Heat­ing op­tions for your home

Choos­ing a heater can be con­fus­ing, with a mul­ti­tude of choices and of­fers to con­sumers. EECA En­er­gy­wise says how you use a room will help you to de­cide the type of heater that's most suit­able

Hamilton Metro News - - Home Heating -

Heat pumps

Good for: low run­ning costs when you use them prop­erly; pro­duc­ing in­stant heat; con­ve­nience— you can con­trol the tem­per­a­ture with the ther­mo­stat and use the timer.

Be aware that: must be sized cor­rectly for the space and the cli­mate to work well— if you live in a colder area, ask the sup­plier to size the heat pump based on its low tem­per­a­ture per­for­manc; some are a lot more ef­fi­cient than oth­ers; they won’t work dur­ing a power cut.

Modern wood­burn­ers

Good for: low run­ning costs, es­pe­cially if you have ac­cess to free or cheap fire­wood; the en­vi­ron­ment— they pro­duce very lit­tle pol­lu­tion and use re­new­able wood en­ergy; heat­ing large spa­ces; heat­ing hot wa­ter in win­ter through a wet­back sys­tem.

Be aware that: fire­wood must be dry to burn ef­fi­ciently— store wood un­der­cover, ideally for at last 12 months; you need a build­ing con­sent to in­stall one and you need to use a wood­burner on the ap­proved list from the Min­istry for the En­vi­ron­ment (un­less your prop­erty is big­ger than two hectares).

Wood pel­let burn­ers

Good for: the en­vi­ron­ment— the pel­lets are made from waste prod­ucts and burn cleanly; heat con­trol (bet­ter than a wood burner); heat­ing large spa­ces; heat­ing hot wa­ter in win­ter through a wet­back sys­tem.

Be aware that: they won’t work if your elec­tric­ity isn’t work­ing (they use a small amount of elec­tric­ity; you can­not burn fire­wood in a pel­let burner; pel­let prices vary greatly across the coun­try— check prices in your area; you need a build­ing con­sent to in­stall one; only au­tho­rised burn­ers can be used in ar­eas with poor air qual­ity.

Flued gas (nat­u­ral or lpg) heaters or fire­places

Good for: con­ve­nience— you can con­trol the tem­per­a­ture with the ther­mo­stat and use the timer; heat­ing larger spa­ces.

Be aware that: you will have to pay a fixed price for retic­u­lated gas sup­ply; run­ning costs are rel­a­tively high if you use LPG bot­tles; while burn­ing gas is rel­a­tively clean, the green­house gas emis­sions con­trib­ute to cli­mate change; you must have your gas heater in­stalled by a reg­is­tered gas fit­ter.

Elec­tric heaters

Good for: heat­ing smaller spa­ces like bed­rooms; very cheap to buy.

Be aware that: they are more ex­pen­sive to run than most other heat­ing op­tions; their heat out­put is low com­pared to most other heater types; all elec­tric heaters are equally ef­fi­cient as they con­vert all the elec­tric­ity they use into use­ful heat; there are dif­fer­ent types (ra­di­ant, con­vec­tion, fan) that de­liver heat in dif­fer­ent ways to suit dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tions; many have built in ther­mostats but they gen­er­ally aren’t very ac­cu­rate.

Un­flued gas (nat­u­ral or lpg) heaters, in­clud­ing por­ta­ble gas heaters

Good for: back-up heat­ing dur­ing power cuts, if your nor­mal heat­ing re­lies on elec­tric­ity to op­er­ate.

Be aware that: por­ta­ble gas heaters are the most ex­pen­sive form of heat­ing (ex­cept for some open fires); there are health risks — they will pol­lute your home with toxic gases and wa­ter vapour so keep at least one win­dow open and never use in bed­rooms; they can make your home damp and mouldy; por­ta­ble gas heaters can be a fire risk.

Cen­tral heat­ing

Good for: pro­vid­ing heat­ing for your en­tire house; con­ve­nience— you can con­trol the tem­per­a­ture with the ther­mo­stat and use the timer; zon­ing— many are zone-con­trolled so you can con­trol the tem­per­a­ture in dif­fer­ent parts of the house.

Be aware that: they can be ex­pen­sive to in­stall; heat can be sup­plied by a range of heat­ing sys­tems, for ex­am­ple gas, wood pel­let or heat pump; it’s worth choos­ing a sys­tem that has an in­di­vid­ual ther­mo­stat for each room; they can be ex­pen­sive to run if you home isn’t well in­su­lated or is draughty.

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