Q&A / 

Best Space Heater

DEAR TIM: What is the best space heater that will allow me to work in my carport which is partially enclosed? It's about 20-feet x 9-feet x 9-feet tall. I need a space heater so I can work outside. I've looked at a kerosene space heater as well as a propane space heater. These models are currently priced between $150 and $250. Would you be able recommend a portable space heater that you think would work best for me in this situation? Reinhard Forster, rural Oregon

DEAR REINHARD: Before you can consider any space heaters, I feel you need to make a decision as to what needs to stay warm. Are you just trying to keep yourself comfortable, or are you trying to heat the entire space? My guess is that since the carport is pretty much open to the weather, you aren't trying to heat the air in the space as well as the things inside the carport.

If you were doing woodworking or some other task in the space that required the air temperature as well as the objects in the space to be above a certain temperature, you may want to consider a space heater that works similar to forced-air heating systems. But something tells me that it's just you that needs to be warm.

In that case, I would suggest some type of radiant heater. An electric space heater that is basically a giant toaster qualifies. The electric coils glow like low-grade filaments in a light bulb, and this infrared heat passes directly through the air to your body. The air is not heated by the glowing coils.

Some gas space heaters are also radiant heaters. The burner where the gas is combusting radiates the heat outwards. I've seen many a propane space heater that will do a fantastic job for you.

If you are leaning towards gas space heaters, then be certain to see what they say about carbon monoxide. Be sure the space heater you purchase doesn't harm you. If you do decide on an electric space heater, you may have to run a separate electric circuit to the carport to satisfy its appetite for power. Some electric space heaters can easily consume over 2,000 watts.

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