With the long list of things to think about when designing a new home or renovating an older one, heating is one of the considerations that can often be overlooked. However, even if it’s the middle of summer and the last thing on your mind is increasing the temperature, it’s important to factor in heating options and potential costs when you’re in the planning stages.
There is a wide variety of heating options available, with pros and cons for each one, so it can tend to be a difficult decision. Read on for a rundown of the available choices plus tips to consider when planning how to heat your home each winter.
Tips to help choose the right type of heater
One of the major things to consider when looking at heating options is the size and space of the room you want to warm. Due to the fact that different types of machines work better in different areas and under particular conditions, it’s always best to do your research on each type to compare them properly. Homeowners and builders need to consider whether they’re researching heating options for small house plans or large, multi-story homes, as well as the energy efficiency of each choice.
Don’t be afraid to ask salespeople for all the nitty-gritty details on any unit you’re considering, and don’t forget to look into the energy efficiency of each one as well. Energy-saving appliances will not only help the environment by creating fewer carbon emissions but also your wallet, by lowering your electricity bills.
Another easy way to lower usage levels while ensuring maximum heating efficiency is to close off any areas of your house that you don’t need warm. If most of your winter hours are spent in the lounge room and you hardly ever spend time in the formal dining room or the spare bedroom, for example, then shut the doors to those rooms during the colder months (or at least for those hours that they’re not in use).
If you’re looking to heat small rooms of the house on a budget, consider opting for fan heaters. These types of systems are usually small, lightweight and portable, and are very affordable. Although there were some safety concerns with fan heaters in past years, industry standards have increased and regulations are now in place to ensure newer models are safe for homes.
If you like rooms in your house to become warm very quickly, you’re sure to like a fan heater. These units work by pumping air over a heated element in whichever direction the heater happens to be facing (although some products do also swivel, which allows heat to be spread out over a wider arc).
Radiant heaters are also “instant-heating” products. They work by using a red-hot element to heat up the space around them in a short period of time, and are best chosen by people who will be able to locate themselves fairly close to the machine.
Radiant heaters tend to be inefficient at heating up whole rooms, but if residents can sit close to the unit while reading, watching TV or working, for example, then they should find them acceptable. This type of heating option can also be suitable for rooms that have high ceilings, or are draughty or poorly insulated.
Reverse-cycle air-conditioning is one of the most popular heating system choices for homeowners. Although these permanently-installed, split-system units do use quite a lot of energy, they tend to end up being more efficient over the long term than portable heating systems or other heating types.
Reverse-cycle units are a great option for residents that live in areas that necessitate heating your home during most days of the winter months. On the other hand, if you reside in a region that only goes through a mild winter, this type of heating system could be overkill.
Designed to heat the air in a room evenly over time, convection heaters are a good choice for open-plan spots with no draughts and quite low ceilings, or for well-insulated areas. This type of heating system can be found either on wheels, for portability, or else in wall-mounted panels in the home. Convection heaters contain their element with the body of the unit, and those that have fans inside will tend to heat rooms more quickly.
Column heaters can be slow to heat up a room (unless they also happen to contain a fan) so are best chosen by people who don’t need instant heat. This type of machine is an effective choice for overall heat in a home, as well as for households that contain small children. These units are mostly upright and are usually quite cool to the touch, so parents don’t need to worry about little ones getting burnt as a result.
What kind of heater do you heat your home with?