What Is an Oil Heater?


Quick Answer

An oil heater is an oil-filled convection heater that uses oil as a heat reservoir to provide heat for a room instead of a fan-blown heating system. This makes oil heaters safer than the fan-blown alternative because the surface of the heater doesn't heat up as much.

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Full Answer

Oil heaters have several advantages over traditional heaters, in addition to the lowered surface temperatures. The fan-forced models, for example, spread allergens throughout a room on the breeze it creates. Unlike kerosene, natural gas and propane units, oil-filled heaters also do not produce carbon monoxide from burning fuels. This removes the chance of carbon monoxide poisoning due to poorly ventilated heaters.

Oil-filled heaters also tend to be portable, with a size small enough to fit in small areas. Because the heaters have low surface temperatures, they can be placed in areas such as under desks or in corners of the room, without fear of the heat causing damage to surrounding items. The low heat also makes them safer for use around animals and children.

In addition to safety, oil-filled heaters are low in operational costs. The oil never needs to be refilled, reducing maintenance needs. Many units are of a low-wattage design. The heaters even continue to provide hours of heating as the oil cools after being turned off. This allows the heaters to be used safely throughout the night in bedrooms as the occupants sleep.

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