CRN's Ask The Expert - Ask E·Source: Will Quartz Infrared Space Heaters Really Save Consumers Money?
Our area is receiving a fairly heavy advertising blitz on a product called EdenPURE. It is promoted as a highly efficient electric room heater that uses quartz infrared lamps. They offer two models, model 500 for $372 and model 1000 for $472. The performance claim is that it will cut your heating bill up to 50%. You achieve this by turning the heat to 50 degrees and using this unit to supplement. Do you have any experience with this device and how it performs? If a customer buys a few and then their electric bill skyrockets. they will be unhappy with us (potentially). My goal in this inquiry is to have objective performance data we can share with our members so they can make an informed decision. Their web page is www.biotechresearch.com(link is external). Thanks in advance for your help.
We contacted two separate distributors of the EdenPURE Portable Heater, and neither was able to provide any type of performance data or publication that can confirm the claims attributed to this device. Considering that quartz infrared heating technology is not new, and that the power draw of the two heater models (750 watts and 1500 watts) are similar to that of other electric space heaters, the potential to reduce heating bills by 50% appears to be unsubstantiated.
Electric space heaters can save money on heating bills if properly used in specific applications. If the house has an electric central heating system. energy consumption can be reduced by turning down the thermostat and using electric space heaters only in the rooms where heating is called for. By heating the occupants directly. energy is not wasted on heating large volumes of unoccupied space. According to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's (LBL) Home Energy Saver website, if the central heating is gas, the possibility of reducing heating costs by substituting heating with electric space heaters is "not something to take for granted." Also included at LBL's website is a chart homeowners can use to help estimate the effect electric space heaters have on their heating bills.
As noted above, the main benefit offered by electric space heaters is allowing homeowners to set back their thermostat settings. Turning down the thermostat by 1 degree F is equivalent to a 1-3% decrease in heating energy consumption. throughout the entire heating season. As noted in the Heating Tech Atlas, in an eight-hour setback period, heating energy consumption may be reduced by I% per degree of setback. According to Rocky Mountain Institute's (RMI) Home Energy Briefs: #4 Space Heating, when electric space heaters are used in a well-insulated, small home or in a home with only one or two rooms occupied, the use of electric space heaters may enable occupants to reduce the thermostat 6-8 degrees F. Therefore, assuming a setback of 8 degrees F. and a corresponding savings in heating energy of 3% per degree F., the maximum reduction in heating energy obtained is around 24%, less the energy consumed by the electric space heaters. Setting back the thermostat to 50 degrees F., as suggested on EdenPURE's website, is well below what is recommended by RMI and can result in occupancy discomfort. If residents don't feel comfortable, the thermostat will go up, and any potential for energy savings is negated.
Also, note that the potential for savings from the EdenPURE space heater is only for heating energy and not total energy. As shown on the 2006 Buildings Energy Data Book website, for the average U.S. residence, energy used for heating is responsible for 30% of total residential energy consumption, so a 24% reduction in heating energy corresponds to an overall reduction in total energy costs of approximately 7%.