Heat Your Home Addition with Electricity

5 electrical devices simplify heating an add-on room

Posted by Laura Firszt | Feb 25, 2016
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Goedeker's/flickr (cropped)Adding a room to your home may be a dream come true ... but trying to heat that same room can turn into a nightmare. You might or might not be able to hook up the newly added room to your current heating system with the help of round flexible ducting (you'll need to install a wall vent in the home addition, of course). Even if you succeed, however, you could well find your furnace is inadequate to handle the increased demand. This problem is difficult to resolve short of buying a new furnace. So how about heating the new addition to your home with one of these electric appliances instead?

Fan-operated wall heaters are space-saving, and you'll often have the option of vertical, horizontal, or ceiling installation for the placement that best suits your room layout. These devices heat up quickly and use a fan to circulate the warm air. For safety's sake, the electric wall heater you purchase should be equipped with an automatic high-temperature shutoff and be UL listed. Look for a wall heater with a quiet fan, or you may find the noise annoying. The pricier models may offer "smart" controls and fans with auto-adjusting speeds. They are available in wattages of 500-3000 to heat any size room. Calculate that you'll need 6-10 watts per square foot, depending on the severity of winters in your region.

Radiant wall heaters consist of a panel that is usually mounted near the ceiling to radiate heat downwards. It acts efficiently to heat the people below it, rather than dispersing warmed air throughout the room. Child-safe and discreet (in widths as narrow as 34 inches), radiant heaters are quieter than conventional electric wall heaters since they do not work with a fan. A radiant heater will require a dedicated circuit running from the main electric panel, as well as a thermostat installation.    

Baseboard heaters are quiet because they do not contain any moving parts. Regulate your room's heat supply with the unit's built-in controls or install a wall-mounted thermostat. Install your electric baseboard heater below a window, with at least 12 inches of clearance between the heater and curtains or pieces of furniture for optimal performance.  Choose from 500-1500 watt capacities. WARNING: The heater's surface can become as hot as 120-140 degrees Fahrenheit, posing a risk to children or pets.

Electric fireplaces are simple to install and to operate. All you do is plug them in for efficient heating with a very appealing fringe benefit ... an electric fireplace will add a cozy ambiance to any room. And we do mean any -- a portable fireplace is simple to roll from one room to another, depending on where you need it at the moment. Potential home sellers take note: You'll be able to bring your fireplace along when you move. Choose a model with touch-safe glass in a home with kids and/or pets. FUN FACT: You can enjoy the atmosphere of an electric fireplace in the summertime too. Just switch it to "flame effect only" mode.

Ceiling fan heaters are made up of a handy combo of ceiling fan, light fixture, and space heater. The electric heater produces warm air, which the fan then diffuses throughout the room. In summer, the device can be used as a regular fan. Its ceiling mount makes it child- and animal-safe. A ceiling fan heater is affordable and easy to install as well; just wire it to an existing electrical circuit. You can even operate the heater from your bed, with the help of a remote control.

Laura Firszt writes for networx.com.

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