Getting The Most From Your Water Heater

If yours is a typical family, daylight brings about a multitude of showerers and bathers preparing for the business day, child and home care day, and school day. Invariably, this entails a lot hot water hogging while various family members stand outside the bathroom doors shouting “Hurry up! I’m late!” Financial-conscious fathers mutter “What’s she doing? I could have bathed a baby elephant with that much water.” Woe to the last person in the bathroom line; he or she is the most susceptible to having to make do with a barely-tepid hasty dowsing. Showers, shampoos, baby baths, make-up applications, hair styling, even coffee-making all involve the strenuous use of the family home’s water heater. Thus, the water heater’s gallon capacity and the rapidity of its ability to heat much-needed water are of serious priority. Consider: even after family members depart for school or work, stay-out-home spouses still have laundry to do, dishwashers to fill, and floors to mop. Again, the water heater’s dependability and capacity is sorely tested. By the end of the day, when dinner dishes are washed, baby is bathed, and faces are washed, your water heater is the un-noticed hero; when you turn on the hot water faucet, you usually get what you expect and only notice this appliance when it’s not working.

What Kind Of Water Heater Is Best For Me?

That depends. If you and your partner are the only ones in the home, you will likely do well with a smaller water heater that has “instant demand” capability. This means that the heater turns cold water into hot water very rapidly. These water heaters need to be fairly small – around 20 gallons – to heat up quickly.

However, a family of four will do much better with a water heater with a capacity of 50-60 gallons to meet the morning, daytime, and evening needs of personal hygiene, cooking and cleaning. Once the hot water supply is depleted, it usually takes about an hour for the hot water to appear in your faucets.

Expense is another thing to consider when purchasing a water heater for your home. You can buy a good-quality heater for $300-700 depending upon how many gallons you require to meet the needs of your family and whether you also purchase a warranty (recommended).

Finally, your water heater uses a variety of heat sources; natural gas, electricity, even solar power. With electric heaters you don’t have be concerned about losing the pilot light as with gas heaters, nor does your hot water availability depend upon the strength of the sun. Electric water heaters are a bit more expensive; you pay extra for the assurance that barring an electrical failure, your family’s needs for baths, showers and clean dishes is assured.

Heaters Are Necessities Of Life

Wherever you live, chances are good that you will need a heater of some sort in your life. Since early mankind discovered fire, heaters have been used for warmth, cooking, and protection from enemies. The Encarta dictionary defines a heater as “a device that uses some kind of fuel to produce heat in order to make something warm or hot, especially a device to heat the air in a room or vehicle.” However, heaters have many other functions as well; unless you eat only raw food, including meat, you will need a heater to cook with; a stove, oven and various electrical appliances that cook your food. You need to heat your bath or shower water; this not only provides personal comfort, but aids in killing harmful bacteria on your skin. Even if you live in hot, desert areas of the world, it’s well-known that deserts cool down dramatically at night; you’ll find yourself shivering without a heater. Heat also plays a crucial industrial role by liquefying metals so they can be formed into tools, automobiles, appliances, etc. Many chemical reactions also require heaters that produce energy such as gasoline.

How Do Heaters Work?

Heating processes are designed to produce and regulate thermal conditions within buildings, for industrial use, and for comfort. Heaters cause temperature rises via electricity, gas, or solar energy. Thus, if you have and stove and oven in your home, it may be heated by electrical current or by natural gas. Other forms of fuel are also used, such as propane, gasoline and kerosene. All these substances form the chemical reaction of producing heat; this is great if you want to cook your food or warm up a room. It can be disastrous if gasoline and other flammables are over-exposed to a heat source that subsequently causes an explosion of flames and intense heat, destroying structures and people alike.

Heaters, therefore, must be cautiously used so that they perform their desired purpose without causing destruction. Any heat source carelessly used or unsupervised can mean unprecedented disaster.

Extreme cold can causes illness, injury and even death by freezing. Inhabitants of northern or southern arctic regions of the world employ some sort of heater to help them survive long, dark, cold winters. These devises range from simple open fires to built-in fireplaces. Similarly, livestock must also be kept warm during winter. Many species of animals have cold-resistant fur or feathers, but domesticated animals like cows, sheep, hogs and horses need a heating device in their stables or barns to keep warm. Losing livestock to extreme cold can mean economic devastation to farmers and ranchers.

Heat is a life-giving necessity. Excesses in temperature (heat or cold) are responsible for loss of life and economic security as well as personal discomfort.

Patio Heaters As Outdoor Accessories

Fireplaces or wood-burning stoves have become commonplace in homes where the winters are long, dark and cold. In any given cold-climate city or town, the woodcutters start their businesses around the first week in October. Racks of wood outside back doors become as oft-seen as roses were in the spring. Plus, we now have indoor stoves that burn pellets – cleaner and more efficient than raw-cut firewood.

If we’re safely warmed by our stove or fireplace, why would we want to venture outside to lounge on the patio when the temperature hovers around forty degrees? Simple; patio heaters are gaining enormous popularity as outdoor accessories. In mildly cool areas of the country, we need not be deprived of the glorious site of a star-filled sky and the smell of fresh balsam pine. With a patio heater, we can enjoy the outdoors in autumn rather than retreat into our centrally-heated homes. There’s something magical about gathering around an open fire –indoors or outdoors- and patio heaters are rapidly becoming sought-after accessories.

How Do I Choose A Patio Heater?

There are so many styles and sizes of patio heaters, it just depends upon you own personal preference. Many heaters are actually built into the patio itself as an in-ground fire pit. Fuel such as wood, charcoal and pellets are used in these heaters. Others are built out of brick or ceramic and can take any shape desired by the buyer. Most popular among these free-standing patio heaters are those that are round, pot-belly stove shaped, or square. Each has a “pit” area for the fuel to be burned, plus a ventilation hole on top. The type of ventilation needed depends upon the fuel you plan to use in your patio heater. Cut cordwood burns hotter and longer, but pellets burn cleaner, with less smoke. Patio heaters do more than provide warmth on a crisp November night; they also provide ambiance and style to your patio setting.

Choose a patio heater that you can comfortably afford, taking into account the additional expense of the fuel you plan to use. Describe your patio setting to the merchant, or better still, do business with a merchant that will come to your home and suggest the style of patio heater best for your setting and desires. Also take into account the frequency of which you plan to use your patio heater; occasional use until “hard” winter sets in or more frequent use if you live in a climate with milder winters. This is an accessory that, properly cared for, will last for many years. Consider your patio heater as you would your indoor fireplace; as an accessory that will become a significant part of your family life. Choose a style that you’ll still appreciate many autumns and winters in the future.

Keep Fish Alive With Floating Pond Heater

If you have a backyard pond, especially one containing fish, it may be wise to consider a floating pond heater. Living in an area of the country which realizes extreme temperature variations during the winter, a means of allowing poisonous gases to escape from underneath an ice covering will help keep your pond in a more inhabitable condition.

Rotting vegetation under the water can produce gases which not only cause a foul odor in the water, they can be deadly to fish and possibly to other plant life. By providing a hole by using a floating pond heater, through which these gases can escape, will make a healthier aquatic habitat.

Additionally, by providing a hole in the ice cover, needed oxygen will also be replenished into the water. Some folks may prefer to manually poke holes in the ice, but a floating pond heater can keep a hole opened without having to confront the ice personally.

Keep Opening Available Throughout The Winter

Most floating pond heaters are powered by electric, usually with a ten foot cord, allowing it to float through the water, but limiting the size of the hole. By allowing it to float freely over the pond, it may not be concentrating enough heat in one area to maintain the opening.

The floating pond heater can be placed in the water before the ice forms, and a thermostat allows for it to be turned on and off at a specific temperature. For example, A typical setting of 40 degrees will not turn the unit on until the air temperature reaches that point. When it gets below the set temperature, it will turn on and prevent the ice from forming in the space in which it is floating.

When the air temperature rises above the setting, a floating pond heater will automatically turn off so as not to waste power when the pond probably will not freeze over anyhow. Thus it can be placed in the water in the fall and left to do its job as required until the threat of a freeze has passed. It can then be removed until next winter.

Of course a floating pond heater may have other uses than keeping a hole open in the ice on a pond. A person with outdoor animals may use one to keep ice from forming on a water source for those animals. It can also be used to allow for a water source for wild outdoor animals who may have to go without fresh water when ponds and streams are frozen over in the winter.

Swim Longer With Solar Pool Heater

The high price of utilities may be causing some swimming pool owners to winterize their pools earlier tan they would like. However, providing warm water with a solar pool heater could extend your swimming season without extending your budget.

Heated pools are pretty much the norm these days, especially in colder climates where water temperatures under 75 degrees or even 80 degrees are undesirable to some. Yet the escalating cost of utilities have people putting an early end to family and neighborhood swimming earlier in the year to the higher costs associated with heating the water.

A solar pool heater operates much the same as one operated by electric, gas, oil or propane, except that other than the initial costs, there is no operating expense. Since the sun hits the installed solar panels, providing power to the solar pool heater it doesn’t require any other paid utilities.

However, installation costs of a solar pool heater can be higher than other heating sources, other utilities can also be used, sharing the burden of heating the water. Even by partially powering the pool’s heater with a solar pool heater can reduce other costs significantly.

Extending The Time For Pool Use

For example, an outdoor pool in the northernmost part of the United States, is usually able to be used only up to two months without any source with which to heat the water. By using a solar pool heater, the pool can be used for up to five months. And since it’s a solar pool heater, once the initial cost of installation is paid, there are no monthly utility charges.

For a swimming pool, for example 15 feet by 30 feet, a solar pool heater kit is available for about $2,000. It can be installed professionally for another $1,000 or less. The size of the solar pool heater needed is totally dependent on the size of the pool and the geographical location. The colder the climate and the larger the pool, the larger the heater will need to be.

Solar pool heaters are powered by solar panels typically installed on a south-facing roof and must have a clear path for power connections through the house to the heater. It is recommended that run be no more than 40 feet. Most handy homeowners could install a solar pool heater themselves in about two days, it is high recommended, and in some locations required, that electrical connections be made by a licensed professional.

The Efficiency Of The Infrared Heater

Boosting the efficiency of a central home heating system is a combination of two things: efficiently using the existing heater and adding an efficient heater where needed. Naturally, when heating costs rise the response is to check for drafts and boost the insulation. At the beginning of heating season, make sure that window caulking and storm windows are in good shape. Get thermostats in working order and install timers if necessary. If you still need to add a little more warmth to a part of the house, consider heating up just the area with a space heater.

Efficient Heat

If you want to add a space heater to a bedroom or hallway, do your homework. Most heaters use energy to warm up the entire area, wall to wall. People within the area are warmed by the air. There is a kind of heater that doesn’t heat up all of the air. It heats the objects in its path directly. People in the area are warmed by the heater itself not the air. All of the energy consumed goes to warming the desired objects (like people) instead of warming the air from floor to ceiling. This type of heater is the infrared heater. Heat is transferred by radiation instantly. You don’t have to turn the heater on a half hour or hour before you need warmth to pre-heat the room. You receive the warmth immediately.

Some types of infrared heater you are likely to find are metal-sheathed tubular heaters, quartz tubes, quartz lamps, gas fired catalytic, flat-faced panels and ceramic emitters. Typically, the heaters have a protective sheath to cover the heating elements. Often, there is a choice of sheathing material including metals such as aluminum, brass, copper, iron, stainless steel and so on. Available options vary from model to model. All home models offer safe, protected heating elements. Blowing curtains won’t become a fire hazard with an infrared heater.

Infrared heat is similar to solar heat. It doesn’t burn the oxygen in the room or dry it out because the air is not heated. You can find an infrared heater to fit your needs exactly. They are available for indoor or outdoor use, using electricity, propane or other types of fuel, to heat objects in a precisely directed area or in a wider room-sized area. If your goal is efficient heating, educate yourself. You may want to begin by learning more about the infrared heater.

Evenings With An Outdoor Patio Heater

How many of you will disagree that spending a cool evening outside in the patio during the transition of winter into summer (and the reverse) is a joyful experience? Many, if not most, since the scene lacks the real source of enjoyment and comfort-an outdoor patio heater that will not allow you chill or have Goosebumps in the lurking cold of the early spring. A wide variety in the size, design, and fuel sources has facilitated choosing an outdoor patio heater according to individual liking.

Fuel Sources Of Patio Heaters

Most commonly, an outdoor patio heater will run by any of the commonly used fuels: natural gas, propane, electricity, wood/wood substitutes, and Alcogel. How much space the heater keeps warm depends on the heater’s size. It might be a few feet or the whole of the outside yard.

Varieties Of Outdoor Patio Heaters

The selection of an outdoor patio heater depends on both the design and the fuel source of the heater. One of the most popular varieties is the Umbrella Type Patio Heater. Fuelled by propane gas, these heaters are ideal for keeping larger spaces warm (up to 20 feet in diameter). The heat is radiated out through the cylinder at the top while the fuel burns at the bottom of the heating unit.

Another popular variety of outdoor patio heaters is the Wood Burning Patio Heater. These type use wood and its derivatives as fuel. While these are attractive choice for people caring for economy, some areas have laws against wood combustion in the property so their selection depends partly on the area where one lives. A luring thing about wood patio heaters is that these can be purchased with a cooking grill, so that you can enjoy making a hot snack while feeling the cool weather outside.

The material of composition of patio heaters varies. Many outdoor patio heaters are made of stainless steel. They can also be purchased with an antique copper finish, painted black, and other materials depending on individual taste.

Outdoor Patio Heaters And Safety

While using an outdoor patio heater, remember that it is not meant for indoor use and hence should be used only in the patio. The gas cylinders providing fuel for these heaters should not be stored inside. In case of Wood Burning Patio Heaters, a chimney must be installed so that sparks coming out are limited and possible damage may be prevented. Take care that children do not play with the heater or its elements. Also, clean and maintain regularly in order to minimize the pollutants emanating from the heater. Store all the fuels and chemicals in a secure garden shed, locked and out of children’s reach.

Keep Warm Safely With Propane Heater

Whether it’s for a tent, a single room or a whole house, a propane heater can do the job, and do it safely, if proper precautions are taken. As with any device, which uses any type combustion, proper ventilation is required to insure the safety of the user.

Small propane heaters are widely used by campers, ice fishermen and others needing heat outdoors. The small, propane heaters, usually attach to a one-pound propane tank and uses a burner, often reflected by a metal dish to distribute heat, provided at about 5,000 BTU. Since 1990, there have been 31 deaths attributed to the unsafe usage of a propane heater.

Larger units are available, which can produce up to 15,000 BTU of heat, and are generally used in larger structures. However, regardless of size of the propane heater, proper ventilation is needed to prevent the build-up of carbon monoxide, a tasteless, odorless and colorless gas, which replaces oxygen in the blood stream and may cause serious injury or death.

Properly Install Whole-House Furnaces

People living in rural areas and those with the benefit of a natural gas pipeline often turn to a propane heater for their home. Propane gas is stored in a pressurized tank outside the house and is fed to the furnace as needed. Most homeowners have their propane heater installed by a professional and it is properly vented, decreasing the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. However, it is a good idea to equip the home with a carbon monoxide detector.

There are also propane heaters, which are used in construction for warming a house under construction during colder months. This type heater generally throws a burning flame into the air, warming the building site. Care must be taken with their use, as not only the danger of carbon monoxide exists, there is the added potential for fire.

While propane heater manufacturers are doing a far better job of cautioning consumers on the dangers of their use, as well as discontinuing production of those not meeting safety standards, there are still numerous propane heaters in use today that were not being sold for several years.

While a propane heater can offer affordable, portable options for when a heat source is needed, certain precautions should be taken to insure the safety of the user. A simple precaution of proper ventilation, even in a tent or ice fishing house, can make the use of this type heater much safer.

Using A Solar Heater For Swimming Pool

To keep your swimming pool a source of joyful baths even in cold weather, some source of heating the pool’s water must be employed. Now a day, many people choose to install a solar heater for swimming pool. The reason behind this popularity appears to be the easy and cost-effective way by which a solar heater for swimming pool raises the pool water’s temperature, usually from seven to ten degrees, and provides a warm, comfortable feeling of bath in a free and open space.

Function Of A Solar Heater For Swimming Pool

A solar heater for swimming pool basically works by forcing water of the swimming pool through a filter that leads it into a solar collector. This contains solar heat collected from the sun by means of specially designed panels. The pool water absorbs the collector’s heat and returns into the pool through the pump. Certain kinds of solar heaters serve a dual function i.e. besides heating the pool water in winter they can be run during the night and kept off during daytime. This helps maintain a cooler water temperature during the summer days.

Price And Heating Capacity

The price and heating capacity of a solar heater for swimming pool depend on the heater’s size. The most popular size of the heater is the one with 2’x20’ panels. It costs about $150 a set. Two panel sets i.e. 4’x20’ suffice to heat a 18’-24’ round pool. If you have a 16’ round pool, you can do with smaller panels i.e. 4’x10’.


Installing a solar heater for swimming pool is fairly easy and usually takes less than an hour. What you need to do is take a hose and clamps and with these, connect the solar panel to the pump. Now roll out the panel to finish your installation. Remember that you need not mount the panels permanently. You may either simply mount them up on the roof or position them by using frames available from the dealer. On first turning on the panels, they will feel hot to touch for some minutes. After that, they’ll cool down.


Though little maintenance is required for a solar heater, keeping balanced water chemistry is important as well as keeping the filter in proper working condition.

Using solar heater for the pool is very beneficial since it is totally free after you pay the initial cost. You can also use solar heaters in conjunction with another swimming pool heater. This brings down the costs by as much as 70 per cent.

Using A Wall Heater Safely

Not all of your house uses heat in the same way. Perhaps the back rooms get chilly when the wind whips up. Maybe the basement needs more heat when there’s a cold rain. It doesn’t make sense to turn up the thermostat just to make a room or two more comfortable. Not when heating costs are rising. The answer may be a wall heater for those cold rooms.

Many Choices

These days, space heaters come in all shapes and sizes. Assess your heating needs before you make your choice. You can find portable heaters that can be moved from room to room as needed and even warm up and area on the deck or in the back yard. You can find heaters for almost every kind of fuel: electric, gas, propane and solar. If your heating needs are fairly permanent and you have safety concerns with the portable units, you might want to consider a professionally-installed wall heater.

Once installed, you won’t have to worry about the heater being tipped over or a child or pet becoming dangerously curious. Although today’s space heaters have many safety features, it is always better to provide your own additional features by planning for the best installation for your needs. Have the wall heater installed in an area where there won’t be objects that will block the air circulation around it or where flammable things may be kept. Think about how you use the room, especially at the colder times of the year. If that is the room where you set up the Christmas tree, make sure the wall heater is in the part of the room away from decorations.

A wall heater with an ignition is safer than one that needs to be lit with a match. A thermostat will prevent overheating and over drying the contents of your room. A ventless wall heater should have an oxygen-depletion-sensing shutoff feature. The ventless heater takes the air from the room to heat it. With an automatic shutoff, it will stop heating if there is not enough fresh air in the room. Of course, the heating element should be shielded. Many heaters are safe even around blowing curtains.

Once the wall heater is installed, make sure that you understand the maintenance directions in the manual. A wall heater needs to be cleaned once or twice a year to remove debris that has been taken in with the air. You can enjoy warmth in every room of your home all year round and save money, too, with a good wall heater.