Which portable heater is right for you? We look at efficiency and safety.

MYSTIC, Conn. (WTNH) When you go into Cash True Value in Mystic there are many different choices for portable heaters. So which one is best for you?

With the help of manager John Daigle we break it down depending on what people need.

If you want to heat a small personal space the little ceramic or quartz heaters work well.

But if you want to heat a whole room efficiently Daigle says the best choices are oil filled, ceramic, quartz, and infrared heaters.

He points one out saying, “This is an infrared heater up to 1500 Watts. It doesn’t heat the air it actually heats surfaces in the room.” That he explains is a good thing.

Infrared and ceramic heaters are also instant heat but when you shut them off they are instantly cold. Not so with oil filled heaters which heat the air.

“It holds the heat for a long time because it’s heating oil that’s inside the heater and it radiates out.” explains Daigle.

Quartz heaters also hold the heat longer but the more expensive ones are more efficient. They can cost a few hundred dollars for a good one.

The key is to have a thermostat – not just high or low level choices.

“If it works off a thermostat it brings it up to temp and then it turns itself off and that’s what makes it energy efficient,” says Daigle.

Most heaters have automatic shut offs if they’re tipped over.

But to stay safe never leave a heater unattended, keep it away from curtains, couches, or anything with fabric even if the heater is cool to the touch, and don’t use an extension cord. Small ones can cause your heater to overheat.

Kerosene heaters need to be in the center of a room and it’s safest to have them 8 feet away from other objects. But they heat rooms well and can be used in a power outage.

“They work wonderful,” says Daigle. “The only downfall is you need to be very careful around them.”

If there is a power outage and you have to hook up an electric heater to a generator make sure you use a heavy duty 12 gauge extension cord.

It’s important to note that if the gauge number is higher like 16 it is not heavy duty. The higher the gauge the smaller the cord and the more dangerous it would be if used with a portable heater.

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