There are thousands of options for viable home heating, and the choice can be overwhelming. It can be tempting to buy whatever your friends or neighbours have, but heating is a very individual decision. What works from them may be unsuitable for your needs – or your house. Fortunately, a quick online search can give you some pointers.
Information Needs to Buy Suitable Indoor Heaters
Size of the room
If you’ve ever looked at the specs of a heater, they indicate how much area the heater covers. The measurements may be given in cubic feet or square metres, and you may wonder why this matters. If you buy a heater that’s too large for your space, you’ll always feel musty and sweaty. You’ll end up keeping it at the lowest possible setting, which means it doesn’t utilise its full capacity. Plus, larger heaters cost more, so you’ll have spent extra cash for nothing.
You could manually measure your room and buy a heater that is listed for your dimensions. Alternatively, ask a shop assistant for guidance. Keep in mind that sometimes, you have multiple rooms that use the same heater, such as an open plan kitchen or a living room partially connected to your dining area. In such cases, a double-sided heater can be helpful, since it will heat both rooms simultaneously.
Method of heat production
There are two main ways that heaters produce warmth. Some heaters use convection to warm the air within the room. The air is heated via heating element. Other types of heaters use radiative heating. They produce infra-red waves of heat which come into contact with objects, heating them directly. Related to heating methods is fuel type.
Heaters can be powered by wood, charcoal, gas, electricity, kerosene, or biofuel. Choosing between fuel sources is a matter of preference. In the past, wood and charcoal heaters were considered cumbersome and messy, because it took ages to light them, and they released soot, smoke, and ash. However, some modern wood furnaces have technology to reduce smoke, and can be lit by putting the wood into the furnace and touching a single button.
Position of heating device
The layout of your house will greatly influence the kind of heater that you buy. If you have a large hearth on one side of the room, you need a heater that can reach the far end of the room. Alternatively, you could buy a large furnace for the hearth and some smaller ones to place at the sides of the room. This may also be the case is the fireplace sits off to one side.
If your rooms are somewhat asymmetric or if your home has an unusual structure, you can invest in a powerful portable heater and just move it to wherever you need it. You may also have to consider the shape of your fireplace. If the gap is longer than it is wide, get a fireplace with a linear design. Whatever you choose, it should fit snugly into the hearth.
Length of heating
You might want a heater that burns all night or you may prefer something that turns itself off once you fall asleep. Some heaters can stay on for up to 12 hours, while others have timers so it will turn itself off when you need it to. Automatic shut-off can also be a safety feature, in case the oxygen gets depleted or the carbon monoxide levels reach unsafe volumes.
If you’d like a self-regulating heater, you can buy one with a thermostat. Set it to your desired temperature and it will heat up or cool down the room as needed. Some heaters have both a thermostat and manual controls so you can adjust it yourself. You can even get a heater that has remote control so you never have to leave your cosy seat.
A fireplace can have a strong decorative effect on your home. You could have a glass door so that you can stare into the fire. This can work even if it’s an artificial flame. Gas furnaces and electric fireplaces are often accessorised with faux logs, pebbles, or crystals to mimic the plumes of a wood fire. If you prefer something contemporary, pick a horizontal fireplace.
You might be more old-school, so you can choose an electric heater designed to look like a pot-belly stove. Or you might want the appearance of a hearth even if you don’t have a chimney, so you can buy something with a mantelpiece that leans against the wall and resembles a traditional fireplace. Your choices are almost endless … happy shopping!