Winter heating

Get ready, autumn is here and winter is coming! This is the time of year when the morning feels chilly and many of us are waking up to a dark, pre-dawn sky. We’re ready to put on sweaters and more, because those cold temperatures tend to sneak up on us when we least expect it. So it’s time to think about properly heating your house. That’s right; winter is coming, but it doesn’t have to bring oversized heating bills with it. Choosing an energy-efficient heating system will save you money over the long term.

Heating your home uses more energy and costs more money than any other system in your home. With a wide variety of heating solutions on the market, it can be difficult to choose one that will best suit your family’s needs and budget. There are various heating options on the market that you can consider.

Looking for an inexpensive way to heat a room? Portable space heaters are less efficient than central heating systems, but can save energy when used appropriately. Portable heaters can be an efficient way to supplement inadequate heating. They are useful for supplemental or occasional heating, but must be installed and operated properly to avoid fire and burn hazards.

TIPS FOR MAKING A HEATER CHOICE: Safety is a top consideration when using space heaters. Although most space heaters work by convection (the circulation of air in a room), some rely on radiant heating. If you would prefer an electric heater, you have two options: a convection or radiant heater. A convection heater, such as an oil or ceramic heater, is energy efficient if you’re heating a large, closed area for a short period of time. A radiant heater, such as a bar or flat panel wall-mounted heater, heats the area immediately around it and is therefore efficient enough to keep people in a smaller room warm for a few hours. Radiant heaters emit infrared radiation that directly heats objects and people within their line of sight, and are a more efficient choice when you will be in a room for only a few hours and can stay within the line of sight of the heater. They can also be more efficient when you will be using a room for a short period because they save energy by directly heating the occupant of the room and the occupant’s immediate surroundings rather than the whole room.

To choose between an electric heater and a gas heater, keep in mind that a gas heater is generally pricier than an electric heater, but it costs less to operate. The fact that it continues working during load shedding is an advantage. An oil heater (electric) is more expensive to use than a gas heater and only heats a small area, but it is a much safer option to use in the bedroom. An electric fan heater is very affordable and portable but it is best suited for use in conjunction with the other heaters.

NOTE: Look at the amount of power the heater requires and its capacity to effectively warm up the room of your choice. This information will be displayed on the packaging or will be in the manufacturer’s instruction manual.  When buying electric heaters, it is better if you opt for those heaters with adjustable thermostats or programmable timers as they allow you to save energy costs over time.

Finally, use the Sun to your advantage. Despite the freezing temps outside, the sun’s rays still bring some heat into your home. They’re free, so take advantage of them. Keep your curtains open during the day, especially on the side of the house where you get more direct sunlight. Trim any tree branches or shrubs that block the sunlight around your windows to maximize the gains and close the curtains at night so they act as barriers to reduce drafts.