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4 Apartment Heater Types To Keep You Warm

Originally contributed by • last updated 5/19/2021

Kiy Turk
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If you live in an apartment, you probably know the struggles of maintaining a comfortable temperature in the winter. Unlike living in a house, the types of heating systems in apartments tend to provide limited control — especially when heat is includes as part of the rent.

Generally speaking, most apartment heating types are forms of a central heating system that controls the temperature to every unit, and it's not always as simple as being able to turn the dial on a personal thermostat.

Older apartments may not distribute heat to every room, may have poor insulation, or the building might have a strict 'no heat until November' rule. Which is fine, until there's an unseasonably cold October.

Luckily, there are all sorts of portable heaters that work really well in apartments. You can control the amount of heat in your immediate space, and you never have to freeze again.

So check out these different types of apartment space heaters and see which one will be the best for keeping you warm.

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Fan Forced Space Heater For Your Apartment

Karthik Swarnkar
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Like the name implies, a fan forced heater uses a fan to distribute air around a space. This is good because it allows for you to receive that hot air almost instantly.

They're great for those times you come home to find your place feeling like an arctic tundra.

There are drawbacks, of course. The use of a fan in this type of heater means that you'll have to deal with noise. Some fans can be pretty noisy, but they generally shouldn't be so loud that you find them disruptive.

And for urban apartment dwellers the low fan could actually help mask some of the annoying sounds that come from outside.

As with pretty much anything that generates heat, you should be careful when using fan forced space heaters. They can be hot to the touch, especially when they're in use or recently used.

Warning: Make sure the area around the heater is free of clutter, both because you don't want to trap the warm air in a corner, and to prevent any chance of fire.

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Radiant Heaters In The Apartment

Achudh Krishna
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A radiant heater radiates heat (of course) around itself and spread it out into a room. Unlike a fan heater, which pushes air outwards, a radiant heater will fill a room with residual heat created when an element is heated up.

They tend to provide more heat the closer you are to them. Think of the way a fireplace feels the hottest when you're immediately next to it, and gradually cooler the further away you are, but you can still feel that heat.

The cool thing about radiant heaters is that they can continue to provide heat for a short time after they've been shut off, so you can save a bit of electricity, without cold toes.

It's sort of like how a frying pan still stays hot after you've turned the stove off, except on a larger scale.

The most common kind of radiant space heater to expect in an apartment is an infrared radiant heater. These are small, portable, and can just plug into any outlet.

Infrared is a rather low form of radiation, so these heaters may not be powerful enough to heat large rooms. But they are warm enough to keep you cozy in a specific area, like on the couch or at your home office desk.

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Convection Heaters All Around

Bernard Hermant
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For convection heaters, heat is generated by an element, and that element actively heats the air it comes into contact with, thus raising the temperature of the air, and eventually the room, around it.

In some ways, it's almost like if a radiant heater and a forced air fan heater had a baby.

A convection heater is really efficient type of apartment heater — at least when it comes to keeping you warm. They tend to provide heat faster than radiant heaters, and can fill up a room with heat more evenly than a fan forced heater.

And they're quiet, to boot. However, they use a lot more energy in order to quickly produce heat. They can also be a more expensive option upfront.

Common kinds of convection heaters include ceramic heating elements. In a way, they're kind of like a straightening iron, except you probably shouldn't put these heaters up against your hair.

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Combustion Space Heaters That Can Work Inside Your Apartment

Nico Jacobs
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Combustion heat is the most straightforward kind; it involves a fire of some sort, hence the name. Some apartments may have fireplaces in them, though this isn't quite that common.

Portable combustion heaters exist, but you need to make sure to practice caution when using them. Often, they are marketed for outdoor use only.

Combustion spaces heaters typically use propane or another kind of gas or oil to generate heat. They are safe, but they need to be carefully vented.

They should always be placed at an outer wall or by a window in order to install a proper vent. You also may need to check with your landlord if you can install these types of heating systems for apartments.

NEVER use a combustion heater that is labeled "unvented." These are for outdoor use only, and can result in high levels of carbon monoxide in your home.


Always read the instructions of your heater carefully, ensure that it's safe to use indoors, and follow any and all safety precautions. Make sure you only use heaters that are safe for indoor use.