Staying warm during the winter is easy when you live in a warm climate. You can throw a blanket over your lap and stay warm all day and night. However, when your winters are cold, you need more than blankets – you need heaters.
Heat can come from a variety of sources, including open flames, infrared, and convection. The heating technology that will serve your needs depends on where you live, how much heat you need, and how well your home is insulated.
1. Infrared heat
Hands down, infrared heaters are the best kind of heater. Ceramic ones are the best because they function at around 96% efficiency. When you have an infrared heater, you’re not heating the air around you – you’re heating your body and clothing.
Infrared heat is unlike any other kind of manmade heat. It’s the same kind of heat produced by the sun, which is why it feels good on your skin. As it travels, infrared radiation doesn’t heat the air it passes through. Instead, it’s absorbed or reflected by objects it strikes. When infrared heat hits your body and clothing, it gets absorbed.
If you work at a desk, whether at home or in the office, keep a small infrared space heater right next to you. Your body will absorb the infrared heat and even if the room is cold, your body will feel warm.
2. A wood stove
You might not consider wood stoves “technology,” but they are the best way to heat your home. It might be older technology, but it’s still relevant today and superior to electric heaters.
Wood stoves produce the same infrared heat you can get from electric ceramic and quartz heaters, but they use wood for fuel. Whether you use wood pellets or split firewood, the result is the same: a warm home.
To get even more out of your wood stove, you can install a catalytic converter to burn up the rest of the gases, including carbon monoxide. Newer stoves can be found with converters already installed, but you can easily retrofit an existing stove. You can also get various inserts to insulate and retain heat better in your wood stove.
If you live in an apartment, you can’t install a wood stove unless you’re on the top floor, or your apartment building is designed to accommodate wood stoves. However, if you live in a house, you can install a wood stove as long as it’s legal. Some cities do have ordinances that prohibit the use of wood stoves.
3. Propane heaters made specifically for indoor use
Using propane indoors is dangerous because it produces carbon monoxide (CO). CO can kill you before you even know what’s happening. It’s silent, invisible, odourless, and tasteless. However, you can use certain propane heaters indoors, provided they’re built specifically for indoor use.
The most popular indoor propane heater is the Buddy heater made by Mr Heater. It comes in a few different sizes and models, and the average price is around $55.
The Buddy Heater is not catalytic and does produce CO, but it’s safe to use indoors, provided you have some ventilation. Just make sure you have a carbon monoxide alarm positioned near the heater.
To be extra safe, get a carbon monoxide monitor. CO alarms only sound when CO levels reach dangerous levels (30ppm). A monitor will measure and display CO levels in real-time.
The best part about the Buddy heater is that it’s powered by propane, but it’s a ceramic infrared heater. Many people say they need to keep their Mr Buddy on low, and it warms them up fast. Given that it’s an infrared heater, this makes perfect sense.
4. A catalytic indoor propane heater
Catalytic indoor propane heaters are one step up from Mr Heater’s “Buddy” heater. Catalytic heaters burn up the CO, making them safe to use indoors.
The popular Mr Heater brand does make catalytic propane heaters, and they’re much larger than the portable Buddy heaters for camping.
The price point on catalytic indoor heaters is about eight times the cost of a Buddy heater, with the cheapest (quality) units costing around $400. That’s not bad considering they’ll burn up the CO in the air.
Get your indoor heaters quickly
Winter is right around the corner, and in some areas, it’s already here. Get your winter heaters now before people make a mad dash to buy them all at the last minute.