This product had a full-page ad in the Cape Cod Times today.
I understand this ad was placed nationally. Has anyone else
seen it? This electric heater sells for between $297and $499
and claims to "cut heating bills by up to 50%." It makes claims
that it "heats wall to wall and floor to ceiling" which any heater
with properly directed airflow will do, that it does not reduce
humidity (impossible for a dry heat source) and that it doesn't
reduce oxygen (true for all electric heaters.)
The most BTU's you can get out of a wall socket is about
5000. I have a $10 Pelonis heater that does this.
There are a lot of elderly people on the Cape, many of
whom, concerned about the cost of heating this winter, will
fall for this. I have called the newspaper, but no calls back
My question is really rhetorical as I doubt anything can
be done in time to prevent damage. I will be calling the
Consumer Affairs Office of MA to report this.
Just thought I'd like to have your comments.\\
Sounds like typical ad hyperbole to me....you can't protect a fool from
Nor can you protect everybody who isn't necessarily a fool but gullible
from other reasons. Unfortunate, perhaps, but true.
Sorry I misstated...they claim it DOESN'T reduce humidity...
Yep, the ads have been around forever, but this is unusually
flagrant, I thought, given the price.
On Fri, 14 Oct 2005 10:23:05 -0500, email@example.com (m Ransley)
Maybe they are mincing words between "Relative Humidity" and "Absolute
Humidity". Only RH changes with temp, abs humidity is constant with the
volume of water in a volume of air while RH measures water content relative
to the saturation point which changes with temp. Since only RH effects
comfort levels, it would be underhanded to make claims based on the other.
I've not seen the ad. Is there a web link?
but the newspaper ad has a lot of other stuff in it. Believe me the
guys that wrote this ad wouldn't know that distinction from Adam.
The elderly folk who would buy something like this
may not be fools, just ignorant. As this was a full-page
ad in a major newspaper, it would get huge exposure
and be thought to have a degree of credibility. A lot
of nice people on fixed incomes will probably bite.
On Fri, 14 Oct 2005 09:58:21 -0500, Duane Bozarth
I remember that and, guess what, this
is a "remarkable new quartz infrared!"
For a taste of the B.S. go to:
But this is only part of what was in the newspaper ad:
"This advanced heating element was discovered accidentally by a man
named John Jones. He had a large old farmhouse that was impossible to
heat. Jones had a coal furnace in his basement. Jones placed a sheet
of cured copper next to the furnace to store it. Cured copper is a
type of copper that goes through an extensive heating process that
gives it special properties. After the fire went out, Jones noticed
that the copper was heating his entire basement evenly, even though
the furnace was no longer putting out heat. He also was amazed at
how long the heat stayed in the copper and continued to warm the
Yep copper is a good heat sink.
Just a sample of the ad...you have to see it to believe it. Every
line reeks of baloney!
1500 watts of electrical power converts to 5120 BTU no matter how you slice it.
You are absolutely correct. Some units may deliver the heat in a somewhat more
desirable manner, but it is still 5120 BTU/1500 watts.
Obviously, we are talking about resistance heating. A heat pump will deliver
more than 3.414 BTUs per watt (ie, 5121BTUs from 1500 watts). And obviously
the portable unit being advertised is not a heat pump and you were not
including heatpumps when making your comment.
FYI: Sometime I can't get a furnace working immediately and I have to
give some advise to a homeowner who faces cold outdoor temps and no
furnace for a while. It amazes me how difficult it is to convince people
that every watt of electricity consumed in the average home is going to
generate 3.414 BTUs of heat. Yes, there is a very slight bit of BTU loss
due to light that escapes out of a window, etc. There is also a small
transient BTU gain to the living space from a fridge or freezer since these
are "heat pump" devices. But that is splitting hairs.
It is very easy to do a quick walk through a house to estimate how much
heating can be produced by leaving on every reasonable electrical device.
Then, that can be compared with the heat output of the furnace and the
anticipated cycling of the furnace under current ambient temps.
Toss in one or two small electric heaters and a bathtub full of max temp
hot water and the homeowner can protect his home and insure some
comfort until the furnace is working again. Obviously this isn't the most
economical way to heat a home, but it works in an emergency. Let's
see - burn $0.50 to $1.00 per hour to heat the house overnight or risk
getting frozen pipes, cracked walls, etc? Easy decision.
The laws of physics don't really care if it is a ceramic heater or a non-
ceramic heater. They don't care if it is a heater, an incandescent light bulb,
a fluorescent light bulb, a TV set, a PC, etc, etc. One watt of indoor
electrical usage is going to ultimately generate 3.414 BTUs of heat.
I'm guessing that they are basing their claims on the unstated
assumptions that the homeowner may already be heating with
an electric resistance furnace plus the homeowner intends to
use the portable heater for zoned heating. Turn two-thirds of
your house into an unheated icebox this winter via any method
and you will save substantially on your heating bill.
Sadly, there is very little policing of misleading advertising at
the state level and the federal level.
It looks to me that this is a "radiant" heater. It will heat people or objects
in the radiant area, rather than the air
itself. So, for a given electricity consumption, a person may feel warmer in
front of this heater. and, since it heats
the air less, relative humidity would change less. Of course, any cheap radiant
heater would do the same thing.
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