Wednesday, October 29, 2014

New Pinterest Board

I just created my first board on Pinterest. And it only took me 2 years to figure it out. I suppose I'll be doing one on radiant heaters, but an outrageously expensive electric fireplace caught my eye so I decided to build a board around that instead.

The title of the board is Most Expensive Electric Fireplaces. Take a minute to check it out and see the outer limits of how much you can pay for an electric fireplace.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Safety Tips for Space Heaters | Infographic

I'm teaching myself how to make infographics because it's the next big thing in blogging. Actually they've been popular for a few years now but I'm slow on the uptake.

For my first attempt I chose space heater safety as my topic because it might even safe a life or two. Although there are always some dangerous heaters out there subject to recall, the vast majority of household fires are the result of failing to obey the basic rules of space heater safety. (Please feel free to copy this infographic to your website or blog).

 photo SpaceHeaterSafety_zpsd30dce7c.png

Friday, March 14, 2014

Pros and Cons of Infrared Fireplace Inserts

Classic Flame 28" Infrared Fireplace Insert
I first noticed the inclusion of quartz infrared heaters into the design of electric fireplaces and inserts at the beginning of the 2012 heating season.

From a marketing perspective, expanding into the electric fireplace product line is a no-brainer given the popularity of quartz infrared heaters in general.

But are infrared inserts just a gimmick, or do they provide additional benefits not found in conventional inserts?

Superior Heat Quality
If you already own an infrared heater you don't need to be convinced that its moist, even heat creates a more comfortable environment than the harsh, arid heat that comes from an electric coil heater.

And if you've never experienced the difference you'll be pleasantly surprised when you do.

More Powerful Heater
The typical electric insert comes equipped with a standard electric coil heater rated at 4,600 BTUs, or the equivalent of 1,350 watts.

A quartz infrared heater, by comparison, is rated at 5,200 BTUs, or 1,500 watts which works out to 10% more heating power.

And, since it has a radiant heat source that directs its warmth to inanimate objects such as funiture, which retain heat, it uses less energy to maintain the room temperature.

Flame Display
The identical flame display is used for both infrared and non-infrared inserts of similar sized models within a brand name's product line. For example, the same SpectraFire flame display is used in all of Classic Flame's 28" models.

Although the flame display quality isn't an issure for the purposes of this article, it's understandable why it would be more important than the type of heater for some consumers

By the way, the reviews I've read for the Classic Flame SpectraFire flame display have been good to outstanding.

Heating Area Coverage
I don't know why everyone who sells infrared heaters claims they will heat 1.000 square feet, but they persist in doing so. I know my 1,500 watt DR Heater will comfortably heat around 600 square feet of my Boston condo, but that's about it. There are just too many obstructions (doors, walls) that prevent a heater of this size from reaching every corner of a home's layout.

Or, if you have an open floor plan, it's impossible for any 1,500 watt heating appliance, quartz or otherwise, to keep up with the demand.

So the answer is yes, a radiant heater will do a better job at heating larger areas than most conventional heaters, but it's not going to heat 1,000 square feet unless it's a self contained room in a home built to LEED standards.

Although the additional cost of an infrared heater is not mentioned as a drawback by people who have purchased and reviewed them, it might be a deterrent to some.

Fireplace Inserts Are Versatile
Electric fireplace inserts are popular with RV owners as an after market installation. They can also be used as a stand alone heating unit or, if you're into woodworking, you could custom build a mantle and surround to suit your taste.

Come see our collection of infrared and non-infrared fireplace inserts today.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Infrared Fireplace Inserts Are Powerful And Efficient

Infrared fireplace inserts are a welcome addition to the homeowner's choices for supplemental heat. Not only are they 100% efficient, they're also 10% more powerful than the standard electric fireplace insert.

The conventional  electric heater used in most inserts is rated at 4,600 BTU's. or 1,350 watts. A quartz infrared heater, on the other hand, has a rating of 5,200 BTU's, or 1,500 watts - the maximum most home circuits can safely handle.

More efficient than burning wood
The typical wood burning fireplace is only 10%-15% efficient. And when the fire dies down the fireplace actually works in reverse and sucks the heated air out of the room and up the flue.

By contrast, an electric fireplace insert (also called a plug-in firebox) is 100% efficient, eliminates the hassle of dealing with firewood, and keeps your family room free of harmful airborn particulates and ash residue. Not to mention the even, non-drying heat given off by an infrared heat

Here are some tips to help you pick the best infrared fireplace insert for your situation.

Measure the width and height of the fireplace opening.
Inserts are availble in many different widths ranging from 18" to 33". The width measurement refers to the viewing area. The actual width of the firebox is 1" wider than the viewing area owing to the flange that runs along the vertical edge on either side of the insert.

Some models also include a trim kit to cover the space between the insert and the fireplace opening. Other model types come with a flush mount kit for in-the-wall installations.

Choose Your Options
Once you've chosen the appropriate size firebox, the available options are usually limited to what the manufacturer offers for that particular size. Here are some of the choices that are usually offered.

Flame Display
The realistic quality of the flame display and log sets has really improved across the board. Each manufacturer gives their flame display a brand name such as the Classic Flame Spectrafire or Dimplex Multifire.

The flame display itself can emanate from either a log set or a bed of glass pebbles for a contemporary look. Most flame displays offer multiple settings to shape the color and brightness effect to suit your mood.

Standard Features
All units come with a glass enclosure and a remote that lets you control all fireplace functions from the comfort of your easy chair.

Come visit our collection of 100% efficient electric fireplace inserts today. Sizes to fit any fireplace and prices to fit any budget.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Duraflame Mighty and Mini Infrared Heaters

Here's a couple more infrared heaters from Duraflame that feature a matte black laminated steel finish with brushed aluminum accents instead of hardwood laminates. The result is a less expensive infrared heater that also happens to go well with contemporary decors.                                                                                             
The Mighty is a 1,500 watt heater while the Mini produces 1,000 watts. The 1000 and 600 designations indicate the area in square feet they claim to heat under ideal circumstances. As you can see from the diagram they also differ slightly in size.

The Mighty and Mini use identical control panels and also share the following key features:
  • Delivered fully-assembled and ready to heat – simply plug into a standard outlet
  • Balanced heat keeps the temperature difference between floor and ceiling within 2 to 3 degrees
  • Concealed furniture quality casters roll in any direction – easy to move from room to room
  • Brushed aluminum front stripes add style to any d├ęcor
  • Safety thermal cut off is standard
  • Flocked heater grill stays cool to the touch – safe for children and pets
  • Color coated push button controls on front panel
  • LED display with night time brightness dimmer
  • Remote control is included for added functionality

Duraflame Mighty 1000
Mighty 1000
The larger 1500 watt Mighty 1000 is rated 4 out of 5 stars and gets mostly high praise from actual users such as the following:

"Bought this for my son-in-law for Christmas. They had some small cheap electric heaters that just wouldn't do the job. I thought this might heat the den and dining area. My daughter tells me it heats much more than she expected."

So if you prefer the sleek black look over the more expensive custom wood cabinet you'll be getting the same technology for around $50 less.

Mini 600
The smaller 1000 watt Mini rates 2 out of 5 stars and gets too many reviews similar to: "We purchased this item on the 28th of December 2011 and it stopped working two days ago. It runs and then shuts down. We waited for the 2 hour down time and then restarted and it still keeps shutting down."

I hate to pick on anything small but the Mini is not recommended.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

My Date With DR Heater

I was an early adopter of the Dr Heater and was sad to see it go when my wife and I moved to Florida. It ended up in the hands of my appreciative sister-in-law who uses it to take the chill off her beautiful old 1920's Deco style apartment on upper Commonwealth Avenue in Boston.

While I was still in possession of the DR it was employed 3 to 4 weeks a year as the sole source of heat in our 896 sq.ft. North Quincy condo. Now you're probably asking yourself "Why wouldn't you have heat 3 to 4  weeks out of the year?"

Let me tell you. Although the building we occupied had plenty of amenities to recommend it including a 30 foot balcony overlooking Dorchester Bay, it had one huge drawback - a split pipe system for heating and cooling.

A split pipe system means you either have heat or air conditioning - or nothing at all. The nothing at all occurs while you're waiting for the system to be switched over from cooling to heating in the fall and heating to cooling in the spring.

The fall transition isn't too hard to take, especially when blessed with an Indian Summer. But having the heat turned off in May can be brutal. (If you've live in the Northeast you know that spring is an alternative spelling for winter).

Since I had already been recommending Dr Heater based on the good reviews it received I decided to put my money where my mouth is and buy one.

A few days later I had it plugged in and got aquainted with the settings. Now, as you may or may not be aware, the makers of quartz infrared heaters have disappointed scores of consumers with their claims of "heats up to 1,000 square feet." This might be true if you live in a well insulated, 50' x 20' one room home. But most of us live in homes or apartments with inconvenient walls and doors that impede the free flow of heat.

So I wasn't expecting miracles from Dr Heater, but I wasn't disappointed either. I placed the heater in the main living area (approx. 400 sq.ft.) which heated up nicely in about 10 minutes. Within the next 15 to 20 minutes the heat had managed to snake around into the remaining rooms. They weren't as warm as the living area but comfortable nonetheless.

If you're interested in quartz infrared heating, the DR Heater is currently going for around $140 which is the lowest I've ever seen it priced.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Duraflame Infrared Quartz Fireplace Heater Review

Duraflame "Spencer" Infrared Quartz Fireplace
I can't decide if the Duraflame quartz infrared fireplace heater is a stroke of marketing genius or the splicing of heating DNA gone wrong.

In any case you have to admire the ingenuity of combining two popular technologies - infrared heat and glowing embers - into a single unit.

For those of you who have always wanted an electric fireplace but didn't have four or five feet of spare real estate in your home this compact heater will definitely fill a niche.

And it does so without sacrificing heat output. The 1500 watt quartz infrared heater equals the heating capacity of the largest electric fireplace mantels regardless of brand.

The flame display and glowing embers are also the same equipment found in full size mantels - albeit not as wide.

Additional features of this petite fireplace mimic those of its full sized cousins as well. The flame display, for instance, has five display settings and can be viewed with or without heat for year-round enjoyment, and the fully functional remote control regulates power, flame settings, thermostat and timer.

But what sets the Duraflame portable quartz fireplace apart from standard electric fireplaces is the quartz infrared heater. A full complement of six quartz heating tubes enhanced by two copper heat exchangers radiate infrared heat throughout the room.

Another benefit of the Duraflame quartz fireplace not commonly found on most electric fireplaces is a washable filter that removes dust and particulates from the circulating air.

All in all, the Duraflame "Spencer" is relatively inexpensive way to enjoy the benefits of radiant heat and the visual appeal of an electric fireplace 

Check out this short two minute video to see how it works.