What’s the Best Way To Heat a Large Room?

Finding a proper heating solution is never easy, but it can be even more challenging if you’re looking to heat a larger space. An inadequate heating system can make some of your household’s main areas, such as the living room, uncomfortable in the winter, so it’s crucial to find a reliable option.

One of the best ways to heat a large room or space is to install radiant heating under your floor. For those looking for a more budget-friendly alternative, using a space heater may be the way to go. If you need to heat an industrial space such as a warehouse, you can install a warm-air heating system.

In this article, I’ll take you through everything you need to know about heating a large space, regardless of whether you’re planning to use it for living or storage purposes. 

Heating Large Spaces

Large spaces can be tricky when it comes to heating. Not only do they require a larger amount of energy to be produced, but the heat created by this energy needs to be distributed equally throughout a bigger surface, which isn’t always easy to achieve.

So, what’s the best way to heat a large space? There are several options depending on whether you’re heating a living area or an industrial space.

But first, let’s get the math out of the way. Here is a basic formula to calculate the amount of energy required to heat any size space:

(the desired temperature change) x (cubic feet of space) x 0.133 = the number of BTUs needed per hour

Using this formula to determine your desired BTU/hr, you can easily look up a conversion calculator to figure out the wattage equivalence to BTUs, if you’re going with electric heat.

A normal HVAC unit pushes heated air out of the vents located in certain rooms in your house. Such a system can be incredibly effective if you have small- or medium-sized rooms.

But if your house has large rooms or an open-space plan, such an ordinary system might not be able to heat the whole area efficiently.

Mainly, because heated air travels up, and if the room is too big the air pushed out of the vents might not be able to reach certain parts of the space before rising high to the ceiling.

Have a Question? Ask HVAC Technician

Click here to use the chatbox to speak with one of our technicians.
No in-home service calls. No appointments.

Now let’s look at some particular types of spaces to heat.

Best Way To Heat a Large Room (Living Space)

In-Floor Radiant Heating

Properly heating your household should always be a priority. But finding the most efficient alternative can be challenging, especially if you have large rooms or an open design plan for your living space.

One good solution for heating a large living space is installing radiant heating underneath the flooring. This method is a relatively new trend in modern housing that focuses on comfortable, efficient, and design-friendly heating.

best way to heat a large room - radiant floor heat

There are two types of radiant floor heating:

  • Water-based: warm water runs through the pipe system to create heat
  • Electric: electric wiring is used to create heat

Both of these alternatives provide heating from the floor up, allowing for proportionate and efficient warmth throughout the entire space they cover.

One major issue with this heating method is that it’s costly and difficult to install, especially if you have an older home. However, if you’re building a house from scratch, installing radiant heating might be a little more convenient.

Another characteristic of in-floor heating is that it can make remodeling a bit more complex and expensive. In all my years of renovating, in-floor or in-ceiling heat was always an extra hurdle to completing the project.

Read: Is Radiant Heat Cheaper Than Forced Air?

A second option to heat a big area is by using space heaters. We usually think of space heaters for small spaces, but there are some quite hefty units available out there that pack a punch.

See the specific types of space heaters below.

Best Way To Heat a Large Room (warehouse)

With increasing energy costs and tighter regulations, industrial heating for large spaces is becoming more difficult. However, the need for good heating and warmth in warehouses remains the same, as it’s essential for the workers’ comfort.

There are two main options for heating a warehouse:

Warm Air Heating

A warm air heating system increases the air temperature inside a space by drawing it into a heat exchanger. Afterward, the air is distributed throughout the area with a fan. Warm air heaters can be mounted on walls or suspended on the roof of the building. 

The energy source for the heater can be gas, hot water coming from a boiler, or electricity. The most efficient models are gas (otherwise known as direct-type) heaters, which now come in condensed versions and operate similarly to condensing boilers.

Read: Who Makes The Best Heat Pump System And Why?

Radiant Heating

Radiant heating can be provided by installing suspended radiant tubes or by wall-mounting radiant plaque heaters, which is far less common.

This method doesn’t warm the air inside the building. Instead, it emits infrared radiation to warm up people and objects. The main disadvantage with this alternative is that people need to be in the radiators’ direct trajectory to feel the heat, which may prove to be difficult in a large, busy space such as a warehouse.

Read: Types Of Radiator Heat Systems

Alternative Heating Methods for Large Spaces

The previously mentioned methods may not be accessible or ideal solutions for everyone, so here are some alternative heating methods that can also provide sufficient heating to larger spaces:

Duct Booster Fans

duct booster fan

While HVAC units are great at heating small to medium-sized rooms by pushing hot air out of the vents, these types of systems won’t be optimal for a large room or a living space with an open design. Heated air travels up, meaning it won’t be able to get to every part of an ample space before reaching the ceiling.

However, this doesn’t mean that an HVAC system would be utterly useless in large spaces. To boost its effectiveness and airflow, you can install a duct booster fan to the ductwork. Keep in mind that a duct booster will only work with HVAC systems that are already in good shape and only need a slight boost.

Read: How To Increase Airflow In Ductwork

Space Heaters

space heater types

There are some significant cons to just using space heaters to warm up a larger space. Firstly, it’s by far the least efficient and cost-effective heating method. 

On the other hand, space heaters have a few advantages that may still make them the ideal choice for some people. The most obvious one is their convenience. You can move them around the house fairly easily, and all you need to do for them to work is find where to plug them in.

While most space heaters are only designed to heat a smaller area effectively, there are many types of space heaters on the market, some of which could be ideal for a larger room.

When looking to buy a space heater for a large space, apart from power, you should also consider its airflow capabilities. Without proper airflow, the heater won’t distribute the hot air equally throughout the entire area. For this reason, I’d recommend taking a look at the Lasko Automatic Airflow Heater (available on Amazon.com).

This Lasko heater provides excellent heat distribution due to its efficient design. It’s both powerful and space-saving, making it ideal to use in a home setting without having to compromise aesthetics. Furthermore, it comes with an excellent tip-over safety switch that prevents it from overheating.

Note: We earn a small commission on some purchases, at no additional cost to you.

Hint: you can supplement your space heater with additional fans. For example, a ceiling fan does an amazing job at sending the heated air back to the lower part of the room.

There are various types of space heaters out there, but not all of them can be used to efficiently heat up a large room.

Ceramic and small fan space heaters, for example, are not able to heat a very large space. Moreover, the heat transfer from these devices can easily be blocked by different objects.

  • An infrared space heater is powered by electricity. It emits electromagnetic waves that heat up the objects in the room.
infrared heater

So, instead of warming up the air, this heater is going to warm you and your furniture. You can go for a heater with a fan for better results.

The heat is long-lasting and continues even when the device is turned off.

  • An oil-filled space heater (a radiator heater) runs on electricity and has diathermic oil inside. 

The device heats up extremely fast and can make a room that is smaller than 150 square feet very hot. In larger rooms, an oil-filled heater is best paired with another heating source as this type doesn’t come with a fan.

  • Propane space heaters use liquid propane to operate. They produce the hottest heat. 

Read: Propane Heater Troubleshooting Guide

Such units also emit electromagnetic waves to heat up the objects in the room. You can choose a model with a fan and the great news is that these heaters are amongst the cheapest ones.

Bear in mind that propane heaters are not as safe as other types as they need fuel to operate.

Note: We earn a small commission on some purchases, at no additional cost to you.

1. Dr. Infrared Heater Portable Space Heater is one of the best models you’ll be able to find for the job. The device is easy to control with the help of a remote. You can change the settings and switch it on and off without even standing up.

Unlike a lot of other space heaters that come with a fan, this one is nice and quiet thanks to the upgraded 7-inch blower. The unit is safe to touch and will automatically shut down if it ever gets tipped over. It uses 12.5 Amps of power and is a 1.500-watt device.

Dr. Infrared Heater

2. Duraflame Infrared Electric Fireplace Stove is a 5.200 BTU unit that can easily heat up to 1.000 square feet. Moreover, this model simply looks stunning. It comes with a 3D flame effect and looks like a cute fireplace (you can adjust the color and brightness).

Unfortunately, the unit does make noise when it’s on, but that’s the only downside of this device that, by the way, uses zone heating which means that you can choose the areas that you want to heat and avoid ultra-high energy bills.

3. Vornado MVH Vortex Heater is a 1.500-watt unit that has three heating settings and comes with an adjustable thermostat. The device can easily heat up a 180-square-foot room in a matter of seconds.

The exterior is going to stay cool even after running for the whole day and it is also equipped with an auto-safety shutoff system that is going to turn the unit off if you have simply forgotten about it. The heater offers continuous and uniform heat, is compact and easy to carry around.

fireplace heater

Read: How Much Electricity Do Space Heaters Use?

Tips To Heat Large Rooms Effectively

Regardless of the heating method you choose, there can always be some additional steps you can take to improve its power and efficiency. Here are some of the best tips to optimize the performance of your heating system:

Insulate the Space

roof insulation around skylights

Proper insulation will boost the efficiency of any temperature control system. The entire house should be insulated from the roof to the foundation for optimal results. Additionally, it’s also important to caulk all your windows and doors.

A fully insulated home will keep away the extreme cold during winter and the unbearable heat in the summer, keeping the temperature inside your home stable and less costly to manage.

Read: Ductwork Insulation: Everything You Need To Know

Carpet the Floors

A nice carpet won’t only make the room look more aesthetically pleasing but will also help keep it warmer. Bare floors can let around 10% of heat escape through them, which may not sound like a lot but it’s more noticeable than you’d think, especially during wintertime.

By having a carpet or a few rugs across your large space, you’ll maximize the amount of heat produced by your heating system that your room is able to maintain

laying carpet

Install Thick Curtains

Since most homes are decorated using the same model of curtains throughout, homeowners often opt for lighter designs that are easy to install and adjust. However, lighter curtains aren’t ideal if you want to keep a room warm since they’ll allow heat to escape through the windows.

Therefore, you’d want to install thick curtains with thermal lining for the best results. I recommend NICETOWN Grommet Blackout Curtains (available on Amazon.com) as they’re easy to maintain and install while also being great for insulating your space from both heat and cold.

Note: We earn a small commission on some purchases, at no additional cost to you.

It’s also worth noting that curtains should be used wisely, as opening them from time to time allows sunshine to get into the room, which can provide some natural warmth to the space.

Read: Gas Heater Vs Electric Heater – Pros And Cons

Conclusion

Heating a large space can be challenging. But if you’re able to deal with this issue during the construction of the house, it can easily be managed by installing radiant heating under the floors. For non-living spaces like warehouses, it’s best to install warm-air heating, which warms the air in the building and distributes it evenly through a fan.

Other heating options include duct booster fans and space heaters. To improve the efficiency of your heating system, make sure the space is adequately insulated. It would also help to install thick curtains and carpets.