Are Oil Heaters Energy-efficient?

In today’s market, one of the best and widely known solution to people’s heating problems is an oil heater. People have always turned to an oil heater as a suitable heating solution when they’ve gotten weary of their central heating and need an alternative heater or they want to reduce their energy bills. That as well as for a host of other reasons.

Most people turn to an oil heater as they understand and see the benefits an oil heater allows them. Benefits which include power and flexibility to sufficiently warm up large rooms, the ability to suitably maintain one's desired heat temperature, as well as the energy-saving feature they have.

In regards to the energy-saving ability of an oil heater, this is a very important aspect of an oil heater, as most people deciding factor in buying an oil heater, is often this feature. This is because when utility bills spike in the winter season, most people need an alternative heater that essentially saves them money by being energy efficient.

In light of that, before people get an oil heater, they often need to know if oil heaters are energy efficient.

Now, once we look at the important features that come with an oil heater, we can then explain in detail why oil heaters are energy efficient.


How Do Oil Heaters Work?

The first thing to understand is that oil heaters, in spite of the name, don’t run or work on oil, but rather, on electricity. One thing people don’t know is that the oil contained in an oil heater is not what it runs on, but instead, it acts as a heat reservoir.

Therefore, an oil heater runs on electricity and makes use of electricity to heat the oil, which then emits and spreads the heat. Basically, when you plug in your oil heater to an electrical outlet, the electric current activates an inbuilt electric resistor[1] which starts heating up the thermodynamic oil in the radiator fins of the oil heater.

The oil, when heated to a certain temperature level, begins to transfer the heat to the metal exterior of the oil heater through in-built channels in the heater panel. The heat is then slowly emitted to the targeted area, heating up the air surrounding the oil heater through the process of convection.

Now, with continuous repetition of the aforementioned process, the room is continuously heated up till it reaches the desired heat of the user.



Pros & Cons of an Oil Heater


  • The first benefit of note is the radiant heating oil heaters use in spreading heat. We all know that oil heaters do not make use of fans to transfer or radiate heat into the room. Rather, oil heaters transfer heat into the air via radiant heating, whereby, as already mentioned, heat is transferred through the oil-filled radiator fins into the cooler room air. Additionally, there are several more benefits with the radiant heating system than utilizing a fan, such as the fact that dust and germs won’t be transferred.
  • A further benefit of an oil heater is that it provides long-lasting heat. An oil heater is designed to be able to maintain proper heat retention for the longest time possible, and it achieves this thanks to the thermodynamic oil and its large surface area. You should note that the surface area is a factor here because the larger it is, the more volume of air it can come in contact with and heat up.
  • Another beneficial factor of oil heaters is that they are noise-free. The reason for this is because they don’t make use of fans to distribute heat, which as seen in other heaters would result in constant noise as they move. However, oil heaters don’t create any noise, so you get to enjoy your heating peacefully.


  • The major issue worthy of complaining about in an oil heater is the fact that it is slow getting up to full heating capacity. Gleaning from the lengthy process an oil heater goes through to emit heat, one can easily see that it takes quite some time for an oil heater to heat up.

Additionally, since the heat is transferred through a convection process extra time is expended, because a convection process takes time in transferring heat to the target area. Also, you should note if it’s slow to warm up, it will also be slow to cool down after you’ve turned it off.

  • Another bad issue is one that comes up with most space heaters, whereby, because of the convection process, it is hard for an oil heater to effectively heat up larger rooms and also badly insulated rooms.

The ineffectiveness an oil heater has in a badly insulated room is simply because the convection process would be hindered in an uninsulated room, as the warm air from the heater would move towards the outside atmosphere rather than with room, with the cool air from outside entering the room as well.

  • Another problem you find in an oil heater is its heavy nature. Due to all the components, it needs to function, most oil heaters are designed heavy and bulky. This ultimately leads to an oil heater that isn’t all that portable, hence, you can hardly move the heater as you want, between rooms nor easily take it to storage.

Are Oil Heaters Energy-Efficient?

As already stated, oil heaters are extremely efficient when it comes to managing energy, this amazing feature ordinarily gives them a huge boost over other space heaters. With that in mind, let’s highlight what leads to their high energy efficiency, which really is all already mentioned above.

Nonetheless, the first detail that gives an oil heater high energy efficiency is the oil it utilizes, as the thermodynamic oil inside oil heaters is perfectly suitable high heat retention and maintenance. Now, when you add that to the fact that oil heater emits heat while making use of minimal electrical power, you get an efficient heater.

Furthermore, oil heaters are fitted with temperature monitoring systems which will automatically turn the electric resistor off after the temperature as reached the desired level set by the user, as well as turn the electric resistor back on when the temperature level falls.

This feature allows for lesser consumption of power due to the amazing level of temperature maintenance, especially since the oil heater goes off after the desired heat is reached. Consequently, with all these functions, getting the oil heater for your room or home means you will definitely be able to save a ton of energy, as well as cut back on your energy bills,

In conclusion, making use of an oil heater as a supplement to central heating or any other form of furnace heating and the likes isn’t a bad idea, especially since the oil heater is sure to offer more benefits than disadvantages.

However, you should note that certain factors concerning your home or room may affect the efficiency and effectiveness of the oil heater, hence, you should ensure to consider them before buying an oil heater.



  1. Resistor [Link]

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