I've been considering Eco-heater low-wattage panel heaters as a cheap way to provide allergy-free heating in our small home in Berkeley. Is there anyone on the list who has installed these and can advise about their effectiveness? See http://www.eheat.com/
I LOVE my econo-heaters. We have an older drafty/not-well-insulated home and our heating bills were through the roof (and our nasal passages and throats got so dried out from the central heat being on). Last year we bought two Econo-Heaters, one for our upstairs 400-square-foot doorless master suite (a converted attic) and one for our toddler's downstairs 180-square-foot room (w/ a door). The heaters are a snap to install (just stack up books high enough and rest the panel on them w/ a level). They keep the room an even temperature throughout the night (if you need it warmer, just turn it on earlier in the evening and vice versa if you want it cooler). The heater is safe enough and absolutely worry-free for my toddler's room (it gets super warm but does not burn if touched and cannot be moved or knocked over). Best of all: Our electricity bill for the winter was a *fraction* of what it normally was for past winters b/c we were able to turn off the heat at night. And no dry heat. I also love how it's completely silent--it's just a heated panel that works by heat convection. Oh, and you can paint them to match the wall color. I really don't know why PG doesn't offer incentive programs to buy these. Feel free to email me if you have any other questions. Andrea
I've installed two of these wall panel heaters, one in each bedroom. At night I turn them on and then set the thermostat to 60 deg. The heating panels do a nice job of taking the edge off the cold air. In addition, our mold problem seems to have gone away, although I've also taken other efforts to mitigate the problem (including installing a French drain). I would say, however, that they're unlikely to substitute for central heating. In addition, they're only inexpsensive to run if electricity is inexpensive. I haven't noticed a major drop in our power bills -- maybe a little less for heating gas and a little more for electricity. Finally, they take up valuable wall space that you might want to use for something else.
So, I like them and I'm glad we have them, but they're probably not the solution to all your heating needs. anonymous
We installed two of these about 4 years ago. One went into a new bedroom we made during an attic conversion. It was too expensive to extend our furnace venting up to the new floor, so this seemed like a good option. The other one went into a very cold bathroom that never had a heater vent. On the Plus side: They do heat up the room, they are not a danger to little kids, the initial cost is much cheaper than the alternatives, they are easy to install, they don't take up any floor space and only extend about an inch from the wall.
Biggest problem: they run on electricity so they are more expensive to run than a gas heater or another furnace vent. If we only used them occasionally, this would be OK, but what has happened is that they tend to be left on indefinitely, which gets expensive. Maybe you would not have this problem. But we sure do, and we've pretty much stopped using them for that reason. The one in the bathroom does not have a thermostat, just a plug with an on/off switch. By the time it heats up, you're done in the bathroom! You have to remember to turn it off, and it seems no one ever does, and there isn't an indicator to show whether it's on or off. So it just quietly chugs away eating electricity until one of the grown-ups remembers to feel it to see if it's on! Now we just have it permanently unplugged. The one in the bedroom does have a thermostat, but the college-aged son who lives in that bedroom comes home late at night, is cold, turns it way up and then falls asleep. He leaves the next morning, and the heater keeps his empty room toasty warm all day long.
If you're going electric, I really recommend getting one of the new cool-to-the-touch space heaters instead, that warm up quickly and make a fan noise so you can tell they are running! I have a Vornado in my office that I really love.