4 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a Gas Heater or Portable Gas Heater
When it’s time to buy a new gas heater for your home, you want to make the right choice.
There are some common mistakes that many people make, when choosing a heater.
You can sidestep these slip-ups by being informed.
Gas Heating - Find the Best Gas Heater
Avoid these four typical mistakes and you should end up with a brilliant gas heater that impeccably suits your home:
1. Choosing the wrong fuel
2. Selecting the wrong type of gas heater
3. Getting the wrong size gas heater
4. Paying too much
1. Choosing the Wrong Fuel Type
Gas heaters are manufactured for use with only one gas type and will not work safely with other gaseous fuels.
You need to make sure you select a model that is made for the type of gas you have at your home.
There are two main differences in the way that LPG (Propane) and natural gas (Methane) are burnt.
The first difference is in the energy content.
LPG has a higher calorific value, or energy content, so less gas is required to produce the same amount of heat.
The second difference is in the oxygen to gas ratio required for proper combustion.
LPG requires an oxygen to gas ratio of approximately 25 to 1.
Natural gas requires a ratio of around 10 to 1.
To achieve this difference, LPG is typically provided in a smaller quantity but at a higher pressure, drawing more oxygen with it into the burner.
Never attempt to connect a gas appliance to the wrong type of gas, as it can be extremely hazardous.
Buying a new or used heater with the intention of converting it can be very expensive, assuming conversion is even possible for the model in question.
This option is best avoided.
2. Selecting the Wrong Type of Gas Heater
Gas heaters are broadly grouped as either Portable (unflued) gas heaters or Flued heaters.
Within these groups are sub-groups of radiant, convectors, radiant-convectors, power flued, flued radiant and wall heaters.
Radiant gas heaters warm you much like the sun.
Radiant heaters allow specific spaces within an indoor area to be heated, primarily warming only the people and objects positioned in front of the unit.
They also come in smaller sizes for minor heating applications.
Radiant heaters are generally not suitable if you want even heating within a larger space.
Think of them more as spot heaters.
Convector (Convection) heaters warm your space using convection or air movement.
Along with the gas burner, they incorporate a fan to help distribute the heat more evenly throughout the space.
Convectors are also sometimes referred to as Space Heaters.
Fan driven convection heaters are much more suitable for larger spaces, doing a much better job of even heat distribution than radiant heaters.
However, if you only wish to heat a small area within a larger space, these may be more than you really need.
You should also consider if you want a flued or an unflued heater.
For the majority of people, unflued heaters are quite safe when you follow all of the manufacturer’s safety instructions, including providing adequate ventilation.
Care should be taken when using an unflued gas heater if the family includes very young, unborn, elderly or individuals with some medical conditions, as they may be more sensitive to the emissions.
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3. Getting the Wrong Size Gas Heater
Once you pick your type of heater, you will also need to decide what size unit you need, as each type comes in various heat output models.
If you buy too small a heater, it will not be able to adequately heat the intended area.
Selecting a heater that is too large will cost you extra money and oversizing can be unsafe.
Remember, the heat output of the gas heater is measured in kW, not to be confused with the gas input, expressed in Mj.
Read the in-depth explanation of sizing below.
4. Paying Too Much for Your Heater
Many people buy their gas heater unit through the closest retailer, without comparison shopping.
While this may end up being a good deal, it may not be the most cost effective way to buy.
The good news is that you can now compare gas heater prices online for all the major brands including Rinnai, Braemar, Paloma and Cannon.
Compare Indoor Gas Heater Prices
Click on your category of interest to compare prices:
What Size Gas Heater Do I Need?
What to Consider with Gas Heating
Heating Area Volume & Climate Zone
Very Cold Zone: 1kW output required for each 8.5m²
Gas Heating Adjustment Factors
Gas Heater Sizing Example #1:
Gas Heater Sizing Example #2:
Use kW not MJ
Energy Efficiency Matters - Star Ratings
Minimum Room Sizing
Manufacturer Sizing Charts
The information in this article is derived from various sources and is believed to be correct at the time of publication. However, the information may not be error free and may not be applicable in all circumstances.