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Heaters for your Home

Updated on October 14, 2009

This is the first in a series where I am going to address different ideas for heating your home. I will cover the pro's and con's of different heaters and hopefully make some suggestions on what type of heater is best for each location and situation you face.  While I won't be able to adequately cover all types of home heating, I can hopefully go over most of the main types of heaters available on the market today. 

This first hub will give a general overview of some of the main types of heaters you can find on the market these days, and then in future hubs I will delve into the specifics of each type of heater.

With winter coming up in a few months for a large part of the world, and with increasing electricity and fuel costs, heating and heaters will soon be a topic that many of you will be thinking about.  Hopefully I can give you a few answers on what is the best and most economical heater for your homes.

Heat-a Basic Need

Since man first arrived on earth, one of his basic needs of man has been the need for shelter and specifically heat. Unless you're living on a tropical paradise somewhere, most likely for a good part of the year you also are concerned with being warm enough during winter and heating your homes.

There are many different types of heaters available on the market today, ranging from expensive home central heating options to the small, cheap, portable heaters. Originally heat came from open fires. The open fire or contained fire remained man's primary option for heating and cooking for centuries.

With the advent of the industrial revolution, coal replaced wood as a primary source of heat in some cases, though not all. Many homes still preferred burning wood in the open fireplace as a source of heat and many older homes often had a small fireplace in each sitting and bedroom.

Towards the end of the 19th century the cast iron radiator was invented allowing homes to now be centrally heated from a coal furnace set in a basement. Under the premise that hot air rises, heated air travelled up into the upper rooms, warming them as it did. It wasn't until 1935 that electricity was used to power fans and force warm air up into the homes. In the years following, coal was replaced by gas and oil as a primary source of fuel used for heating homes and it has remained so until today, at least in the United States. Some other countries depend more on electricity for heating, depending on the costs of electricity versus gas and oil.

There are many different types of heaters on the market these days and in many ways it has made things very easy when it comes to heating your home. On the other hand, with so many choices available, it is sometimes difficult to decide exactly which type of heating to use, or which heaters to use in each room. With the rising costs of fuel and electricity, many people are opting for smaller independent heating units, even portable heaters, which can be moved to heat one room at a time depending on where you are rather than heating larger, often empty, spaces.

Of course, there's also the need for heaters to heat up other parts of the house such as the garage, patio, workshed, or the tents of campers.

Finally, not only do you need to determine which heater best suits your budget, but there are other concerns such as safety which you should be aware of when choosing your heater.

Electric Heaters: Suitable for fast heating. Often portable, with a fan to propel the heat outwards. Can be expensive to run.

Wood Heater: Still a popular choice, adds atmosphere to a home. A good option if you have a steady source of wood available. Needs some upkeep and tending to.

Propane Heaters: Popular choice when it comes to patio heating, or heating other small areas. Must have good ventilation to use these in a room.

Natural Gas Heater: Very popular and cheap choice for heating a home, if you are located in an area where there is natural gas on tap.

Diesel Heaters: Useful when you have large expanses of area to heat.

Oil Filled Heaters: Great for slowly heating a room and keeping it at a steady temperature.

Selecting the Right Heater

Which heater you will choose will most likely depend on a few different options. Firstly, which particular room are you interested in heating-a bathroom, bedroom, your main living area, a garage perhaps?   Then you will most likely look at the cost of the energy source you are considering. In some areas electricity is more readily available and cheaper than gas. In other areas wood is in abundant supply, but piped gas is not available.  Some areas have trucks transporting LPG gas around the neighborhood and it's very cheap to fill up an LPG tank with this gas.

These are all things you will want to determine before you go out and purchase a heater.  One of the best things to do is talk with your neighbors and friends and see what type of heating they have chosen and why.  It is also a good idea to visit your local appliance shop, as they usually know all the in's and out's when it comes to the type of heating would best suit and they can also suggest specific brands of heaters.

Installing your Own Heater

The decision on whether or not to install your own heating system will depend on whether you have the necessary skills to do so, and whether your heating system needs installation.

Of course, simple portable heaters and even simple wall heaters don't really need to be installed as such, but usually only have to be plugged into the electricity, or perhaps mounted on a wall and then attached to an electrical source. That type of installation is pretty easy and simple.

If you're installing an entire system, for example an oil or gas fueled home central heating system I would recommend that you call in a professional to take care of it.

Even if you're adding electrical heaters to your home, you may want to make sure that you're not going to overload your electrical circuits. I have seen many a heater trip the breaker switches and plunge the entire household into complete darkness. So, if you're adding electric heaters to your home be sure you're wiring can take it.

How to Install Your Own Heater


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    • BobHander profile image

      BobHander 8 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Fantastic Agrande. Be sure to let me know when it goes up, I'd love to link to your series!

    • agrande profile image

      agrande 8 years ago from Oregon, USA

      Hi Bob,

      I am planning to do a series like this on portable furnaces before winter hits in the states. I'll make sure my readers know about your great info on heaters for your home.