Buying A Heater Online – 10 Things You Should Know
Are you searching the internet to buy a heater or a heating system for your garage, living room or shop? Here are 10 things you should consider in your web search before you make that heater purchase.
- Search for a company that specializes in heaters and heating-related products. A web site that sells heaters among hundreds of other non-heating related products is usually just an order-taking catalog house with little or no background in the heating industry. Find a heating expert who can answer all your heating questions.
- While it’s not necessary in this internet age to buy from a local "brick and mortar" storefront, there are still risks associated with making online or telephone purchases. Is the online company you choose also a well-established heating products distributor? Choose a well-established heating company with a good customer service record.
- Is there a customer service number you can call for assistance? The company you buy from should be able to offer personal design/application assistance through phone and email support and help ensure that you get just the right heater, heaters or heating system to fit your needs. Choose a distributor who can conduct heat loss and design calculations for proper heater sizing and offer you the best heating solution.
- Ask whether you feel the company you buy from will be around for technical support later on, even many years after the initial purchase. The fact is, all heaters are mechanical in nature, meaning they will eventually fail. Will the company you buy from be able to offer replacement parts and technical support to help fix a problem down the road?
- Get educated. Know what it is you are trying to accomplish. Are you looking for a garage heater, family room heater, greenhouse heater, patio heater, shop heater, infrared heater, construction heater or fireplace? Vented heater or vent free heater?. There are different heaters for different purposes. What appliances are best suited to these applications? The beauty of the internet is that you have information at your fingertips. The beauty of buying from a heating expert is that you will have someone to speak to in person to get your questions answered.
- Does the web site offer detailed guidelines, specifications and an explanation of uses for each heater? Sites with mere thumbnail photos and "checkout" buttons, with little information by way of heater descriptions and specifications, could be an indication that you are dealing with nothing but an order fulfillment site. Most of these sites offer little in the way of technical expertise and product support.
- Some heaters require the installation expertise of a qualified heating professional. These heaters may include gas and electric furnaces, garage heaters, fireplaces and many other gas fired vented, unvented and high voltage electrical heating products. Will you be able to do the work yourself, or will you need to hire a professional installer?
- Ask - what is the company’s return policy? What is the manufacturer’s product warranty? How easy will it be to return the product if there is a problem? A reputable company should give you a 30 day money-back guarantee should you decide to return the heater. This normally does not include return shipping charges, unless the heater is damaged or defective. In the latter case, the company should offer a complete replacement (including all shipping charges) at no charge to you. NOTE: This normally does not include labor charges. If you hired an installer, you might be obligated to pay that installer the cost of labor to replace the heater, unless he is willing to do so as part of his labor contract with you. If you are acting as the installer, it is not incumbent upon the seller (heating products distributor) to pay you any labor charges to re-install a new replacement heater or do any repairs. As an owner/installer, you accept that risk. That is an industry standard practice.
- Not only is it important to choose a reputable online company, but you’ll want to choose heating product brands with years of proven use in the marketplace. Choose a heater model with a strong performance record. Imported heater brands are just fine as long as they have been and will continue to have a solid presence in the market for years to come. Few things are more frustrating than finding out that what you purchased 6 months ago is now obsolete, with no recourse for warranty, parts and support services.
- Finally, buy from a company with friendly customer-service skills to help you through the selection, purchasing, fulfillment and post installation process. Buying a heater should be as hassle-free as possible. It starts by choosing the best company with the best products and the best customer support.
Scott Workman owns and operates Infra-Red Products Supply, Inc. of Draper, Utah. Since 1986, Infra-Red Products has become recognized as one of the foremost leaders in energy saving heating system design and sales for residential, commercial and industrial consumers.