Goldair GIR400 Radiant Heater With Turbo Fan

As winter approaches, with the new flat and things being different I have decided as previously detailed to change some of my heaters for more efficient power use better suited to the local conditions.

Briscoes have had lots of sales lately and I picked up this heater at $119 which is a big drop off the normal retail price of $199. I used their mail order service and with another item the total cost for delivery was $5 which is very reasonable as they were couriered down from Auckland.
This is quite a large heater but is not very heavy. There are three bars. Radiant heaters are particularly suited for draughty rooms or large spaces as they heat up people rather than the air around them, and they can warm things up very quickly like a regular fan heater, but without the noise. This unit like lots of heaters these days has a booster fan that essentially adds a convection (air warming) function by blowing some air through the heater from the back, which helps to improve air circulation on any type of heater, and therefore distribute the heat better in the room. Like other heaters which employ a booster fan it is nowhere near as noisy nor as draughty as a regular fan heater.

 Here’s a view of the control panel and it is not like most heaters at all. Essentially the three switches control the three bars – one each – but it is a bit more complex. The first switch turns on the first bar, and also acts as the master switch for the whole heater. This bar is not controlled by the thermostat (that big gray knob), so it is on all the time regardless of where the thermostat knob is turned to or the ambient temperature. Turn on the middle switch and you’ll get another bar, controlled by the thermostat. The third switch brings on the third bar as well as the booster fan which can therefore only operate on full power. The right switch only comes on if the middle switch is on, and the middle switch only comes on if the left hand switch is also on. So a bit unusual with the switches wired in series rather than parallel like most multi-element heaters. I’m usually sceptical of thermostats built into heaters because in a lot of heaters the heat in the body of the heater itself will fool the thermostat and prevent it from sensing room temperature accurately. Radiant heaters are a little different in that the sides of the heater don’t heat up as much because the heat all goes out to the front, so a side mounted thermostat might work a bit better. Have to wait and see.
 Here’s a picture of the back of the heater showing the fan vents. The fan isn’t ducted internally and it’s a bit difficult to tell how well it works. It is meant to blow air over the middle bar via slots cut into the reflector. It is very quiet and you would hardly know it was on.
This is what radiant / bar heaters looked like when I was growing up. The classic Shacklock Conray heater, made out of thick gauge sheet steel with a knob control for the heat which is top rear. Today’s modern heaters are aluminium and plastic and a lot lighter. They also have extra safety features like overheat and tilt cutouts which these old classics often have missing. However the old heaters provided useful employment for New Zealand workers and lasted forever so I don’t think new really is better.