Heating Your Home in Winter

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By design most Japanese homes and apartments don’t come with any form of central heating, and most homes rely primarily on space heating during winter. The coldest time of the year in Nagoya is from late January to the end of February. The average daytime temperature usually hovers between 0 and 7 degrees celsius (°c) and at night temperatures can drop as low as minus 5°c; arctic winds from Siberia make it feel a lot colder than it actually is.

For most apartment dwellers the air conditioner’s heating setting becomes the default source of heating. However ,depending upon your needs, style of living, and size of residence an alternative form of heating may suit your better.

Air Conditioner
Safe and easy to use, modern units are more efficient than ever and heat rooms well, but they will dry the air – leading to discomfort, tiredness, and an increased susceptibility to colds. Combine with a humidifier (加湿機kashitsuki) for maximum effect. Cleaning the filters twice a month and set the flaps so that they point downwards for maximum effectiveness.

Kerosene Fan Heater 石油ファンヒーター
These heater have good cost performance and heat up the room at a faster speed than other heaters. However, the heaters have to be manually refuelled on a regular basis and care has to be taken storing and refueling them. Most modern units have computerized safety systems that turn off the unit if the air quality drops of if the unit is knocked or tipped, so its best to avoid using older models that do not have built in safety systems and electric starters.

Liquid kerosene (tōyu 灯油) can be purchased at your nearest road-side gas station, where there is a special kerosene pump for walk-in customers – usually located off to one corner of the gas station away from the regular petrol pumps. Home delivery is also possible in most areas in and around Nagoya. A tōyu delivery truck may occasionally be seen slowly winding its way around small neighbourhoods with its distinctive sales-pitch music blaring away. Many gas stations also offer a home delivery service.

Take the following precautions when using a kerosene heater:

  • Kerosene should be stored outside in a 18 litre, blue (or red), plastic jerrycan; these, along with battery powered fuel pumps are available for purchase in supermarkets, home centers, and gas stations for around 1000 Yen.
  • Avoid using older models that do not have built in safety systems and electric starters.
  • Never refuel the heater inside the home. Fill the tank outdoors using a fuel pump, away from combustible materials, and only after the heater has been turned off and allowed to cool.
  • Do not fill the fuel tank above the “full” mark. The space above the “full” mark is to allow the fuel to expand without causing leakage when the heater is operated.
  • Operate your heater in a room with a door open to the rest of your apartment or slightly open an outside window to allow ventilation.
  • Always operate your heater according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Do not go to sleep for the night with the heater on.
  • When refilling at a gas station use the pump lablelled ”灯油”. It is usually located off to one corner of the gas station away from the regular petrol pumps.
  • Do not use regular gasoline in a kerosene heater.

Ceramic Heater セラミックヒーター

Ceramic heaters are small space heaters that produce a flow of warm air via electrically heating internal ceramic plates. Despite lacking the capacity to heat a large room, these heaters have don’t have the safety concerns that oil, gas heaters, and electric heaters have. They are simple and safe to use, light-weight and portable, and are an excellent option for heating a small room.

Electric Bar Heaters 電気ストーブ
These heaters are low cost and provide instant warmth without drying or polluting the air. However, they will not heat up a large room and have a high energy consumption so they not cost effective over a long period.

Oil Heater オイルヒーター
These heaters use electricity to warm up an internal oil supply which in turn heats the metal walls and the surrounding air. Although oil heaters are more expensive to run and provide far less spatial heating than gas heaters, they are useful for heating confined spaces such as bedrooms and other small-to-medium-sized enclosed areas. They are clean, safe, and easy to use. They take time to warm up when switched on, but remain warm for a long-period after being turned off.

Kotatsu コタツ
The modern style of kotatsu consists of a table with an electric heater attached to its underside. A thin futon is draped over the frame under the table-top. In the summer, the futon can be removed and the kotatsu can be used as a normal table. A kotatsu is a relatively inexpensive way to stay warm in the winter, as the futon traps the warm air. The warmth is immediate but limited to the area under the futon, and as a result you won’t want to leave the comfort of your seat.

Heated Carpet ホットカーペット
They consist of a carpet “pad” with heating wires usually topped with a waterproof layer to guard against spillages; this pad is then covered with an area rug. They are relatively inexpensive and come in several sizes. They work best in combination with other heat sources. Modern heated carpets are pressure-sensitive and will only heat up if someone or something rests on top – making them energy-efficient alternatives to the kotatsu.

Appliance Button Guides
If you have just moved in and haven’t yet figured out what each button does on certain electrical appliances, then why not print out one of our web site’s printer-friendly bilingual button guides to help you? Print out the guides and stick them next to the appliance or shrink them in a copier and stick them onto the back of the appliances remote control. Please note the words listed are the common words found on appliances and language used will vary between models and manufactures. As well guides for a kerosene heater and air conditioner we also have guides for a DVD player, microwave, rice cooker, TV, and a washing machine. Download URL – www.nic-nagoya.or.jp/en/buttonguide.

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