As temperatures plummet, the shops are full of various heaters, all of which look attractive on a chilly day. But there is plenty to consider before buying a heater or heating system. Allan Hirsch, chief executive of the Hirsch Group, gives us the lowdown.
1 Consider your purchases wisely. The country is going through an energy and water crisis, so buying an energy-efficient appliance that use less water is a winner. Also, use dishwashers effectively by rinsing until you have a full load and then do a thorough wash.
2 Wall heaters are safe and effective. To warm a room, wall heaters are energy saving and low on electricity consumption as they use only 400 watts. They are also quick and easy to install, and can be painted to match any interior décor.
With their natural convection technology – heated air rises at 0.7m/s – they are safer for children and pets as there are no exposed elements. They are ultra slim and compactly designed. They don’t dry the air and can warm a room of about 10m² to 12m².
3 Infra-red heaters focus on you, not the air around you. An economical heater which is also fairly new on the market is the infra-red heater which warms your skin and not the air. It is 90 percent more economical than gas, has a comfortable direction of heat flow, and is maintenance free.
4 Oil heaters have the benefits of automatic temperature sensors. Oil heaters have a variety of energy saving features including a ComforTemp, which is a dedicated sensing system that automatically maintains the ideal temperature. They also have a room thermostat that automatically maintains the desired room temperature.
5 Gas heaters are the perfect low-consumption heating appliance. The great thing about gas heaters is that they give off heat almost instantly, so you don’t have to run them for long to feel the glowing effects. They are also perfect during power cuts and, because they rely on gas, they don’t put pressure on the national electricity supply.
6 Consider using your air-conditioning unit. An air-conditioning unit is a great cost-saver in winter. It is 35 percent cheaper to warm your home with an air conditioner than a conventional heater. You can set your air conditioner on the auto function so that when it reaches the required temperature, the unit will switch off. It also gives you evenly distributed air and, if your unit has air purifying filters, can also purify the air while heating the room.
7 Snuggle up in a warm bed. Use an electric blanket in the bedroom instead of a heater. If you switch your blanket on about 30 minutes before going to bed you do not need a heater to keep you warm in your bedroom. Switch the blanket off when you get in to bed.
8 Reduce heat loss. Instead of focusing only on creating heat, also consider preventing the loss of heat you already have. Close windows and doors and draw curtains at night to keep heat inside a room.
9 A bar heater is not the best choice for energy efficiency. Bar heaters are among the most expensive to run and it is advised to rather use an oil heater with a thermostat as an energy-saving option.
10 Fan heater for the baby’s room. The recommended room temperature for a baby is 16-20°C. For many of us this feels a bit chilly, but research has shown that it is a safe and comfortable temperature for a baby to sleep in. It is usually best not to have a radiator on in your child’s room overnight, and a great alternative is a small fan heater – one with an adjustable room thermostat to set the desired temperature.