For a few months of the year, heat is essential in Middle Tennessee. Although central heating systems (a gas furnace or electric heat pump) are common, suppose you only need to heat a certain room or area of the house? Perhaps you've re-purposed a previously unheated space such as a garage, or you closed off part of the house in the winter and so only require heating in a smaller area. Maybe you have one room in your house that is just never warm enough, despite having central heat. Well, there are many local heating options that can address these issues. Local or room heating uses a separate thermostat for each room or area, and thus allows you to take advantage of adjusting just that area to the temperature you want, rather than setting one temperature for the whole house as you would with a central heating system. Here are 5 local heat options to consider:
Radiant floor heat
This works by heating your floors from underneath, creating an environment that is heated evenly, quietly, efficiently, and without the drying effects of forced air. Check out our story "Say Goodbye to Cold Floors with Radiant Heating" for more. This is also a good supplemental option (used in conjunction with central heat) to increase your comfort level in areas where you may have cold floors, such as a bathroom, shower, or uncarpeted area.
This uses a wall-mounted unit, called a cassette, that provides both heat and air-conditioning without ductwork. Find out more about mini-splits from our previous blog story here, and in our post about Panasonic's Exterios mini-split which uses inverter and room occupancy technologies. Mini-splits are available in different sizes and offer a variety of features, including remote control. They are quiet, since the "noisy" part is outside. Plus, compared to central heating systems, they are super-efficient because they eliminate ductwork, which is a source of heat loss.
These are typically electric metal heating elements that sit inconspicuously below windows along the baseboard around a room's periphery. They heat through convection, not forced air. They are quiet, since there are no blowers. Because they are installed near the floor and heat naturally rises, and they use no ductwork, they are efficient, too.
Portable room heaters
These are space heaters you can buy at any big box or hardware store. They can be plugged into any wall electrical outlet and can be carried from room to room as needed. There are many kinds and sizes with different types of on/off, timer, remote control, and fan features, and there are a variety of technologies used: radiant, convection, ceramic, infrared, quartz, or oil-filled (sealed).
Fireplace or wood stove with blower
These burn wood, wood pellets, or other biomass fuel (corn, nutshells, switchgrass, etc.). By installing a blower, a huge portion of the heat that would otherwise go up in smoke through the chimney is captured and sent back into the room. The blower requires an electrical outlet for the fan and can be thermostatically controlled. It is important to note that in addition to having access to wood or wood pellets which must be stored on-site, this type of solution causes creosote buildup in the chimney and thus requires yearly chimney cleaning. It also creates more atmospheric CO2 than some alternative solutions.
Be sure to check out the pros and cons of each heating solution before making a purchase. Whatever you choose, we wish you and yours a warm holiday season.