Join 3,381 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


I'm looking to buy a spaceheater for my girlfriend's apartment. Anyone have any recommendations on ones that won't burn the place down?
February 18, 2010 5:15 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking to buy a spaceheater for my girlfriend's apartment. Anyone have any recommendations on ones that won't burn the place down?

She lives in an old apartment building where the heat in every apartment comes on at one time. Since some of the units are warm, the heat rarely comes on in the dead of winter (in Pittsburgh) so her apartment is constantly freezing.

I'd like to buy her a spaceheater to keep her from freezing to death but I have no experience in this field. Anyone have any recommendations? I'm worried about buying one that's going to end up burning her building down.

She has a fairly small bedroom. I know I can't replicate her entire unit's heating system with a spaceheater, but I'd at least like to be able to warm her bedroom or living room with one.

Thanks!
posted by decrescendo to Home & Garden (19 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
The safest space heaters out there are the oil filled radiator type. The oil is completely contained and sealed in - it basically works like the steam/water radiators you see in old buildings.

We have one and love it. Never have to worry if we forget to turn it off at night or when we're at work.

It doesn't give you a blast of heat the way that the heating element + fan types do, but just provides a nice consistent warmth.
posted by misskaz at 5:24 PM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have one of these oil filled radiators, and it keeps my 12x14 bedroom with 2 drafty windows quite toasty at night. Bonus: there are no exposed heating elements, so it's not as scary as some space heaters I've used in the past.
posted by chiababe at 5:24 PM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd go with an oil filled radiator also. All the ones I've seen have a sensor that will turn off the heater if it tips over. Lowe's has a few of them at really great prices.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 5:30 PM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I meant to add, another thing you should look into is what the actual temperature is inside her apartment without the addition of a space heater. The landlord has a duty to keep the place habitable and that includes keeping it at a certain temperature. You will have to check with Pennsylvania landlord/tenant laws to know the exact temperature. If the temperature is indeed below what the law states it should be, you might even get the landlord to cover the cost of a space heater.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 5:33 PM on February 18, 2010


I meant to add, another thing you should look into is what the actual temperature is inside her apartment without the addition of a space heater. The landlord has a duty to keep the place habitable and that includes keeping it at a certain temperature. You will have to check with Pennsylvania landlord/tenant laws to know the exact temperature. If the temperature is indeed below what the law states it should be, you might even get the landlord to cover the cost of a space heater.

Yeah that's a good point. I know it's DAMN cold in there. I don't feel like I should have to wear my jacket the whole time I'm there. I'll have to ask her to figure out how cold it actually is.
posted by decrescendo at 5:37 PM on February 18, 2010


After reading a review on Apartment Therapy, I purchased an Envi Wall Mounted Heater, which is super safe and heats extremely well, but without the oppressive, deep heat that I've found in the past with ceramic space heaters.
posted by banannafish at 5:38 PM on February 18, 2010


I have a couple of these and one of them keeps my room pretty warm at night. No fires so far (about 1.5 winters of use).
posted by ghharr at 5:43 PM on February 18, 2010


Another thing to consider is the electrical wiring in the building. If a heater draws too much current, a fuse will blow, or a circuit breaker will trip, or the building will burn down — all of which your sister would probably like to avoid. One heater, 1500 watts or less, probably no problem, unless there's another heater or other heavy-current appliance (such as a microwave or toaster) on the same circuit.
posted by exphysicist345 at 5:44 PM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I use similar heaters to the one ghharr linked to keep my bathroom and the cat's room warmer than I generally prefer the rest of the house. They tend to be pretty well protected as far as safety, but at 1500w they do suck a bit of juice, enough to possibly be a problem in an older place. For the bedroom, I opt for a heated mattress pad - it doesn't make the room itself more comfortable, but it does wonders for icy toes.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:03 PM on February 18, 2010


Here is the Allegheny County Housing Department Rules [PDF] - I believe that covers Pittsburgh, right?

Here is the important bit:

629. UTILITIES AND FIXTURES: HEATING.
A. ---
B. A temperature of at least sixty-eight (68) degrees Fahrenheit shall be provided in all dwelling units regardless of thermostat location when the outside temperature is ten (10) degrees Fahrenheit or above during the heating seasons.

C. At no time shall the temperature in the areas specified in Section 629A be less than sixty-one (61) degrees Fahrenheit when the outside temperature is below ten (10) degrees Fahrenheit.
posted by barnone at 6:09 PM on February 18, 2010


We recently bought this Lasko heater and I'm very happy with it. It doesn't get very warm to the touch, and you can set it to shut off automatically. Plus it has a remote!
posted by radioamy at 7:51 PM on February 18, 2010


Well, if you do go with a space heater, I can heartily recommend the DeLonghi varieties. They keep a smallish room (say a bedroom) pretty toasty and will raise a larger room's temperature up a few degrees into tolerable. Plus, they are pretty much totally safe assuming they are plugged into a circuit that can take the load (which isn't that much really but the manual tells you not to plug them into the same outlet with other things).
posted by R343L at 7:53 PM on February 18, 2010


I recommend this super awesome and effective, super safe, super compact, super cheap to run ceramic heater from Soleus - it kicks ass!

Cheaper at Home Depot, FWIW.

I did research into the wall mounts 2 years ago, I decided they were cool but not safe enough. Maybe that's changed since, tho?

Cheers.
posted by jbenben at 8:06 PM on February 18, 2010


2nding the Lasko that radioamy links to. Mine can make a marked difference in a room in 15-20 minutes. The thermostat feature is also very nice.
posted by Gilbert at 8:48 PM on February 18, 2010


I'm very pleased with my Bionare BH3950. I use it to heat a 400 square foot studio.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:09 PM on February 18, 2010


Most heaters sold today have tip-over switches.

While I would also recommend an oil-filled heater, if you get one with exposed heating elements, make sure that it cuts out if you tip it.
posted by Danf at 9:24 PM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Another vote for oil-filled radiators. I used one in the student house I lived in, where we had no heating at all! They aren't a quick blast though, you have to let them run for a few hours to slowly warm the room up.
posted by Joh at 11:07 PM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Do you pay for electricity, and how much? I ask because we pay punitive rates of 45c/kWh (for using more than our allotment), and running a space heater costs a whole lot. The 1500W heater used 600W on average, which is over 400 kWh a month, or $160. If there's anything you can do to reduce heat loss, like sealing drafty windows, that will be far cheaper.
posted by alexei at 12:16 AM on February 19, 2010


the oil heater we got was at lowe's for $40 bucks.
you can get a fancier with a timer for about $80 (so you can set it to come on/off at certain times.)

we have forgotten to turn it off during the day and came home and no issues whatsoever.

also, it's VERY quiet. as in SILENT. the first times we used it made weird noises like baseboard heat makes, but after that, nothing. i know a lot space heaters says they are quiet, but they are joking. this thing is quieter than a cat sleeping.
posted by sio42 at 5:35 AM on February 19, 2010


« Older I'm looking for a simple Win a...   |  What's the proper use of the p... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.