What are the heating options for Indian homes?


Homes in India, whether they are apartments or houses, are not built with a view on energy conservation. The walls are made of brick and cement and there is no insulation. Doors and windows tend to be made of materials that may not keep the heat and cold out.

Materials like brick and cement, when not covered with insulation, tend to attract and transmit heat and cold into the apartment or house

So how do we keep warm in the cold Delhi and north India winters?

Here are some options

  1. Traditional room heaters with a big electric visible element.
  2. Oil based room heaters
  3. Electric Fireplace
  4. Room heaters with blowers
  5. Electric Carpets
  6. Airconditioners with cooling and heating options
  7. Good old fashioned coal and wood based ‘Sigris’ for outdoor verandahs

When selecting the options keep in view some of the following

  1. Are you going to be sitting in one place or one room and not moving about
  2. Do you have small children or elders who may bump into the heating equipment on the floor
  3. Are you particular about saving electricity
  4. Do you have the budgets to replace your regular airconditioners with the heating/cooling models
  5. Where will you keep the equipment after the winter is over

In addition to getting the right, most effective and convenient equipment you should also consider making your home more energy efficient for the winter time

  1. Replace the flooring with wooden or wooden type tiles. You will be able to walk on these without feeling too cold
  2. Make sure your windows do not have leaks and gaps and that the cold air is kept out
  3. Allow sunlight to come into the house. Keep the heavy curtains and drapes open during winter. If required modify your home to get more sunlight in during winter

There is a range of products available for your use. Depending on your budget go for the ones that are safe, high on energy efficiency and also easy to maintain

We recommend that your consider buying and installing air conditioners with a heating and cooling function

The advantages of such air conditioners are:

  1. You can get your whole house apartment covered by having such air conditioners in all the rooms. This will give you a central heating effect and you can walk about the house without feeling cold when moving from one room to another
  2. They are easy to maintain and do not require storage after the winter is over
  3. They are quite efficient as they heat the whole room very quickly and evenly. You need not be sitting next to the heater all the time!

If your budgets or rooms do not permit installing dual (heating/cooling) aircons, then the next best would be to get an oil filled heater. This does not burn out the oxygen, is safe to use in high activity areas.

You can also consider getting and electric carpet, though these are not easy to find in India. You may have to shop for these from overseas

Remember that if you have heaters that take away the humidity you should get a humidifier. Or keep a bowl of water in the corner of the room so that the humidity is maintained

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