Heating & Cooling Buying Guides

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A good heater will be your best-friend during the winter months (with your doona as a possible close second).

Appliances Online provides a wealth of great quality heating choices. Here's our guide to determining which one will become your soul mate.


Back to Basics

As with a lot of things, the definition of the "perfect" heater is dependent on your circumstances.

By way of example: if you are looking to heat up a large space over a long period of time, then you probably should invest in a powerful and efficient heater - such as a flued gas heater - which, while comparatively expensive to install in the short-term, will be cheaper in the long run.

..Or if you are looking for quick heat-ups in a relatively confined space - say, to heat up the bedroom after you step out of the shower and are dressing for work - then an electric heater with a fan-forced capability will be just peachy.

Environment

Consider factors such as the size of the area you want to heat and how often it will need to be used.

An open-plan space, for instance, will require a heater with a bit more grunt. Ditto if you have lots of large windows and/or bare floor-boards. Oh, and how's your insulation?

How much power do you need?

When choosing a heater, look for the amount of kW output. The manufacturer will include this figure on the spec sheets of each model.

Here's our Rule of Thumb (for Aussie households):

  • 1kW output will heat about 9m2 of a difficult-to-heat room
  • 1kW output will heat about 16m2 in milder conditions

Star Ratings:

Refer to the Energy Star Ratings for an independent assessment of the efficiency of your heater. The more stars it has, the greater the efficiency.

Safety:

There are a number of different safety aspects you should be aware of.

First of all, check for built-in safety features such as cut-off switches (which will turn the heater off if it's tipped over or overheats) and flame-resistant and splash-proof cases.

You should also look for a heater that is physically stable and not too hot to touch, especially if you have small children or pets. Units with child proof controls are also available.

Convenience and functionality:

Obviously a broad area and dependent on your preferences and requirements.

However here are few salient details we like to keep in mind:

  • The more power levels available, the merrier.
  • A thermostat is great to have because it will let you adjust and maintain the desired temperature with accuracy.
  • A timer is also pretty awesome because it'll enable you to turn the heater on/off automatically, for example, just before you get back from work in the evenings - so you can come home to a nicely cosy warm place.
  • Electronic controls typically offer ease-of-use and the best functionality. Meanwhile, a remote control device is always handy.
  • Manoeuvrability: the portability of your favourite appliances may become important, depending on your circumstances. Consider the possibility you may have to move your heater from room-to-room if not house-to-house - factoring in weight and whether it has wheels.

Gas vs Electric

Appliances Online stocks both electric and gas heating options. Each offers a valid and extremely practical heating solution, depending on the context into which it is placed.

Still a popular way to warm things up - and Appliances Online stocks a wide range of excellent gas heating solutions.

Gas is an extremely cheap and efficient heating option. It's your go-to fuel source if you're looking to warm up large, relatively open spaces over extended periods of time.


What are your gas heating options?

At Appliances Online, you can choose a gas heater that runs either on Natural Gas or LPG.

Natural Gas: Economical, efficient and, once properly installed, an ongoing fuel supply is ready and waiting for you.

However, it pays to be aware of a couple of issues:

Firstly - of course - you'll be limited by the fact not every home has a gas connection. You'll also be limited by the number and positioning of the gas bayonets in your home - with a standard hose attachment giving you about 1 to 2 metres of room to manoeuvre.

Secondly: Gas Heaters will produce combustion gases (pollutants).

  • If that sounds alarming, we apologise. but it's something to be aware of!
  • These gases may introduce carbon monoxide into your home while reducing the amount of oxygen. That's a risk in a confined space.

You can deal with this issue safely in a couple of different ways:

  • Install a flue (a pipe or channel) that will convey exhaust gases outside. This will be a permanent installation which will require additional outlay and one which (we recommend) should be carried out by a licensed tradesperson. There are flu kits available on selected models at Appliances Online.
  • Ensure the space you're heating is very well-ventilated - if not actually outside (i.e. on a patio or al-fresco dining area). An unflued heater would definitely not be suitable for a bedroom.

NB: There are gas safety regulations that apply specifically to the state of Victoria, that were made effective as per 1st December 2009

  • Flueless (portable) NG & LPG gas space heaters are not allowed to be installed in new domestic houses. Previously only NG was not allowed.
  • New bayonet points are not allowed to be installed.
  • Flueless heaters are only allowed to be installed when they are replacing an existing old flueless heater in an existing dwelling, and even then, only in LPG.
  • The new regulations further impose a limit on emissions of 2.5 ng/J of NO2 on flueless heaters that are permitted to be installed, half the Australian Standard (AS4553) limit of 5.0 ng/J.

Electric Heaters

A reliable, versatile and safe option that offers generally excellent heat-ups and efficiency.

Appliances Online offers a big selection of electric heaters, with everything from oil-filled column heaters to electric radiant heaters which mimic the effect of a fireplace.

  • Why are they awesome?

Electricity obviously distinguishes itself over gas by being a far more widely available fuel source. No need for installation: these things plug in and heat without producing any pollutants in your home.

  • Why are they (potentially) not so awesome?

In the long-term they are generally a less efficient option than gas heaters. Electric heaters are more expensive to run than a lot of household appliances and, if you need to keep them cranked up all winter, you might end up getting hot (under the collar) about your huge electricity bill.



What are the electric heating technologies on offer?

Here's a rundown on the types of electric heating solutions we've got on offer at Appliances Online:

Convection Heaters

Very energy efficient and typically ideal for heating large spaces that are frequently used, albeit for relatively short periods of time. Convection heaters incorporate a heating element and a heat transfer liquid. This liquid is sealed and never needs to be refilled. The liquid is used to store and transfer the heat to the room using the natural air circulation - however, convection heaters may include fans for greater air circulation.

Appliances Online has a selection of convection heaters, including oil column heaters, which use oil as the heat transfer element while also incorporating a fan for greater heat dispersal.

Panel Heaters

Cost-effective, reliable, and efficient, panel heaters are an excellent choice.

These combine convection heating technology with what is called radiant technology, which is a way of generating warmth using infrared rays. Importantly, they do not require a fan, which means they operate quietly and will not be responsible for spreading dust and allergens.

Suitable for operating for long periods of time - they are an excellent choice if you want to heat up a large area, such as a lounge room.

Being slim and lightweight, they are a stylish heating solution while also offering the distinct advantage of being able to fit into a home where space is at a premium. Select models can be wall-mounted for extra convenience.

Importantly, they have a relatively low surface temperature - which means they won't scald to the touch. This makes them potentially ideal for use if you have small children or pets.


Electric Fire Heaters

These replicate the effect of a fireplace - without any of the hassles. They can be surprisingly realistic, offering you the joy of a traditional 'fireplace' without any of the hassle. Just plug in and they're ready to rock - and they're easily moved from room to room.

Fan Heaters

Fan heaters are generally one of the less efficient heating options (although Appliances Online offers some of the best performing models), although they offer quick heat-ups, safely and reliably. They're not necessarily the thing to keep an entire home warm for long periods, but they'll nevertheless be able to make a room nice and cosy on a cold winter's night.


Reverse Cycle Air Conditioners

Cool in summer and warm in winter - a reverse cycle air conditioner gives you the best of both worlds. But not only will an air conditioner help to regulate the temperature within your home, it will provide a whole assortment of benefits, all designed to help keep you comfortable.

Remember that a reverse cycle air conditioner will not only provide you with a cooler summer - it will also be able to offer you heat in winter.

If you suffer from allergies or asthma, look for an air conditioner with an air purifying function - which will help to remove bacteria and allergens from the air in your home. Appliances Online also includes models which incorporate a dehumidifying function.

Dyson Hot & Cold Air Multipliers

Sure, these things can keep you cool in summer but they also keep you toasty in winter.

These things actually operate as a bladeless fan. In fact, they use ceramic heating elements to keep your room at a consistent temperature without the need for fast-spinning blades. Extremely effective, they are also very safe to use and easy to maintain.

Need help with your decision?

Our Australia-based Customer Support Centre is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We don't work on commission, so you can be sure that the advice you receive is genuine and impartial. Give us a call on 1300 000 500 to get the information you need.