Welcome to the heating section of the website that is populated with a series of information-based articles focused on ways to keep warm in cold weather indoors.
Depending upon the local climate in your area, having a form of heating in your home or work place can be simply a nice thing to have or it can be an absolute necessity.
People living in areas that generally have mild winters can often get by with a simple, low-cost heat providing solution for spot warmth where really needed such as in bathrooms. Let's face it, getting out of a shower to stand in a cold bathroom is not a pleasant experience!
However, if your area has cold winters, there is an obvious need for a larger, permanent heating solution that can keep the entire home (or place of work) warm enough to be comfortable and welcoming.
Main Forms of Heating
Let's look at the most popular forms of heat production typically for homes or living spaces.
Most poplar are central heating systems or full HVAC systems (heat in winter, cool in summer), followed by distributed heaters such as spot heating units, fireplaces with wood burning or gas fired heaters, or electric units such as convection heaters, oil-filled radiators or radiant heaters.
Many homes have central air systems installed that can provide both heat in winter and cold air in summer to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature all year round.
Systems range in size and power output but are generally sized to match the internal dimensions of the house or apartment and provide the necessary temperature adjustment without being overloaded so as to provide that level of comfort as economically as possible.
Let's not fool ourselves that there is much in the way of economy when it comes to providing heat in a building. Whatever the fuel used to provide that heat, that fuel costs money to use.
The more fuel a heating system uses, the more it costs to run!
Depending on your location, certain fuels can be more or less economical to use. For example, if you live close to a large wooded area, then using logs for heat in open fireplaces and stoves can be cheaper than using electricity or gas.
If your home is not equipped with a central heating, often the next best thing is to have room heaters installed.
These can consist of open solid fuel-burning fireplaces or stoves, gas-fired heaters or electric heaters.
Electricity is generally the most expensive fuel for generating heat, since it takes a lot of it to produce enough warmth to be of any value for a room's occupants to feel comfortable.
Natural gas is more economical for heating, but this is a form of limited natural resource that, as supplies dwindle over time, prices will rise.
See above for an explanation on the economical value of using wood for heating when that fuel is in abundant local supply.
Small electric spot heaters are useful for providing a little additional heat in places that need it, especially where there is already a central heating system installed but the thermostat is kept at a relatively low level to conserve energy and keep bills down.
Portable propane heaters have their uses for this purpose as well, often with propane costing less per BTU than electricity.
While properly installed central heating systems can generally be considered safe enough in day to day usage as long as they are regularly maintained by a professional technician, smaller individual heaters come with some safety concerns to bear in mind.
Heaters should never be covered with towels or clothes that could at best interfere with airflow and reduce the heater's capacity or at the worst, could catch fire!
Keep children away from heaters (any heat source) as their natural curiosity could result in then suffering burns.
Ensure there is adequate ventilation when using gas fueled heaters (natural gas or propane) as these can produce carbon monoxide gas which is dangerous to health. Fixed gas heaters should always have a flue to allow gases to escape to the outside.
When using a portable gas heater, always ensure a door is left open and a window is also open a crack to allow gases to be circulated out of the room.
Whatever system is installed for heating your home, it pays to ensure it is regularly maintained to ensure it keeps working efficiently and as economically as possible while maintaining a reasonable level of safety.
Be aware that all heating fuels have a cost both in dollar terms and for the environment. Use your heating system sensibly and try not to waste fuel by improperly setting the thermostat or leaving external doors and windows open in cold weather!
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