It can be hard figuring out which heating to get.
With so many options for heating it can be hard to navigate and choose a system that will best meet your needs.
Our heating buyer’s guide is here to help!
Options to heat your whole home
|Heater||What is it?||Pros||Cons||Running cost||Purchase cost|
|Gas Ducted Heating
|Heaters that produce heat by burning gas. Heat then enters your home through ducting vents, which can be placed in the floor, ceiling or walls.||Heat enters the home ‘gently’ through the ducts (not a blast of hot air). Can heat a home quickly. Can also be set on a timer to heat your home before you get up or home from work.||More expensive to run than they used to be. Gas is a fossil fuel and has significant environmental impacts. Expensive to install. Do not provide cooling in summer. Ducts can make your home more draughty. Can release air pollutants into your home||High||High. $4,000-$10,000|
|Hydronic||Hydronic systems heat water (using a gas boiler or a heat pump) and then move it through sealed pipes to radiators throughout the home.||Emits radiant heat which means there are no blasts of hot air. Once heated, run quite efficiently, so are effective when heating needs to be kept on for extended periods. Quiet and low maintenance.||Running costs depend on boiler type. Hydronic systems that run on heat pumps are most efficient. Expensive and complex to install. Many possible points of failure. Take a while to heat up.||Low – High (depending on boiler type)||High. $10,000-$30,000|
|Electric under-floor heating||Electric wiring is installed under the floor covering. The heat generated from the wires transfers directly into the floor and up into the room.||Provides underfoot heat. Can be set on a timer to heat your home before you get up or home from work. Can heat a home/room quickly.||Can’t cool your home in summer. Expensive to install. Expensive to run.||High||High. Up to a few thousand per room|
|Ducted air conditioning||This type of system harvests heat from the outside air and pushes the heat into your home through ducting vents in the ceiling.||Can heat a whole home quickly. Can be set on a timer to heat your home before you get up or home from work. Can cool your home in summer.||Expensive and complex to install. More expensive to run than individual split systems. Ducts can make your home more draughty.||Medium||Up to $20,000 or more|
|Multiple split system air conditioning units||This type of system harvests heat from the outside air and pushes it into your home through an indoor unit.||Heats quickly. Can heat in winter and cool in summer. Many systems can purify air, add humidity and are self-cleaning. Can be powered by your solar power system, reducing running costs. Low running cost||Several units may be needed to heat the whole home. Blast warm air into a room (but many can be set with sensors to balance this, as well as offer low fan settings)||Low||$1000-$5000|
Heating your entire home can sound tempting but it’s well worth thinking if you need it. Heating your whole home is usually:
- Expensive and complex to set up
- Expensive to run (except for hydronic systems powered by heat pumps which can be efficient)
- Systems that have ducts can make your home draughty, making it more uncomfortable in summer and winter
But if you need to heat your whole home, the most energy-efficient way to do this is to install several split system air conditioners. There are many benefits to this approach:
- Cost effective to buy split system air conditioners. Each split system usually only costs between $1000-$5000 (depending on the size and model). The money you save could even be used to buy a solar power system!
- It’s much more energy-efficient to only heat or cool the rooms that you’re using – saving you money
- Easier to install than a central heating system
- It’s likely that your solar power system will be able to cover the power needed to run a reverse cycle air conditioner , meaning you can run it for FREE or very low cost!
- Can be used to cool your home in summer
Options for heating a single room
|Heater||What is it?||Pros||Cons||Running cost/500 hours*||Purchase cost|
|Portable electric heaters
|These heaters use an electric element to create heat. Examples include panel, radiant, convection or fan heaters.||Portable. Inexpensive to buy. Can heat small spaces as needed.||Expensive to run. Can’t cool your home.||$312.50||$15-$500|
|Heaters that produce heat through burning gas fuel.||Effective for heating small areas.||More expensive to run than they used to be. Gas is a fossil fuel and has significant environmental impacts. Do not provide cooling in summer. Can release air pollutants into your home.||$212.50||$600-$3,000|
|Split system reverse cycle air conditioner
|This type of system harvests heat from the outside air and pushes it into your home through an indoor unit.||Heats quickly. Can heat in winter and cool in summer. Many systems can purify air, add humidity and are self cleaning. Can be powered by your solar power system, reducing running costs. Low running cost.||Not portable. Several units may be needed to heat the whole home. Blasts warm air into a room (but many can be set with sensors to balance this, as well as offer low fan settings).||$113.83||$1,000- $5,000|
*Running costs are derived from Choice. Running cost is based on heating a small room (10-20 square metres) for 500 hours.
As you can see from the above table, the most affordable way to heat your home is with a reverse cycle air conditioner.
I thought gas heating was the cheapest?
You’ve probably heard that gas heating is cheaper but this is no longer the case. Due to changes in the Australian gas market, the cost of gas continues to rise each year. This means that the cheapest way to heat your home, is now with a split system reverse cycle air conditioner.
If you have a solar power system you can set your air con to run during the day and pre-heat your home. This enables it to be powered by your solar power for free, making it even more cost-effective. Of course – this only works if your home is insulated and draught-proofed.
Check out the below graph for some of the savings that you might expect to see by switching from gas to a split system air conditioner (modelled by the Alternative Technology Association).
Isn’t gas heating better for the environment?
Gas used to be seen as a clean option but now it’s extracted from coal seam layers (sometimes using fracking). This has significant environmental and agricultural impacts. Gas is also a fossil fuel, which is why many households are choosing to move away from natural gas.
The good news is – if you have a solar power system, you can heat your home without the need for burning fossil fuels, just by setting your air con to run during the day.
If you don’t have solar but purchase GreenPower, you can also rest assured that you’re heating your home emissions-free.
I’m renting – what’s the best option?
There are a couple of things to consider.
- Ask your landlord if they’re willing to invest in an efficient reverse cycle air conditioner. Efficient heating and cooling systems such as split system reverse cycle air conditioners, are now being increasingly recognised by real estate agents thanks to the Liveability framework. This can help increase the value of the property for your landlord and also keep you cosy in winter.
- If you’re looking for a portable solution such as an electric heater, it’s important to get a sense of how much it will cost to run. An easy way to do this is by looking at the power rating (in kilowatts). This shows you how much electricity is needed to run the heater at capacity for one hour. By multiplying this number by the amount you pay for electricity (approximately 30 cents per kWh), you can see how much it’ll cost you to run before buying.
- Electric blankets can also be an effective way to keep you cosy, at a fraction of the cost. There are now a range of options available, from traditional fitted electric blankets for beds, to electric throw blankets to keep you cosy while you’re in other rooms. Running two of these is still cheaper than running a portable heater.
So what’s the verdict?
If you’re looking for a heating system that is low cost to run, good for the planet and will keep you cosy – we recommend getting a split system air con.
But choosing the right system for your home can be tricky.
Our RCAC partner, Daikin Australia, can help you replace your old heating with the highly acclaimed Daikin Cora reverse cycle air conditioner.
We’ve especially selected the Daikin Cora to offer to you due to its:
- Value for money
- Strong warranties – it comes with a 5 year warranty against defects in design, materials and workmanship
- Daikin’s high customer service standards
- Ease of installation
- Approved by the National Asthma Council Australia’s Sensitive Choice program
The Daikin Cora air conditioner, available through this offer, is priced between $2,000-$4,800 (depending on the size and installation).
If you’re thinking about replacing your old system, we recommend getting an obligation-free quote to confirm the exact price for your home.
Need more help?
Tim slashed his heating bills by 70% in one winter. How did he do it? Read here.