June 28, 2016

When it comes to choosing a heater, Graham Brake, managing director at home heating company Black and Stone, recommends considering the following:

Heat
Consider whether you need to heat a whole house or just a room. If it’s just a room, then measure up – most heaters will have a metre estimate based on room size. If you have a large open-plan space, then this will instantly rule out some heating choices based on output, efficiency and cost.

Type of home
When building a new home, pay attention to opportunities like installing passive solar heating that can reduce the need for energy consuming heating appliances. Be aware of the limitations you may have with choosing a heating source for an existing home and go with what is available to you, for example utilising a natural gas supply.

Budget
Take into account the initial cost of buying a heating appliance as well as installation and the ongoing cost to run it.

Style
These days, fireplaces are just as much a design feature as any other item you choose for your home. From built-in gas fireplaces to sophisticated ethanol-fuelled fireplaces, there is something for everyone.

Heating pros and cons

There is a wide variety of heating appliance types available today. Each heating appliance type will have its pros and cons based on initial purchase and installation cost, running costs and availability of the chosen fuel source.

Here’s a short list:

Electric
Includes: radiant, convection, conductive (underfloor heating), split and ducted air conditioning
Benefits: can be portable, good heat output
Downside: can be expensive

Gas
Includes: Radiant, convection, gas ducted heating
Benefits: more cost efficient than electricity
Downside: may have to pay for installation

Wood
Includes: Open fireplaces, slow combustion heaters and stoves and pellet heaters
Benefits: good heat output, ambience of naked flame
Downside: messy and time-consuming

Ethanol
Includes: Ethanol burning fireplaces
Benefits: clean burning, no bills, stylish, portable
Downside: heat output dependent on size of burners

Prepare for cost-effective heating

Choosing the right heating source may well play an important part of reducing your winter bills but there are other steps you can take to reduce the need for excessive energy consumption and to reduce winter energy bills.

  • Wear warm clothing – there’s no simpler way of keeping warm than by throwing on some extra clothes.
  • Insulate your home – the energy consumption difference of heating a space with and without ceiling insulation for example can be as much as 30 per cent. There are a number of options – some of which will depend on whether you own an existing home, are renovating or building a new home. Consider the possibilities for wall and even underfloor insulation as well as ceiling insulation.
  • If practical, open the shades on north-facing windows during the day, as this will allow the sun’s rays to heat these parts of your home.
  • Close doors to rooms that are not occupied.
  • Cover windows with heavy curtains to prevent heat loss.
Featured in images: Kemlan Coupe Wall Penetration, from $6000 (kemlan.com) and Jetmaster Open Wood, from $4000 (jetmaster.com.au)

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