Bathroom Heaters & Ventilation Guide 2014 – 2015

With the arrival of the ol’ man Winter, I was once again reminded just how important it is to have a warm and cozy bathroom, so you can take a nice hot shower to get yourself ready for the day, or to soak in at night after a long day at work. So, I thought it would be appropriate to resurface and refresh the guide to bathroom heaters to help you find the right product to keep your bathroom warm and properly vented.

Having a warm and comfortable bathroom is incredibly important. Stepping out of a hot bath or shower into freezing air is an unpleasant experience that can be avoided by proper heating of your bathroom. Once you have chosen and installed your heating system, you won’t have to worry about crossing cold floors in the morning, or shivering in the cold as you dry yourself off after your shower. Keeping your bathroom warm can also help to prevent problems with mold and mildew.

It is important to choose your bathroom heater carefully because the bathroom is a unique environment in your home. The most important thing to remember is that your bathroom will need to be able to cope with exposure to a lot of steam and moisture in order to provide a good source of warmth for your bathroom. You may also want to consider what types of heaters will be able to provide the type of warmth that you want. If you suffer from frozen bathroom floors, then you might want to think about under floor heating, for example, while if you are more interested in having a warm towel ready to wrap around yourself when you step out of the bath, you might want to consider buying a heated towel rack.

You should also think about the ventilation in your bathroom before you choose your bathroom heater. Although many bathrooms have excellent ventilation, some may require an additional help. It is possible to find bathroom heaters that have incorporated fans for ventilation, so it will be worthwhile considering these if you have a small, or a poorly ventilated bathroom.

You will need to decide how much heat you need in your bathroom. This will depend largely upon the size of the room. A larger bathroom will need a more powerful heater in order to warm it up. If you have more than one source of heat in your bathroom, for example if you are adding a new bathroom heater to a room that already has central heating, then each heater can be less powerful. If you are only using one source of heat, then it will need to be powerful. A more powerful heater will also be able to attain the desired temperature more quickly. Many people like to keep their bathroom warmer than other parts of their home since they will be undressing in there and they will need to feel warm even after coming out of a hot bath. As a general rule, you should aim to buy a bathroom heater that will provide 10 watts of power for every square foot of your bathroom, although if there is no other source of heating, it is better to aim for about 15 watts per foot square.

The times of day when you require heat in your bathroom will also be important considerations when you are choosing a bathroom heater. You may want to think about how quickly a particular heater will be able to warm up the room. Heaters that are more powerful and heaters which have fans to move the warm air around the room tends to work faster.

You should also think about how the heater can be operated. You might want a heater that can be left on all day if your bathroom needs to be kept warm at all times. Alternatively, you may want a heater that can just be turned on when it is needed. You should also think about buying a bathroom heater that has a timer feature, so you can set it to come on automatically, for example in order to ensure that the bathroom will be pleasantly warm by the time you get up in the morning.

Some simple bathroom heaters can only be turned on and off, while others have multiple heat settings, and some are controlled very precisely by thermostats. You will need to pay more for a thermostat controlled heater, but it can be a good choice if you want to keep your bathroom at a steady temperature over an extended period.

Once you have spent some time thinking about your heating needs, you should consider the different types of bathroom heaters which are available. You should try to find the bathroom heater that will best match your needs. Different heaters will warm the room in different ways.

Overhead heaters are a popular option for bathrooms. They often combine a light, a fan and a radiant heater in a single unit. Overhead heaters are ideal for a small bathroom since they do not take up any floor space. Bulb heaters are a common type of ceiling heaters. A bulb heater is fitted into the ceiling. It warms the room using one or more heated bulbs. The more bulbs there are, the more powerful the heater will be. Bulb heaters are usually fairly cheap, but there are some more expensive and more effective ceiling heaters.

Wall mounted or panel heaters are another option. They can be very slim and compact, which means that they do not need to take up much room in your bathroom, although you will need to have sufficient wall space available on which to mount them.

wall mounted bathroom heaters

It is also possible to bring a freestanding heater into your bathroom in order to add some extra heat. This can be a cheap option and it can be sensible if you only occasionally need any extra heat in your bathroom. As a long-term solution, it is less useful since a freestanding heater can get in the way. However, a portable, freestanding heater can be a good choice if you want to be able to use it elsewhere in your home. Another benefit of choosing a freestanding heater is that there is no installation required.

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Green Bathroom Design for long-term functionality.

Designing a bathroom, and going green? You can save a lot of money in the long run by designing a bathroom for long-term functionality. A well-designed bathroom will result in fewer repairs and replacements. It will also keep your energy and water bills low, with the advent of new earth-friendly bathroom materials technology.

Let’s start with the most important part of the bathroom: the toilet.

Older toilets can waste literally thousands of gallons per year. At five gallons per flush, you’re literally flushing your money down the drain. A high-efficiency toilet will use just over a gallon per flush. The even newer model of toilet, the dual-flush model, uses even less.

Faucets and shower heads are also now designed in low-flow models, saving even more water, and money. If your appliances were installed before 1994, chances are they are not a low-flow design.

Leaky Faucet

How else can you design a green bathroom, other than the obvious water-saving appliances?

And How about saving energy on heat?

Invest in a solar-powered water heater. It’s a green solution that is getting more affordable to install, now that the technology behind solar powered appliances has continued to develop. Another design idea for a shower stall is to install a waste-heat recovery system. The system uses the water that goes down the drain to preheat the shower water itself.

The shower stall itself is a water-saving part of the bathroom, when you compare it to a bathtub. Using a separate shower stall, even a traditional one, limits baths and saves seven times the amount of energy.
Look at your typical bathroom cabinet, usually under your sink. It’s probably made of particleboard, which contains formaldehyde. Go with bamboo instead, which is a rapidly renewable natural source, and makes beautiful cabinetry.

What about the vanity top itself? Recycled glass countertops are sparkly, easy to clean, and can be continuously used throughout the bathroom on the walls as well, with recycled glass tiles.

You don’t have to be entirely new-fangled though – traditional ceramic and porcelain tiles are still OK.

Solar Hot Water System Collector Buyer’s Guide – 10 Things to look for!

Carefully, consider these 10 factors before you commit to buy a solar water heater collector system.

1. Certification – The Solar Rating and Certification Corporation (SRCC) reviews and certifies both solar collectors (OG-100) as well as the entire solar water heating system (OG-300). This certification provides a minimum standard of quality for the industry as well as providing a basis for comparison between different products. Don’t consider buying a solar water heater without both OG-100 and OG-300 certification.

2. Collector frame materials – Solar hot water panels come primarily with either aluminum or steel frames and backs. The aluminum products will come with either raw, painted or anodized frames. The steel only come in painted versions. Generally speaking if you are in an area away from the coast any of these styles will do as long as you can handle the aesthetics (generally painted or anodized will be preferred for appearance). If you are within proximity of the coast the anodized surfaces will provide you the long term corrosion protection that the other materials won’t.

3. Fluid path materials – a solar collector can come with aluminum, steel or copper tubing for the fluid to flow through . The most common material in north America is copper although the other materials are available. Be aware that the aluminum may suffer from galvanic corrosion as a result of the other copper, brass and bronze that are likely to be in the system and therefore prematurely degrade. The solar collector (s) that have steel fluid paths are only appropriate for glycol systems.

4. Warranty – while the SRCC certification mentioned above covers the minimums there are differences in both the length of the warranty as well as if they warrant labor. It isn’t much good if a collector goes out after 6 months, and then the contractor can’t get paid to replace the one on your roof.

5. Installed base – It is a perfectly fair question to ask for references or what other solar heating project the installer may have done. As a homeowner you need to be patient because depending on the area where you are located you might not have any choice of contractors.

6. Absorber connection method – solar water heaters come with four main styles of producing the absorber

Ultrasonic welding – this method is probably the most common method for attaching the absorber fin to the tubes but it leaves a line down the absorber that some homeowners find objectionable The advantage is you can see the quality of the weld.

Soldering – this has diminished in popularity over the years since it is difficult to maintain the quality of the process although some companies still use it to great effect.

Mechanical bonding – the absorber is crimped around the tube that holds the water. This can be an effective means to attach the tubes to the sheet but there is a risk of poor mechanical sealing and then the thermal performance of the collector is greatly diminished with the buyer being none the wiser.

Laser welding – this process is very capital intensive but provides an excellent seal between the absorber and the tubes without having the witness line associated with ultrasonic welding above.

7. Pre-engineered – solar heating installations are technically complicated and require the greatest of care to insure that the system will function properly for years to come. Either go with a pre-engineered system from a manufacture or stick with a very experienced installer. Having an installer cut there teeth on your house isn’t the way to go with solar heating.

8. Aesthetics – Congratulations you are leading the green revolution by going with a solar water heater. Keep the positive vibes going by making sure the installation is good looking. Nothing will turn off future solar customers more than an unattractive installation.

9. Maintainability – Murphy’s Law usually to many situations including in your solar heating installation. Make sure the system is designed and installed so any of the components can be replaced should they fail while providing the minimum disruption to the system. Insist that the components are isolated from the balance of the system to allow easy change out. This also plays a part in the system design that you go with. If you have easy access to internal heat exchange tanks then they become a reasonable option. If you live in parts of the country where you local plumbing supply house doesn’t stock them, then stick with an external heat exchange system so the tank can be replaced when it fails (and it will).

10. Mounting hardware – How solar hot water panels tie into your roof is as important as the other components. You don’t want you system to create problems with your roof. The manufacturer should have had engineering done on the hardware to insure it can withstand any wind you might see in your area. In addition, you should look to be sure that you only use materials on the roof that can stand the test of time, aluminum, and stainless. Avoid using steel, galvanized steel or zinc plated hardware as part of the mounting system unless you live in the desert.