The market provides a wide range of home heating appliances which gives the buyer the freedom to go for the best alternative that will suit their needs. Although cost and efficiency are the major determinants, important aspects such as the availability of energy sources and the working space should be put into consideration among others.
This guide aims to equip the buyer with all the necessary information that they require when it comes to making this important decision.
Things to Consider When Buying a Heater
1. Indoor or Outdoor Heating
If you require heating in a big room, then a large heater, preferably an electric heater or even wood heater, is the way to go. On the other hand, and a portable heater is appropriate if one is targeting to heat a small room or a certain spot in the room. For outdoor heating such as porches and properly ventilated areas, the propane and kerosene heaters can be used as they are unsuitable for indoor heating due to the carbon monoxide hazards and also may get hot enough to ignite fabrics. If you’re interested in one of these alternatives, you can check our Top 10 Best Kerosene Heaters Reviews.
In addition, ensure that when you have a new furnace installed or your furnace is being serviced, your contractor checks the filters. Furnace filter should be regularly changed at least twice a year before the cooling and heating seasons. Clean filters will improve the efficiency of the furnace.
2. Safety features provided by the heater
The heater should provide safety features especially where pets and children are involved. The heater should also have a mechanism that can shut them down in case of overheating. If it is an electric heater ensure that it has a plug that is ground fault protected. When heaters are not handled well, they can pose a risk of electric shock or even cause fire.
3. Cost-effectiveness of the Heater
When selecting the heater, this is one of the most important aspects to consider. When it comes to choosing the energy source, the cost of electricity and gas vary across regions depending on the availability. This can lower or increase the cost of operating the heater hence this should be put into consideration.
4. Heater Type
The first thing you need to determine is the best heater that is suitable for your space. While there are several styles of heaters, there are mainly three technologies of heating: radiant, micathermic, and convective. Convection heaters provide whole-room, even heating; radiant heaters give spot and quick heating in spaces that are small while micathermic heaters give widespread, fast heat while at the same time saving space. Selecting the heater that is appropriate for your application ensures effective performance.
5. Heating Capacity
You will need to consider the space that will be covered by the heater. This is determined by wattage rating of the heater. Generally, each square foot of the room requires a heating power of 10 watts. Hence, a typical heater of 1,500-watts when used as the primary heat source will cover rooms of around 150 square feet. However, this is a rule of thumb not applicable to all models. Depending on the indoor environment, heating technology, and the application, more space may be covered by portable heaters.
If you want to conserve energy and maintain low costs of heating, it is advisable to make comparisons prior to making a choice of heater. Choose a heater suitable for your space size and also your environment. Check special additional features such as adjustable thermostats, energy saving modes, and programmable timers that contribute to economic operation and aid in minimizing power usage.
7. Noise Level
Similar to other electrical appliances, most portable heaters make some noise when in operation. Some models produce more noise than others. When purchasing a heater, consider units that are non-fan-forced such as an oil-filled radiator or a baseboard heater for silent operation in environments that are quite such as your office or your bedroom.
Types of Heaters
Electric Heaters Buying Guide
These are usually cheaper, portable, and a better option if you do not intend to use them for long periods or in large spaces. Electric heaters are ideal for personal use or heating small spaces. Check our Top 10 Best Electric Space Heaters Reviews.
Gas Heaters Buying Guide
Gas heaters are driven by different fuels which include Natural Gas, Propane and Kerosene. Natural gas heaters are run by gas which is connected by a pipe from a gas tank. Most of these heaters have flues which are used to channel all the fumes produced outside the room, however, some portable gas heaters have no flues and in turn, contain sensors which can detect when the air becomes stuffy and in turn shut down.
Vented gas heaters are those that have a flue that carries exhaust gases from the heater to the outdoors. These are ideal for indoor heating as they ensure all emitted fumes leave the room to avoid breathing complications that can arise from gases such as carbon monoxide that is emitted when gasses are burned.
The main disadvantage of this kind of heater is that it is not flexible regarding installation. Non-Vented Gas Heaters are normally used for outdoor heating because they can emit gases such as carbon monoxide which can cause breathing problems when used indoors. They are suitable for use in poaches and backyards.
$1300 – $1400
$3600 – $4000
Oil Filled Column Heaters Buying Guide
These heaters are electrically powered but use the oil as a heat reservoir which is in turn heated by the heating element. The heat emanating from the oil diffuses to the casing and then to circulating air in the fins. Some column heaters are filled with other material and not oil but work similarly. The oil column heater is very ideal for heating a large room as it works by convection method. The heater remains hot for a long period when turned off.
$50 – $380
Radiant Heaters Buying Guide
Radiant heaters are personal and work by radiating from a heating element. Your family will need to take turns in warming up in front of the heater.
$20 – $200
Micathermic Panel Heaters Buying Guide
These are usually similar in shape as the column heater albeit thinner. Their panels have mineral mica surrounding the heating element; heat is absorbed by the mica and then radiated evenly. This enables the heater to warm the room more efficiently and much faster compared to the element alone.
$40 – $600
When your gas heater is installed, insist that the models selected by the contractor are in a range of efficiencies. The contractor should help you calculate the estimated annual operating cost for the model you want to purchase. The calculations can be completed by plugging information on the model’s electrical consumption and AFUE, utility rates in your locality, and your home characteristics into computer programs that will calculate the estimates. Ensure that the quotes are inclusive of the cost of any alterations to venting that is needed by any home appliances.
Electric heating is controllable with energy consumption that is low. There are cheap and perfect temperature regulation option that enables adapting to changing economic and family conditions.
No. Most models run on the 120-volt home standard electrical circuit. Therefore, no further wiring is needed. You only need to position and plug in the unit.
Yes! The heat controller allows for different temperatures to be set up to four different house zones. Discuss with the contractor on the rooms that you would like to be included in the zones during the time of installation.
Yes. A master controller that is usually placed in the living room operates all zones. This master controller can remotely switch on or off the heating in other zones as needed.
You will need to check whether the time is set correctly; AM or PM. Check the away or sleep temperature that is programmed as it may be set too high, and if so, reduce the temperature. If it still does not work properly, have it checked as it may require servicing.