Heaters gonna heat: How to choose a gas heater
No one wants to be stuck without sufficient heating on those cold winter nights.
Gas heating is energy efficient and offers instant, controllable heat. Whether you are planning to upgrade or install new, we’ve put together a summary on what you need to know about gas heaters.
How much space are your heating? A heater’s warming capacity refers to both the room size and how quickly the space can be heated.
The general rule is that 1 kWh output roughly heats 10 square metres, but that can vary depending on ceiling height, insulation, sunlight, window type and size.
Cold and Flue
The flue is a pipe that allows exhaust gases from your heater to outside. Decorative log heaters, wall furnaces and ducted heater systems are all flued systems.
Unflued gas space heaters are not allowed to be installed in domestic houses in Victoria.
A gas space heater comes in all shapes and sizes and is the heater of choice for renters (or owners) who don’t want the trouble of a complex installation process. A licensed gas fitter can simply swap over the gas access from the old to the new.
Space heaters heat using convection or air movement. Along with the gas burner, they have a fan to help distribute the heat more evenly throughout the space. Some space heaters use both convection and radiant heat, heating the person standing in front of the heater as well as pushing the heat to the rest of the room with a fan.
Space heaters can also come with a range of features such as remote controls, timers and child locks. They should not be used in small rooms or rooms where people sleep, however they are completely safe if appropriate ventilation is provided.
Decorative Log Fire
A decorative gas log fire is just that – all of the benefits of a cosy, crackling fire with none of the mess.
Gas fireplaces can be inbuilt, freestanding or inserted into an existing fireplace opening. Like space heaters, gas log fires can come a variety of special features such as remote controls, timers, child locks, multi-speed fans, double glazing and mesh safety guards.
Although wall furnaces are small and discreet, they can heat up larger rooms with ease, making them perfect for open plan living areas. They heat more efficiently than space heaters and are cheaper than a ducted heating system.
If replacing an old wall furnace, their design allows them to fit into existing openings (and likely even use the same plumbed in gas supply).
Ducted Heater System
A ducted or central heating system consists of a gas furnace (usually installed outside or under the floor) and ducting vents in the rooms you want to heat.
Many people choose ducted heating in new homes, as it allows the whole house to be heated with unobtrusive ducts in each room.
While a ducted system has larger upfront costs, in the long run, they are the most energy and cost efficient.
Heater Service and Testing
To be sure your gas heater is safe, you should at minimum have your gas appliances serviced and tested for carbon monoxide every two years (as recommended by Energy Safe Victoria).
Depending on the type of heater, the gasfitter will complete the following steps to service your heater:
- Remove heater panels to clean internals
- Clean fan and ensure it spins with no obstructions
- Inspected visible parts of heat exchanger for cracks or defects
- Test flame failure safety devices
- Check flue for correct cowl, flue condition and heater installation
- Conduct a carbon monoxide test
As long as gas heaters are serviced and maintained regularly, they are perfectly safe. It is best to include a test and service every two years as part of your standard house maintenance.