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When we moved into our house in 2010 there was a very strange smell coming from the boiler, being a bit of a scardy-cat when it comes to gas and electrics I phoned someone in to check it - only to be told that the next available appointment was a week away due to the fact that this was Christmas week. Luckily this house isn't a particularly cold one and the few heaters we already owned were enough to warm the place up, but our bedroom was very chilly and with a baby just days away from being born we knew we'd need to put the most powerful heater in there - leaving the dining room decidedly lacking in warmth.
I bought this Tesco Value fan heater to tide us through until the gas man could come and fix the boiler, and for the £10 I paid (now £9 from Tesco Direct) I've been more than happy with it. It's fairly small with a height of just 23cm and a 22cm width, the curved design being much more attractive than those squat oblong heaters that you can buy - the 12cm depth means it will slot into small spaces with ease and the fact that it's lightweight makes it easy peasy to move around the house to wherever you need an extra shot of heat.
This gadget works as both a heater and a fan for during the summer months, despite the fact that we didn't have a particularly hot summer last year I used the fan aspect and wasn't hugely impressed as it just seemed to recycle the warm air from around the house and blow it back out again in a soupy haze - it would definitely not be of any use during a hot summer although did come in useful a couple of weeks ago when my son had a temperature and I needed to bring it down before wrapping him up to take to the doctors.
The heat side of things is much better; it has two heat settings and a temperature control knob so you can get the perfect level of heat that you need. The heat provided is reasonably wide reaching although you're never going to be able to heat a large (or even average) room completely with it - it's one of those heaters you stick under your desk at work to keep your feet toasty, rather than something you'd use to replace your central heating. It got the most use through the autumn of 2011, when the weather became chillier but not cold enough that the more hardy members of my family needed the heating blasting away - I'd settle myself in the dining room in the evening with the laptop, switch on the heater and that was enough warmth to keep me cosy without worrying about over-heating the rest of the gang!
Although it looks like it's going to (based on the shape) this heater doesn't turn so will only provide heat in one direction, this is fine for me as I tend to plonk it down in the correct position for me in the first place but if two of us are sitting in the dining room it can be an issue as we fight for heat. If the house is cold enough that my partner or kids are feeling it I'll pop the main heating on anyway, but two of us in this family feel the cold quite badly so it's ideal for times like this (ie. in July when everyone else is melting but Charlotte and I are shivering!). The heater is fairly quiet, it could be quieter in my opinion as the constant whirring sound is a little irritating but it's liveable compared to other heaters we've used in the past.
The heater has two important safety cut outs, both of which work well. The first is that the heater will cut out immediately if it tips over, this is an important consideration for me as in the early 90s my nan had a fire in her house after an electric heater like this fell over and set light to her carpet - luckily at that point she was good enough on her feet to be able to put the fire out herself but when I 'grew up' and started looking at heater purchases myself this memory lingered with me and I have always been very aware of how dangerous these things can be. The second safety feature is that the heater will cut out when it has been on for long enough to over-heat the machine itself, again an important aspect as time slips by so quickly that before you know it you've had your heater blasting away for so long that it's at risk of exploding! As soon as the machine guages it is 'too hot' it will switch itself off and that alerts you to the fact that it needs a cooling off period before reaching over and switching it on again.
I'm more than impressed by this cheap heater, I think when buying heaters (more so than fans) the cheaper option isn't always worth going for - but in this case it fits my needs perfectly, warms my feet up and works a treat.