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Does it Work Wednesday

Ceiling Fan with a Space Heater

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Does it Work Wednesday
Ceiling Fan with a Space Heater
By: Lauren Keith

"Looks like a monster!" says Art Lawson of Heartland Electric.

"The Monster" is the Reiker ceiling fan with a space heater. The company calls it the "Rolls Royce" of ceiling fans, probably because it cost $350 dollars! However, Reiker claims the fan will actually cut down on your power bill because it comes with a space heater that disperses heat more evenly in the room.  We'll see.

Electrician Art Lawson helps me out with this test. Quite frankly, space heaters make me nervous. I worry about the fire risk. So, Art's going to install this fan, and let us know if there are any electrical dangers to worry about.

"The air comes in through the top and gets pushed out," notes Art.

The Reiker Room Conditioner fan claims it can heat a 20 by 20 foot room, with ten foot ceilings. We're inside a small duplex that matches those specifications. Right now, Art's not having any problems putting this fan together. In fact, half of it already came assembled!

"In a week, I'll put up three or four or five fans, and so far, this one's been easy. Less screws, very nice and fast," he says.

Keep in mind, this fan alone needs 12 and a half amps to run. Since it claims to be energy-efficient, it's only fitting it comes with florescent bulbs.

"I'm going to close off a few rooms, so we can keep our 20x20 here," says Art.

Next he presses the heat button on the remote control.  Immediately, we hear the heater starting up and feel some warmth circulating.

"That's pretty good, isn't it!?!" says Art.

So far it is. Art and I can both feel the warm heat coming from the fan. We're not talking sauna heat here, but it's warm and you can feel it just standing underneath the fan. Next, Art checks to see how much electricity this fan's really using. After all, it's supposed to help cut down that energy bill.

"Right now, it's pullng 11 amps, so it's actually lower than what it calls for, which is good," he notes.

But hold on, this fan hasn't aced the Does it Work test just yet. Art makes a few points. He says make sure you don't put this fan in the same room as your home's thermostat.  If the fan heats the room, it will tell the thermostat that.  Then, the thermostat won't kick your home's heater on, and other rooms in the house might become cold.  Plus, he points out---most older homes don't have enough electrical power to handle this powerful fan/space heater combo.

"The biggest thing is to get that 12 and a half amp on that circuit. If you're confused, check with an electrician to see if this fan will work on your home's electrical system," he advises.

I leave the fan with Art for the next few days, so he can see what happens to the heating system here over time.

"I think once it gets warm, the thermostat will kick it down and you'll use less power," he predicts.

Right now, Art gives this fan a grade B, knowing it's not going to work in every home, but when we return.

"The next day, you'd come in here and it wasn't cold. So a 20 x 20 room with a 10 foot ceiling, I'd have to give it a grade A!" he says.

He still says it won't work in every home, so do keep that in mind.

"Don't use in a moist or damp location.  The directions tell you that.  It will probably work best in a  finished basement, a den, a library.  It worked great in this duplex here.  It heated up the living room, this kitchen, even the bedrooms to a decent temp, so if you do that, and you don't turn on your central heat and air, you'll save money," he says.  

Boy, sounds like this electrician is sold, but maybe not on that price tag. 

"350 bucks! That's the thing!  If I have the extra money, I'd buy it, but it all depends," he says.

For right now, this fan appears to live up to its claim.  If you buy it, please remember to make sure your home can handle this fan's power. We don't want anyone to blow a fuse! That said, this fan worked well in these conditions. I'll stick with Art, and give the Reiker Room Conditioner a straight A, on this Does it Work Wednesday test.  You can buy the fan at Lowe's.

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