Everything you need to know about finding a heating system installer
Aside from insulation, a heating system is one of the easiest ways to heat your home in the cooler months. So which heater should you choose? Read on to find out:
What to Consider When Buying Heating Systems
Decide if you wish to heat the whole home or just certain areas at a time. Heating individual areas is called zoning, and zoning the home means that you are only heating the areas being used, saving energy and money.
You also need to make sure that the heater is the right size for the space to be heated. If the heater is too big, it will be more expensive, not operate efficiently, and may even be uncomfortable. A heater that is too small will not heat the area adequately and will also be uncomfortable.
Then work out what type of heater you require. This depends on such things as your budget, the size of your home, the availability of fuel, and how you wish to heat your home.
There are two types of heaters – radiant heaters and convective heaters.
Radiant heaters heat objects rather than the air surrounding them. Heat is emitted from a hot surface such as the panel on a gas heater, a heated concrete slab, bar radiator, or open fire. Radiant heaters are useful in rooms that have high ceilings, large open spaces, or that may be draughty.
Convective heaters fill the room with warm air. Heat is transferred from one object to another through the use of moving air or water. Convection heaters include fan heaters and ducted heating systems. They work best in insulated rooms with a standard ceiling height.
Some heaters combine radiant and convective heat. These include hydronic radiator panels, wood heaters, storage fan heaters and many types of gas heaters.
Choices in Heating Systems
There are several different heating options for your home. The most common ones are outlined below:
Ducted heating – these are convection heaters that circulate warm air through the home via insulated ducts that open on to a room from the floor or ceiling. They are often gas but they can also be electric in the form of reverse cycle air conditioners. You are able to zone your home with this system, with up to a third of the ducts being able to be shut off at any one time. For more information see ducted gas heating systems.
Hydronic heating – this is where water is heated in a boiler before being circulated throughout the home to radiator panels, skirting board convectors, or fan coil convectors that heat the room using both convection and radiation. They typically use natural gas, LPG or wood as fuels but off-peak electricity is also an option. For more information see hydronic heating systems.
In-slab heating – this is where a concrete slab is heated by internal electric cables or hot water pipes. It gives off radiant heat, but unlike many radiant heaters, this is suitable for rooms with high ceilings. In-slab heating is usually fuelled by off-peak electricity or natural gas. However, LPG and solid fuels are also an option.
Electric thin film heating – this is where thin films are installed in the ceiling, wall panels or under the floor coverings in order to provide radiant heat. It operates on peak electricity but it is more efficient than other peak rate heaters.
Gas space heaters – can provide convective, radiant or combination heat. They run on natural gas or LPG and can be mounted on internal or external walls, although internal heaters need a flue that vents to the outside.
Off-peak electric storage heaters – these are also radiant or convective heaters and they work by storing off-peak electricity as heat in storage bricks. Fan heaters are available and the fan helps to distribute and control the heat. Storage radiators can deliver 24 hour background heat.
Reverse cycle air conditioners – these are electric convection heaters that extract heat from the outside air and distribute it throughout the home. They use a compressor and a fan and can also work as air conditioning in summer, making them a versatile unit. See reverse cycle heating systems for more info.
Electric space heaters/panel convectors – these are convection or radiant heaters that use peak rate electricity. Because of this, they can be expensive to run and should ideally be used in short bursts only such as in the bedroom or bathroom.
Solid fuel heaters – these are convection or radiant heaters that burn fuels such as coal, wood, or briquettes. The units with the highest efficiency are furnaces, boilers, and airtight slow combustion heaters. These heaters require a flue and their effectiveness depends on the quality of the fuel.
Underfloor heating - this is an environmentally friendly way to heat your home and conserve energy by eliminating the need to maintain higher room temperatures. Underfloor heating is either wet or dry. See underfloor heating systems for more info.
How Much Does a Heating System Installer Cost?
Heating system installers are likely to charge anywhere from $50 to $100 per hour for their services. Any quote you get will typically be a figure that is comprised of labour and materials. The type of heating system you install willl therefore be a large factor in the overall cost.
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