Get Efficient Heating and Save Space Using a Wall Heater
If you live in small house, an apartment, or a condominium unit, sufficient heating is possible through portable heating appliances like wall heaters. By attaching a wall heater directly on the wall, you save up valuable floor space. Wall heaters became popular around the 1950’s as an alternative to portable heaters and baseboards. Are wall heaters still an excellent heating option for small dwellings?
The history and evolution of wall mounted electric heaters
The working principle of a wall heater came from radiators. Conventional radiators work by using boilers to heat water and distribute heated water into pipes that circulate around apartment buildings. Cast iron radiators produce heat to warm up a room coming from heated water. These days, older buildings still use radiators for heating, but newer developments use gas heaters rather than traditional boiler radiators.
A gas wall heater directly mounted on walls provides consistent, free-flowing heat. Heat source comes from a gas furnace located at the bottom. In general, gas wall heaters are low-cost and effective. However, it requires a ventilation system which could be a problem for some apartments.
Are gas wall heaters safe?
Gas wall heaters are effective in heating small spaces at a relatively low cost. Even if it is not connected to a central heating unit or furnace, heat produced is enough to keep a small space warm and comfortable. Gas wall heaters use natural gas as fuel source which is cleaner than other types of fossil fuel. Since it produces heat by combusting fuel, there are harmful by-products like carbon monoxide. When using, installing, and maintaining gas wall heaters, it is important to focus on your home’s safety. Consider the following tips to ensure the safety of gas heaters.
• Choose vented gas heaters. In most parts of the country, specific combustible fuels like kerosene are banned for indoor use, especially with unvented gas heaters. Similarly, unvented natural gas heaters are also not recommended for residential use and only allowed in specific locations. Vented natural gas wall heaters consist of a duct connected to an exhaust vent emptying fumes outside. Although an unvented wall heater does not have an exhaust, it has a sensor which automatically shuts off when oxygen levels are low. In locations where unvented wall heaters are allowed, it is best for use in areas of the home where there is a natural exit point for fumes such as garages. For optimum safety, always choose a vented wall heater over unvented models.
• Choose the right model. Upon settling on vented wall heaters as a better choice, the nest step is to look for the best model. When shopping around for a wall heater, focus on quality features and look for the latest product. The product U.L. listing should be listed prominently which indicates that the unit underwent product testing from regulatory agencies. In addition to this, the wall heater should have fully-sealed combustion and “100% outdoor air” indication.
• Invest in quality installation. You should always hire a reputable contractor to install a wall heater. This is to ensure the safety of the gas connection. This process is not something you should attempt to DIY or trust on someone with little experience. Faulty gas connections can lead to leaks which is poisonous.
• Schedule annual maintenance. Just like any HVAC system, you should have regular maintenance checks for your wall heater. A technician will assess the heater for leaks, loose connections, damage, and test overall function. Maintenance and regular inspection should not cost much and it is necessary for your home’s safety.
By following these precautions, gas wall heaters can be a safe alternative space heating option for small spaces and apartments.
Benefits of natural gas wall heaters
Aside from being a safe heating option, there are additional benefits to using a wall heater for space heating.
• It works quickly. Waiting for a room to warm up is very inconvenient. If a wall heater is properly mounted and operated, it can work within 60 to 120 seconds. This speed is quite efficient and effective for when you need your room heated as soon as possible.
• It can work as supplemental heating. If you want to save money on energy costs, you can use a wall heater to as a zoning-type heating solution for your home. A centralized HVAC system can be expensive to maintain. By using wall-mounted heaters, you can enjoy warm indoor temperature at less than the cost of an HVAC system.
• Temperature-control feature. Most wall heaters feature temperature control. You can enjoy comfortable heating if you can control the temperature setting according to your needs.
• Heat lasts for hours. A wall heater is not only effective in heating, you can also appreciate a warm room that lasts for hours. This is true even when the wall heater is turned off. If you are having issues with how long heat from the heater lasts, you should look into your home insulation. Perhaps much of the heat escapes because of poor insulation.
• Space-saving. Wall heaters are popular for apartments and small dwellings particularly because it saves space. It is wall-mounted and most models are sleek and compact.
• Easy maintenance and installation. Wall heaters are also easy to maintain and install. With minimal parts, you won’t have to worry about significant repairs. In cases when you need to repair a unit, you only have to remove the heater and make repairs then replace it soon after.
Natural gas wall heaters are cost-effective and highly efficient in terms of energy use.
Troubleshooting gas wall heaters
Although wall heaters are fairly easy to maintain, it is possible to experience some common issues which cause inconvenience if left unattended. Here are some of the common problems encountered with wall heaters and how to troubleshoot them.
• Pilot light not working. If you are following recommended procedures, yet the pilot light still doesn’t work, you should check the gas supply. If you confirmed that there is sufficient gas supply, check for blocks in the pilot aperture. Reach into the combustion chamber and pole a needle into the aperture. If you know how to do it, you can disassemble the pilot light and clean it using a compressor.
• Pilot light goes out completely. A wall heater will not function if the pilot light is weak, flickering, or if it goes out completely. This is caused either by blockage or faulty thermocouple. A thermocouple is a sensor next to the pilot light signaling the gas valve to remain open while the pilot light is on. A defective thermocouple or if it is located too far from the pilot light will cause the pilot light to go off. You can try to adjust the thermocouple and move it closer to the pilot light.
• Pilot light is on but heater is not working. A working pilot light but no heat produced by the heater could be due to a fault in the thermostat. If the thermostat is not sending a signal for the heater to function, perhaps the temperature around the heater is not cold enough. Try turning the thermostat all the way up. If this doesn’t work, the problem may be more serious and require the help of a technician.
For any problems of concerns with a wall heater, it is best to contact a heating expert to avoid causing additional damage to the unit. If you are looking for an expert in heating around the Seattle and Bellevue area, contact Fisher Heating today.