What are the best heaters in Australia?

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Think about your needs while selecting a heater. While radiant heaters warm objects directly, convection heaters circulate warm air. Although efficient, gas heaters need ventilation. Heaters that use oil are dependable but use more electricity.

Although comfortable, underfloor heating takes preparation. Although convenient, electric radiator heaters are pricey. Forced-air heaters swiftly circulate warm air but have the potential to dry out the air. Effective heating and cooling are both provided by reverse-cycle air conditioning.

Although they are inexpensive, wood heaters require maintenance. Think about the cost, efficiency, and size of the area. Consult local vendors about choices for sustainable energy.

There are so many different options

Heat is necessary to keep us warm and comfortable, particularly during the chilly winter. There are numerous varieties of heaters, each with a unique set of benefits and drawbacks. For you to select the heater that best meets your needs and tastes, we will examine the many types of heaters and their distinctive features in this FAQ.

What are the different types of heaters?

Convection heaters

A heater called a convection heater, employs air movement to disperse warm air around a space. They function by heating the air close to the heater and then distributing the heated air across the space using a fan or natural convection.

Convection heaters are frequently effective and quiet, although they might take longer to heat a room than other heaters. Oil-filled radiators, ceramic heaters, and panel heaters are standard convection heaters. Prices range from $40 to $200. Regarding efficiency, the cheaper models are terrible and more pricy models are better, but not ideal.

Radiant heaters

Instead of warming the air, radiant heaters employ infrared radiation to warm things and people directly in space. They function by generating infrared rays, which are then absorbed by nearby objects. Although radiant heaters can be less efficient than other heaters, they are frequently rapid to heat a room since they only heat people and things, not the air.

Infrared heaters, infrared panels, and infrared bulbs are a few popular radiant warmer varieties. Radiant heaters have the benefit of frequently being affordable, with costs ranging from $15 to less than $200. However, compared to other heaters, their comparatively high operating costs may make them more costly to use over time. In short – not very efficient.

Oil heaters
Oil heaters with no timer can be expensive to run

Gas heaters

Gas heaters are a particular heater that provides heat by burning natural gas or propane.

They can still generate heat even during a power loss and are often more efficient than electric heaters. They can cost more to operate, though, and they need the proper ventilation to ensure that dangerous gases are adequately evacuated outside.

Gas heaters also create emissions when they burn gas, making them potentially less environmentally friendly than other heaters, which have the choice of using electricity from renewable energy. Furnace heaters, fireplace heaters, and boiler heaters are standard gas heaters. While efficient, – the environmental noxious gas issue and fossil fuel issue look like making gas heating a thing of the past.

Oil-filled heaters

Electricity is used to heat the oil in oil-filled heaters, which use the oil as a heat source. As a result, they can supply a reliable, consistent heat source for a protracted period and are efficient and quiet.

They are less portable than other heaters, as they are heavier. Also, it can take them a while to warm up a room.

Oil-filled heaters are less eco-friendly than other heaters, such as air-conditioning heat pumps, since they use much electricity to produce heat, e.g. 2 kWh or more on full throttle.

Baseboard heaters and radiator heaters are a few typical models of oil-filled heaters. Oil-filled heaters range in price from $70 to $350, with the more expensive types coming with timers that enable them to be set to switch on and off automatically. If this heater is used wisely with the timer and thermostat, it can offer an economical solution. If, on the other hand, one runs this style of heater all day – then the electricity bill will be astronomical.

Underfloor heating

This technology is becoming more popular in Australia to provide central heating in new homes and commercial buildings. However, as the name suggests, underfloor heating is typically installed underneath the flooring to supply steady and even heat from the floor.

It comes in two technical solutions, which are electric and hydronic. Hydronic uses pipes under the floor which circulate with hot water. This system requires a pump and a source to generate the hot water. Heat pumps are nowadays the most economical solution to generate this hot water, especially if coupled with solar electricity generation. Because the water is only heated to around 40 to 60 degrees Celsius, depending on the flooring details, the heat loss from this technology is relatively low, making it again – very efficient.

The electric underfloor heating solution uses wires or mats installed beneath the flooring, which is cheaper to install than a hydronic system. It is also more easily installed as a retrofit underfloor heating system. Again solar energy,  potentially coupled with batteries, can be the source of this heating electricity.

Hydronic underfloor heating systems are usually the more energy-efficient solution. They may be a better choice for larger spaces or for those looking for a long-term heating solution, especially when building a new home.

Underfloor heating offers several advantages: it eliminates wasted space for wall-mounted heaters, provides ongoing and gentle heat, avoiding the risk of burns, and can be aesthetically pleasing. Additionally, due to its even distribution of heat, underfloor heating ensures a high level of comfort throughout the home.

Disadvantages of underfloor heating

Underfloor heating is not cheap and is a good solution for people looking for solid long-term solutions, not just a quick heater to survive a cold day.

  1. While an electric heater is a simple plug-and-heat solution, underfloor heating requires detailed engineering drawings and precise execution.
  2. Some floors and the access issue might reduce the ability to install underfloor heating in some circumstances.
  3. Underfloor heating heats the room “slow and steady”, meaning if you want the room heated up quickly, this solution will not consistently deliver.
  4. Repairs, if needed, require specialists who will not always be cheap.

Baseboard Heater

Electric radiator heaters

Among the several types of heaters, electric radiator heaters produce heat quickly using electricity. They are practical and straightforward to use. But their running cost will be high, mainly if you consume a lot of electricity. We recommend always purchasing a heater with a thermostat and timer capability; that way, you only heat when you need it to a comfortable temperature.

Forced-air heaters

A forced-air heater still uses electricity like the previous example but has a fan added that blows air over a heating element to circulate warm air around a room. They can efficiently distribute heat uniformly around a room and are frequently quick to heat an area. However, they can make a room’s air dry. Therefore it’s crucial to use a humidifier along with them. Depending on the price point, the fan can also be noisy.

Reverse cycle air conditioning

Air conditioning is a popular heating option because the equipment is a cooling source in the hot summer months. This technology absorbs the heat from the outdoor air  (even if it seems cold to us) and transfers it indoors.

In summer, when standing at the outdoor air-conditioning unit, you can feel hot air leaving the unit. In winter, this reverses, and cold air is dispersed.

By efficiently providing heating and cooling, this option is one of the most popular.

Finally, while reverse cycle air conditioning is often more expensive to install than other types of plug-and-play heaters, over time, they will be more energy-efficient and, therefore, can save running costs.

Popular reverse-cycle air conditioning can deliver heating and cooling within one unit

Wood heaters

Our forefathers used wood heaters, which are still prevalent in regional Australia, where firewood can be abandoned. They work by burning wood in a sealed unit or an open fireplace to generate heat, then going through the room via convection or radiant heat.

Wood heaters are generally cheap to run if one can source the wood cheaply, but they require a steady supply of firewood. Also, one must clean the ash out regularly to keep them working well. Open flame woodfires have caused many home fires, so this aspect must also be considered. Never leaving a wood fire unattended is one of the golden rules.

In summary

Several different heaters are available, each with unique features and advantages.

Convection heaters use air circulation to distribute warm air throughout a room, while radiant heaters use infrared radiation to heat objects and people directly.

Electric heaters are easy to use and convenient, but they can be expensive to run, while gas heaters are more efficient but require proper ventilation and have fossil fuel as their source.

Oil-filled heaters use oil as a heat storage medium and are quiet and efficient, especially with timers, but they can take a while to heat a room.

Underfloor heating offers ultimate comfort but is not easily installed as a retrofit, and one needs to allow a tidy sum to install one.

The modern air-conditioner can heat a home comfortably and for a fair price as long as temperatures and running times are set realistically. Because warm heat rises, an air conditioner run in a house with poor ceiling insulation will be much less efficient.

Choosing the right heater for your needs will depend on cost, efficiency, and the size of the space you need to heat.

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