8 home heating myths busted
Nobody knows home heating like we do, so we thought it was time to set the record straight with a bit of info on some of the big home heating myths we hear.
Electric heaters are super expensive
Not always true. Yes, certainly in comparison to a heat pump the cost of running is more. But take a broader view; of all the home heating solutions, electric heaters almost always work out the cheapest in terms of upfront cost. Also playing a factor is the space you’re heating. For small rooms electric heaters can be a very cost-effective option. Download our free guide to choosing the right heating solution for a rundown on the pros and cons of different types of electric heater.
The different kinds of heater and even different brands offer varying degrees of energy efficiency. Look at the energy stars and energy rating to gauge the most efficient product. Stars are good for comparing like for like products. The energy rating label tells you how much energy the appliance consumes annually, which allows you to compare appliances of different sizes and types (eg. a fan heater and a heat pump). Also, look for heaters with a timer and reliable thermostat.
The energywise website has a couple of handy tables detailing how much it costs to run electric heaters based on wattage. For example, heating a medium sized room of 16 - 20m2 takes 2400W, which costs about 60c an hour to run.
Another great resource is Briscoes’ electric heater buying guide. Granted, they’re trying to sell you something, but the info is laid out really logically to help you make a good choice.
Bigger heat pump, better heat!
Incorrect. One of the important things about choosing a heat pump is getting the right size for the space. A smaller heat pump is not cheaper to run if it’s struggling to heat a large area. And one that’s too big will be wasting energy. It will also be a lot noisier and create a noticeable breeze.
Fans are just for summer
Myth. First of all, fans cool your skin, not the air; they won’t lower the temperature. Furthermore, ceiling fans have seasonal switches that change the direction air is moving; putting it on a very low speed in winter pushes warm air downwards and helps distribute heat faster and more evenly.
The higher you set your heat pump, the faster it will heat up your home
Nope, not true. They pump out heat at the same rate no matter how high the temperature is set. That 25 degrees you’ve asked from it refers to the ambient temperature of the room; the heat pump’s thermostat will detect when that’s been reached and stop heating. To get the most out of your heat pump check these tips.
It’s cheaper and easier to keep your home warm by running the heating on low all the time
This is a ‘sometimes’ myth. The belief comes from the idea that turning it on and off all the time takes more energy to warm a cold house than it does to keep it an even temperature all the time. It really depends on your home and what other measures you have in place to insulate. If your home is new, well insulated and airtight (yet well-ventilated), it will retain heat well, so you’ll find yourself not really needing to crank up the temperature to create a comfortable environment. If your home is the opposite, you’re losing a lot of that heat, making it questionable whether it’s economical to run the heating while you’re not there. There’s no harm in experimenting, why not try it for a month and see if the comfort level improves and it’s financially sustainable.
Interesting tidbit, way way back humans lived in caves not just for shelter but because caves maintain a constant ambient temperature. Think about it, our body temperature stays pretty constant so it’s only natural we’d seek the same in our surroundings.
Closing off vents will lower your heating costs
If you have a positive pressure ventilation system, blocking vents will impact how this ‘inhales and exhales’ air, throwing it out of balance, causing colder rooms to draw heat from other rooms, resulting in an overall cooler feeling throughout the home.
Double glazing is the only way to stop heat loss through windows
Not necessarily. Good quality, thermal backed, floor to ceiling curtains will also work wonders.
It’s cheaper to dry washing on a clothes horse inside
How does this have anything to do with heating, you might think? First of all, this is a sort-of myth. Now to the heating question – on the one hand, yes technically you’d be using no electricity and a dryer uses a fair bit. BUT, hanging wet washing inside to dry releases so much moisture into the air it means your heat source has to work much much harder to heat the space compared to an atmosphere that’s not so damp. To reduce the cost of running the dryer find out when your electricity rates are cheapest and if possible, use it then. Or dry your clothes outdoors.