Feeling the winter chill, but not sure what the best option to heat your home is? We’ve got you covered.
REVERSE CYCLE AIR CONDITIONING
Great for larger spaces and open plan living, these are the most cost-effective form of electric heating – and are great for cooling in summer too. The expensive initial outlay can be offset by energy saving features such as movement sensors to reduce running costs.
DUCTED REVERSE CYCLE AIR CONDITIONING
Ducted air conditioning is more expensive to run than your standard wall-mount reverse cycle air conditioner, with a much greater purchase and install cost. Despite this, it is a great whole-house heating and cooling solution and avoids unsightly wall-mounted units. Look for systems with zoning options, purchase the most energy-efficient unit you can afford and only use well-insulated ductwork.
Natural gas heating generates far less greenhouse gas emissions than electricity, and is a great option for the environmentally savvy home owner. It’s also significantly more efficient and thus cheaper to run, though if you’re looking at ducted gas, it can be expensive to install. There are a range of gas options to suit your needs, including gas-flued heaters, ducted gas central heating, gas fireplaces and gas-boosted hydronic heating.
PORTABLE PLUG-IN HEATER
If you don’t have access to gas and you’re only looking to heat small areas, a portable electric heater may be the best option. Column, convection and fan heaters are inexpensive to purchase and heat up quickly, however have high running costs and also produce very high levels of greenhouse gas emissions. Reduce these by looking for models with built-in fans, long range projection and temperature sensors.
Providing you obtain your non-treated firewood from a sustainable source, a fireplace can be an inexpensive and renewable option for heating your home. Combustion fires are much more efficient than open fires, which can lose up to 90% of their heat through the chimney. However, wood fires are banned in certain councils, especially in high-density areas, due to air pollution.
Biofuel fireplaces run on bioethanol, a clean-burning liquid fuel made from agricultural byproducts. Great for small spaces and occasional heating, these fireplaces will give you the effect of a log fire without the ash and fumes, and don’t require a chimney or flue. At approximately $1 per hour to run, these aren’t the most cost-effective option and would be best suited for occasional heating only.
UNDER FLOOR HEATING
In-slab heating is the most expensive heating system to run. With its slow response time it is best suited to cold climates where it is constantly run. Heat pump and hydronic systems are better options for under-floor heating, and can be a great option for severe allergy sufferers.
Radiant heaters are a great option for outdoor entertaining. They heat people and objects, not the air itself, and can be conveniently mounted to the roof to maximise your entertaining space. They reduce noise and circulation of dust and allergens, and cost around 60c per hour to run (versus approximately $3 per hour for a mushroom heater).