How to choose a space heater for your office

How to choose a space heater for your office

Office space can get quite chilly in the winter, even with a heating system installed and being used. When choosing a space heater for your office, there are six things you should take into consideration that will help ensure that it is a wise investment for your office.

  1. The type of space you will be heating

    The type of space you are heating has a lot to do with deciding on a space heater. In an office, there are some different aspects to think about such as: where the walls are, whether there are separate cubicles or a large open office space, what size the main space is, and how the space heater will be used. With all of these aspects to consider, choosing a space heater that will use a forced air feature can push the air into the space of an office that varies in shape, size, and type of space; making it versatile.

  2. The type of space heater required for the space

    Consider buying a space heater that fits the needs of your unique office space. Here are different types of space heaters explained and some advantages and disadvantages of each type:

    Ceramic – convection heater

    A ceramic – convection space heater uses a fan and heats up the air in a space by circulating the air through the unit and across a heating element, such as coils.

    • Advantage – A ceramic – convection heater that has a forced air feature will warm up a space faster. It can warm more people up since it heats up the whole room, and most have a thermostat to regulate the amount of heat that is released.
    • Disadvantage – Not as good at heating up a large area or an area with high ceilings. It can overheat easier than other heaters, and heated air tends to remain near the ceiling because it is less dense.

    Radiant & infrared heater

    A radiant and infrared space heater heats up a person’s body and other objects by sending out infrared radiation through electromagnetic waves or particles in the air.

    • Advantage – Good for heating up a small area. Good for heating people up who are staying still (such as sitting at their desk in the office). Emits heat at whatever level it is placed instead of the heated air rising to the ceiling, and does not dry out the air.
    • Disadvantage – Not as good for heating a large area. Takes longer to heat up the space, and does not use forced air to heat up the space.

    Micathermic heater

    A micathermic space heater does not have a fan and is a combination of both a convection and radiant heater, 80% convection and 20% radiant heat, using a stonelike material called mica that surrounds the heating element and makes it more effective without the use of coils. It heats up both the air and the objects in a room.

    • Advantage – Can heat up a large area of space (potentially up to 600 square feet). Is quiet and energy-efficient. Can be placed in more places. Does not dry out the air. Heats up the space quicker with a shorter heating process by using the mica material to heat the air and give it a more effective distribution of the heat.
    • Disadvantage – Does not use a fan to push the air out into the space which can be a disadvantage because it can potentially lead to uneven distribution of heated air.

    Oil-filled radiator heater

    An oil-filled radiator heater uses electricity to heat the oil and space.

    • Advantage – It uses oil therefore, it has less of a chance of reducing the humidity in the space to a level that is too low. It is quiet because it does not have a fan. It retains heat long after power is removed which means that it doesn’t need to stay plugged in and running to keep a space heated. (If you are using a timer, however, you do need to keep it plugged in so that the timer will function).  It directs heat out of the top rather than out of the sides which makes it safer to use.
    • Disadvantage – The lack of a fan can lead to uneven distribution of heated air. It does not use forced air to heat up the space which makes it slower to heat up the space than a convection heater. It is heavier than a ceramic heater because of the weight of the oil.
  3. The capacity of the heater

    A 1500 watt heater will likely heat a space of 150 square feet pretty well. One way to monitor this is to check the specs on the unit that you are considering to see how much wattage it has and doing the math to see how much space it can heat. To do that, you can divide the number of watts by 10, and that is the amount of square feet that the space heater can heat.

  4. The energy-efficiency features of the heater

    Many newer models have the following features to reduce electricity use. Check to make sure the space heater you are buying has these features:

    • Programmable thermostat – the heater can be programmed to turn off after the desired temperature is reached.
    • Programmable timer – the heater can be programmed to turn on and off at certain times each day.
  5. Built-in safety features

    Some of the safety features that are important to look out for in a space heater in an office environment are:

    • That it turns off when it’s knocked over.
    • That it is cool to the touch, rather than burning someone who might accidentally touch it.
    • That it automatically turns off when the room gets too warm.
  6. How many watts your office outlets can handle

    For most outlets, 15-20 amps is pretty average, which comes to about 1800-2400 watts. Making sure that the wattage that the space heater uses is something that needs to be evaluated before the space heater is bought and used. It is always best to avoid a blown fuse or other electrical issues that can be prevented.