How to Choose the Best Gas Heater for Your Home

How to Choose the Best Gas Heater for Your Home
5 Aug, 2020

Few things are worse than coming home on a chilly winter’s day, turning your gas heater on and having to wait in the cold while it warms the room up. Installing the best gas heater for your home is not only important from a comfort point of view but will also be better for your wallet.

According to Sustainability Victoria,¬†up to 40% of your household annual energy cost comes from heating! We’re breaking down the top gas heaters so your home can stay cozy all winter long.

What Type of Gas Heater Should I Buy?

The best gas heaters for homes varies greatly depending on what you want from your heater. From central heating to keep the whole home warm over winter to specific room heating, there’s a gas heater to suit everyone.

Central Heating

Central heating is good for homes wanting to efficiently heat the entire house with one unit. While more costly upfront, these systems are often the most efficient.

Ducted Gas Heating

Ducted gas heating is one of the most popular heating solutions. These draw air from inside your home and heat it with a gas furnace. The temperature of the warm air is controlled with a thermostat and channeled around your home through ducts. Many systems have zoning capabilities so you can adjust the temperature for different rooms, and turn heating on and off for specific rooms as well!

When installing ducted gas heating, you’ll need to consider the insulation of the ducts as this is where energy is most commonly lost. You can ask your technician about the R-value of the ducts – you should aim for an R-value of 1.0 or higher. As the R-value increases, so too does the diameter of the ducts, however. Ducted gas heating comes with a number of additional benefits as well:

  • Discreet ducts and vents
  • Only one unit to heat the entire home
  • Zoning and temperature control allows for customised climate control
  • Temperature is easily maintained as internal air is re-circulated
  • Gas is usually more cost-effective than electricity

For quick heating with the ability of zoning and temperature control, ducted gas heating is a good option to consider.

Gas Hydronic Heating

For those with particularly challenging allergies or asthma, gas hydronic heating can be an excellent option. Water is heated with a boiler and distributed across your home to radiators to warm the whole house. As there is no air used to warm your home, this eliminates air contaminants that might be causing your allergies or asthma.

Water is reheated and recirculated around your home to keep it warm. A thermostat is used to monitor the temperature of your home and adjust the hydronic heater accordingly. Gas hydronic heating comes with a number of benefits:

  • Good for allergy sufferers and those with asthma
  • Using water to heat your home has a less drying effect on eyes, skin, etc.
  • Zoning so you can control what rooms are heated
  • Hydronic heating is a quiet heating system

Hydronic heating is more costly upfront due to the pipes and radiators that are installed. It can also take longer to warm your home than air-based heating systems. Some energy is lost through the pipes used to transfer water across your home. You can check the insulation of the pipes used by the R-value.

Room Heating

While central heating is great when you want to heat the whole home, the running cost of this can be a lot more than if you were just heating one room.

Gas Log Fires

Do you want a gas heater that does more than just heat your room? Gas log fires are effective heaters for a single room and also offer the visual appeal of a wood log fire. This flued gas heater can be found as a freestanding or built-in gas log fire.

Built-in gas log fires are often the safer option for homes with children and pets as they are less likely to walk into it and burn themselves. There is a huge range of designs available to complement your home. Depending on whether you have an existing chimney or not, installation costs may increase.

Freestanding gas log fires, on the other hand, are able to more quickly heat a room as they radiate heat from all sides. They take up more floor space, but they are also easier to install than built-in variations.

Gas log fires have various benefits to them:

  • Stylish appearance
  • Quickly warm a room
  • Better air quality

Wall Furnace

A wall furnace can effectively heat 1-2 rooms. These are installed in your wall to heat your room. Double-sided units exist and if installed in an adjoining wall for two rooms will heat both rooms at once! There are a number of reasons you might consider a wall furnace:

  • Easy installation
  • Energy efficient heating
  • Effectively heats 1-2 rooms

What Size Do I Need?

With the best gas heater in mind for your home, next comes selecting an appropriate size. This step is crucial in making sure you aren’t spending too much on excessive heating, as well as making sure there is sufficient heating. When considering what size heater you need, there are several things to consider:

  • What size area you are heating
  • How well insulated your home and heating system are
  • Your climate
  • The number and size of your windows
  • The insulating effect of your curtains
  • Temperature preferences of those in the home
  • Flued vs. unflued

These decisions can quickly become complicated. Enlisting help from a fully qualified air conditioner technician like those found at Metropolitan Air Conditioning can make this process much easier.

Are Gas Heaters Safe?

Gas heaters are fast, reliable and energy efficient. They don’t come without their faults, however. The most notable faults most commonly associated with gas heaters is gas and carbon monoxide leaks. Poorly maintained gas heaters are at risk of gas leaks and carbon monoxide leaks which can create very dangerous environments.

Regardless of whether you use natural gas or LPG, these gases are highly flammable and put your home at risk of fires and explosions. You will most likely identify a gas leak by its characteristic smell of rotten eggs. An additive, mercaptan, is added to natural gas and LPG, otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to smell a thing!

Carbon monoxide is another thing to fear with gas heaters. Unlike natural gas and LPG, carbon monoxide is not only colourless, but also odourless. You won’t know there’s a problem until the gas has already started having an effect on you. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:

  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

In worst case scenarios, carbon monoxide can even cause death!

So long as your gas heaters are regularly serviced, you have no reason to fear gas leaks or carbon monoxide poisoning. We recommend you have a professional service your gas heaters annually. Having it serviced before or after winter is a good way of remembering this annual service.

Portable vs. Flued

Many homes enjoy the use of portable, unflued, gas heaters. While these are effective room heaters at an affordable price, there are a few safety considerations to be made. Primarily, you need to select an appropriate size heater for the room you want to heat.

The process of gas heating can produce some carbon monoxide and nitrous oxides. A flued gas heater will usually direct these out to the external environment. Portable gas heaters release these emissions into the room they are in. In order to ensure these emissions don’t build up to dangerous levels, an appropriately sized heater must be used. Water vapour is also produced in the gas heating process and can condense on your walls. Excessive water can cause water damage and even facilitate mould growth.

Different states have different regulations on portable gas heaters, and you’ll need to clarify these if you intend on using these gas heaters.

Looking for the best gas heater for your home? Contact Metropolitan Air Conditioning and one of our professional technicians can discuss the best options with you.