Knowing which is the best option for keeping your home warm over the coming months can be tricky. Electric or gas? Oil-filled or convection?
To help you get started, we’ve explored the options – and come up with some advice on how to heat your home, which heaters might suit you best and how much they cost.
Heating options: electricity, gas or solid fuel
Choosing how your heating is powered is the first choice.
Electricity is simple: it’s available pretty much everywhere, and electric heaters are energy-efficient and don’t produce pollutants. You just need to plug it in and you’re ready to go.
That said, portable electric heaters can be quite expensive to run and their heating capacity is limited to 2.4kW, which might not be enough to keep bigger areas warm.
Natural gas is cheap: it’s generally cheaper than using electric heaters, and the heating capacity isn’t as limited as with electricity. Gas heaters are rated with a star system – the more stars, the more energy efficient.
However, natural gas isn’t available everywhere and the heaters produce gases that need to be dispersed through a flue.
Solid fuel is available everywhere: you just need somewhere to store the firewood or coal. Using a log fire or log burner can be very cheap – even free, if you live in a rural area.
Of course, you will need a chimney and the environmental news isn’t as good: smoke from fires contributes to air pollution.
Electric heaters: oil-filled, convection, fan or radiant?
Electric heaters are the option open to everyone. If electric heaters are your best choice, you’ve then got several options. They are all simple to use, have different heat settings and a safety cut-out.
But how does each work?
Oil-filled heaters use electricity to heat the oil inside.
Convection heaters have a heating element that draws in cold air, heats it and the hot air rises.
Fan heaters are great for small areas or for taking a chill off, but can be noisy.
Radiant heaters have a heating element that gets red hot, but they are relatively inefficient.
How much will a heater cost?
Fan heaters: upwards of about $25
Radiant heaters: upwards of about $30
Convection heaters: upwards of about $40
Oil heaters: upwards of about $50