I'm looking for ways to heat my home up more efficiently. I live in a 1200 sqft home that sits on the first floor and partially in the ground. So, it gets pretty cold. I was thinking of getting a radiator space heater and placing it at the intake vent of my hvac to support heating. Anyone think this might be a bad idea or ineffective?

My current HVAC is an electric heat pump.

  • How is your standby heat implemented, and where do you live? Nov 22, 2018 at 21:42
  • I'm on the east coast, in DC. I'm not too sure about my standby heat. How would I find out?
    – Salim
    Nov 22, 2018 at 21:45
  • can you find your indoor unit (air handler)? What pipes/ducts does it have entering and exiting it? Nov 22, 2018 at 21:48
  • The indoor unit has one intake from living room and out splits to two, one goes to kitchen the other goes to living room and two bedrooms. In the unit there is a radiator, above it is a blower motor, above it is a heating element (for emergency heat, I believe)
    – Salim
    Nov 22, 2018 at 21:53
  • 1
    The model # can help us determine what methods it uses to provide heat and how efficient they are compared to a space heater, as well as the overall capacity. Nov 23, 2018 at 3:19

2 Answers 2


Will using an electric space heater improve the efficiency of a heat pump?

No. When the temperature drops below the operational range of the heat pump, resistive heaters are used to provide heat. This would be the same as a space heater. However when the heat pump is running the heat pump is far more efficient at heating than a space heater. Depending on the model, some heat pumps can operate into the low teens, and a few models into single digits, but the efficiency will be the same when on electric heat (called auxiliary or emergency heat). The one difference is you can chose to heat only one room instead of the whole house with a space heater and that could save $.

  • 1
    Keep in mind that a properly configured heat pump with electric or hydronic aux heat will only use aux heat as needed to make up for the shortfall in heatpump capacity below the changeover point -- it's not until the heat pump shuts down on low ambient that the aux heat kicks in full blast. Nov 23, 2018 at 3:52

Using a electric space heater will just raise your bill. A unvented propane heater would be a better choice for providing cheap suplemental heat. A little 18,000 btu unvented Reddy heater from Home Depot will put out more heat than 3 electric space heaters and propane is cheaper than electricity and puts humidity into the air so you no longer need a humidifier in the winter.

  • 2
    Unvented gas/propane heaters are seriously bad news. Most houses simply have 0 use for the extra humidity, atop the risks of CO etc. Dec 1, 2018 at 5:07

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.