Living in a small space is tough as it is. Your furniture doesn’t quite all fit, you feel cramped, and hosting guests is like playing musical chairs (there always seems to be one less chair than person). Despite the small square-footage of your home, lighting candles won’t provide enough heat to keep you or your guests comfortable. Small spaces need home heating systems as well but it is difficult to know what the best options are or what will actually fit in your home. This article will detail the various central heating system alternatives that will work well with limited space, the advantages and disadvantages of each style, and some safety tips to consider before buying or arranging your alternative heating system.
Mini Split Heating and Air Conditioning Units
Mini splits are a more permanent option if you own your own home. They have quickly become the most popular HVAC solution for small rooms for numerous reasons. This system is wall mounted, saving you floor space in the already packed room. Mini splits are extremely energy efficient (due to being ductless. 25% of heat is lost through duct systems.) and they are a much more modern electronic device giving them advantages over fireplaces and other heat systems. Mini splits come with their own remote for temperature control without having to get up. They have a built-in timer and dehumidifier so you can adjust the temperature to exactly the right comfort of heat no matter if you are home, away, or asleep. They are relatively cheap considering what they offer in service. Lastly, they are a combined heat and air conditioning unit so you won’t have to worry about wasting space on a separate AC unit that you only use two months out of the year. As marvelous as mini splits are, they are not without flaw. Being an advanced, modern system means installation will cost you. You may think that you will make it your next DIY project but unless you are a professional and know what you are doing installing a mini split wrong will ruin the energy efficiency that these systems are supposed to run at. The best option is to call your professional at Bill Howe to take care of the hard work for you. The other disadvantage of mini splits is the potential aesthetic. Mini splits are mounted on the wall and some may consider them an eye-sore depending on the placement. This is a personal preference but it is something to be aware of.
There are few items in the home that beat the aesthetic of a fireplace. The sight alone conjures up feelings of warmth and coziness. Fireplaces come in wood-burning or gas variants and both will warm up your small space in an instant. Wood is an extremely cheap fuel source and can even be free depending where and how you get your wood. The problem with wood is that it releases smoke and ash that come off as the wood is burns. A gas furnace on the other hand is typically connected to the gas line of the home and does not require constant restocking of fuel and it is easier to vent than wood smoke and ash. The problem with gas powered fireplaces is that hooking up to gas line can be expensive and dangerous too if you are not careful when turning on and off your system. Both gas and wood fireplaces require a chimney so they won’t work in every small space. Apartments that are not on the top floor do not have a space for a chimney and wouldn’t be able to handle the ventilation that comes with a fireplace.
Before deciding which central heating-system is best for you it is important to know the best practices when owning a heater.
The vacuum is your friend:
Over time dust, hair, and other debris builds up around your furnace or heater. Before restarting your heating system for the colder months, it is important to give it a good cleaning to remove anything that may clog your system or is a potential fire hazard. Not all systems clean the same way so it is best to consult with your Bill Howe professional to see what method works best for your system.
A dormant volcano:
During the summer a heater gets much less use. This may be a false sense of security if you have small children in the house. With the heater off there is little to no danger for kids playing on or near the heating. However, come winter the rules of engagement change. A small mistake could lead to a nasty burn. Take some time when the heater isn’t a danger to teach your kids about what will happen in the winter. It is not only for their safety but for the whole home. A sock left in the wrong spot could leave your home up in flames.
Room to spare:
Furnaces need space to operate. Blocking air flow to the furnace can create headaches for your system. It can heat your home unevenly, it could cause carbon monoxide to flow into the home, and it can force your heating system to work harder than it has to which will cost you more money. It is smart to leave any vent unobstructed for optimal heat. Be sure also to keep any flammable items away from your furnace. Items such as gasoline, paint, wood, old rags, or paper can be disastrous if left in the wrong location. Even fumes from chemical containers such as ammonia can damage your heater. Keep those lids sealed tight and you will be happy you did.
Keeping your space heater in tip-top shape is no easy task. Often times heaters sit without use for months on end. It is always smart to schedule a tune-up before you use your heating system. It will keep your system at maximum efficiency and prevent any future breakdowns before they happen. As much fun as it is to tinker with your own property, it is best to leave this type of work to the professionals at Bill Howe. Not all systems clean the same. They are trained to service your system and will make sure it is running smoothly. You can trust their experience to keep your heater happy and your family safe.
You can’t put a price on piece of mind. Even if you believe your heater is safe and you have followed all the rules exactly, it is smart to keep a carbon monoxide and smoke detector, WITH WORKING BATTERIES, in the home. They are there to warn you if something is wrong. You won’t always be able to tell on your own and an alert from your friendly detector could be the difference between life and death. A detector should be kept in each general vicinity of your home, even if you don’t believe there to be a chance of fire there.
Regardless of the size of your home, you can count on Bill Howe Heating & Air to help provide the best heating system to make your home comfortable. Give us a call at 1-800-BILL-HOWE to schedule an appointment today!