Heaters are a source of ready, concentrated heat, especially during winter. There are two major types of heaters — ceramic and fan heaters. Both types perform the same function, but how are they different?

Ceramic and fan heaters differ in many respects — heating system, safety measures, durability, cost, and electricity consumption. Although each system has merits and demerits, ceramic heaters have safety features that make them a better option.

It’s so nice to be toasty indoors during winter, and heaters provide a cozy atmosphere while the elements rage outdoors. However, deciding which heater is the best option is not always easy. This article will comprehensively compare ceramic and fan heaters, including their pros, cons, and safety concerns.

Ceramic Heater vs. Fan Heater: Major Differences

Ceramic and fan heaters are portable electric heaters that function effectively in distributing heat. However, there are marked differences between ceramic and fan heaters. Let’s go over them.

Different Modes of Operation

Fan heaters produce heat by heating metal coils. The fan will then spread the heat from the coils to the rest of the house.

On the other hand, ceramic heaters produce heat by heating aluminum foils. The heat from the aluminum foils then passes through a ceramic plate. Ceramic heaters collect cold air in the process and move the cold air onto the hot ceramic plate while circulating the hot air.

Ceramic Fans Offer Safety Features

Fan heaters don’t have the safety features of ceramic heaters. Most ceramic heaters come with safety switches that help reduce potential fire hazards. These safety features include:

  • The tip-over safety switch: This feature ensures that the control automatically goes off if the heater gets knocked down.
  • The overheating protection: This safety feature ensures that the internal units shut down automatically when the heater reaches its max.
  • Cool-touch housing: This feature cools the body of the heater to touch.

Ceramic vs. Fan Heater: Cost Implication

Ceramic heaters cost more to purchase and install than fan heaters. However, new portable sophisticated fan heaters are springing up in the market, and their prices are on the high side.

Depending on the quality, you can get fan heaters for $10. In contrast, ceramic heaters cost from $40 upwards.

Differences in Energy Consumption Between Ceramic and Fan

Fan Heaters

Fan heaters consume more energy than ceramic heaters. Here’s how to calculate the monthly energy consumption of your fan heater.

  1. First, check the wattage of your fan heater. It should be on the fan heater or in the manufacturer’s manual.
  2. Divide the wattage by 1000 to get the kilowatts of power required by the heater to function.
  3. The amount of power your heater will need daily depends on how long you use it. If you use it for 10 hours daily, multiply the kilowatts per hour by 10.
  4. Now, multiply the kilowatts per day by how many days you use it in a month to obtain the amount of energy your heater consumes in a month.
  5. Lastly, multiply the energy per month by your average electricity rate. You’ll find the rate on your electricity bill.
  6. It’ll appear in cents. Convert it to dollars.

For example, let’s assume your fan heater is 2000 watts, and you use it for 7 hours per day.

2000 ÷ 1000 = 2 kWh

2 × 7 = 14 kW per day

Let’s say you use it for 28 days a month, with an average electricity rate of 13.19 cents.

14 × 28 = 392 kW per month

392 × 13.19 = $52 per month

So your fan heater adds $52 to your overall monthly electricity bill.

Ceramic Heaters

Ceramic heaters consume less energy than fan heaters because they heat up very fast. Ceramic heaters use up to 1.5 kilowatts per hour. However, ceramic heaters that have fans can use more energy.

Here’s how to calculate your ceramic heater’s monthly energy consumption and how much it adds to your electricity bill.

Let’s say your ceramic heater uses 1.5 kWh, and you use it for 7 hours a day, 30 days a month, with an average electricity rate of 13.19 cents.

Multiply the kWh by the hours of use in a day.

1.5 × 7 = 10.5 kilowatts per day.

Multiply the kilowatts per day by the number of days in a month.

10.5 × 30 = 315 kilowatts per month.

Lastly, multiply the kilowatts per month by the average electricity rate.

315 × 13.19 = $42

Your ceramic heater consumes 315 kilowatts of energy per month, which adds $42 to your electricity bill.

The longer and the more often you use your heater, the more energy it consumes, which will translate to higher electricity bills.

Ceramic Heater vs. Fan Heater: Pros and Cons

Ceramic and fan heaters have their merits and demerits.

Ceramic Heaters

Pros

  • They have safety features that can prevent overheating and reduce fire outbreaks.
  • They heat a room quickly.
  • They’re easy to use.
  • They’re suitable for heating large spaces.
  • They don’t produce harmful byproducts like carbon monoxide.
  • They’re portable.
  • They’re aesthetically pleasing.

Cons

  • Rooms with ceramic heaters don’t stay warm for long after you turn off the heater.
  • It takes some time for the heat to circulate in a room.
  • Ceramic heaters with fans can be noisy.
  • Ceramic heaters consume a lot of energy.
  • Ceramic heaters are relatively more expensive.

Fan Heaters

Pros

  • Fan heaters are relatively cheaper.
  • They heat a room quickly.
  • They’re easy to use.
  • You may concentrate their heat in a particular place.
  • They’re lightweight and portable, so moving them won’t pose any logistics challenge.

Cons

  • They have no safety measures.
  • Like ceramic heaters, they’re also prone to fire outbreaks.
  • They’re noisy.
  • They also consume a lot of energy, even more than ceramic heaters.
  • Rooms with fan heaters don’t stay warm for long after you turn off the heater.
  • You can’t use fan heaters in the bathroom.

Ceramic Heater vs. Fan Heater: Which Is Safer To Leave Overnight?

Ceramic heaters are safer to leave overnight due to their secure automated switches. Fan heaters, on the other hand, only power up and heat. It doesn’t employ automatic safety switches, so it’s best if you check on it each hour to ensure it doesn’t overheat.

Unlike fan heaters, ceramic heaters have safety switches that automatically go off in case of overheating or if someone accidentally knocks over the heater.

Although ceramic heaters appear to be safer, it’s still better to turn off your heater before going to bed. Anything can happen at night that may lead to a fire outbreak.

Ceramic Heater vs. Fan Heater: Which Is Better?

Ceramic heaters are the clear winner here. Although they’re more expensive, they’re worth it in the long run. Ceramic heaters’ economic advantage and safety features put them ahead of fan heaters.

You can use them overnight, knowing they have regulatory mechanisms against overheating or mechanical impact. It puts your mind at ease when you go to bed. You’d also save on energy bills since they consume less energy.

How Ceramic and Fan Heaters Cause Fires

Heaters help keep cold at bay, but they have a significant disadvantage — the risk of a fire outbreak.

  • Heaters are porous. So anything can get in. They can ignite books or furniture. The result, if left unchecked, can be devastating.
  • Fan heaters can catch fire when they overheat. A fire outbreak can result if you don’t turn them off on time.
  • Heaters close to fuels are at high risk. Petrol cans or gas in the kitchen can cause a severe fire outbreak.
  • Heater fans also circulate dust and dirt. Heat can also ignite debris to start a fire.

Safety Measures for Ceramic and Fan Heaters

You can never take your safety for granted. Heaters, like other electric installations, come with several risks. Here are measures to take to keep you and your family safe from the potential dangers of heaters.

Never Leave Heaters Unattended

Never leave your heater for an hour without checking it, especially if you have kids or pets around. Kids are naive, carefree, and curious. They may try to play with the heater, poke their fingers in, or mistakenly topple it.

They may go close to the cord, which emits heavy current and risks an electric shock, which can lead to death. If you’re in the room with them, ensure they’re at least 3-5 feet away from the heater and its cord.

Keep Heaters Away From Flammable Materials

Heaters are highly flammable. Do not, therefore, place them close to petrol, gas, books, pictures, furniture, bedding, or even the wall.

Place heaters at least 3-5 feet away from these materials. If placed close to the wall, it will heat the wall, which will be a big problem.

Always Place Heaters on the Floor

It would be best to place your heater on the floor. Don’t place it on a bookshelf, bed, reading table, kitchen countertop, rugs, or bathroom. Always put the heater on a bare floor, away from children, pets, and flammable materials.

Store Heaters Properly

After use, store the heater away from the reach of children and pets. Before storing your heater, put it in a box and arrange the wires correctly.

Ensure you don’t bend the wires to avoid breakage. Heaters use a lot of currents, so if there is a leak you’re unaware of, it may lead to electric shock. Also, when storing, ensure it’s in a place free from dust and debris.

Plug Your Heater Into a Wall Outlet

Always plug your heater directly into a wall outlet — don’t use secondary outlets. Heaters use a high amount of current, which will be too much for extensions of any kind. Sooner or later, it will melt the extension.

Also, don’t keep the cord hidden by a door when the heater is on. The line transports a high electricity voltage to power the heater, making it hot, necessitating plenty of air.

Hiding it will reduce the air it needs to cool off while squashing it can lead to a leak in the cord and cause electrocution.

Keep Your Heater in a Dry Place

Don’t keep your heater in the kitchen, bathroom, or close to any water source. It can damage your heater and also lead to electrocution. Water and electricity are deadly foes; water may conduct the electricity to yourself or your loved ones.

Don’t Leave Your Heater on Overnight

Modern heaters now come with safety switches that can go off automatically if the heater overheats or topples. Nevertheless, always turn off and unplug your heater before you sleep. Anything can happen when you leave a heat source unattended so exercise vigilance when it comes to your heating appliances.

Check for Certification

Heaters that are safe for home use have standard certifications you should ensure to look out for:

  • Canadian Standard Association (CSA)
  • Underwriters Laboratory (UL)
  • Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS)
  • Intertek (ETL)

Using heaters without any of these specifications is unsafe and dangerous.

Buy Heaters With Safety Buttons

Modern heaters have safety buttons like the tip-over protection that automatically turns off the heater when tipped over.

The cool-touch housing switch keeps the body of the heater cool when it’s on to avoid burns. So before buying a heater, check for its safety features.

Be Careful of Old Heaters

If your heater has been stacked away for a long time, don’t just dust it and turn it on. Old heaters may have accumulated dust and debris over time. Turning it on can lead to fire hazards.

Secondly, the cords may have weakened or developed leaks due to improper storage. Therefore, before turning it on, check the plug, cable, and heater mechanisms to ensure everything is in order. If you’re not so sure, don’t use it.

Carry Out Routine Checks

Routine checks can prevent danger because they can reveal potential issues with your appliances.

Don’t wait for a spark before checking your heater. Do routine checks on the internals and cord of the heater to ensure they’re in good shape — after all, prevention is better than cure!

In Conclusion

Ceramic and fan heaters perform the same functions but operate differently and consume energy at different rates. However, the most significant difference is in their safety features. Ceramic heaters have safety features that are not present in fan heaters, making them a safer option for you and your family.

Nevertheless, it’s essential to take precautions while using heaters. The fact that they’re electric equipment and generate heat makes them a potential electric and fire hazard in the home. Thus keep the above tips in mind and stay warm — and safe!

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