Do Electric Oil-Filled Heaters Reduce Oxygen? (Explained)

Let’s answer the question quickly: oil-filled electric heaters do not reduce oxygen in a room.

The reason some people mistakenly think that they do is that there are other types of oil heaters that reduce oxygen.

This article explains why these appliances don’t burn or reduce oxygen, and we’ll show you the types that do so.

Why Oil-Filled Electric Radiators Do Not Reduce Oxygen

Oil-filled electric space heaters do not burn their oil to produce heat. The oil within the casing is a special type that doesn’t boil or evaporate.

Instead, the oil absorbs the heat produced by the electric current and acts as a heat conductor. The oil circulates the heat evenly throughout the unit, slowly heating up the metal casing and fins.

The metal radiates the heat into the room to keep you nice and toasty.

Why doesn’t heating the oil affect oxygen levels?

Broadly speaking, fuel needs to burn in order to use up surrounding oxygen.

But the oil in these types of electric heaters never burns. This means that the appliances do not reduce oxygen in a room.

This also means that they have no impact on the levels of carbon monoxide.

Advantages of Not Reducing Oxygen

Many people love these types of appliances precisely because they don’t impact oxygen in a room.

It’s not just that they have no danger of increasing carbon monoxide and causing a health hazard.

Less irritation

By not changing the air, they also don’t have side effects like dry eyes or irritated skin.

Some people are very sensitive to changes in humidity in a room. If you have this disposition, then you may find that these appliances are more comfortable to use than other types.

Suitable for smaller rooms

You probably know that heaters like gas burners shouldn’t be used in small rooms or areas with poor ventilation.

The great advantage of oil-filled electric heaters is that you can use them in bedrooms and other smaller rooms in the house.

How To Identify This Type Of Appliance

If you want the advantages of a heating appliance that doesn’t reduce oxygen levels, then you need to be able to recognize what type of heater we’re talking about.

Typically, oil-filled electric heaters are vertical metal or ceramic appliances with thin metal columns known as fins. They are sometimes also known as column heaters.

This picture shows two different brands.

Both are oil-filed electric radiators. In my experience, most brands come in white. But then, I tend to buy the cheaper models!

I’ve noticed recently that the more expensive models are often in black – like the unit on the right in the picture.

How To Identify This Type Of Appliance

What Other Types Of Heaters Reduce Oxygen?

Now that we’ve shown you the electric oil-filled heaters, it’s useful to be able to recognize the types of heaters that do reduce oxygen.

We’ll run through these types of heaters typically used in homes:

  • Gas burners
  • Paraffin heaters

Gas burners

The picture below shows a gas heater that is powered by a butane gas bottle.

I mentioned earlier that fuel needs to burn in order to deplete oxygen. That’s exactly what’s happening with this type of appliance. As the gas burns and produces heat, it consumes oxygen and emits carbon dioxide.

That’s why modern gas burners usually come with an oxygen depletion sensor. That’s the blue light at the bottom of the picture. This cuts off the appliance if the surrounding oxygen levels get too low.

This kind of appliance shouldn’t be run in a small room or an area without plenty of ventilation. That’s where the oil-filled electric heaters have an advantage.

Paraffin heater

The picture below shows a paraffin heater.

These are often used on patios nowadays. They are a little old-fashioned now, but some people use them indoors (be sure that this is a well-ventilated area).

They burn paraffin to produce heat, and in do so will reduce surrounding oxygen.

What about kerosene heaters? Depending on where you’re from, you may be thinking that kerosene and paraffin heaters are the same

But in some parts of the world, there are some differences in the type of fuel. However, both operating by burning fuel and therefore deplete oxygen.

Wood stoves and pellet stoves

Here is a wood stove on the left and an example of the more modern pellet stoves on the right.

When used with flues, they don’t affect the ambient oxygen in the room.

Some people like to run wood stoves with the door open to get the same effect as the traditional open fire. Be aware that this does impact the levels of oxygen and should only be done in a well-ventilated area.

Traditional fires

We have to finish with one of the nicest, most cosy, and most traditional forms of heating: burning logs in an open fireplace.

Yes, of course this depletes oxygen!

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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