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7 posts

Wannabe Geek

#28874 14-Dec-2008 22:59
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I came accross an old discussion topic about which heater is the most energy efficient. Is it the oil heater or a 2kw fan heater. All heaters are 100% efficient. Heatpumps are 3-400% efficient.

Somebody made the point that the fan causes the heating element to loose heat quicker and therefore needs more electricity to maintain the heat in the element. Fair enough.

One then argued that the element loses heat quicker, but the heat ends up in the house just the same. Fair enough. This being the case means both appliances will cost the same (assuming we ignore the cost of the fan running). Obviously the fan heater would be using more electricity, but the room would heat up quicker and therefore the appliance won't have to run for as long as the oil heater anyway. By this theory alone, both appliances would cost the same to heat up the room. So the question is "Does the air circulation caused by the fan heater, mean that heat is lost faster? Can someone please tell me? If this is the case I believe that the fan heater would be more efficient in early stages of heating, as the fan would distribute the heat faster and difuse in the room better. The oil heater would be more effcient in the long run as there is no air circulation and the heat would not escape as fast??

Now, I heat my house with a heatpump. Having stated my theory, would it be more energy efficient to use the automatic fan selection rather than use the very lowest speed??

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Mad Scientist
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  #184147 14-Dec-2008 23:49
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you are talking about a very complex scenario that requires complex modelling to attempt to answer! depends on a lot of factors from room size/configuration to what you set the temp at and whether you turn it off.

sorry but after all that - i dont know. also i dont believe in leaving it on 24 hours like some people religiously do to 'save power'. we like comfort so we use auto @ 24 deg when we feel cold. otherwise it's off. to save power i think somewhere in the middle's the best compromise (i'm sure very low would not consume 1/2 power of medium. but super-max MAY use more than 2x power of medium. that's how most things work usually - esp if the temp you set is never achieved eg 24 deg in an uninsulated house in dunedin)

- I believe that the fan heater would be more efficient in early stages of heating, as the fan would distribute the heat faster and difuse in the room better. The oil heater would be more effcient in the long run as there is no air circulation and the heat would not escape as fas
i agree.

in this world sometimes there are no absolutes!

Involuntary autocorrect in operation on mobile device. Apologies in advance.


7 posts

Wannabe Geek

  #184255 15-Dec-2008 13:34
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I have my heatpump going 24/7 in the winter months. My inverter-heatpump is a daikin which means the thermostat can be reduced to 10degrees whereas other brands can only go as 10w as 16. Also my heatpump has a 6 speed fan, wheras most only have 4-5 i think. It stays on 24/7 as an attempt to save power, don't know how true this is, but the other reason is that the heatpump replaces the nightstore in the hallway which means i heat through the entire house. When my heatpump is on standby at 10degrees i'm not sure if i should use the lowest fan speed or automatic to get the best efficiency.


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  #184279 15-Dec-2008 14:30
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A oil heater and a fan heater at their most basic are the same, you dump electricity through a resistance element and it heats up, ( so both as 100% efficient),

What we are now debating is the transmission mechanism of the heat to the rest of the room, the oil heater relies on the convection of it warming air as it passes near to the fins and  the fan heater works by forcing air across the element and directing the heat in a certain direction,

All other things being equal I would agree that a fan heater will heat a small area( in front of the fan) faster than a oil heater, and in the short term a fan heater will warm a room faster as the oil heater has to overcome the cooler oil initially, but once up to heat I would guess that an oil heater is probably a more efficient distributor of heat as it has a larger surface area to heat the air around it.

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  #184294 15-Dec-2008 15:09
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I don't know either. I always thought that fan heaters were less efficient than oil heaters, therefore, I will attempt to put forward a theory that fits my bias:-)

Oil heaters convert the energy input into heat and rely on convection to distribute the heat.
Fan heaters convert the energy input into heat, noise, and kinetic energy of moving air.
As you don't really want moving air - you want heat, the oil heater is better suited (unless you specifically need warm air directed to a place).

This theory is probably full of holes as I haven't studied any of this.


7 posts

Wannabe Geek

  #184300 15-Dec-2008 15:24
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Obviously the fan heater will heat a small area quicker. Let us asume that both the oil heater and the fan heater are both thermostat controled. You have to remember that the fan heater will not have to run for the same duration of time as the oil heater to heat the room.

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