Considering suitable heating
Technology has made it possible for mankind to achieve many things but Mother Nature is still in control when it comes to the weather and the seasons.
When winter sets in, it is possible for the bulk of your energy bill to be absorbed by heating your water and your home. So, to save on heating and keep your home warm, it is essential to have an effective heating system and one well-suited to your home.
There are many considerations when it comes to selecting a home heating system.
These include the size and age of your home, the areas you want to heat and the work to install each system and their running costs.
The volume of each room can give you a rating of the heater you should install in that room. Do this by measuring the size of the room in metres (height x width x length) and then divide that figure by 20 to give you an approximate kilowatt rating of the heater needed.
There are other considerations, such as a room’s purpose as it makes little sense to use a lot of energy to heat a bathroom, for example, when it’s typically not used for long periods, unlike the living areas of a home. In that regard, it can be a good idea to split your home into zones that can be heated individually or at a different rate.
For example, you can keep your living room and lounge or family room at one temperature while maintaining your bathrooms, bedrooms, kitchen and laundry at a lower temperature.
The recommended temperature for a living area is, generally, around 18 degrees Celsius although babies, young children or the elderly can boost that recommended temperature to about 21 degrees Celsius.
You have to decide on the form of heating you want to use and there are plenty of options available; everything from electric heaters to log burners and gas central heating. Before making your decision, you also need to take into account the types of heat produced by different heaters; conduction, convection or radiation.
Conduction is the transfer of heat directly through an object, such as a hot water bottle or when you hold a hot cup of liquid while convection is the feeling you get when warm air is blown past you, such as that produced by a fan heater.
Radiation is the emission of heat from an object such as an oil heater or radiator and, because it can keep you comfortably warm even when the air temperature is quite cool, is possibly one of the most efficient ways of achieving your heating needs.
If it is atmosphere you really want, it is difficult to go past the sight of dancing flames as one of the most visually appealing forms of heating as well as providing a nice touch to a room.
But you need to be aware of what is or is not allowed when it comes to considering a solid fuel burner for your home with some cities in New Zealand placing restrictions on what type of solid fuel burner you can have. For example, highemission burners that use either logs or coal have been outlawed in new homes in many areas because of the pollution they produce.
Even homes that have had them installed for many years are being encouraged to replace them with lowemission log burners or wood pellet burners. These pellets need a special burner to use them but they burn remarkably cleanly. Open fires are probably one of the least efficient options for transmitting warmth throughout your home because the heat they produce tends to go up the chimney rather than be effectively channelled into the room.
They can also provide a conduit for cold air into a room when the fire is not in use.
Newer versions of log burners produce low levels of smoke particulates.
From September 1 last year, the Ministry for the Environment put restrictions in place for log burners in urban areas, saying that they can produce no more than 1.5 grams of smoke particulate a kilogram of dry wood burnt.
One of the downfalls with any type of solid fuel burner though is the fuel source itself.
For log burners, you need a regular supply of logs. These need to be picked up or delivered, then there is chopping and organising storage space.
And, if you’re the one who has to go out on a cold winter’s evening to get more logs for your fire, the romance of having a log burner can wear thin.
There are also the ashes to remove and if you want to have a warm house in the morning someone has to get up early to light the fire.