Don't Buy a Heater You Can't Install

For most of us, buying heating for our home would rarely be an impulse buy. It’s something we’d research and most likely take professional advice. Generally speaking, we’re comfortable browsing an appliance store for simple, instant heating. An electric oil heater for the kid’s bedroom or an electric bar heater for the bathroom are, by and large, devices we can plug n play – no rocket science required. However, should you have your heart set on a flame heater, be it gas, electric or wood, there are a few critical points to consider. The most important of which is can you actually install it.

While a selection of rusting tools and a sense of DIY adventure are great for a rickety fence, it’s not a great idea for more complex heating systems. The majority of flame heaters require varying levels of technical know-how to install correctly. It may be a very simple setup anybody could do or require advanced DIY skills. It may also require licensed trade skills from a couple of trades. While there are portable electric flames-style heaters that you can plug in a turn on at the wall, they too may require some level of installation or basic setup.

Let’s unpack this installation thing a little. The last thing we want is a heater in the family room you can’t turn on - we don’t want you to buy a heater you can’t install. 

Let’s take a look at gas first, where for some, assumptions have led to an inappropriate selection.

Installing Gas Heating

There are a couple of things you need to know about installing a gas heater. The first and most important is the availability of gas to your home.

Oddly, some people have purchased gas heaters, assuming they’ll just get the gas installed – no problem… Problem. It’s not a given that gas is available to your home. While piped gas from the street is now widely available, it’s by no means everywhere.

Based on the geography of your street/property or the isolation of your house, piped natural gas from a common supply might not be available to your property. Before you purchase a gas heater, either have gas in the home already or check to see if piped gas is available to your home. Check cost and timing to ensure you can factor this into your heater purchase. 

With piped gas unavailable, you may wish to connect gas using gas cylinders or tanks. All gas connection, piping and installation must be carried out by a certified gas plumber. There will be a cost, and it’s something you must not do by yourself.  

A further consideration is the location of your gas heater. Is there a gas bayonet in the location you want your heater? Again, the installation of a gas bayonet is never a DIY affair and is a consideration you must factor into your heater purchase.


Email us to arrange your Site Inspection!


Gas Flame Heaters Need a Flue 

Your gas flame heater will need a flue. You may also need to make alterations to the floor in the location your heater will sit. For some gas heaters, advanced DIY skills will allow you to install a flue, particularly if you’re only going through a timber stud wall or iron roof on a single-story home. However, any structural intervention or working at a significant height is not appropriate for the DIY crew. Know your limitations, and always seek advice. This is also the case for any floor alterations. You may need to make floor alterations based on heat, stability, and general safety. Only those well versed in the materials required to achieve a safe result should consider the task. Again, take advice.

Built-in gas heaters are a different kettle of fish. Some, such as fireboxes, will require only basic wall alterations, which could be done by advanced DIYers with experience. It’s critical you read instructions and specifications, as many heaters may require professional installation to avoid invalidating warranties. 

Linear and decorative gas heaters require a trades and artisans touch. Not only is secure, safe, and functional installation required, an aesthetic finish is imperative. Depending on the design and materials selected, installation may require the skills of several experienced professionals.

Gas flame heaters also require electricity for ignition. Some also have blower fans for heat distribution. If the location of the heater has no powerpoint available, you will need to have one installed. Again, like gas fitting, only certified technicians can undertake such tasks.

Natural Wood Heating

Freestanding wood heaters require a flue and may need floor adjustments. In that way, they are similar to freestanding gas heaters but benefit from not requiring gas plumbing which can only be done by a licensed technician. Advanced DIY skills may allow you to install, but a professional installation is strongly recommended. The installation of a wood heater is regulated by Australian Standards, and there are minimum specifications a home must meet to be eligible for fire heating. Home inspections are available from The Home of Fire to assess your home’s suitability for natural flame heating.  

Some wood heaters have fans for heat distribution. If so, an electrical power source will be required near the location of the heater.

Built-in natural wood heating will require installation varying from reasonably straightforward to highly complex. There are significant variables to consider, such as the existing construction materials and flue access in the location of the installation. Is this a task you can complete yourself?

Strict safety parameters are standard on all wood fire heater installations, and meeting these standards requires experience and know-how. Be aware that installing a built-in fire, while possible with advanced DIY skills, is often best done by the professionals for safety, peace of mind, and a finish that will last and always impress.

It’s important to note that advances in materials have simplified the installation process for many built-in heaters, reducing the complexity and cost of many installs. It’s also important to know that some wood heaters, including gas and electric, will require new custom-built walls for fitting.

Email us to arrange your Site Inspection!


Electric Heating Installation

For those looking to avoid the added cost of heating installation, electric heating offers the greatest versatility. There are no gas connections required, nor is a flue required. For portable models, all you will need is a powerpoint. For many free standing portable electric heaters, you can have the benefits of a beautiful electric flame heater with no installation other than plugging it into a powerpoint.

For the sleek contemporary lines of electric linear, installations can be as straightforward or as complex as your imagination, but an installation will be required, nonetheless. Fireboxes will require installation also, but it is quite straightforward for the experienced DIY legend. Of course, if making a hole in your wall is not your thing, we can do it for you.

If you’re looking for an elaborate fireplace without the installation requirement, then an electric suite may be perfect for you. This system requires setup, not an installation, as such. For many models, it’s easy to do with limited skills. However, should you like our people to do it for you, we’d be more than happy. 

Be aware that a nearby power supply is required. If there’s no powerpoint close, an electrician will be required to install one. Again, this is something the Home of Fire can Take care of for you.

Outdoor Heating

All three modes, electric, gas and natural fire, have outdoor options. Installation principles are the same as internal heating, by and large. But there are a few more considerations.

One of the most important things is heater positioning relative to weather and prevailing conditions. For example, overhead electric bar heaters cannot be in a position where they will get wet.

Wall-mounted gas and electric heaters will require skilled technicians to secure certain models to the wall. In other cases, some wall-mounted heaters can be installed easily by the average DIY weekend warrior. Outdoor natural wood heaters are often very straightforward, with only simple set-up required. 



An Additional Note on Flues

It’s important to be aware that a flue may not be possible in your home, or at least in the positions you would like it. Party walls, walls on property boundaries and other such restrictions may inhibit your ability to install a flue and, therefore, gas flame or natural wood heaters.

Seeking Good Advice is the Key to a Successful Heater Purchase

At The Home of Fire, we can talk heating all day, and we love to share with our customers. With a simple phone call, we can answer all of your questions and steer you in the right direction, advising you on everything you need to know about the setup and installation of your preferred heating choice.

Email us to arrange your Site Inspection!

Call us now on (08) 7123 2806. It doesn’t matter what time of the year it is; winter is always coming.