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Do you want to heat people or space?
We've put this together so you can make an informed decision about the best heater for your space.
  • Radiant Heat

    Radiant heat warms people and objects rather than the air.

  • Infrared

    Infrared emits heat much like the sun does to heat skin, clothes, and other objects.

  • Convection Heat

    Convection heat relies on the circulation of air to heat a room.

  • Forced Air Heats

    Forced air heats the air directly and circulates that warm air throughout the area.

Heater Type Pros Cons Best used for Power Source


Ceiling Panels
Under Floor Cables
Under Desk Panels

Uses less energy for stationary activity in offices; air is directed to a specific target; quiet operation (heat travels thru space without heating space and is absorbed by the first solid object it encounters). Can take longer to heat an area; hot to the touch. When you need to warm people and objects in the area rather than warming the air itself, usually through a radiator, floor, wall, or overhead panel. Natural gas, propane (LP), oil, coal, wood, electricity, heat pumps, ground source heat pumps, and solar energy



Work instantly; they do not reduce oxygen content; promote healthy blood circulation. Limited warming; cools quickly when shut off. When you need instant heat in a directed area; can be used outdoors. Electric and gas



Heats entire room easily; warms air quickly. Moves heat from one location to another by means of currents set up in fluid or medium. Most common in HVAC are air and water. Response to moving air means that an influx of cold air will mix into the hot air and be less warm. Objects can block air flow. Slight energy loss since air is pushed to ceiling. When you need to heat a large room in a closed space for extended time. Oil heaters are convection heaters good for homes or small office buildings. Natural gas, propane (LP), oil, coal, wood, electricity, heat pumps, ground source heat pumps, and solar energy

Forced Air


Heats quickly and powerfully and is more affordable. Can share air ducts for AC. Watch for leaky ductwork; can stir up settled pollutants; takes longer to heat. When you need to heat homes or large office buildings. Electric, natural gas, propane (LP)


Console & Room

Can heat specific areas or items and keep them at a warm temperature. Cannot heat a room using only this type of heat. Maintaining constant temperature in a room. Keeping bottles or lotions at a specific warm temperature. Electric
Area to be heated (sq. ft.) Watts BTU
150 1500 5115
250 2500 8525
350 3500 11935
500 5000 17050
750 7500 25575
1000 10000 34100
1500 15000 51150
2000 20000 68200
2500 25000 85250
3000 30000 102300
5000 50000 170500
10000 100000 341000

Selecting the right size heater

Heaters are available in a variety of styles, functions and type of heat source.

The first step in choosing the right heater is to determine the area to be heated. What zone is it located in North America and how is your building insulated? Using the FHA standard insulation and mid-North American zone average of 8.2 watts per square foot here are the basics to guide you. Consider that poor insulation will require more watts/BTU's.

Measure the size of the area to heat and mutiply length x width x 8.2. Find your total watts required for the room. Figures are based on standard 7' ceiling height, 15% total window and door openings on outside walls and 3/4 total air changes per house.


    Tiltable fans will force warm air from ceilings down to work areas - and slash fuel costs up to 20%.

Energy Saving Tips

  • Maintenance Set your thermostat to 68 degrees. Setting it higher can increase energy costs 2-5%. Lower it at night.
  • Keep it clean Clean and replace furnace filters, air filters, and heating vents to increase efficiency and reduce costs. Give your furnace an annual tune-up from a professional and make sure air flow is not blocked.
  • Insulate Check windows and doors for proper insulation and install storm windows to maximize heat and minimize cold air entering the area.
  • Humidify Using a humidifier will help areas feel more comfortable without turning up the thermostat, as will adding carpet to bare floors.
  • Hot water use Set your hot water below 120 degrees in the winter, and make an effort to reduce hot water use. Pipes can be wrapped in low coat foam wrap to avoid the potential for freezing.
  • Reverse it Reverse the direction of your ceiling fan during the winter months to keep the warm air circulating downward. Refer to the owner’s manual, but generally, the fan should move in a clockwise direction to push heat down. However, exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathrooms pull hot air from the room so use them in short intervals during the winter.
Fuel/energy sources
Electric Heat Flexibility of use; excellent for supplemental heating; safer - no fumes or leaks. Won’t heat large areas efficiently.
Gas Heat Energy efficient; less expensive than electric and oil heat. Higher purchase price; shorter life span (up to 20 years).
Oil Heat Provides more heat per BTU; non –explosive. More maintenance required (soot build up); less efficient than gas.
Hydronic/Radiant Heat Uniform heating instantly; more efficient than conventional HVAC. Cannot heat large rooms; works best on people in close proximity.
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