How long do oil-filled heaters last?
With dropping temperatures arises the need for warmth. But all of us want affordable heating options to heat our houses. With numerous alternatives available, there seems to be a single winner when the features required are unbeatable warmth and unmatched affordability: the oil-filled heaters. But are these heaters efficient? For how long they can last in chilly weather? Let’s explore their practicability:
- If the coil of the heater is kept at higher temperatures for long, it would lead to its deterioration faster. This way, they would last for around 10-15 years only. Keep them around 750-1000 Fahrenheit for longevity.
- If given some time to rest when not in need, these heaters can easily last up to 16-20 years.
- Another factor for making oil-filled heaters last longer is the care taken while handling them. Protecting them from external damages like corrosion can make them last longer than otherwise.
How long do oil-filled electric radiator heaters last?
The lifespan of an oil-filled heater depends on varied factors:
Usage plays an important role in deciding how long the heater would last. If used continuously without any rest, the appliance would wear away way sooner than otherwise.
Oil-filled heaters aren’t only meant to heat just indoors. Using them to heat the deck or patio is not uncommon. Thus, if one wishes to use them for warming up the outdoor spaces, expect a shorter run from the appliance. However, placing them indoors extends their lifespan comparatively.
To know how long your oil-filled heater will last, it is important to know the fuel type it uses. If the fuel takes longer to heat up and cools down quickly, it simply means that the heater would stay switched on for longer to make your surroundings warm. Whereas the oil that heats up quickly and can retain the heat for long is considered the best fuel type for such heaters as they lend longevity to the appliance.
Lubricating the motor with the best oil always ensures longer-running oil-filled heaters. If the heater brand you have shortlisted is infamous for poor lubrication, distance yourself from it as it would equate to throwing away your money down the drain. The appliance may not last long.
Which is cheaper to run – an oil-filled radiator or halogen heater?
The answer to this question depends on many factors. To know which is cheaper, let’s access all the aspects that one might have while making a purchase decision:
The prices of fuel, namely, gas and electricity in your area impact the running cost of your heater greatly. A halogen heater is cheaper to run in the areas where the gas prices are considerably lower than the electricity rates. And it’s the other way around for the oil-filled heaters. However, in the areas where electricity rates are cheaper as compared to gas charges, an oil-filled radiator will be cheaper to use. For an estimate, let’s consider the practical study of the Center for Sustainable Energy, UK. According to the study, it costs around $0.22 every hour to run a 1.5-kilowatt halogen heater against $0.27 every hour for an oil-filled heater.
Area to be heated
Halogen heaters use radiant heat for providing warmth to your room. It directs the infrared rays in a focused direction leading to less wastage of heat. It works well for both closed and open places as it doesn’t focus on heating the air but people and objects in the room. But this also means that space couldn’t retain the heat the moment the heater is turned off. Neither can halogen heaters heat large areas for lack of strong heat radiation. All this means a high cost to keep your spaces warm for long. Contrary to this, oil-filled heaters are great at heating large spaces and more so, retaining the warmth even after being switched off.
Which is better – oil-filled heaters or convector heaters?
When choosing between oil-filled heaters and convector heaters, a few factors need to be considered.
Amount of BTU produced
While choosing between an oil-filled heater and convection heater, it is important to consider the amount of heat produced by both of these. The desired heat units would be the ultimate deciding factor in making a wise purchase where oil-filled heaters can generate around 5100, the convection heaters give off 10,000 to 40000 BTU time
Time to heat the room
The time taken to heat the space is different in both kinds of heaters. Where oil-filled heaters take longer to heat the space, convection heaters are an instant solution. That said, oil-filled heaters can keep the room heated for a long time even after getting switched off but the convection heaters cool off quickly as soon as they are switched off. There is no further heat radiation from the surface like in the oil-filled heaters.
Both oil-filled heaters and convection heaters run on the same source of energy, i.e. electricity albeit with a different run-time. Where oil-filled heaters can be switched off once the room gets heated up, the convection heaters need to be constantly up and running until you are present in the room.
The oil-filled heaters take a little longer to heat the room while convector heaters will instantaneously warm your room. But this extra energy consumption is covered by the oil-filled heater as it again takes time to cool down. So, you can turn the heater off much before leaving your room and save electricity costs. On the other hand, a convector heater won’t keep your room warm once you pull out the electric connection. This mechanism decides this fuel cost for everyone solely.
Do you have to refill oil-filled radiators?
You don’t have to refill oil-filled radiators since the oil in these heaters are not used as a fuel. It just acts as a medium to transfer heat which means that there is no consumption of oil at all. The heating is provided by an electrical source and the oil neither burns nor evaporates from within the radiator. So, the bottom line is that you don’t have to refill the oil-filled radiators since it isn’t at all used during the room heating process.
Do oil heaters use a lot of electricity?
The oil heaters use much less electricity than their traditional counterparts. It is because these heaters turn their element off when their coil is hot enough to warm the room. Once the coil starts to cool down, the element is again turned on to generate heat with the help of electric current. The heat produced by electricity is used to heat the oil inside the heater instead of the surrounding air. These oil-filled coils, in turn, warms the room by radiating heat into the room. Since the heat is radiated slowly, the element of the heater remains off for a longer period. This is beneficial for your power bill as there isn’t any power consumption when the heater’s element is off. Hence, the extra time used to heat the coil initially balances out with the subsequent auto-cut. So, the oil-filled heaters cost as much as any halogen heater only.
Are oil-filled heaters efficient?
The efficiency of oil-filled heaters can be proven with its following two aspects:
Oil-filled heaters have been proved to be 99% energy-efficient by many accredited energy-rating organizations. This can be attributed to the fact that all the electricity that goes into the heater to heat the element is converted to heat energy only. Oil heaters diffuse less than 1% of energy into its other features like thermostat or timer settings.
Oil-filled heaters efficiency can also be judged from its heat-carrier type, i.e. oil instead of water. The oil absorbs a great amount of heat energy as compared to water. Moreover, it also takes longer to cool down and therefore, keeps radiating the heat longest than any other carrier. Thus, the carrier (oil) helps in giving off the warmth for a longer duration than, say, water. This makes the element switched-off from the electricity source and helps in saving energy bills.
Do oil-filled heaters emit carbon monoxide?
It is impractical to say that oil-filled heaters emit carbon monoxide as these heaters do not burn any oil in the process of warming up the surroundings. They only give off heat by radiating it from its heated element sans any gas fumes. Hence, there is no emission of any harmful gases including carbon monoxide.
Can you use an oil-filled heater on the carpet?
An oil filled heater is completely safe to use on carpets as the oil is always placed inside a sealed container only. It is made leak-proof that rules out any chance of it coming in contact with any flammable substance like carpet. Additionally, to be safe, always go for a quality brand oil heater since most high-quality models come with a safety switch that shuts the unit immediately if it gets knocked down. This automatic shut off prevents igniting any fire in case of any spillage due to the tipping-over of the unit.
What size oil-filled heater do I need?
To have a perfect sized oil filled heater for your room you will need to consider the following aspects first:
Size of the room
The size of the room that needs to be heated up plays the most important role in making oil heaters’ purchase decisions. The larger the size of the room, the bigger the oil heater in Watts would be needed. Also, if the room has a high ceiling or many doors or windows, you would need an oil heater with more wattage.
The wattage of the oil heater decides the amount of heat it would generate to warm up the surroundings. If you happen to live in harsh climatic conditions, getting an oil heater with relatively bigger wattage would be apt to have enough warmth whereas, for regions with normal winters, a low watt heater would be enough.
What kind of oil is in an oil-filled heater?
Oil-filled heaters use oil as a carrier/medium rather than a fuel. This carrier oil is not any ordinary daily-use oil but a diathermal oil. A diathermic oil is solely used in such heaters because of:
High heat-retaining capacity
A diathermic oil is the one that stores a huge amount of heat without any temperature rise. It has long been used in heaters for its thermal properties. The oil neither evaporates nor combusts easily as it is stored inside a sealed container. A diathermic oil also has the capability of retaining heat energy for a very long period. This is why the oil-filled heaters keep radiating the heat even long after getting disconnected from its energy source.
High boiling point
A diathermic oil needs a temperature of at least 300 degrees Celsius to boil and ultimately, vaporize. With all other oils having relatively low boiling points, the heating process could create a very high pressure inside the sealed container, thereby, making the unit explode any time. But such a scenario is not possible with a diathermic oil as its boiling point is extremely high to reach to vaporize.
How do oil-filled heaters work?
Oil-filled heaters work just like central heating systems which means they both use a hot liquid to diffuse warmth off the appliance. The only difference between both is that where an oil-filled heater uses an internal heating element to heat the liquid stored inside, the water for the central heating system is heated by an externally attached system of boiler and pipes. That is to say, an oil-filled heater is a complete unit that is capable of heating any space on its own against the central heating system, which is just a useless metal piece until the hot water is made to run through it.
An oil filled heater uses an electric element to heat such a reservoir of thermal oil which is stored safely inside the appliance. This electrical element is completely covered within the oil to raise its temperature effectively and let the heat radiate from it to heat large spaces.
Where to put an oil-filled heater in your room?
For rooms with closed doors, it is best to place an oil-filled heater almost in the middle of the room. This will help in heating the room evenly throughout. Try not to open and close the doors frequently as it will lead to a considerable heat loss. Also, do not place the heater near the door as this will also allow the heat to escape out of the room before circulating inside first.
For open floor plans, you might need more than one heater if the goal is to heat the place altogether evenly. But, to save costs, it is best to place the heater where you spend most of your time. Such heaters are relatively easy and safe to move around.
Some tips for safely placing the oil-filled heater:
- Though these heaters are made leak-proof, there are bleak chances of leakage in case of faulty production. Hence, it is better to place these heaters away from any combustible substance. Also, keep drapes and such material away from these heaters.
- Try to place these heaters away from the reach of the children as the appliance easily warms from the internal heat radiation.
Can oil-filled heaters be used as the main heating system?
Whether an oil-filled heater can replace your main heating system or not depends on the following aspects:
With areas that experience harsh winters, oil-filled heaters must be used only as a supplement heating unit to the main heating system. It is best to keep the heater to provide extra warmth at the space where you happen to spend most of your time. However, if you live in a region where the winters are mild, an oil-filled heater can very well replace the main heating system as it gives off a decent amount of heat energy in milder temperatures.
Size of the house
Another factor that might make you question the need for the main heating system is the size of the house you live in. If you happen to live in a tiny house, installing just an oil heater would be enough to keep your home warm. But with many rooms like living, dining, bedrooms, et al to heat, it would seem impractical for an oil-filled heater to replace your main heating system.
What are the dangers of oil heaters?
Like every other appliance, oil-filled heaters, too, comes with a few probable dangers:
Risk of explosion
Though there is no apparent risk of any kind of explosion in an oil heater, it is possible if things don’t work out as they should be with such heaters. A probable oil leak or covering of the vents might lead to a fault in the working causing the heater to explode. Thus, it is advisable to follow all the instructions that these heaters come with.
Risk of a fire hazard
All the major companies manufacture such heaters with appropriate safety standards. But in certain exceptional cases, the unit might develop a crack causing the oil to leak. This could very well be a cause of igniting a fire especially with flammable substances in reach. Hence, always switch the unit off from the main electrical line if you see some spillage near the appliance or notice any crack. Contact the manufacturer immediately to address the issue.
Risk of fumes
Dangers from fumes are one of the most common that come to mind when one thinks of an oil-filled heater. It seems fairly reasonable too, thinking that such heaters work on the principle of heating oil to give warmth. So, do oil-filled heaters give fumes? The answer is ‘no’. To produce fumes, combustion is a must. But in oil heaters, there is no burning of oil. The oil is just heated with the heating element that further, radiates heat into the surrounding. So, there is neither the risk of any danger from fumes nor any harmful gas is produced. If you smell something burning while the oil heater is plugged in, it might very well be the heating smell of the element, and oil only sans the fumes.
Are oil heaters safe to leave on overnight?
Almost all the oil heater companies warn against keeping their heaters on overnight. But that does not seem a perfectly practical solution, especially for those living in chilly regions. A perfectly functioning oil filled heater can very well be left on overnight especially if it has a good thermostat. That said, one must take a few precautions while leaving an oil heater on before sleeping:
- Never cover the cord of an oil heater with any rug, carpet, etc. Keep all the connected wires out in the open.
- Make sure that the vents of the oil heater are not covered. Leave all the openings or vent open and unobstructed.
- Never source an oil heater from an extension cord or a power strip. It must always be plugged directly in the main power socket.
- Make sure that there is no flammable substance near the heater or on it. Never place the oil heater in a moisture-laden room.
- Set the thermostat to let the heater cut its power supply off when the room achieves an optimum temperature. This ensures a break to the appliance from the constant electric strain. Hence, fewer chances of any mishappening.
What is the cost per hour to run oil-filled heaters?
To calculate the per hour consumption cost of an oil-filled heater one needs to know the amount of power the heater draws, i.e. the wattage used by the heater. An oil filled heater draws approximately 1500 Watts. And one unit of electricity is measured at 1000 Watts. Then, you will be required to multiply the resultant figure with the unit cost of electricity in your region. For the mathematical calculation, use the simple formula given below:
Power consumption by the heater in Watts/1000 watts* per hour cost of electricity = Per hour cost of running the heater
(1500 Watts/1000 Watts = 1.5 unit every hour)
Now, multiply this with the charge your region has for every unit consumption of electricity.
How hot do oil-filled heaters get?
Talking about heat radiation, an oil-filled heater can get as 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The lower heat range is also around 40 degrees F. The desired temperature that you want to maintain throughout the room can, however, be fixed via thermostat function.
But talking about the hotness of the physical structure of the appliance, an oil heater is not this hot when touched from outside. The outer boy of the appliance is just warm to touch and can not cause burns. It is, however, advised not to touch the unit when it is plugged in. Most of the companies just state this as a measure of precaution rather than a warning signal.
What are the advantages of oil-filled heaters?
Oil-filled heaters have gained a lot of attention over traditional heaters for many advantages over their counterparts.
More than 99% of electricity consumed by oil heaters goes only into heating the oil inside, thereby causing almost negligible escape. This makes these kinds of appliances more efficient than the rest of the heating systems. Also, the oil-filled heaters heat the oil to a degree where it takes time to cool down. This lets the appliance to cut off its power supply until the oil comes to a set temperature. Hence, the energy is saved more in this mechanism.
OIl-filled heaters do not use fans like other heaters to push the hot air out. It just radiates the heat off its surface. This leads to zero noise while the unit is running against the traditional fan heaters that are infamous to make your sound sleep noisy. This has also made them a preferred choice at workplaces where silence is gold like recording studios, conference halls, etc.
Experts warn against the use of heating systems as they dry out the surrounding air and increase humidity levels of your room. This not only dries up your throat and skin but can also cause allergic reactions to those having respiratory issues. But this is not the case with oil heaters as they do not work on the mechanism of drying the air with a fan etc. They simply add comforting warmth to the surroundings.
The traditional heating systems that use water as a carrier to heat the surroundings are unsafe to move when plugged in. This is because they create high pressure due to the low boiling point of water and there is always a danger of them exploding. Also, such traditional heaters are too big to move around. But in case of oil-filled heaters, you can easily move them around as they are neither hot to touch nor that heavy to drag. Also, the large-sized are mostly equipped with wheels to move them comfortably from one room to another.
Traditional heaters always come with safety instructions, especially stating that they are not kids-safe. This is because their surface gets extremely hot to touch and incidents have been reported of ‘burns from touch’. This very disadvantage of traditional heaters has, however, been addressed in oil-filled heaters by eliminating the issue. The heaters aren’t hot to touch at all. The maximum heat one could feel is a slightly warm surface just like the base of a laptop.
Additionally, these heaters haven’t ignored the possibility of any mishappening. Almost all the brands offer a safety feature of a tilt switch that shuts the unit automatically instantly if it accidentally gets tipped over by anyone.
With the absence of a fan in the working mechanism of such heaters, it is safe to deploy them if you happen to be allergic to dust or dander.
Which heaters are the cheapest to run?
When talking about electric heating units, all the heaters are around 100% energy efficient as they convert all of the electrical energy to heat energy. That said, the cost of running any electrical appliance is decided by its wattage. The larger the wattage it uses, the costlier it will be to run. So, it is very important to choose a heater that maintains constant room temperature and then automatically shuts itself once that temperature is achieved uniformly in the room. Once the chill starts creeping in, it then starts heating again and the cycle continues. This would save a lot of energy bills as the appliance would stay switched off when not needed. And only a single type of heater comes with such mechanism; an oil-filled heater.
The convection heating current does the trick of warming the carrier oil inside and then radiates that heat off its surface. Though the heating of oil takes time in the beginning, the oil doesn’t cool off quickly, thereby keeping the appliance switched off.
Many people also contemplate that halogen heaters are cheaper than the oil heaters since they heat the surroundings as soon as they are plugged in. But what is ignored during the whole scenario is that once halogen heaters are switched off, you’ll start feeling the chills instantly. So, if not cheaper, both kinds of heaters would cost you almost the same. But they still are cheaper than fan heaters or bar fires.
Can the best oil heater catch fire?
Though oil-filled heaters are not as dangerous as bar radiators or fan heaters, there still can be a risk of catching fire in chase of an unexpected event. If an oil heater trips over, the oil inside might leak from the crack developed in such damage. Such an accident is enough to start a fire. Hence, almost all the oil heaters come with an auto-cut switch where the unit shuts itself off if it tilts accidentally. One must, therefore, always take precautionary measures to avoid such events in the first place.
One must take necessary precautions like:
- Do not cover the wires of the heater with any carpet or rug. Any fire starting from the cracked wire (due to overheating) would then be ignited easily.
- Always keep all the flammable stuff like clothing away from the heater as there is always a grave risk of fire ignition.
- Never dry your clothes near the heater as it leads to the failure of the heater’s thermal fuses in case of an emergency.
- If you are drying up your wet clothes on the surface of the heater, the thermal resistance of clothes would make the surface temperature of the appliance rise further to dry the moisture of the cloth. In the process, the unit might heat up to the extent of watching its autoignition temperature, thereby starting a fire.
Which is better- Oil-filled Heaters or Convector Heaters?
Convector heaters lost its position of ‘most widely used heaters’ to oil-filled heaters mainly because of:
Drying of surrounding air
With a fan being an important part to circulate the hot air around the rooms, the convector heaters cause the air in the room to dry up. This shortcoming was addressed in oil-filled heaters that led to their widespread usage in recent years. That said, many companies like Tesy or ADAX have addressed this issue by using resin-treated elements instead of the traditional fan. But even then, the humidity levels stay unaltered only in the case of oil heaters. Oil heaters, thus, do not cause dry mouth or lungs.
With convection heaters’ necessity to run all the time to keep your surroundings warm, it has all come down to the energy consumption of both the types of heaters. Though oil heaters take a longer time initially to heat the oil inside, it is kept shut for long once the oil has reached its heating point. The heat then keeps radiating off the unit with zero electricity charge thereon.
Both the above factors, however, display a neck-to-neck competition in both kinds of heating systems, people still prefer to choose oil heaters due to their extra safety and other features like timer, thermostat, etc.
Are oil-filled heaters safe for babies?
OIl-filled heaters are relatively safe for babies when compared with fan or bar heaters due to the following reasons:
- The surface of oil heaters do not get as hot as bar heaters and are safe to touch. They cannot cause any burns to the baby practically.
- There are no exposed heated coils in oil heaters like other heaters that are neither heat-safe nor shock-proof. The whole appliance is covered in safe-to-touch material and can never be a danger for your baby in ordinary conditions.
- Talking about any mishappening/accident, the oil heaters come equipped with safety features like a tilt switch that instantly turns the unit off the electric supply if it gets accidentally tripped by a baby. This covers the risk of igniting any fire.
Are oil heaters ok around babies?
Usual heaters and blowers have always been advised against to be kept in babies’ rooms, especially when there is no one around to supervise. This is because of the reason that the surface of such heaters are either extremely hot to touch or they have exposed heating coils in them. In any case, babies may end up getting severe burns if they come too near to the heating unit.
But such dangers aren’t practically possible in il heaters. The reason being, oil heaters neither have any exposed heated element nor they have heated surfaces. The heating elements of the oil heater are sealed inside a safe container. Moreover, the surfaces of such heaters never get more than warm to touch.
Also, these heaters have been designed specifically keeping in mind the all-round safety of every family member including pets. That means such heaters have a built-in safety switch where the unit isolates itself from the energy source (electricity) if it gets knocked down by a baby, kid, or pet. In the absence of such a safety feature, a fire would ignite. But oil heaters cover up for such a mishappening. Hence, oil-filled heaters are ok around babies.