Saturday, November 11, 2006

Quartz Infrared Heaters: Don't Buy That Pellet Stove Just Yet

In case you haven't heard, quartz infrared heaters are the "hot" item this heating season. Although they've been around for 20 years, homeowners are only now discovering this inexpensive heater that costs nothing to install or maintain and heats your favorite living space for only pennies a day.
At the heart of these infrared heaters are the quartz bulbs. They provide even, non drying, floor to ceiling heat and reduce positive ions in the atmosphere responsible for many respiratory problems.
Similar to incandescent lamps, quartz bulbs are formed by enclosing a tungsten resistance wire within a high purity quartz sheath. The bulbs cost $5 – $15 each, are easy to replace, and last 5 – 7,000 hours, or 3 – 5 years.
The cost of electricity to operate an infrared heater is extremely low. A 1,500 watt unit will consume about 18 cents of electricity per hour if run continuously.
However, a quartz infrared heater doesn't run continuously and cycles on only 50% of the time. This reduces the effective cost of operation to 9 or 10 cents per hour, or about $1 a day.
If you're heating a manufactured home with LP gas, the savings could be substantial.
One contributor to the mobilehomerepair.com forum said he ended up spending only $200 for gas last winter simply by lowering the thermostat on his furnace to 62 degrees and letting his quartz infrared heater do the rest.
Likewise, if you own a bricks and mortar home, and want to save money by heating only your primary living space, why spend $2,000 on a pellet stove plus $700 for installation when a $500 infrared heater could achieve the same result?
Further savings can be realized by setting the programmable thermostat to coincide with your daily schedule. Set it to turn on before you get up, off when you leave for work, and back on before you get home from work. Some units even offer weekday/weekend programming.
The safety of a quartz infrared heater rivals that of my favorite oil filled heater. Actually, the quartz heater does the oil filled heater one better by offering a cabinet enclosure that stays cool to the touch. This is a welcome benefit if you have curious kids or pets.

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