The problem of maintaining warmth and comfort in the home on the cool days before and after the regular heating season is a troublesome one to many home-owners. How often, at such times, is one cold enough to feel uncomfortable, and yet prefers to remain thus rather than go to the bother of starting a furnace fire! Oil burners and gas-fired heating plants have simplified matters as far as elimination of dust and drudgery is concerned, but there are times perhaps when heat is needed in only one or two rooms, in which case the operation of the entire heating system is neither economical nor desirable.
1 Adapted from "Heating by Electricity," Small Home, May, 1930.
The solution is auxiliary heating by electricity. There are now on the market electric heaters of many types, adapted to meet the requirements of every condition. They may be briefly classified as built-in wall heaters, portable heaters and electric fireplace heaters. The heating unit is either of the convection type or the radiant type. The former is the better adapted for heating rooms to a uniform temperature throughout. It imparts heat to the air and causes the air to circulate throughout the occupied space. This heat is of comparatively low intensity and does not injure objects in the room nor cause discomfort to the occupants. The radiant type radiates heat but does not cause the air to circulate. Like the sun's rays, radiant heat warms only when it comes in contact with objects in front of it. It is therefore suitable for a fireplace and for portable or built-in heaters where intense heat close to the heater only is desired. There are heaters which can produce either circulating or radiant heat, so that either or both may be used.
The heater best adapted for general room heating is the built-in or wall type. In houses to be constructed they may be easily installed if they are planned for in advance and provision in the electric wiring is made for outlets at the proper points. Each heater should be placed on a separate circuit. Since they are set into the wall, they take up no space in the room. The heating unit is covered by a metal grille or register face of neat design, which may be finished to harmonize with walls or woodwork. The snap of the switches on the face of the grille turns on the heat instantly. The heat may be regulated by turning on one or more of the heating units.....
If the house is already built, and wall heaters cannot be easily installed, portable heaters are the ones to use. They are made in various sizes and in many pleasing designs. Made usually of cast iron, or steel, finished in colors harmonizing with the woodwork of the room, portable heaters take their place creditably in the best-furnished rooms. They may be easily placed in any part of the room or carried from room to room. Connection must of course be made to wiring outlets. For the larger heaters, special heavy duty receptacles and plugs are necessary.
Then there are the electric fireplace heaters. Whatever the heating system, the open fireplace will ever maintain its place in the home, both for its cheer and its decorative value. Probably to many the thought of an open hearth without a genuine blazing log would never be tolerated. Nevertheless, the fireplace heater is becoming a worthy substitute, and it finds favor with many who desire the warmth and glow of the fireplace without the dirt and work involved in a wood or coal fire. Moreover, no flue is required, and thus no heat is lost through the chimney flue. Fireplace heaters may be had in several good designs. They are of cast iron finished with cast bronze ornaments and hearth plate. For a Colonial or Adam mantelpiece, there are Georgian and Adam designs which are admirable. The radiant type of heat unit is usually employed, for this gives a glowing warmth resembling that of a burning log. As on other heaters, the heat may be regulated. A heavy duty receptacle such as that required for an electric range is necessary.
A step further toward the reproduction by electricity of an actual wood log fire, is the electric fireplace log. The log, of cast iron is an almost exact imitation of an old oak log, with bark, knots, moss and even axe-cuts reproduced. A heating element mounted under the log in an inconspicuous position furnishes ample heat. Mechanical fans revolve when the current is turned on giving the appearance of darting tongues of flame. Lights and heating units are operated by a dual-control switch. To make the illusion complete, an artificial ash slab is provided, giving the effect of ashes dropping from the burning log. Still another design closely imitates a coal fire by the same method employed in the electric log. In both the log and coal types, andirons of attractive design are provided.
In localities having no gas or where the gas rate is unusually high, electric water heaters meet the need. Their convenience and cleanliness and the absence of any care such as is necessary with gas, coal or oil make them highly desirable. They are of the automatic tank storage heater type, and may be had in sizes which will give any desired amount of hot water. With full automatic control, which is a thermostatic device, no attention whatever is required, and thus no heat is lost.....A less expensive type is the manually controlled, which is turned on and off by a switch located at any point in the house. A third type is the semi-automatic. It consists of a clock control which can be set for any desired quantity of water. The clock winds itself and shuts off the water automatically.
For auxiliary heating, electrical heat is clean, safe, easy to control, practically instantaneous, healthful and efficient. The cost of installation is not high compared with other methods of heating, and the operating cost consists of electric current only, repairs being rarely needed. For homes in localities having mild winters electrical heat may well be depended upon entirely, but in the colder climates it is not as yet feasible as a principal source of heat. The rapid progress being made in the development of electrical devices of every kind, however, promises the constantly increasing use of electricity for heating purposes.