Are EdenPure space heaters just a lot of hot air?

    Consumer Reports News: November 05, 2008 01:04 PM

    Surely you've seen a full-page ad in a major newspaper for EdenPure space heaters, heard veteran radio commentator Paul Harvey tout them on his national radio program, or read the comments—both glowing and negative—from owners of these appliances on Web forums.

    (February 10, 2010, update: Read our review of the EdenPure Gen 3 Model 1000 space heater.)

    The newspaper and radio ads, including one in the October 29, 2008, edition of The Wall Street Journal, promote the EdenPure Model GEN3 500 and the Model GEN3 1000 (shown) as a "new advanced portable heater that can cut your heating bill by up to 50%," promising that you'll "never be cold again." One hype-filled newspaper ad also features a Q&A with Julius Toth, director of product development for BioTech Research, in which Toth espouses the many benefits of these heaters. (BioTech Research, whose slogan is "Better health through technology," offers a slew of other promised-filled products, including the AbGone Pill, Instant Facelift, and the Smellkiller Air Cleanser.)

    We have not tested the GEN3 500 or 1000 models, which, according to a customer-service representative at BioTech Research, has seen "major improvements" from the brand's Quartz Infrared 1000, $400, which we tested for our 2007 report on space heaters. Let's just say that our experts were not transported to paradise by the EdenPure we did review.

    The unit was the second-lowest-scoring space heater we tested, earning only a 24 out on our 100-point scale. According to the folks in our Tech department who tested space heaters, the EdenPure provided lackluster temperature control and was not particularly easy to use, What's more, it was pricey and lacked an overheat-protection feature (key for safety). The GEN3 models do have this important safety feature, according to BioTech Research.

    If you're in the market for a new space heater, be dubious about any heater whose manufacturer claims the appliance will slash your heating bills. Here's why:

    For every degree that you lower your home thermostat in the winter, you'll save about 3 percent on heating costs. So the only way to really save with a space heater would be to use the unit in the room you're in and turn down the thermostat elsewhere in the house so that your main heating system would not operate. To save 50 percent on your heating bill, you'd have to lower the home thermostat about 17°F. Also, based on national average fuel prices, using an electric space costs more than twice as much to operate as a natural-gas-fueled central-heating system.

    Before you shop for a space heater, read our report, which includes buying advice and ratings of electric convection, electric fan-forced, and electric radiant models. We also tested propane and kerosene models but found a safety risk with that type.

    Essential information: Read our recent tip of the day to learn how to save money on heating this winter and, perhaps, boost the value of your home.

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