrared system that contains no bulbs or glass quartz tubes. It comes with a lifetime filter that can be removed and cleaned with no tools. The iHeater 1500 also utilizes fan-forced air through its heating chamber. Ambient room air enters the rear of the unit, moves through the solid state infrared copper heating chamber and exits the top front of the iHeater 1500 and warm air fills the space it is located in.
Both units have similarities.
Both units have enclosed housings that are cool to the touch. They are both portable and can be placed on casters to roll. They both have digital controls and a remote control. They are both safe for kids and pets and have an overheat sensor to turn the unit off at a certain temperature.
Both units have been modified for enhanced performance. The EdenPURE GEN4 runs quieter and has an improved fan, an improved thermostat, and quartz infrared bulbs. The iHeater 1500 has improved its thermostat and relocated it within the unit away from the heat chamber, improved the seals of the unit, and built it to tighter specs improving the force of the air flow and the heating of the air. Both units have a lifetime air filter that can be easily removed and cleaned. And finally, both units claim to heat a room evenly, wall to wall, floor to ceiling lowering your heating bill.
Both units have differences.
The EdenPURE GEN4 has bulbs that need replaced and you don't know when one or more of them burn out. If even one burns out the unit must work longer to produce the same heat lowering its efficiency. The iHeater 1500 uses no bulbs and places a lifetime warranty on its solid state heat chamber. Also, the EdenPURE GEN4 advertises an approximate BTU of 5,000 covering 1,000 square feet. The iHeater 1500 advertises that it covers up to 1,500 square feet at about 5,125 BTUs. The iHeater also has a safety feature that will turn off the unit if it is tipped. Lastly, the units retail pricing are about $18 apart, the EdenPURE GEN4 at $397 and the iHeater 1500 at $379. You can find both of them offered at various discounts.
An internet search yielded one reputable negative comment with one of the units.
A report was located in Consumer Reports about the EdenPURE GEN4 1000 having a melting, burning plastic problem. The link for more information is http://news.consumerreports.org/appliances/2011/02/one-melted-EdenPURE-space-heater-sparks-costco-recall-.html.
Now that the units have been identified by general operation, heat chamber technology, similarities, differences, and pricing, how do they save money?
It is simple, 100% of the heated air produced by the unit is used within the space the unit is located. The heat evenly heats a room wall to wall and floor to ceiling. This is not the case with your furnace within you home. Most homes using a furnace are only using 50% of the warm fan-forced air. About 10% of your furnace heat is escaping up the chimney. Additional heat loss happens at the joints and connections in the tin and duct work of your furnace and registers. If any of that duct work is on an exterior wall heat is radiated into the wall like a heat sink and can be seen with a thermal camera escaping through the wall to the outside of your home. Drafty windows and other such home improvement issues contribute additional heat loss.
When a device like the iHeater 1500 or EdenPURE GEN4 is used 100% of the heated air produced is used within the space being heated. Multiple units can be purchased to put in various rooms in a home creating zones. One zone can be set warmer than another. As these units are utilized the household furnace thermostat can be lowered saving natural gas costs.
For instance, units can be placed in a living room, den, and some bedrooms. During the day the units in the bedrooms can be lowered to a lower heat setting while the living room and den units can be raised a bit higher. When you come home you can set the living room and den units higher throughout the evening. Prior to going to bed you can lower them and turn up the bedroom units. All the while the furnace thermostat can be lowered to reduce natural gas costs.
The electric cost to run an iHeater or EdenPURE unit is about 10-12 cents per 1,000 watts per hour. So a 1,000 watt EdenPURE unit would cost about 10 cents an hour while operating and the iHeater 1500 running at 1,500 watts would cost about 15 cents an hour when operating. Since these units are equipped with thermostats they cycle themselves off when the ambient air reaches your desired heat setting. Generally, when using these units they would be turned on, set to your desired temperature setting, and left on to cycle on and off to maintain the room temperature at your setting.