In case you were wondering...

In case you were wondering...

This blog exists to encourage all those who have ever wanted--and needed!--a tiny getaway close to home. A workshop, playhouse, garden shed, sanctuary, mini-greenhouse, studio, home office; whatever it is you need, it IS doable, with some sacrifice, imagination, and compromise.

It helps if you're handy, too.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Still trying to figure out the heater issue...

The tiny electric, ceramic space heater is OK, for now (especially with the timer that turns it on an hour or so before I go out there), but I don't believe it has enough surface area.  You need to pretty much be in front of it.  Directly.

So still researching.  It can't cost too much, right now, and I don't want propane, so that narrows the field...I need clean, more or less allergy-free heat.  

Almost bought a little heater that looked like a wood stove--I know, it's nuts, but it was CUTE!!  I was willing to give it space in the shed--till I read the review that said the fake logs were styrofoam and when they heated it made her sick.  Uh oh...ceramic heaters don't do that...

>Not impressed with the oil-filled ones...J. knows of two that lost one of their two heating elements in a short time, and the one I had to do with simply didn't offer enough heat.

The wall-mounted panels seem OK, but not overly impressive, and seem to need to be on longer to heat the area.  No blower on those (something they share with the oil-filled ones)...which is good news and bad news.  Hot blowing air CAN dry your sinuses, but no blowing air sometimes doesn't feel like enough heat."color: black;">

And of course the woodstove would need a hole in the shed (wall is J's choice, roof is mine), double-walled chimney, fireproofing for the wall and floor, and take up considerably more of our 10' x 10' space...and chopping and splitting firewood.  Hm.  That's not going to happen right away, if ever...

So back to electric heat, for now...

I found this guideline on it looks worth reading!

Five Tips for Buying a Heater

Choosing a space heater is a matter of sifting through a bewildering array of types, power ratings, and fuel sources. Let's break it down a little to make the process easier.
What are the different types of space heaters?
  • Radiant heaters emit infrared radiation that directly warms the objects in front of the heaters (rather than the surrounding air). If you only need heat by a desk or in a small section of a room, a radiant heater is quiet and will use very little power.
  • Forced-air heaters use a fan to blow air that has been warmed by metal or ceramic heating elements. A forced-air heater is appropriate for quickly heating up a small- to medium-sized room, but can be noisy.
  • Convection heaters draw cold air from the floor; the air is warmed by heating coils and emitted from the top of the heater. A convection heater is appropriate for quickly heating up a small- to medium-sized room, but also can be noisy.
  • Radiators work by heating oil enclosed in a reservoir, gradually heating the surrounding air. If heating speed isn't an issue, you might want to opt for a radiator. These are extremely quiet and effective--perfect for bedrooms.
Should I buy an electric or a combustion model?
If you want a heater that will be available in emergencies, or that can heat areas larger than a single room, choose a "combustion" model--one that is powered by a gas or fuel like propane, kerosene, natural gas, or diesel. Which fuel type you choose depends largely on convenience and local availability. For example, diesel would be appropriate for a heater you take with you on long car trips.

How powerful a heater do I need?
Heaters are rated by BTU, which stands for British Thermal Unit (the amount of heat needed to heat one pound of water by 1 degree F). To find out how many BTU you need:

  • Calculate the volume of the space to be heated by multiplying square footage by height.
  • Multiply that number by 4 if your insulation is poor, 3 if it's average, or 2 if it's good.
The resulting number is a ballpark figure for how many BTU you'll need.

Do space heaters cost a lot to operate?
As a general rule, electric space heaters are more expensive to use than combustion models. To ensure energy efficiency, a thermostat is a must-have feature for any heater. For radiant heaters, models with a 360 degree heating surface can heat larger spaces. If you need a forced-air heater, models with ceramic elements tend to be more efficient.

Are space heaters a fire hazard?
Space heaters are implicated in about 25,000 residential fires every year. To ensure proper safety, always follow the manufacturer's usage instructions and fill out the warranty card to receive informational updates from the manufacturer. Also, look for extra safety features such as an automatic shutoff switch that can shut down the unit if, for example, it gets upended. In addition, choose a model where the heating element is adequately enclosed within the unit.


Thanks, Amazon, still considering...babble babble...


  1. I am not out in a cold room but when I need supplemental heat in the house (my husband likes to keep the house at 66 degrees or less in the winter) I love my radiant (infrared) heater I have from Costco. I think it costs $62 currently. It's quiet and warms me up so nicely. If you set it back a ways you could both be warmed by it but I am not sure it would be enough for as cold as you get. It might be enough to add to the little unit you already have though.

  2. I'm not either, but what we got yesterday was a oscillating tower heater that's supposed to save money--FWIW, I was sure warm this morning!

  3. I've got an oil heater that's in a 7x10 closet-sized room here on the Oregon coast. For the past 8 years it's been on 24 hours a day. I use it to keep the room warm and dry so that mold and damp don't impact all the photographic slides I keep in there. Works for me! Just thought you'd like to know ... good luck with your quest for the perfect heater! --Carol Leigh

  4. check out the dickinson boat stove/heaters- pretty pricey though....

    of the nordic stoves- I have one in VT- VERY tiny- runs on #2 kerosene...the stove has to be exactly level to work though...


  5. Hi Carol Leigh--does it cost a lot to run it all the time? That's my main problem with the oil heaters, it takes SO long to heat up. I just preheat the shed for an hour or so before I go out, then turn off the heater when I leave.

    Deek, I did check those, way out of my price range I'm afraid!

  6. Are the walls of the playhouse insulated, Kate? I know the floor insulation fell off...have you had that replaced yet, before the snow flies ?

    I hate to mention that while you're talking of warding off the cold, here in Las Vegas we're in the mid 80's...tied a very old record...summer in November...who'd a thunk?

  7. Hi Joan! I know it's warm out there, my sister and niece live there! Funny, isn't it...

    Yes, the walls and ceiling are insulated, and nope, the floor insulation is not replaced yet. If we don't do it before long, the adhesive won't stick!

  8. We ordered and just received today, a radiant heater. The dogs are missing the fireplace in the old house big time. They've never been without one. I'll let you know how it works out. When I come back..... I want to be a spoiled rotten dog :)

  9. What kind did you get, Pam? A quartz heater? We looked at one that said it was for large rooms, but I thought they just heated whatever was directly in front of them. Of course in a 10 x 10 shed, that's pretty much everything.<;-D

    I REALLY wanted this cute thing...and yeah, the critters love to lie in front of heat, don't they!

  10. We got an EdenPURE. A quartz infrared heater. Says it will heat 1000 sq ft. They have smaller units too. Advertised as not to dry out the air. Right now we've got it in the family/dining/kitchen half of the condo. Approx 800 sg ft. It's quite toasty at 70. We set the condo thermostat at 65 and our heat was running all night. Early this morning we set the heater on medium and within a couple of hours it was 70. Just turned it down to low and it's cycling on and off. Not noisy. So far.... no dry nose. Dogs don't seem to be making a lot of trips to the water bowl. We'll see. - having sale plus no shipping fees :)

  11. Not drying the air would be GOOD. I'm noticing my nose is getting dry and I need to open the door or step outside from time to time. I'm still looking for a more permanent solution...



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