Now that you’ve bought an energy saving heater or a hybrid heater, for lack of a proper name, it’s time to install it properly and ensure that it operates trouble-free for many years to come. If you are planning on buying one of these units or want to learn more about hybrid heaters, you can read our article here: Hybrid Heaters reduce your bill by 60%. These energy saving heaters have gained a lot of attention and popularity over traditional gas heaters here in Pakistan due to excessive gas load shedding or very little gas pressure that consumers have been facing. Even when there is gas, the pressure is not sufficient to be able to operate regular gas combustion heaters making it very inconvenient and impossible to keep rooms warm. The last few winters in particular have witnessed an exacerbation of problems related to gas supply in households. Loadshedding.pk while interviewing a local vendor found out that these heaters have interestingly been in the market for as long as 8 years. This is quite a surprising fact considering these energy saving heaters have only recently garnered attention.
The good news is that, hybrid heaters consume very little gas compared to their traditional gas combustion counterparts and are able to operate even when the gas pressure is next to none. Not only are these heaters energy efficient, they are extremely cheap as well. Although hybrid units may not be able to operate at their full capacity when the gas pressure is low, but hybrid heaters still manage to adequately warm up the room. However, as the name suggests, these heaters also require electricity to operate its inbuilt fan that blows warm air across the room. The inbuilt fan makes these heaters really effective as it circulates warm air throughout the room as opposed to gas combustion heaters, which normally heat their immediate areas. This makes these energy saving heaters highly effective as they combine the efficacy of electric blowers and economy and heat of traditional gas heaters. They’re not only energy efficient but also much more safe than regular gas heaters. In the event of no gas supply, the heaters will automatically shut down and will manually need to be turned on when the gas supply resumes. This is the biggest issue with gas heaters. Additionally, hybrid heaters will not turn on if there is no gas. Another noteworthy feature of these floor units is that they can regulate the temperature of the room by specifying it through the controls at the top.
Hybrid heaters are normally smuggled across the border in Quetta from where they are distributed across Pakistan. The common hybrid heater brands in the market are Rinnai, Tokyo Gas, National and Osaka Gas. These heaters are extremely reliable and quite safe to use. We have not heard many complaints from users of these heaters and most of them have been operating without any issues for at least 2 to 3 years. Due to rising demand, the market has been flooded with hybrid heaters.
First things First – Get a step down Converter (220 to 110 volts)
Before you do anything, make sure that you buy a step down converter for your heater. Most of these hybrid heaters are made in Japan and thus they run on 100-110 volts. Please make sure you get a step down converter (converts 220 to 110 volts) with your newly acquired hybrid heater for it to operate in Pakistan. Normally your vendor will bundle one of these with your unit and charge you for it. These step down converters are locally made and cost between 300 to 500 rupees depending on the wattage and where you buy them. A 100-watt step down converter is more than sufficient to operate a hybrid heater of any size.
Please note that if you connect your heater directly into the socket, it will blow the transformer and rendering the heater inoperable. In such as event the heater needs to be repaired which costs between PKR 1,000 to PKR 1,300. We highly recommend that you tape the plug of your heater with the step down transformer securely so that there is no chance of inadvertent damage.
Connecting Your Hybrid Heater to a Gas Outlet
This is a simple procedure and is no different from the process that is required for operating a regular gas heater. Locate the gas outlet in your room and connect it with your gas heater. There will be a connector for the pipe at the rear of your hybrid heater. Please see image on the right.
We recommend that you use an 8.5mm thickness gas pipe to connect your heater with the gas outlet in your room. This pipe is sturdy and thick enough to withstand any punctures, bends and other damage. Flimsy pipes can be easily punctured causing gas leakages and bent permanently due to pressure, resulting in serious hazards and inefficient flow of gas. An 8.5mm pipe can withstand pressure caused by stepping on it or other weight that usually deshapes or constricts regular pipes.
Make sure that you always secure the gas pipe with a clip ring at the gas point on your heater and on the wall. This will prevent the pipe accidently coming off or any leakage due to an insecure connection.
Finally turn the gas leaver clockwise to prime the connecting pipe and heater with gas. See image on the left.
Connecting Your Hybrid Heater to a Gas Cylinder
A lot of people have started using portable refillable gas cylinders with their hybrid energy saving heaters. This trend has been particularly been observed over the last couple of months when there was no gas at all. However, connecting your hybrid heater to gas cylinders is usually not recommended and should be used as a last resort when there is no gas supply. The gas cylinder needs to be equipped with a high quality regulator to protect the heater from permanent damage. Typically, a 4-liter gas cylinder can run a 2,500 BTU small/medium hybrid heater for around 30 hours.
Placement of Heater
The great thing about hybrid heaters is that they are able to heat the room uniformly and fairly quickly using a built in fan. That’s why it’s important to place the heater along the length of the room so that the blower circulates room covering maximum area. Please don’t obstruct the heater blowing vents by placing anything in front of the heater or on the heater as this will not only reduce the heating efficiency but also damage the fan motor due to overheating. In a few cases, people have left wet washed clothes to dry by placing them on these heaters rendering their heaters damaged and irreparable. So it’s advised to keep the vents of your hybrid heater completely unobstructed.
Plugging Your Hybrid Heater into an Electrical Socket
Once you’ve connected your energy saving heater to a gas outlet, it needs to be plugged into an electrical socket. Before connecting your unit to a socket, make sure that you have connected it to a step down transformer. We would reiterate this: DO NOT CONNECT YOUR HYBRID HEATER DIRECTLY TO AN ELECTRICAL SOCKET as it can cause permanent damage to your heater. Now that you’ve connected your heating unit to the electrical outlet, it is ready to be used.
IMPORTANT NOTE FOR USING YOUR HYBRID HEATERS WITH ELECTRIC GENERATORS. Many people have blown the transformers of their heaters while running them on electric generators when there is no electricity. It is not recommended to run hybrid heaters on generators as the voltage fluctuates excessively sometimes hitting 300 volts. However, these heaters are perfectly safe to use with a UPS.
Turning Your Hybrid Heater On
One of the downsides of getting an energy saving hybrid heater is that all the labels and instructions are in written in Japanese script. Although this just a minor issue as most of important buttons and controls are self explanatory and can be figured out with a little improvisation. All the controls reside at the top of these heaters and are labeled in Japanese. The power button is fairly easy to locate. It is usually the rightmost button on the top control panel of your heater. On Japanese heaters the power button is labeled as ‘Operation’.
Turn your heater by pressing the 操作Operation (On) button. Please see image below so locate the operation button. Under normal circumstance, when you press the Operation button, a red LED light, a blinking green LED light and a regular LED light will illuminate. The red LED light stands for Combustion (燃焼) indicating that hybrid heater is operational. The blinking green LED light indicates the current room temperature of your room, and finally the static green LED light denotes the desired room temperature.
Note that when you turn your hybrid heater on, you will hear a continuous crackling sound for about 4 to 6 seconds, which is essentially the ignition mechanism of the unit. If the gas pressure is low, this sound may continue longer than usual. Please note that in the absence of gas, the heater will not switch on at all.
Adjusting the Room Temperature
The great thing about hybrid heaters is that they come with a built in climate control feature which allows you to regulate the room temperature as desired. Usually the heater allows you to adjust the temperature of the room anywhere between 16C to 26C (degree Celsius). Locating the temperature controls is fairly easy as shown in the image below. Usually these controls are labeled as 環境制御 (Climate Control) or 室温 (Room Temperature) with two buttons (LOW usually denoted by a left arrow and HIGH usually denoted by a right arrow). Pressing the right button when you want to increase the desired room temperature (more warm) and left button when you want to reduce the desired temperature (less warm). Note that when the desired temperature and actual room temperature are the same, only one static green LED will be illuminated under the respective temperature in Celsius. Otherwise the blinking LED will be displaying the actual room temperature. Note that as the room get warmer, the blinking green LED will move closer towards the static green LED which displays the desired room temperature.
The higher you set the temperature, the harder your heater will have to work to achieve the desired room climate. It is usually recommended to set the temperature at a comfortable 20 to 24 degree Celsius. Please note that if you always notice a blinking LED on your hybrid heater, it means that either your room is too big for the heater or there is not enough gas required to operate your hybrid heater at full capacity. You either need to reduce the desired room temperature within a realistic range or get a bigger heater.
Additional Controls on your Hybrid Heater
Different models of Japanese hybrid heaters come with different controls. However, most of them have two controls in common:
‘Good Night’ which is akin to ‘Sleep Mode’ in air conditioners where the temperature is automatically adjusted that is conducive while sleeping. However, we DO NOT RECOMMEND that you sleep with your heater running as this can prove to be a safety hazard. Although these heaters are considered very safe, but since they run on gas, any kind of leakage or other anomaly can prove to be very dangerous and fatal in some instances.
Save Function usually saves your settings for recalling later.
There is a removable metallic filter on the rear of all hybrid heaters. With continuous usage, this filter accumulates dust and becomes clogged if it is not cleaned. This filters needs to be kept clean to ensure uninterrupted airflow and ventilation. The heaters are smart enough to detect a dusty or clogged filter and will turn off automatically after few minutes of operation.
A dusty filter is also indicated by red LED labeled filter, which turns on when the heater requires cleaning.
Some of the more recent hybrid heaters also come with a child lock feature which prevents children to inadvertently press random buttons on the control panel of the unit. Usually this involves pressing and holding the ‘Save’ and ‘Sleep’ buttons simultaneously together for activation. This will disable all buttons on the unit thus preventing children or accidental button presses to alter settings. The Child Lock can be deactivated by pressing the same buttons simultaneously again.