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ProFusion compared to Patton
on March 23, 2012
ProFusion Heat Quartz Combo Heater - 5200 BTU, 1500 Watts, Model# BSW1500.
I bought this heater from NT and had it shipped directly to their store to save the shipping charges. It replaces a Patton POH397 that works but is noisy enough to annoy my wife. The ProFusion is silent. It has four heating elements that are turned on sequentially. That's how it increases through four power settings from 375 watts up to 1500 watts.
For example, in February, the outside temperature is 52 and it is raining. The rest of the house is 65 with the house heater on. The ProFusion heated a 12 x 12 study with a vaulted ceiling to 75 degrees in a couple of hours. It held 75 degrees in the room on the lowest setting (one element) with two people, lights, a computer running, and the door closed. I used this unit for a couple of hours (or more) every day for a month and it worked perfectly for that time (and still works, I just don't need it with winter over).
The competition - Patton POH397.
The Patton generates a continuous 53 db of noise at 5 feet, after it warms up. A search on decibels describes this amount of sound as somewhere between a refrigerator (50db) and normal conversation (60db). When my wife verbalizes her perception of the noise my sound pressure level immediately reaches the threshold of pain, and often results in temporary hearing loss.
For the first 5 years, the heater wouldn't run on high power for more than 15 minutes before the overheating safety switch tripped. Now, 5 years later, after being used for an hour a day every winter, the bulbs are getting tired, and the heater will run all day on high as long as the room temperature is below 70F. At this point it is probably not generating the full 1500 watts, but I don't have a test to confirm the output.
Comparison of the Patton and the ProFusion
The heaters were placed 3' apart and 3' away from the tester. Both heaters were on high, and this is very subjective, at this setting the Patton feels a little warmer, maybe 10 - 25%. With the Patton on low, and the ProFusion still on high, reverse the percentage in favor of the ProFusion. The big difference is the Patton fan pushes warm air further out the front. The ProFusion radiates about half the heat out the front, and about half the heat rises out the top (actually cold air sinks and pushes the warm air up, but that is a different exercise).
The photos were taken in a fairly dark room to show the heat of the elements. The photos are focused on the ProFusion in order to show the Patton relative to the ProFusion because the Patton bulbs have a low and a high power, whereas the ProFusion on high uses all four elements. Its bulbs don't have a brighter or dimmer power setting.
For me, the choice between the two depends on whether you want to sit further away and can tolerate some noise (the Patton) or must have silence and can sit closer (the ProFusion).
To determine whether or not a portable space heater will provide the heat you need, compare the BTU generated by this heater to other heat sources. I reviewed a 30,000 btu natural gas space heater, and for a rough order of magnitude, the house has a two stage heater of 60,000 btu and 100,000 btu. The total heat generated by this unit is considerably less than the house heater, but 1500 watts is pretty much the maximum for a plug in space heater. It keeps a closed room comfortable on a moderately cool day, and if you're right in front of it, it feels like a heat lamp.