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Eco-Heater Whole Room Heater
Shop heat on the cheap in a safe, eco-friendly way
Text & photos by Tom Hintz
Posted - 11-20-2008
I get lots of questions about heating woodworking shops but have not had an effective answer that didn't require a scatter shield over the electric meter. Then I got an email telling me about the Eco-Heater and things began looking up.
The Eco-Heater is 23-1/4" X 23-1/4" X 3/8"-thick, weighs 16LBS and uses 400 Watts of 120V (only) power. The literature says that the Eco-Heater is sized to heat a 10-foot by 12-foot room. Eco-Heater literature claims this unit uses only 27% of the energy consumed by a typical 1500-Watt heater. The Eco-Heater comes white but can be painted using normal paint and tools to match whatever wall color or décor you have.
The Eco-Heater comes with the necessary hardware to mount it to masonry or drywall-covered stud walls. It has a set of bushings that keep the Eco-Heater about 3/4" away from the wall. That air gap between the Eco-Heater and wall creates space for the natural airflow that makes this heater work.
The controls are totally idiot proof - I think. The most complicated part of the setup is plugging the Eco-Heater into a standard 120V outlet. All that remains is pushing the rocker switch on the front to turn it on. There is no thermostat to set or anything else to mess with. If it gets too hot in the room, turn the Eco-Heater off. The simple rocker switch even lights up when the Eco-Heater is on, just so you know.
In the Shop
I followed the Eco-Heater instructions for mounting it to my shop wall. A nice touch is that the foam packing that protects the Eco-Heater during shipping is also a mounting template with holes in the corners where the holes are drilled for the screw anchors.
The whole process of installing the Eco-Heater and completing the extensive setup procedure (plugging it in...) used up the better part of ten minutes. After that I took a break to contemplate when to turn the Eco-Heater on.
Naturally, as soon as the Eco-Heater arrived, the weather here in Concord, NC heated up on its own. I did turn the Eco-Heater on once to make sure that it did something. It got hot so I turned it off again to wait for cold weather, which came a few days later.
With night time temperatures falling to record levels for the area (low 20's) I turned the Eco-Heater on and went back in the house to give it time to work. This isn't a forced-air furnace so it will take a while to work. After two hours, the shop was noticeably less cold. Not warm, but far more tolerable. Putting my hand a couple feet above the Eco-Heater proved that it was in fact circulating warm air using the natural tendency of warm air to rise, sucking up the colder air below it.
My shop is roughly 20 by 23 feet, has reasonably well-insulated walls and ceiling and has a pair of insulated steel garage doors on one end. The shop (garage) is attached to the house so has two walls common with the living space.
I found that if the temperatures get to where it feels very cold, I use my killer 220V heater to warm the shop up a bit and then let the Eco-Heater keep it there. The 220V heater makes lots of noise and uses way more energy than does the Eco-Heater. The Eco-Heater is very energy efficient and silent. Once I knock the edge off of the really cold temperatures, the Eco-Heater does a good job of keeping it comfortable as long as I want and on way less energy. When the temperatures are less of a challenge, like in the high 30's or 40's, I just turn the Eco-Heater on and give it an hour or so to warm the shop up a bit.
If you are looking for a single heater to warm your un-insulated shop in sub-zero weather, look elsewhere. If you want a heater for more moderate climates or to maintain a workable temperature after warming the shop with a less efficient heater, the Eco-Heater is a good choice.
With a street price of $109.95 (11-6-2008), the Eco-Heater is as economical to buy as it is to use. With no moving parts, it would seem that the Eco-Heater is a long-term investment that will make your in-shop life a little better in the winter months.
Visit the Eco-Heater web site - Click Here
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