AS TEMPERATURES DROP, heating costs
rise—especially since energy costs in general
have been steadily increasing over the last few
years. To reduce winter heating bills, many
consumers use portable electric heaters to
warm rooms that are not equipped with any
other type of heating or to supplement inadequate central heating in their homes.
Electric space heaters are relatively inexpensive and can be very effective. Two types
of technologies dominate the portable heater
market: radiant and convection. As the name
implies, radiant heaters kick out heat from a
hot surface, traditionally the hot bars of a
radiator. Convection heaters circulate warm
air in a room.
Because radiant heaters warm people
and objects directly, without heating the air
in the room, they work more efficiently in
rooms that will not retain warm, heated air.
Convection heaters, on the other hand, fill an
entire room with warm air. Convection
heaters work best in insulated rooms with
average ceiling heights where the air can be
Some portable electric heaters combine
the benefits of radiant and convection heat-
ing in various ways, often by
adding a fan-assisted convector to a hot surface. Many of
these combination heaters
use a ceramic core, and some
also include a washable filter.
The U.S. Department of
Energy offers the following
suggestions for buying and
using a portable electric heater.
■Purchase only newer-model heaters that have the most
current safety features and the
Underwriters Laboratory (UL)
[or Edison Testing Labortatories (ETL)]
safety label attached to them.
■Choose thermostatically controlled
heaters, which avoid energy waste.
■ Select a heater of the proper size for
the room you wish to heat. Do not purchase
oversized heaters. Most heaters come with a
general sizing table.
■ Locate heaters on a level surface away
from foot traffic. Be especially careful to keep
children and pets away from heaters.
■ Plug heaters directly into a wall outlet.
If an extension cord is necessary, use a heavy-
duty cord made of 14-gauge wire.
■ Buy heaters equipped with a tip-over
switch, which automatically shuts off the
heater if the unit is tipped over.—Will Fifield
The Costco Connection
While supplies last, you’ll find a selection
of quality portable electric heaters, all of
which have been safety tested by
Underwriters Laboratory (UL) or Edison
Testing Laboratories (ETL), at your local
Costco warehouse and on costco.com.
AS SUMMER FADES to fall, lower temperatures bring most of us indoors.
While this change of season has its
good points—colorful leaves, the possibility of snow days and the holidays—
closing up our homes poses breathing
problems for many, especially for those
who suffer from asthma and allergies.
Last fall many members discovered
the relief that air purifiers offer for use
at home. One drawback to using many
air purifiers, however, is the cost and
inconvenience of replacing filters. That’s
why Costco warehouses are featuring
the Bionaire BAP 1500 again this year.
This air purifier’s permanent filter
removes up to 99 percent of the airborne dust and pollen in your home and
never needs filter replacement. This
unit also quietly and efficiently reduces
smoke, mold spores and pet dander.
If you or members of your family
dread the indoor months because of the
breathing difficulties they bring, this
device may make the seasons enjoyable.