Are Electric Oil-Filled Heaters Safe For Birds? (Tips)

Most quality brands of oil-filled electric heaters are safe for birds as long as you follow some general guidelines.

This article looks at why these appliances are a good choice, and we give plenty of tips on how to use them in a way that keeps your birds warm and safe.

Advantages Of Oil-Filled Electric Heaters For Birds

Here are the main advantages of this type of heater over other options:

  • can stay cooler to touch with the right settings
  • usually quiet as they don’t use a fan
  • units with a thermostat won’t overheat smaller rooms
  • most quality brands currently don’t use Teflon
  • no emissions or smells (but take precautions on first use)

You may be wondering about our mention of getting the settings right or taking precautions on first use. The rest of this article gives guidelines on tips on how to use these heaters in a room with a bird.

There is a misconception that these units affect breathing, which isn’t true. To understand why, we have more details in our article on how oil-filled electric heaters don’t reduce oxygen in a room.

Cute Parrot

Using A Thermostat To Ensure Rooms Don’t Overheat

One of the main features of oil-filled radiators is that they distribute heat evenly around a room.

This is in contrast with the types of heaters that burn and emit heat. These are the ones where the area in front of them is too hot while spaces further away remain icy cold!

It’s also true to say that oil-filled radiators don’t produce as much heat as other types of heaters.

However, if you run a 2000W oil heater in a small room for hours, the temperature could become uncomfortable or damaging for your bird.

But the solution is simple: a unit with a thermostat will let you regulate the temperature.

This allows you to set a maximum temperature. The thermostat monitors the room temperature and shuts off the unit when your setting is reached.

When the room cools to a point below your setting, the thermostat kicks the unit on again.

advantages Of Oil Filled Electric Heaters For Birds

Tip: cheaper models may not have a thermostat

Make sure that you check the box or product description to verify that the appliance has a thermostat. The wording will be something like “adjustable thermostat”.

These models are more expensive, but the cost is worth it for peace of mind.

By the way, there’s nothing “wrong” with the cheaper models without a thermostat. But you shouldn’t use one in a room with a bird.

The Heaters Are Usually Very Quiet

Some fan heaters sound like an airplane is taking off in your living room.

In general, oil-filled radiators are almost silent and will not disturb your bird.

The exception can be some clicking and popping noises as they warm up when you turn them on. There are some other times when the unit can make an audible noise. But it shouldn’t happen very often unless you have a faulty appliance.

If you’re concerned, check out our article on when oil-filled electric radiators make noises.

Are You Worried That Birds Will Perch On The Unit?

It’s understandable to be worried that your beloved bird will perch on the heater and burn their little feet.

Perhaps the answer is not to leave birds out of their cage when you are out of the room.

However, one of the great advantages of oil-filled heaters is that they are less hot to touch than other types of appliances. They radiate heat instead of emitting it.

However, that doesn’t mean that the casing doesn’t get so hot that it’s uncomfortable to touch. My tip here is to test the best settings for those times when you may not be in the room and the bird is out of the cage.

Set the thermostat and power settings to a low setting and let the heater run for a while. Then place your fingers on the top of the fins.

Your hand won’t burn but it may be uncomfortable to keep touching the metal. Keep adjusting the settings to the point that you’re not worried about your bird.

Are You Worried That Birds Will Perch On The Unit

How long does it take for the appliance to cool down?

I spent a day testing how long my heaters take to cool down when they’ve been turned off.

You can get the full account in our article on how long electric oil-filled radiators stay hot.

I’ll reproduce the summary here:

Time After Turning Unit OffTop Of ApplianceBottom Of Appliance
10 minutestoo hot to touchtoo hot to touch
15 minutestoo hot to touchwarm to touch
20 minutesuncomfortable to touchslightly warm to touch
30 minutesslightly warmroom temperature
40 minutesmetal is cold to touchmetal is cold to touch

Burn Off Factory Substances With First Use

When these types of heaters are in regular use, they should not emit an odor.

If yours starts to do so after a few days of use, then you may have a faulty appliance. Check out our article on situations when oil-filled radiators produce a smell.

The exception is when you purchase a unit and use it for the first time. There may be smells from oils and other substances that adhere to the casing when it’s sent out from the factory.

When you first turn on the unit, these substances will burn off after a few hours. That smell can be mildly unpleasant for humans but could present a problem for birds.

The solution is to run the appliance for a day in a separate room from where you keep your bird. Some people run it in the garage but that’s not an option for everybody!

Many Common Brands Don’t Have Teflon

One of the big worries for bird owners is whether their household appliances have Teflon (otherwise known as PTFE).

You don’t want Teflon anywhere near your bird.

Thankfully, most of the quality brands of oil-filled radiators don’t use Teflon in their construction because they don’t have exposed heating elements.

However, you need to keep an eye on the possibility that a brand decides to start using a PTFE coating is used on the external casing.

That’s why I won’t produce a list here of the brands that I’ve checked in the past.

Instead, you should check with the manufacturer when you are choosing an appliance that you will use in a room with a bird.

Other Types Of Heaters

You may be wondering if other types of heaters are better for your pet situation.

Check out our article on whether electric fan heaters are safe for birds. If you want the quick summary: I would prefer to use an oil-filled heater.

Dean Casey
About Dean Casey

Hi, I'm Dean Casey, the founder and chief editor of

With over 15 years of experience in the HVAC industry, my passion is helping homeowners achieve optimal comfort and energy efficiency in their living spaces. As a certified HVAC technician and consultant, I have developed a deep understanding of home heating systems, insulation, and energy-saving practices.

I started this blog to provide well-researched, practical advice to homeowners looking to improve their home's heating performance and reduce energy bills. Whether it's comprehensive guides, hands-on product reviews, or expert tips, my goal is to share valuable information with you, my readers.

I enjoy spending time with my family and exploring the great outdoors when I'm not busy writing and researching. I'm also an avid DIYer, always eager to tackle new home improvement projects and share my experiences with you.

If you have any questions or comments about home heating, please don't hesitate to reach out through the contact page on the website. I'm always happy to help!

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