Eco-heater Wall Panels
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Eco-heater Wall Panels
I've been considering Eco-heater low-wattage panel heaters as a
cheap way to provide allergy-free heating in our small home in
Berkeley. Is there anyone on the list who has installed these
and can advise about their effectiveness?
I LOVE my econo-heaters. We have an older
drafty/not-well-insulated home and our heating bills were through
the roof (and our nasal passages and throats got so dried out
from the central heat being on). Last year we bought two
Econo-Heaters, one for our upstairs 400-square-foot doorless
master suite (a converted attic) and one for our toddler's
downstairs 180-square-foot room (w/ a door). The heaters are a
snap to install (just stack up books high enough and rest the
panel on them w/ a level). They keep the room an even temperature
throughout the night (if you need it warmer, just turn it on
earlier in the evening and vice versa if you want it cooler). The
heater is safe enough and absolutely worry-free for my toddler's
room (it gets super warm but does not burn if touched and cannot
be moved or knocked over). Best of all: Our electricity bill for
the winter was a *fraction* of what it normally was for past
winters b/c we were able to turn off the heat at night. And no
dry heat. I also love how it's completely silent--it's just a
heated panel that works by heat convection. Oh, and you can paint
them to match the wall color. I really don't know why PG&E
doesn't offer incentive programs to buy these. Feel free to email
me if you have any other questions.
I've installed two of these wall panel heaters, one in each
bedroom. At night I turn them on and then set the thermostat to
60 deg. The heating panels do a nice job of taking the edge off
the cold air. In addition, our mold problem seems to have gone
away, although I've also taken other efforts to mitigate the
problem (including installing a French drain). I would say,
however, that they're unlikely to substitute for central heating.
In addition, they're only inexpsensive to run if electricity is
inexpensive. I haven't noticed a major drop in our power bills
-- maybe a little less for heating gas and a little more for
electricity. Finally, they take up valuable wall space that you
might want to use for something else.
So, I like them and I'm glad we have them, but they're probably
not the solution to all your heating needs.
We installed two of these about 4 years ago. One went into a new
bedroom we made during an attic conversion. It was too expensive
to extend our furnace venting up to the new floor, so this seemed
like a good option. The other one went into a very cold bathroom
that never had a heater vent. On the Plus side: They do heat
up the room, they are not a danger to little kids, the initial cost
is much cheaper than the alternatives, they are easy to install,
they don't take up any floor space and only extend about an inch
from the wall.
Biggest problem: they run on electricity so they are more expensive
to run than a gas heater or another furnace vent. If we only used
them occasionally, this would be OK, but what has happened is that
they tend to be left on indefinitely, which gets expensive. Maybe
you would not have this problem. But we sure do, and we've pretty
much stopped using them for that reason. The one in the bathroom
does not have a thermostat, just a plug with an on/off switch. By
the time it heats up, you're done in the bathroom! You have to
remember to turn it off, and it seems no one ever does, and there
isn't an indicator to show whether it's on or off. So it just
quietly chugs away eating electricity until one of the grown-ups
remembers to feel it to see if it's on! Now we just have it
permanently unplugged. The one in the bedroom does have a
thermostat, but the college-aged son who lives in that bedroom
comes home late at night, is cold, turns it way up and then falls
asleep. He leaves the next morning, and the heater keeps his
empty room toasty warm all day long.
If you're going electric, I really recommend getting one of the
new cool-to-the-touch space heaters instead, that warm up quickly
and make a fan noise so you can tell they are running! I have a
Vornado in my office that I really love.
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