Space heater efficiency question.


Old 12-08-05, 12:05 PM
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Space heater efficiency question.

Again, not sure if this should be in heating forum or here! Here is my question. You go to your home depot store and there are like 10 different types of space heater all with a max power of 1500 watts. All of these heater use a heating element to generate heat. My question is, if they all use 1500W, do they all generate the same amount of heat? Does this mean that a 1500 W hair dryer and a 1500W space heater can warm up the same room equally? The reason I ask this because I was interested to purchase some baseboard heating from These heaters are 425 watts and they calim to be very efficient .. I just donít see how their heaters are different that any other space heaters out there Ö am I wrong that all these heaters are basically the same, nothing but a heating element?
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Old 12-08-05, 02:14 PM
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You are correct. Electric element heaters are very near to 100% efficient in converting electricity to heat. Any 1500W electric heater will produce exactly the same about of heat as any other 1500W electric heater. In fact, you can use the units Watt and BTU/hr to compare heaters; 100W = 340 BTU/hr. You will see slightly higher efficiency with 240V heaters as compared to 120V heaters, but the difference is very small.

Usually the marketing department messes around with these numbers so a heater sold as 1500W may not actually output 1500W in heat. They do things like add in the peak wattage draw of the built-in fan so the appliance itself draws 1500W max, but it may only have a 1200W heating element and a 100W fan that peaks at 300W. For whatever reason, people like to buy hair dryers with bigger numbers.

Efficiency is a little tricky in this case. All of the electricity is converted to heat, so they waste nothing; however other fuels are still quite a bit cheaper than electricity. This means an 80% efficient gas heater is cheaper to operate than a 100% efficient electric heater because you can waste some gas and still be cheaper than electricity.
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