Electric heater died. Help me replace it
January 12, 2017 7:05 PM   Subscribe

I can't use my built-in electric heater in the living room because it sounds like a jet taking off. An old, creaky, badly maintained jet that's about to fall out of the sky and kill me. My nervous system just can't handle the sound (and yes, the building manager called someone to try to fix the sound. Didn't work). So I've been using a space heater that just died.

So hive mind, for several winters I've been using a SOLEUSAIR electric space heater. It's top heavy (tallish, thin) and only warmed the exact area nearby. What should I get as a replacement? (I checked the archive and the most recent Q is from Dec. 2014.)

Also, there are only three window areas in my apartment. There's a patio door in the living room and small windows in each bedroom. I know getting that shrink film stuff will help. Anybody able to recommend a particular brand or type? My local Ace carries more than one. I'd feel better if someone here has had a good or bad experience with a particular brand. Thanks!
posted by Bella Donna to Home & Garden (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Oil-filled electric radiators are quiet and fairly efficient and stay warm, and I've had better results with them than with blowy space heaters. You can trundle one around with you from room to room.
posted by holgate at 7:25 PM on January 12, 2017 [9 favorites]

I want to second that. My room is the coldest in the house because whoever put in hot water baseboard radiators didn't put in enough. On cold days I supplement with an oil-filled electric radiator, and it definitely gets very warm and the cost isn't too bad (I think it's around 10 cents an hour on 750 watts, although you can also put it on 1500). The heat quality is really nice because it's radiant, so you have lots of warmth radiating at you and all around the room. I also have a more blowy electric space heater that warms air not oil, and the heat quality feels drafty and not nearly as warm when using the same energy. My oil-filled electric radiator was given to me by a neighbor who moved, but I think it was around $100 new? Maybe $150? Not the cheapest option, but it's been going for years without problem.
posted by ClaireBear at 7:33 PM on January 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

That's not a satisfactory response from your apartment management. They need to fix that heater. It's not impossible. Replacing it is a sure fire way to do it.
posted by humboldt32 at 7:41 PM on January 12, 2017 [4 favorites]

Another thumbs up for any oil-filled electric radiator. I have this NOMA Black Oil heater. I used space heaters for years before switching, and while space heaters are vastly superior to the type that blow air, oil-filled heaters are even better: they are quiet, they are powerful, and they don't seem to "dry" the air as much, somehow.
posted by stellarc at 7:45 PM on January 12, 2017 [2 favorites]

We got ourselves an oil filled heater this year after years of fan heaters. Liked it so much we ran out & got a second one for upstairs. Lovely non drying heat and super quiet, only a few tinkling noises when they first go on. The only down side they take a little while to heat up but we have them both on timers & I'm loving waking up to a nice warm house.

I've got the DeLonghi brand and am happy with it, but they are all pretty much of muchness I remember using similar style ones as a kid over 40 years ago. On review we got the one linked to above.
posted by wwax at 8:16 PM on January 12, 2017 [2 favorites]

I had the previous generation to this one: https://www.amazon.com/DeLonghi-TRRS0715E-Digital-Radiant-Operation/dp/B01J1M61M8/ref=sr_1_2?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1484283865&sr=1-2&keywords=delonghi&refinements=p_89%3ADeLonghi%2Cp_36%3A7500-15000

It is fantastic. Completely silent, lots of heat and digital control so I can reliably set it each time rather than guessing what the temp is. It keeps a surprisingly large area warm and consistent.
posted by Brockles at 9:07 PM on January 12, 2017

Nthing oil-filled radiator heaters. Source: I lived in a drafty attic apartment where it worked really well. As holgate mentioned above, one with wheels is easily trundled about so you can have it near you all the time, and the model I had (a Noma) was highly adjustable. Also, some come with timers!
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:19 PM on January 12, 2017

Specifically: we had an Arctic blast last week that went down to -14C and our heating system gets wheezy and inefficient below freezing, so we fired up the DeLonghi radiator (which we've used over six winters with no complaints) and it kept the rooms we were using really toasty. Radiant heat (i.e. "lump of warm metal") really seems to win that contest.
posted by holgate at 9:31 PM on January 12, 2017

Before we replaced our windows, we used FrostKing brand film. Pretty straightforward to put up, just put up the double-sided tape and then the plastic, then tighten up the plastic by running a hairdryer over it. The tighter you get the plastic when you put it up, the faster the hairdryer part works. Make sure you measure your windows before you buy the plastic (we always had to buy the wide ones for patio doors and stuff because our windows were not the standard width; you can just cut the film to the right width).
posted by leahwrenn at 10:18 PM on January 12, 2017

+1 DeLonghi oil-filled radiant heater. We have two of this one, one for our room and one for the kid's room, and they are AWESOME.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 6:09 AM on January 13, 2017

I've been plasticing our single pane windows for years and this year used RCR film. This stuff is bloody amazing - heavy weight that really resists holes; crystal clear (seriously, one can't even see it is there); and shrinks extremely tight with no wrinkles and high tension (it doesn't vibrate under high winds).

All electric space heaters are 100% efficient so choose one that feels best. I like the oil filled ones because they aren't a burn hazard and they are quiet.

You might want to see if you can annoy your landlord into replacing the wall unit. There are several models that are much quieter than average. And there are wall mount models that have no fan at all. The wall mount heaters have the advantage that they can legally be used while unattended; most space heaters can't.
posted by Mitheral at 8:33 AM on January 13, 2017

Like almost everyone hear, I'm voting for an oil-filled electric radiator. Sweethome has a pretty readable consumer review evaluation of a number of models, broken down by room size. Their recommendation for a larger room is an oil-filled radiator. We got an oil-filled model a few years ago based on their reviews and it works great.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 8:48 AM on January 13, 2017

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