If you want to cut your energy bills and cut down on your carbon footprint, what is the best way to heat your house? It depends on your house's design and it depends on how you use your space.

When cutting back on your heating needs, the first things to consider are non-heating methods:

  • Remember that the sun is the best source of natural heat – spend your time in sunny areas during sunny parts of the day
  • Install insulation
  • Minimise draughts - draught proof your house
  • Zone your house - i.e. keep doors closed and only heat the rooms you are using
  • Consider setting your thermostat a little lower – as a general rule, a 1º C thermostat reduction corresponds with a 10 % energy saving
Next, you need to consider the size and types of rooms you have. Different types of heating suit different houses.

Radiant heating – Radiant heat works not by heating the air, but by heating the people or objects in its path. It is recommended for small rooms (like bedrooms), and for rooms with high ceilings or large draughty areas where people are sitting in one spot (for example, watching TV).

It is also recommended for outdoor use. Radiant outdoor heaters, such as those offered by Celmec International have increased in popularity in recent years.

Convection Heating – In contrast, this involves heating the air itself. Such systems are recommended for well-insulated open areas that that are not draughty. It is important to note ‘draught-proofed’ doesn’t mean air tight. Ventilation is always important to remove pollutants and prevent mould and mildew growth.

Conductive Heating – This involves the transfer of heat from one object to another. In the context of home heating, the best example of this is underfloor heating. A number of suppliers, such as Devex Systems specialise in this technology.

This technology features electric cables or hot water pipes, laid in the concrete slab. Heat is transferred to the slab then emitted into your house as radiant, convective and conductive heat.

A further important point to consider is that you need to choose a heating system that suits the size of room you want to heat. A small electric heater (radiant or convection) is fine for a small studio apartment, but inadequate for a large family living area.

And a convection system that is too small will struggle to handle the job, won’t keep you warm, and will use more energy than a stronger better suited system.