Efficiency and Safety of Standalone Heaters for your Home

Efficiency and Safety of Standalone Heaters for your Home

Efficiency and Safety of Standalone Heaters for your Home

Even the best-insulated homes occasionally need a boost of heat; either in extremely cold temperatures or rooms that are close to an external door or a draughty window. Rather than overhaul a perfectly functioning central system, if you’re just looking for temporary heat in specific rooms, then it’s time to invest in a standalone heater. These individual units work separately from your main heating supply and can also be an excellent backup if there’s a power failure or your central heating system fails. In this post, we’ll review portable and fixed standalone heaters for indoor use, investigating the efficiency and functionality of electric, gas and solid fuel options.

Types of Portable Heaters

The main advantage of portable heaters has got to be their flexibility – you can move them to any room in the house that requires additional heat. So from this perspective, portable heaters are a great option. Indoor solid fuel stoves will be fixed, so you have two energy options here – electric or gas. Your choice of heater includes:


oil filled radiator
convector heater
fan heater
infra-red bar heater

Bottled Gas

infra-red radiant
living flame

Types of Fixed Heaters

Fixed heaters will be wall-mounted. One of the main advantages of a fixed wall heater is the safety aspect. There’s no danger of the unit falling over; also, the fixed power supply means that you’re not constantly unplugging and plugging in an electric cable, or trying to carry a heavy gas bottle around the house. They are, however, as the name suggests, fixed. So you can only heat the room they’re installed in – be that to provide low-level, occasional heat in an area of low footfall, such as a basement or garage, or to provide toasty heat in a front room during the chilly winter months.

Again, your choice of unit will also depend on the energy source, and options include the following:


wall mounted convection heater
wall mounted fan heater
electric stove or fireplace


living flame fireplace
wall mounted heater

Solid Fuel

wood burning stove
biomass stove
coal fireplace/stove

Portable Heaters – Gas versus Electric

When it comes to portable heaters, there are many options available depending on the type of fuel you want to use, the amount of heat required and your budget. To help guide your decision on whether to go with a gas or electric heater, you need to be aware of the following:

· Efficiency – electric heaters work fast, and the amount of energy used is equal to the amount of heat produced, making them 100% efficient.

· Weight – As opposed to lightweight fan and convector heaters, portable gas heaters are heavy and unwieldy, so are harder to move from room to room.

· Safety – When it comes to safety issues, the main drawbacks with portable heaters are stability and the fact that they can become incredibly hot. Therefore, they present a fire hazard and, if you have small children or pets, you need to be mindful of where you’re placing these heaters. This is especially true of gas appliances, which don’t tend to come with the same controllability as their electric counterparts. Also, with gas, you need to ensure you have a carbon monoxide monitor; a faulty gas heater won’t burn the gas completely, creating carbon monoxide which is very dangerous to your health. It can lead to dizziness and fainting, and prolonged exposure can be fatal. This is why you should never use an outdoor gas heater indoors, as it requires a lot of ventilation to ensure the gas burns completely.

Fixed Standalone Heaters – Gas versus Electric versus Solid Fuel

There are three energy sources on offer when it comes to standalone fixed heaters – gas, electric and solid fuel. Which you choose may well depend on your budget and the required aesthetics, but you also need to consider these issues when it comes to making that purchase:

· Safety – although fixed appliances are far safer than portable units, certain energy sources come with additional safety risks. For gas heaters, as mentioned above, this is the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. The gas is odourless and its effects insidious, so it’s essential to purchase a carbon monoxide monitor. In addition, solid fuel wood burning stoves release tiny particulates into the air. Known as PM2.5, these tiny particles are linked to a number of ailments, including cancer, strokes, heart attacks and dementia. In contrast, as electric heaters don’t burn fuel to produce heat, they have a far superior safety profile.

· Installation – fixed standalone electric heaters will only require wall fixings and a power source. However, fixed gas appliances and solid fuel stoves require expert installation. Gas fires will need to be attached to an external gas tank and can need a flue, while solid fuel stoves will require a flue or chimney. Not only can this be costly, but there may be restrictions on where you can place these units, and the building work will be disruptive.

· Functionality – In terms of functionality, electric heaters again win hands down. Gas fires and solid fuel stoves don’t come with many additional features to help you control heat output – they’ll either be lit or off, and have very little additional controllability. Electric heaters, on the other hand, come with many additional features, all of which will not only make your life easier but also ensure that you only have energy when and where you need it. These include: digital controls, for precise temperature control; a built-in timer switch, so you can set the heat to come on just when you need it and climate control, ensuring consistent heat is supplied. Some electric heaters are also now WiFi-enabled, allowing them to be controlled via a smartphone App or a voice assistant, making them not only practical but also uber-cool.

Environmental impact – One aspect we’ve not touched on yet, that’s extremely relevant for certain solid fuel stoves and propane gas heaters, is their detrimental effect on the environment. Consumers are now far more aware of the need to use clean, efficient energy and how detrimental burning fossil fuels is on the environment. For this reason, renewable energy – from wind and solar power – is becoming an increasingly important energy source. Indeed, during 2019, in the UK more energy came from renewable energy sources than burning fossil fuels across the whole 12 months of the year. So by going electric, you’ll also reduce your carbon footprint, which has got to be a good thing.

Energy Efficiency and Cost Savings

Research shows that nearly 70% of energy used in UK households goes towards heating. This represents a considerable portion of household budgets, so along with an eye to the ecological benefits, many are now also looking at the efficiency of their heating systems. Looking specifically at fixed units, gas and solid fuel stoves are inherently inefficient as heat is lost out of the chimney or flue. Also, fossil fuels are not a finite source, and as Governments move away from subsidising these industries, we will see supplies dwindle and costs rise. Electric heat, on the other hand, is 100% efficient, and with renewable low-cost sources now dominating the arena, running costs are only set to go down. Given these facts, an electric unit has got to be the most energy-efficient, cost-effective, sustainable, safe and environmentally friendly option.

If you’re interested in purchasing a standalone electric heater then get in touch today. We have a fantastic range of products and our experts can help guide you to the best electric heating option for your home or office. To find out more, call us on 01252 560770 or you can email us at enquiries@electricheatingexpert.co.uk.

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