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Old 02-12-2014, 10:33 AM   #1
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Using a space heater in bathroom?


We have an interesting setup in our bathroom and before I make any changes, I want to pause and get someone else's advice.

My wife and I live in a 100+ year-old home and there is no heating vent that goes into the bathroom. So a space heater was built into a cabinet some years ago, and while that was working, it was a nice substitution. Recently, the heater started to falter, and it's February in Massachusetts, so it's been extremely cold in the bathroom, especially with glazed porcelain tiles. I was thinking of moving a space heater into the bathroom - away from the tub and shower, obviously. But my main concern is one of steam. Since it's cold, we're prone to incidentally long showers, and because it's an old home, there is no ventilation in the bathroom (when it's warm, a cracked window will do fine).

My question is, once I get the space heater away from water (I plan on elevating it), will an accumulation of steam hurt it? I'm posting two pictures: 1) of our old heater that is built into a cabinet and the space heater I want to use, an 2) a picture of what our tub/shower situation is like (on the other sides of the room) in case anyone is concerned about electrical shock. It's a sizable bathroom and no water has ever come over to the other side.

Many thanks in advance for everyone's help. Trying to be warm, but also safe.
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Old 02-12-2014, 10:40 AM   #2
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Using a space heater in bathroom?


They sell space heaters specifically for bathrooms - I'm in almost the exact situation you are (NH, 110 year old home, cold bathroom). Holmes makes a heater taht's wall mountable and designed for bathrooms.

That said... I'd REALLY look into getting ventilation into that room somehow, heater or no. At least leave the door open.

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Old 02-12-2014, 11:25 AM   #3
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Using a space heater in bathroom?


Water isn't really the hazard some people would like us to believe and steam won't hurt that hot little heater nearly as much as it will other elements in the room if allowed to stay moist. That room can be ventilated by installing a louver top and bottom in the door. Warm air out the top being displaced by cooler air in the bottom.
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Old 02-14-2014, 10:40 PM   #4
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Using a space heater in bathroom?


There are also bathroom ventilation fans available with good sized 1500W or so heaters for ceiling mount. Could take care of two problems at the same time. HD/Lowes.
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Old 02-15-2014, 09:49 AM   #5
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Using a space heater in bathroom?


The problem with most portable space heaters is they're built very cheaply and meant for supplemental heat only. You'll be lucky to get a couple of seasons out of them. It's a shame that the heat and ventilation needs for a bathroom that nice weren't addressed when it was renovated, but that just goes to the trend many HOs are following which is to put too much money and emphasis on the finish at the expense of doing right by the plumbing, electrical, insulation, heating cooling and ventilation.

If there's any way to repair or replace the original unit I'd do it. The portable heater just looks tacky.
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Old 02-21-2014, 10:58 PM   #6
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Using a space heater in bathroom?


Does the outlet you will plug the heater into have a GFI? If so it should be completely safe. Water vapor will condense on it when it is off, just like any cold surface, but the heater should dry itself out when it is in use.

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