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What is the Best Outdoor Pool Heater?

I receive this question a lot around this time of the year. With the weather warming up, people are starting to think about poolside relaxation. Sure the cold water may be great when it’s 100+ degrees outside, but around this time of the year when it’s in the 70’s you might enjoy a bit of a warmer water temperature. To fix this, you’ll most likely be searching for a pool heater that will gradually raise the water temperature over the course of a day.

I have gone through several different heaters, each with their own pros and cons, but there is one that I have found myself to be quite satisfied with over the past 2 years. SmartPool is a manufacturer of a gazillion different pool accessories. Whether it is a robotic cleaner, lighting, pumps or filters, they have them. SmartPool has become my go-to company for pool accessories.

s204Anyways back to the heater… SmartPool has created the S204 Solar Arc Pool Heater which is a compact system that warms up the water via the sun and is controlled by your pump and filter system. The system is incredibly easy to install; it only took me one afternoon to get everything set up. It probably wouldn’t have taken as long, but I’m meticulous and wanted to double check everything before leaving it alone.

This system doesn’t weigh hardly anything, is eco-friendly, and has a one year warranty to back it up, although it’s not necessary if you install it properly. My current one is going two years strong and I have yet to have a problem with it.

The only thing some people may not find ideal is it takes a while for it to warm up the entire pool, which can take longer if there is not constant sunlight. It can take anywhere from 3-5 days depending on your area’s climate and weather. Overall I’m glad I spent the $200 or so back when for it. There’s nothing more comforting than hopping in a war

Best Space Heaters for Large Rooms

livingroomLarge rooms can sometimes be difficult to heat with a normal furnace due to the fact heat can be distributed very unevenly throughout the room. This is a major reason some people use a space heater in addition to their furnace or only use a space heater for that specific room. Depending on your individual needs and situation will determine what you do, but if the room isn’t warm enough or has dead spots, a space heater may be the right solution.

So how do you determine what space heater you’re going to need and which is the best one? A lot of this will depend on what you define as large. For the purpose of this article, we’ll consider a large room to be the master bedroom, living room, or any area that covers over several hundred square feet. If you haven’t already, I would suggest reading over this guide here, to familiarize yourself with BTU’s.

For larger rooms you’ll want to look for a few basic features in specific space heaters. Besides the obvious safety features, and basic functions you’ll want a heater that is capable of producing at least 16,000 BTU’s. This is to ensure enough coverage over the entire room so you’re not left cold in the corner. Secondly, you’ll want to take into some other smaller considerations such as the design, other miscellaneous functions, or cord length, so you know whether or not you’ll have to purchase the proper extension cord.

Lastly, if it matters to you, you can look at factors such as energy efficiency, heat up time, physical weight, or type of heater. As of writing this, I’m choosing heaters that are able to produce the most amount of heat over a long period of time. If I have to spend a dollar or two more a month on the electric bill, then so be it! As I may have mentioned before, I do have children, so I will take that into some consideration. For some heaters, the surface temperature can become very hot and easily cause burns to those that are unaware.


Lifesmart Corp Lifelux Series Ultimate 8 Element Extra Large Room Infrared Deluxe Wood Cabinet & Remote

Quite a mouthful that title is, regardless, the heater does its job and does the job well. This heater uses 8 heating elements that wrapped within the body to produce heat, which makes it relatively safe to have around children or pets. It claims to use up to 1500 watts of power, however actual user testing shows it to produce more around 1400 watts. What I like about this unit is it can continuously draw 1400 watts, which basically translates to continuous power = continuous heat. 1400 watts should be enough for a large room, and it even has a 12-hour start and stop time. It’s relatively quiet and wasn’t too expensive either. As of writing this it is about $120 on Amazon.


Bionaire Silent Micathermix Console Heater for Large Spaces

Bionaire has produced lightweight home (or office in my case) heater uses convection heater to raise the room’s temperature. If you read the91f08u8TglL._SL1500_ first bit about Lifesmart’s heater, you can tell I have that model in my home. This specific model is the one I use in my office throughout the harsh Minnesota winters. My office is fairly large and along with the furniture, bookcases, desk, etc. the heat can sometimes take a while to dissipate throughout the room. I became tired of cold mornings and decided to give this a try; I love it.

At $99.99, I found this unit to be a great deal. Similar to the last one it is rated at 1500 watts, however, I’m skeptical whether or not it actually produces that much. This heater heats my office up fairly quickly, usually by the time I leave for a short 5-minute coffee break I can come back and the room is warm. It’s very quiet, as I sometimes have to check the side panel to make sure it’s off before I leave for the day. The unit is set on two wheels and is fairly lightweight. Now this can be a good thing or bad thing depending on who’s in your office. It’s not uncommon for me to find one of my coworkers down the hall has ‘borrowed’ it on a morning where I decided to sleep in a little bit. He thought I wasn’t coming in, and he was a little cold.


Before going out and buying a heater, be sure to take some other information into account. Read the Amazon reviews, check out the manufacturer’s website, and remember other factors that may play into your purchase as well. For my home, I had to remember I have small children and a dog that could get burned very badly if I purchase the wrong heater. For my office, it really doesn’t matter as much but I still have to pay attention to where the heat is coming out of the unit so I know where to place it. If the heat dissipates from the side, I can’t place it up against a wall.

If you have any questions or need help in picking a heater feel free to email me at

Is your Space Heater Compliant?

You remember the days you were in college right? Those alcohol-fueled adventures that ran late into the night, and then waking up with the worst hangover imaginable. Those were the days; not turning on the heat or the air conditioning just so the bill wouldn’t run high that month. To combat this, you were probably like most college students and found alternative means to staying warm. For some, this was adding more layers, for others it was purchasing a small space heater. And for that small percentage, it involved putting a fan in front of an open oven (don’t lie you know someone who did that).

Hopefully by now you have grown out of that stage and if not, then I feel for you. However, if you have kids in college or are one yourself, you may want to pay attention to certain policies that have been set in place by your university or landlord. By remaining ignorant to these policies or disregarding them, you could be put on your university or landlord’s chopping block.

Indiana University, for example, has a specific policy on space heaters. Their policy isn’t too lengthy, but it’s not necessary for you to read the whole thing. In essence, their policy acknowledges people have different comfort levels, but there are a few basic things residents must follow and abide by if they will be using a space heater on university property.

Here’s a breakdown and summary of their policy. Other university’s and landlords may follow similar suit.


  • Ceramic space heaters only
  • Must be approved by the Underwriters Laboratories
  • Heater must have a thermostat
  • Must be fan driven
  • Must have tip-over safety feature
  • No use permitted near flammable liquids
  • Must only be placed on floor
  • No storage on top of heater
  • Extension cords are not recommended, but must meet a certain gauge if used
  • Must be turned off when not in use


These measures and this policy is put in to protect student’s and the university from liability and harm. I believe it’s a good policy, and for the most part, it’s fairly common sense. If you’re not using a space heater today with the features required, then you may want to consider upgrading yours.

Secondly if your child is currently living in university housing or a rental off-campus, really consider purchasing rental insurance. It doesn’t cost more than $20 or so a month but really comes in handy the next time their dorm – mate tries to open a box by lighting it on fire. Just because your son or daughter is responsible, doesn’t mean the people living around him or her are. Accidents do happen, it isn’t always a single person’s fault either. Pipes can freeze and bust, ruining the $1200 TV. It pays to have peace of mind, this article here gives a good, logical explanation of the benefits of renter’s insurance in addition to some more insight on what it covers.

NFPA Heater Safety Tips

The NFPA stands for the National Fire Protection Association which is the leading information and knowledge resource on fire, electrical, and related hazards.

Heating equipment, such as space heaters and furnaces, are leading cause of home fire deaths. According to the NFPA, 50% of heating equipment fires are reported during winter months such as December, January, and February. The NFPA has several recommendations and steps consumers can follow to prevent heating related fires from happening.

  1. Keep anything that could catch fire at a minimum of 3 feet away from areas where large amounts of heat occur. This includes furnaces, fireplaces, woodstoves, space heaters, and more.
  2. Keep a perimeter around open fire since peacekeepers were children and pets cannot enter.
  3. Always have a qualified professional install furnaces, fireplaces, water heaters, and other heating equipment.
  4. Have your furnace and chimney regularly cleaned and inspected annually by reputable and certified professional.
  5. Never leave a space heater unintended to, when left on while asleep.
  6. Always use the recommended fuel indicated by the manufacturer’s guidelines for space heaters that burn fuel.
  7. Be sure to place a thick and sturdy screen in front of your fireplace and sparks from leaving the fireplace. Allow ashes to cool the point where they can be handled with their hands, before removing them from the fireplace. Always place the container a safe distance away from your home or sleeping area.
  8. Regularly inspect smoke alarms and replace batteries as needed.

For more information on heating safety tips be sure to visit the national fire protection Association’s website at


Are you Using the Right Propane?

Probably something you don’t think about too often, but are you using the right propane in your grill, heater, or engine? Just like the gas you fill your car up with, propane has different grades according to the amount of propane in it and the amount of propylene in it. As you know, propane is the combustible gas that is used as fuel. What you may have not known is propylene is another gaseous hydrocarbon that is used in the manufacture of plastics. The purpose of propylene being mixed with propane is beyond the scope of this article since there’s a number of technical terms that have really no value to the average consumer. All you need to know is the quality, and the mixture percentages explained below.

Propane has three grades HD5, HD10, and commercial. Each with varying mixtures and ratios of propane to propylene. HD5 propane is considered ‘consumer grade’ and is what is most commonly used to fill your standard 20lb tank. What HD5 means is it is suitable and recommended for engine fuel use with a minimum of 90% propane and a maximum of 5% propylene. There are other smaller percentages of gases that make up the contents such as butane, methane, etc.

Furthermore this means HD5 propane can be anywhere from 90% propane, 5% propylene, and 5% other all the way up to 99% propane, and 1% propylene and other.

Figure 1 illustrates the minimum amount of propane required to be considered HD5

pie chart propane

Figure 2 illustrates the maximum amount of propane while still being considered HD5.

pie chart propane 2

There is not a minimum amount of propylene that has to be in a mix. So a mix of 100% pure propane is still considered HD5 propane. HD5 propane essentially has a window in which the propane mix can fall between and a maximum that propylene can fall under.

Avoid companies that advertise their propane has higher than competitors, as consumer grade propane is as high as it can be. There’s really going to be no difference between two different companies selling propane as long as they’re both HD5.

HD10 propane is below HD5 in terms of purity. HD10 allows up to 10% propylene in the mixture, which can cause problems is some engines and various appliances. Additionally since propylene is used in the creation of plastics, it’s advised against using this in a grill or other cooking applications. HD10 propane has uses that will most likely be unrelated to you so it is best to simply avoid using it. Commercial grade propane falls into the same boat as HD10 essentially as it contains higher amounts of propylene and is not suited for consumer use or use in engines.