Cove heating units are some of the most popular electric heating systems available today. Mounted on a wall or ceiling, they are excellent choices for small rooms where space-saving is essential.
However, since “one-size-fits-all” heating systems don’t exist, cove heaters might not be suitable for everyone. Before buying, you might want to ponder their pros and cons to make sure they are right for you.
Energy efficiency is one of the main pros of radiant cove heaters. These units target objects and people rather than the air, offering a quick warm-up. The wall-mounted design makes them safe for pets and children. However, they have a limited range and leave no residual heat. That said, cove heaters could be the best option for a small room.
Cove Heaters Pros And Cons Overview
The table below shows a brief overview of Cove heaters’ pros and cons:
|Energy efficient||Limited heating range|
|Quick warm-up||No residual heat|
|Space-saving design||May not work with AC|
|Safe for children and pets|
|Easy to control from a distance|
5 Cove Heaters Pros
Electric cove heaters use radiant heat to warm up objects and people. They don’t target the air in the room and can be placed pretty much anywhere.
While placement alone may not be enough of a motivator for you to pick them, here are some pros that could help you make a decision.
1. Energy Efficiency
The main advantage of cove heaters is the type of technology they use. As mentioned, cove heaters use radiant heat produced by infrared elements.
Some models may employ a combination of radiant and convection heating, but all panel heaters target the objects rather than the air in the room. This includes the people sitting in their range.
By warming you up instead of the air, cove heaters can make you feel a comfortable level of warmth much faster than convection heaters that use a fan to circulate heated air.
What this truly means is that you can only turn the heater on when you’re in the room and turn it off when you’re not, saving on electricity. On average, cove heaters use up to 20% less electricity than conventional heaters.
2. Quick Warm-Up
Another advantage closely related to the radiant technology is the level of comfort a cove heater allows you to achieve in the minimum possible time.
When turning on the heater in a cold room, it will take a matter of minutes to feel a comfortable temperature. By comparison, it could take a convection heater half an hour or more to heat the air in the same space.
Cove heaters are designed as panels you can mount on a wall or ceiling. Although you can install your heater anywhere on a wall, most people prefer a high installation, generally right below the ceiling.
This makes cove heaters perfect for a small room with limited floor space. You can even mount them in the kitchen, above the kitchen cabinets, or in a small bathroom.
4. Safe For Children And Pets
A tall installation makes any type of heater safe for pets and children, but that’s not the only reason cove heaters are safe.
Standard and ceramic cove heaters use infrared elements to radiate heat where needed. The elements are set within a case and covered by a panel that allows the infrared heat to pass through without heating up.
By remaining cool to the touch, cove heaters are safe no matter how high above the floor you install them.
Most cove heaters you can find on the market today also incorporate tripping safety features and an overload circuit breaker that turns them off in case of electrical circuit overcharge.
In this way, you can rest assured the fire hazard is also minimum.
5. Easy To Control
Cove heaters are very easy to hook up to a wall thermostat. The newest models even incorporate connectivity features that enable you to control the unit from a distance – even when you’re out of the house.
App control allows you to do much more than turning the unit on and off.
You can schedule the on and off times, control the temperature, or turn on the heater right before you get home.
3 Cove Heaters Cons
Cove heaters have numerous benefits, but they also have a few downsides. Let’s have a look at them.
1. Limited Heating Range
One of the main disadvantages of radiant heat is that it can’t reach objects that are far away from the infrared source.
This is why cove heaters are excellent choices for smaller rooms but a poor investment for ample, open space interior designs.
If you want to use cove heaters in a large living area, it is recommended to invest in two smaller heaters or more and install them to target various areas of the room rather than installing a single, large heater on one wall alone.
2. No Residual Heat
Another disadvantage comes from the fact that radiant heat doesn’t warm up the air. By targeting the objects, cove heaters can make you feel warm in a matter of minutes. However, the perceived temperature can drop by several degrees only minutes after you’ve turned the heater off.
3. May Not Work With AC Systems
When installing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems for their home, most people want to connect all appliances on the same circuit. This is not possible with cove heaters (HVAC systems target the air, not the objects in a room).
You can still install a cove heater, but you’ll have to hook it up to a different thermostat and program it independently from your HVAC system. However, this isn’t a disadvantage if you plan to keep your heating and air conditioning systems separate, to begin with.
Cove Heater Brands & Reviews
Did you weigh out the cove heaters’ pros and cons and decide a radiant heat system is what you need?
The most popular brands you can buy a cove heater from include Radiant Systems Inc. (Comfort Cove heaters), Cadet (CORC radiant cove heaters), Heating Green (Ceramicircuit Cove heaters), and Marley (Qmark cove heaters).
All these brands are praised for the cove heating systems they manufacture. There is a generally positive consensus regarding the general operation, design quality, and efficiency. However, some people may find it difficult to install.
Most complaints regard the lack of efficiency in large spaces, but that’s to be expected from any infrared heating system.
Cove Heater Sizing
Sizing a cove heater could seem tricky, but all you have to figure out is the number of watts per square foot your heater should output.
To calculate the wattage, you have to consider the general temperature zone you live in and the type of insulation your home has.
The table below shows how many watts per square foot you need based on your temperature zone and insulation:
|Temperature Zone||House Insulation Level||Recommended Watts/Sq. Ft.|
|Zone 1 (cold climate)||Minimum||15|
|FHA Standard Insulation||11|
|Above standard insulation||10|
|Zone 2 (cool temperate climate)||Minimum||15|
|FHA Standard Insulation||10|
|Above standard insulation||8|
|Zone 3 (warm temperate climate)||Minimum||8|
|FHA Standard Insulation||6|
|Above standard insulation||5|
|Zone 4 (warm climate)||Minimum||6|
|FHA Standard Insulation||5|
|Above standard insulation||4|
Note: Data in the table is sourced from Radiant Systems Inc. and is accurate for the brand’s Comfort Cove heaters. Check the specific recommendations of the brand you plan to purchase from for accurate sizing.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do cove heaters work?
Cove heaters work by emitting infrared radiations that warm up the objects and people in a room rather than the air.
The video below explains how these systems work and how efficient they are:
Are cove heaters safe?
Yes, cove heaters are safe. In addition to tripping and overload circuit breakers, these heaters also remain cool to the touch. They are suitable to use in households with children and pets.
Are cove heaters efficient?
Yes. Cove heaters are between 10% and 20% more energy-efficient than conventional heating systems. However, they don’t leave residual heat, so you might feel cold shortly after you’ve turned the heater off.
Are cove heaters better than baseboard heaters?
Cove heaters and baseboard heaters use different technologies, so choosing one over the other is mostly a matter of preference.
If you want to save on energy, cove heaters are best. If you want a heater that works with an AC system and heats up the air rather than the objects, you should choose a baseboard heater.
Cove heaters are an excellent choice for smaller rooms and families who want to save on electricity bills. They can make you feel warm in a matter of minutes and are safe to use around kids and pets.
Most units are easy to hook up to a smart thermostat or directly to your smartphone via an app and control from a distance.
However, they may not be the best option for a large room or if you need a heater that works with your AC. We hope the pros and cons of cove heaters above can help you decide whether these heaters are the right option for you.