It's reno time: Finding the best heating options

By Gerv Tacadena

What are the things you should consider when choosing the right heating system?

If you are planning to upgrade the heating in your house, one of the most crucial things you have to consider is the system's efficiency. Heating your home can take up a significant portion of your household energy use, making it important for you to get a budget-friendly system.

What are the most efficient ways to heat a home?

In terms of value for money, gas heaters are the way to go. Take note that you need to have a gas outlet to plug them into, as these heaters run on natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas. Gas heaters can warm spaces up quickly and can be zoned.

While electric heaters are cheaper to purchase, they are only recommended for heating small rooms. Some electric heaters are portable and can be used in different rooms. Using them to heat large spaces for long periods of time is not advisable, as it will only boost your power usage.

Reverse-cycle air conditioning is also an option. However, this system is more expensive to purchase than small electric heaters. Reverse-cycle air conditioning is ideal for quickly heating larger spaces for relatively less power usage.

Things to consider when choosing a heating system

One of the common mistakes homeowners make is underestimating the size of the house. Installing a system that does not meet the size requirements of your house or your room will only cost you more money.

Another thing to consider is how much of your home you want to be heated. There are two types of heating systems: central and room heating. While it is more affordable to use a room heater, it would be more practical to get the central heating system if you intend to heat up many rooms.

Types of central heating

  1. In-slab floor heating - This system uses concrete floors to store heat from either electric cables or hydronic pipes set into the slab.
  2. Hydronic Systems - This system supply convective and radiant heat by circulating hot water through radiator panels in the room.
  3. Ducted Air - Under this system, roof and underfloor ducts are used to circulate hot air.

A ducted air system with natural gas as its energy source is the system with the cheapest running cost and the lowest greenhouse gas emissions. Hydronic system powered by natural gas also has low running costs and is relatively more environmentally friendly.

Making your home more energy-efficient

When thinking of heating up your home, it is also essential to consider the built and design of your home. Passive design principles will help you reduce the need for heating. Passive heating can be achieved by using thermal mass like a concrete slab or tiled floor that can capture heat during the day and radiating it back into the home at night.

For more information about heating and cooling systems, you can visit the Australian government's guide to environmentally sustainable homes here.

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