Tuesday, October 5, 2010

iHeater ... Yet Another Waste of Money

iHeater with black caseHow many heaters does it take to warm up a house? Half a dozen at least, if the newspaper ads are any indication.

Today's Star Tribune had an advertorial-style ad for the iHeater, with a special 24-hour limited offer. Usually $499, but if you call now you'll pay just $279 (plus $20 shipping). Limit two per household!

The copy in this ad is even more outrageous than the ones for Amish heaters, SunHeat, Edenpure and the rest:

  • It's written in first person, as if it were a testimonial from someone named Calvin Ruth in Indianapolis. Riiiight.
  • It makes claims like "heats up to an amazing 1000 square feet of your home for just a trickle of electricity" and "heats the entire room evenly from wall to wall for about $1 a day."
  • It overtly disses ceramic space heaters, saying they dry the air out.
  • It uses that old puffery term "bone-soothing warmth" plus this laugher of a claim: "I promise that you'll love it, and it will change your life forever."
I can find two good things about the ad:
  • The type size is so small, many older people won't be able to read it.
  • There are no pictures of happy, warm kids and grandmas with their pets, just a simple product shot, which makes it clear it's basically a somewhat ugly box.
The website www.nlcpr.com, which appears to be one guy's attempt to educate the public about energy efficiency, had this to say about iHeater:
If you heat your house with natural gas, adding any kind of electric heater is a huge waste of money because gas is much cheaper than electricity per unit of energy. If you heat your house solely with electricity, then letting your house get cold and only heating the room you are in will save you money. Of course you can do this with individually controlled baseboard heaters too -- and you don't have to lug them around.

You could purchase several of these overpriced heaters and heat the whole house, but then you would be back to electric heat except that you would have traded inexpensive baseboard heaters which require zero maintenance and are silent for $400 boxes full of light bulbs, fan and filter. Some sites state you can just move [the iHeater] from room to room as you move about the house -- all 65 pounds of it.
Remember, Consumer Reports is the place to check before buying any appliance. It's at the library if you don't have a subscription, and worth the trip. For space heaters, they had this to say a few years ago:
The top performers, all of which were much cheaper than the EdenPure [and, I would note, the iHeater], include: Honeywell Electric heater HZ-519 or HX-515, for about $60; Holmes Quartz Tower, $60; DeLonghi SafeHeat Flat Panel, $80.

1 comment:

Sam Streubel said...

The problem with most quartz heater makers is they overstate the heating capacity by about 600 sq ft and are overpriced.

There are just too many other whole room, reasonably priced heaters like the Lasko 755320 for anyone to spend $500 on a space heater.

Here's a whole page of space heater suggestions for any purpose.