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Home heating options - an overview

Prior to purchasing a heating unit for your home, it’s really important to look at your house from an energy-efficient standpoint.

Creating a sustainable home doesn’t mean you have to go without appliances that use energy, sustainability can be achieved through choosing the most energy-efficient products and making behavioural changes to run appliances at optimal times. 

With many household heaters on the market, we’re here to help you find the most energy-efficient heater for your home.
The right heater for your home will improve heating efficiency and remove cold weather discomfort.

How to choose an energy efficiency heater

Prior to purchasing a heating unit for your home, it’s really important to look at your house from an energy-efficient standpoint. 

If you make small changes to your home now, for instance installing blinds over window coverings, you may save on the size of your heating unit and the running and maintenance costs. 

It’s important to focus on the bigger picture, this includes keeping your family warm, as people, over keeping a room warm. For instance, electric blankets, rugs, heat pads and other accessories can be purchased to warm up your family members prior to purchasing an entire heating unit. 

Once you’ve decided on purchasing a heating unit after you’ve taken the steps to improve warmth, there are six considerations you should consider to ensure you get the right unit for your home:

Considerations when purchasing your unit: 

  1. Purchase price: How much is the unit cost 
  2. Installation cost: How much will this cost to install
  3. Running cost: How much will this add to my energy bill
  4. Efficiency: Is this unit the most energy efficient I could purchase? 
  5. Convenience and comfort: Does this add a level of comfort, is the unit convenient to turn on and utilise in all areas of the home?
  6. Environmental impact: what is the environmental impact of this purchase? 

What heating options are available to you: 

  • Ducted Reverse-Cycle Air Conditioner: The main unit, usually located in the roof of the house, pumps heat into the house via vents in each room.
  • Hydronic Heater: Heats water usually via gas or electricity which is then piped through circuits into radiators, heating the house or specified zones.
  • Gas Ducted Heater: Powered by natural gas, the centralised unit is housed in either the floor or ceiling. Provides heat to the whole house or through vents in each room.
  • Split-System Reverse-Cycle Air Conditioner: The most popular choice in Australian homes, the outdoor unit pulls in heat from outdoors, the pipes transfer the air to the indoor unit which then heats up the house or specific spaces. As a reverse cycle air conditioner this unit can reverse the process to cool rooms also.
  • Gas Space Heater: Burns gas to produce heat, known to be set into the wall as ‘furnaces’ or stand along units commonly referred to as 'Belly stoves”.
  • Underfloor Heating: A mat containing looped electrical resistance wires is installed in the concrete slab underneath top floor coverings like carpet, floorboards etc. The wires transfer heat to the floor which then heat the room, this can take up to an hour.
  • Portable Reverse-Cycle Air Conditioner: The unit can be moved between one room to another, although this is not easily done as the flexible duct must be fitted to each window.
  • Panel Convection Heater: Convert self-generated electrical currents into heat via a resistor. First warming the air around the heater and then over time the room.
  • Fan Heater: Fans rapidly warms the air and propels it into the room.
  • Oil Column Heater: Electrcity is used to heat the sealed coloums of oil.
  • Radiant Heater: This heater is not for warming rooms or spaces but used directly to warm people. Ideal for heating for short periods of time.
  • Far Infrared Heater (FIR): Another heater used to heat people directly over spaces. Mounted on ceilings or walls.

The information contained in this article is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs and, where appropriate, seek professional advice.