Small, portable heaters are a favorite addition to many homes and offices when the temperatures outside begin to drop. While these devices are a convenient solution to fight off the cold, they are not always the most beneficial choice. Several disadvantages are associated with the use of small portable heaters.
Small portable heaters are dangerous. According to the National Fire Protection Agency, portable heaters accounted for 32 percent of heating-related fires from 2003 to 2007. They accounted for 79 percent of the deaths that occurred in those fires. This often happens because, even though portable heaters are small, they output a large amount of energy and get very hot. People often leave them operating for longer than the recommended period and place them too close to flammable objects, both actions which can lead to fires. Portable heaters are also easily knocked over, a situation which can lead to a fire if not attended to quickly.
While small, portable heaters are cheap to purchase, they are not cheap to operate for long periods. According to the Sustainable Energy Authority, small portable heaters can cost more than three times the operating cost of a larger space heater. For this time using a portable heater for an extended period or as your main source of heat can become expensive.
Small, portable heaters are useful for heating small areas but will not efficiently heat a large area, such as a big room or an entire living space. Instead, portable heaters should be used for supplementing the heat provided by a larger heating system or furnace.
The very feature that can make portable heaters appealing can also become a disadvantage. Since portable heaters are not fixed into place, they can get in the way. Portable heaters often end up in the way of foot traffic and cause tripping hazards as do their cords. Also, when not in use, portable heaters must be stored, sometimes causing space issues.
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