Who doesn’t like the comfort and warmth of a bathroom heater? We simply love it, especially when we’re getting ready for work or the children are rushing through their morning chores during winter.

And, you don’t even need to turn on the entire central heating system of your house, just install a bathroom heater and keep your space warm without wastefully heating up the rest of your home. 

This is a double bonanza — your mornings will be more enjoyable and you will see a drop in your energy bills too.

While looking for a good bathroom heater for your home, there are a few things to keep in mind. In this article, we will look at the factors you should consider when selecting a bathroom heater. Not only that, but we will also talk about the different types of bathroom heaters available.

So, if you’re wondering about the benefits of a bathroom heater and which one is going to work best for your bathroom space, read on.

This bathroom heater guide will answer all your queries. But, first up is the most important question for first-time homeowners:

What is a bathroom heater?

A bathroom heater is a heating appliance whose primary purpose is to keep you warm when temperatures are low. And, since bathrooms can get uncomfortably cold during the winter, a heater is an ideal choice here. Most bathroom heater fans use an infrared heat lamp to heat up the area quickly. Such a fixture is ideal for small spaces such as bathrooms.

Do you want to have all your facts straight for your upcoming renovation process? Take a look at our ultimate guide for bathroom remodel.

Benefits of bathroom heaters

Heater fanSpace heater, by Steven Groves on flickr [CC BY 2.0]

Apart from helping you stay warm when you step out of the bath or shower, there are some other equally important benefits of installing a bathroom heater in your home. These include:

  • Controls steam

Working together with a bathroom ceiling fan, a bathroom heater helps in controlling steam accumulation on mirrors and bathroom appliances.

  • Controls moisture 

With a bathroom heater, you don’t have to worry about moisture accumulation on walls, rugs, baseboards, faucets, light fixtures, or shower curtain. Also, drying out a bathroom is quicker and easier.

  • Improves health 

Research supports the fact that a bathroom heater improves overall health through improved cardiovascular circulation. It’s especially a boon for those with sore muscles and joints.

What features should you look for in a bathroom heater?

When deciding on what kind of bathroom heater to buy, you should keep the following factors in mind:

Durability

You need a heater that’s durable and lasts a good amount of years. Go for a bathroom heater that is strong and requires minimal maintenance. Keep in mind that most durable models will be constructed from stronger materials and have fewer moving parts.

Heating efficiency

Since you only spend a few minutes in the bathroom, it’s important to have a heating system that heats the room effectively and quickly. You can measure the efficiency of your bathroom heaters by their wattage output and British Thermal Units aka BTUs. The higher the BTU, the more efficient will your heater be.

Safety features

Safety is of utmost importance, especially because a bathroom is both wet and humid. This environment increases the chances of short circuits and other electrical interference. A bathroom heater should be able to handle all kinds of safety hazards.

DON’T just pick any space heater; make sure the one you choose is designed with safety features and mechanisms that allow it to work safely in damp or wet environments. Choose a model that has an automatic overheat protection feature.

Heater technology

Heater technologyTHE WALL OF FLAME, by Marty McGuire on flickr [CC BY 2.0]

The next thing you have to decide is the technology you want your heater to work on — ranging from convection to infrared heating. As there are varying heater technologies or heating types available on the market, you’ll have to do some in-depth research to find the most appropriate one.

Versatility

Want a heater that’s multipurpose? Look for versatility whereby you can use it in bathrooms or in other rooms if and when required. Also, a heater that can perform more than one function — such as removing humidity or heating the water as well as the air — will serve you well.

Quietness

Opt for a heater that runs silently — especially since the bathroom is a small enclosed space. You don’t want a constant buzzing noise early in the morning or for that matter late at night. 

Portability

If you’re planning to move your bathroom heater from one place to another, buying a portable system is a good idea. Opt for a small heater that runs on electricity. This will allow you to easily shift the electric heater as and when needed.

Right size

Selecting the appropriate bathroom heater size is one of the most important things to keep in mind. Heaters that are too small for a huge bathroom space or vice versa will never properly warm your bathroom. The wrong size can leave you feeling cold with a huge utility bill. A good rule of thumb is to keep 10 watts of power for every square foot. 

Heater timers

If you’re the kind of person who loves to take comfort to the next level, go for a heater with a timer. Such an appliance is designed to kick on and off at designated times because of an integrated timer. 

So, set the timer with the required heat setting and let your bathroom warm-up before you go in — all this while you sip a hot cuppa! 

Budget

Any remodeling or installation will have to take into account your budget. If you’re thinking of renting or just need to warm up your small bathroom quickly, you can consider a portable space heater. If you have a big family or own the house, a wall-mountable or wall-recessed heater may work best.

Planning a remodeling for your bathroom? Try our free bathroom renovation cost estimator; it’s easy and convenient to use!

Wiring

Decide whether you want a hardwiring or a plug. If you’re considering the former option, make sure you select the correct voltage. Consult with a certified electrician if you’re in doubt. If you have a GFCI outlet, consider a portable bathroom heater with an ACLI safety plug.

Thermostat placement

If you’re installing an external thermostat in your bathroom, make sure it’s not placed close to the heater. Otherwise, the adjustable thermostat will fail to gauge the temperature of the room correctly. Anyway, an external thermostat works better in bigger, spacious bathrooms. Go for a built-in thermostat or mounted thermostat if you have a smallish space. 

Right kind of bathroom heater

And, finally, we come to the most important decision — which bathroom heater to buy? 

There are multiple options available and you need to choose the best one for your bathroom — in terms of features, efficiency, and comfort level. 

Let’s explore the various types of heaters and their pros and cons in the next section. 

Read more: Bathroom Exhaust Fan Installation: 13 Important Questions You Need To Ask

Types of bathroom heaters

Each type of heater has its pros and cons. Let’s take a look at the most popular ones and their features:

Portable heaters

Quite obviously, these heater units are small and easy to carry around. They are a good choice for renters and for people who want to heat up their bathroom only during the cold season. These heaters can be easily removed from the bathroom and used in other rooms. Most of them are electrically powered — having a heating element inside and using a fan to force the hot air around a space.

If you’re going for a portable bathroom space heater, decide on a safe spot for it, preferably a far corner. 

Pros Cons
  • Easy to move around
  • Effective for small bathrooms
  • Compact design
  • Tends to be noisy
  • Needs regular cleaning and maintenance


Ceiling heater

Most ceiling heaters are portable enough to be moved and reinstalled elsewhere. And, they last a long time. 

If you already have a ceiling box ready to place the heater, a ceiling heater is ideal for you. You will minimize the electrical configuration costs.

Pros Cons
  • Doesn’t take up much space
  • Long-lasting
  • Reliable
  • Portable
Slightly complicated installation


Wall heater

Wall heaters can be attached to the wall on a hook or via permanent screws. They are inexpensive, durable, efficient, and are ideal to heat small bathrooms.

Pros Cons
  • Inexpensive
  • Efficient
  • Durable
Need more electrical wiring and setup

Baseboard heater

Such a heater is installed along the floor. It can provide a lot of heat in a short time.

Pros Cons
  • Efficient
  • Takes less time to heat up a room
  • Requires a complicated installation
  • Higher set up costs


Heater with exhaust fan

If you opt for a fan heater, you won’t have to worry about both steam and humidity. And, it will keep your bathroom toasty while taking care of unwanted mildew or fungal growth. In summer, you can turn off the heater and just use it as an exhaust.

Pros Cons
  • Keeps out humidity and steam
  • Checks the growth of mold and mildew
More expensive option


Combination heater

A combination heater uses a heat pump system to provide heat. It’s one of the most efficient HVAC systems. You can use it to heat water as well as provide heating or cooling to the house.

Moreover, this technology results in energy conservation of up to 10%

Pros Cons
  • Energy-saving option
  • Long-term cost savings
  • High upfront costs
  • Requires extensive installation


Tips for a safe bathroom heater installation: dos and don’ts

Now that you’ve probably zeroed in on the most suitable kind of heater for your bathroom, it’s time to take care of a few safety tips: 

  1. Keep your bathroom heater at a safe distance from the tub edges, sinks, and showers.
  2. Don’t let your towels or other objects obstruct your heater’s airflow. 
  3. Do not place your heater inside showers or where water can splash into the appliance. 
  4. Do not cover your space heaters with a towel or cloth.
  5. Always read your owner’s manual thoroughly before installing a bathroom heater.
  6. Keep in mind that portable bathroom heaters (considered “water-proof”) can still pose a risk of electrical shock.
  7. Follow building codes regarding bathroom heaters. 

Further info on How to Select A Quality Bathroom Heater? Take a look at our guide.

Conclusion

We understand that your bathroom can get uncomfortably cold during the winter season. And, you’re tempted to turn up the central heating. But, that’s not necessary. Rather than wasting electricity and energy to heat up the whole house, you can buy a bathroom heater to heat up the small space effectively.

Read more: Six Bathroom Heating Ideas for Your Next Renovation

Bathroom Heater Guide: Understanding the Benefits and Types was last modified: June 12th, 2020 by Ramona Sinha
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