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Are Oil Heaters Safe To Leave On Overnight?

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Updated January 26, 2023 – With the winter season upon us and the temperatures dropping, finding a way to keep your house warm is probably on your mind, especially on cold nights.

Figuring out how to do this while not spending too much money on energy costs is likely also something you’ve been thinking about. One option for a cost-efficient heating source is oil-filled radiator heaters to help ease those uncomfortable drafty areas.

You may be wondering, however, if oil heaters are safe to leave on overnight. In general, oil heaters are quite safe to leave on overnight. The main reason is they do not have an exposed heating element. They are constructed so that the surface doesn’t get too hot. Also, they have tip-over switches and built-in timers that will shut off the heater in certain circumstances, reducing fire risk.

Oil heaters are some of the safest heaters available today. They provide excellent energy efficiency.

Oil heaters are portable space heaters that look like old fashioned radiators. They connect to any wall outlet and don’t require any maintenance.

And, even though they use diathermic oil, the good news is that you don’t ever have to change the oil or refill it.

You may still be unsure about whether an oil heater is the right choice for your home, though.

Some other questions may include whether oil heaters are bad for your health, the safety concerns if you run them for a long time, and the best place to put them-both during the day and overnight.

Read on to find out the answers!

Read our article, Are Ceramic Heaters Safe To Leave On Overnight?

Do Oil Heaters Give Off Carbon Monoxide?

Oil heaters are typically designed to be safe and not produce carbon monoxide, however if they are not installed or maintained correctly there can be a risk.

Also, if the heater is vented improperly or it runs out of oil, it will likely cause incomplete combustion which can lead to the release of dangerous carbon monoxide gas.

To ensure your safety, it’s important to have an expert inspect your oil heater regularly and make sure that all installation requirements are met.

Additionally, you should always keep a CO detector in the home (like this one from Kidde) as an added precaution. With proper maintenance and care, oil heaters can provide reliable heat without posing any risks.

It’s also important to note that oil heaters require oxygen in order to operate properly—never use them in an enclosed space! Additionally, make sure the area surrounding the heater is free from clutter or flammable materials to avoid any potential fire hazard.

What Can Go Wrong With An Oil Heater?

The primary risk of oil heaters is the risk of fire. However, this risk is very low because the heating element is inside the heater where flammable materials shouldn’t get to it.

That said, better safe than sorry.

Safety measures for reducing the fire hazard for all types of heaters include placing the heater in a clear area and making sure that nothing flammable is placed on or within three feet of the heater. Also, plug the heater directly into a wall outlet, never plug it into an extension cord. 

Oil heaters don’t generally have problems but, as with any piece of equipment, there can be the odd time when something pops up.

Some of the things that can go wrong with an oil heater could be getting an oil leak, failure of the tilt switch, or bad wiring. If any of these happen, the best thing to do is to unplug the heating equipment and get a professional to check it out for you.

Are Oil Heaters Bad For Your Health? (Oil Heater Side Effects)

Whether oil heaters are bad for your health depends entirely on the type of heater you have – a kerosene heater or an electric oil heater.

If you have a kerosene heater, then one of the risks is carbon monoxide poisoning. However, if you have an electric oil heater then carbon monoxide poisoning is not an issue as the oil acts as a heat reservoir, it doesn’t actually burn.

Read about Home Fire Safety Tips For Seniors.

You may not think so, but oil heaters are actually the best option for seniors. This type of room heater provides enough heat to keep you warm without dehydrating the room’s air and causing dry skin and eyes.

These modern space heaters come with lots of safety features for more peace of mind, too. They include tilt switches that turn off the heater if it tips over and heat resistant surfaces so you don’t get burned if you or a pet brush against the outside of the heater.

Oil heaters don’t give off unpleasant odors.

They also do not deplete oxygen the way gas heaters (such as propane heaters) can. If you use a propane heater, be sure to use a carbon monoxide detector at the same time. Never use a natural gas heater in an enclosed space – always make sure there is some type of ventilation.

How Do You Tell If Your Heater Is Making You Sick?

If you experience any of the following symptoms while using your oil heater, it’s a good idea to have it inspected by an HVAC professional:

  • Frequent headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Coughing
  • Eye or throat irritation

Remember that safety always comes first when dealing with oil heaters. Taking the time to perform regular maintenance and inspections will ensure your family’s safety and peace of mind—especially during those cold winter months!

Plus, keeping up with routine upkeep can help prolong the life of your oil heater and maximize its efficiency

How Long Can You Run An Oil-Filled Heater?

Theoretically, an oil heater can be run all the time. However, keep in mind that if you do run it all the time it may affect the longevity of the heater.

An oil heater gets its heat from the helix which warms up the oil, and then diffuses the heat into the room. As time goes by, this coil will eventually wear out. The main thing that affects the longevity of this coil is the temperature it is kept at. 

The sweet spot, or ideal temperature, for this coil is anywhere from 750-1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. If it never gets beyond this temperature, then an oil-filled heater can last as long as 20 years.

If it consistently runs at high temperatures – hotter than 1,000 degrees – then it is more likely to last around 10-15 years. Clearly it is good idea to keep your heater on a low setting over the long run, if at all possible.

What Else Can Affect the Longevity Of An Oil Heater?

Other factors can affect the longevity of your heater, as well.

For example, constantly turning it off and on without waiting for it to cool down in between cycles means that the coil temperature remains high. It never has the chance to cool down. This makes the coil work extra hard and it tends to get hotter. This can wear down the coil as much as leaving your heater running all the time. 

Extreme heat or cold can also wear on appliances, especially if they are stored in sheds or attics where the temperature is less regulated. Power surges can wear down or even unexpectedly break an oil heater, as well. Sometimes, mechanical damage can occur.

Some of these factors are beyond your control to a certain extent. However, you can try to mitigate some of this by being gentle with your heater and storing it in an insulated area when it is not in use.   

Where Should An Oil-Filled Heater Be Placed?

You want to place your heater in an area where it will be the most effective, both in terms of heating small rooms and saving you money. The ideal spot for an oil heater is by the coldest window or where there is the coldest draft.

Placing it in this area is great for two reasons:

  1. It warms the drafty, cold area around the heater
  2. The heated air seeps into the rest of the room, resulting in a warmer room overall. 

So, by focusing on the coldest area and making it warmer, the rest of the room increases in warmth without having to expend more electricity. 

What Is The Safest Heater To Leave On Overnight?

As has been established, oil heaters are generally safe to leave on overnight. Just make sure that there is nothing flammable nearby and that the area they are placed in is clear.

If you are looking for additional reassurance about the safest oil heater, the Pelonis Oil-Filled Radiator Heater is one of the best oil heaters on the market. 

The Pelonis has a number of safety features.

Among them are an indicator light to let you know when it is on, it automatically turns off if the heater falls over, and has overheat protection on the chance that it gets too hot.

Other great features include remote control operation capability, no fan noise (it runs quietly so your sleep isn’t disturbed), and the Pelonis is easy to move from room to room as needed. 

Read our article, Are Space Heaters Safe To Leave On Overnight?

Final Thoughts About Oil Heater Safety

During the winter months, you want to be assured that your home is comfortable and warm, especially when you are asleep.

Sometimes central heating doesn’t quite reach those drafty corners and can leave your home feeling chilly. An oil space heater is the best choice to help keep your home comfortable without breaking the bank. With an oil heater, you also don’t have to about unnecessary safety or health risks. 

Many electric oil heaters are built with safety features that ensure that the heater shuts off it gets too hot or cold.

For optimal use, it is best to place the heater near the coldest window, so it can heat and spread warm air to the entire room.

Always be sure to keep anything flammable away from the heater, and while some wear and tear is beyond your control, you can reduce the chances of damage by storing your heater in a safe place and treating it with care. 

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