Oil Filled Electric Space Heater

These things seem to be all the rage here this winter. Even on sale, they’re more expensive on a $/kw basis and no more efficient than a conventional electric space heater. Am I missing something?

The heat is just more “even”. They do absolutely nothing to save energy. Not one single thing about filling the area around the elements with oil will save energy, make more heat, or reduce the number of times the heater has to run. The extremes in temperature between on and off cycles are just evened out since the oil bath will continue to radiate a bit in the off cycle, and it takes time to warm back up during the on cycle. If you surrounded your regular electric space heater with buckets of oil, or surrounded it with another mass like bricks, you’d accomplish the same thing.

Dont knock electric, Everyone says their more expensive, but not necessarily.
Nov of this year, I heated exclusively with electric, (the very oil-filled heater mentioned) and my electric bill went up about 60-80 bucks. Compared to 150-200 a month in propane, I’m not doing that bad.

The main way people save money with electric space heaters, whether oil-filled or not, is that they turn the main house heat pretty far back and only heat the room or rooms they live in. The sale of an old mansion-type house near me went though a couple years ago. I did a good bit of work in that house for the former owners, and they told me their winter fuel oil bill could run 3 to 4 grand a month. When I recently learned from another contractor that the new owners were just a couple (two people) for that big house, I asked him what they did for work to be able to afford to heat that place. He replied they just ran space heaters in a few rooms.

Good for you.

It all depends on the cost to produce a BTU for each fuel type.

Here is an energy calculator in a spreadsheet format that you can play with.

I may be wrong and will soon find out, :stuck_out_tongue: But if you have the capacity in your electrical panel, you could get even better efficiency with 240 volt baseboard heat. Safer as well.

John Kogel

The efficiency of all electric heaters (120V or 240V) is the same, 100%.
There’s no stack so every single Watt goes to heat the house.

You’re right about efficiency, John. There’s other reasons why 240V baseboards are a better choice, like more even distribution maybe. Thermostat locations. Even load on the service panel, both busses, no load on the lighting circuits.

Yeah, none of that makes any sense when we’re talking resi. No difference if you have one big 240 heater on both legs, or two small 120V heaters on different circuits. The “balance” of a resi panel is almost never a concern.

And element type electric baseboard is heat is not exactly “safe”. The only safe ones are the hydronic electric units, but they are quite a bit more expensive to buy.

I recommend plugging your space heater in here…receptacle by Vince S. :stuck_out_tongue:


hey, are those “half hots” on the bottom?