Heat pumps are reverse cycle air conditioners and can provide a constant, even temperature all year round. They are very efficient (up to 300%) because they take heat that's already in the air outside and bring that heat inside. Running costs are therefore one third of other forms of direct electric heating.
Flick a switch in the hotter months and the system works in reverse, cooling down the warm air inside your home.
Heat pumps also filter and clean the air as it circulates through the unit.
Heat pumps come in a variety of models – from single room models to fully ducted systems that heat your entire home or business.
Ducted air conditioning
For larger office environments, you can’t beat the reliability and versatility of a properly designed and installed air conditioning system. Many systems are whisper-quiet and have many different zoning options i.e. the ability to isolate and heat different sections of the building. Reverse cycle air conditioners offer heating and cooling as well as the added benefit of filtering and cleaning the air.
Fixed fan heaters
Fixed fan heaters are the ideal replacement for oil heaters or open fires. If you don't have a wall cavity to fill in, they're also available in wall-mounted models. Some models come with optional back venting, which means you can also heat an adjoining room.
Most larger models include a built-in or remote thermostat and programmable timer, so you can create a consistent level of comfort.
They are also ideal for business environments where air conditioning is impractical, such as older buildings.
OffPeak heaters store up heat when electricity is least expensive, then release the heat at times that suit you best. With a variety of model options adaptable to most situations, OffPeak heating is one of the most economical heating methods available.
It is 100% efficient, which means that all the energy consumed by the heater is converted into heat.
OffPeak heaters are also thermostatically controlled and many allow you to set a different temperature for day and night. If you have an OffPeak installation in your home or business, you should seriously consider OffPeak as a heating option.
Panel heaters are both convection and radiant heaters in one. There is no moving fan so air circulation is gentle. Panel heaters may be freestanding but are typically wall mounted.
They are thin, unobtrusive and very economical to install. They come in different shapes, sizes and outputs.
Panel heaters are thermostatically controlled and many have timers. You can also network up to 20 panel heaters to the one master control for an inexpensive 'central heating' system.
Ceiling heating is an 'invisible' form of heating. Silent, and draught-free, it leaves wall and floor space clean and uncluttered. Originally developed in Europe to combat Arctic winters, it copes easily with our milder climate.
Ceiling heating has totally sealed, flexible heating elements that are installed above the ceiling material; the heat then radiates through the ceiling to gently warm the surface and objects in the room below.
Ceiling heaters are thermostatically controlled and virtually maintenance free.
Underfloor heaters are heating cables that need to be installed at the construction stage. Underfloor heaters are easy to control, inexpensive to run and spread even warmth from the ground up. They are thermostatically controlled and virtually maintenance free. They are also silent, draught-free and completely hidden from view, which is perfect when you want clean, uncluttered architectural lines.
Underfloor tile heating can also be installed under existing floors such as tiles. This is a good option if you like a more instant type of heat.
Portables provide heat when you want it, where you want it. They provide instant warmth at the touch of a button and have the obvious advantage of being portable. There are three basic types of portable heaters: convection heaters like fan heaters and oil filled columns and radiant heaters like bar radiators and strip heaters, and bathroom heaters.
Portable heaters require no upgrading or wiring and can be purchased at any electricity retailer, as well as many hardware and department stores.
Space heaters are usually convection heaters that operate by warming the air until it fills the room. Most convection heaters have fans to gently circulate heated air to all corners of a room. Many have timers and are thermostatically controlled.
Convection heaters are appropriate for areas that are well insulated and not exposed to draughts. For example, large areas in your home, offices, function centres and hotels can benefit from convection heating.
Spot heaters are usually radiant heaters, which warm like the sun i.e. they radiate heat to warm surfaces and people – not the air.
There are two basic types of radiant heaters: ceiling/wall mounted panel heaters, or wall mounted halogen (or infra-red) heaters, which give off a warm ambient glow.
They are ideal for large or draughty areas with high ceilings such as large home spaces, hallways, workshops, showrooms, restaurants and halls. Radiant heaters are also excellent for selective heating of high traffic areas.