What is the Most Cost Effective Heating For a Home?

Blog Post Thursday 21 May 2020

What is the Most Cost Effective Heating For a Home?

What is the Most Cost Effective Heating For a Home?

What is the Most Cost Effective Heating For a Home?

Heating and/or cooling your home accounts for up to 40% of your household’s total energy use, making it a significant component of your monthly power bills. So how can your household stay warm and comfortable without spending more than you need to on heating costs? We explore the most economical heating options for your home.

What is cost effective heating for a home?

Cost effective heating means you’re paying as little as possible to keep your home at a comfortable temperature during the colder times of the year. Choosing a cost effective heating option could see you cutting your ongoing expenses by 50% to as much as 70%

Most efficient heating - furnaces

Furnaces are central heating units that work by pushing heat into ventilation systems for spreading hot air throughout the house. Furnaces tend to be fairly energy efficient and they can be powered by gas, electricity, or oil.

  • Gas - Natural gas furnaces are the most common type of furnace, and these rely on a direct supply pipe from your energy company to your home. Gas furnaces can be much cheaper than oil or electricity systems.
  • Oil - Oil furnaces burn fuel oil stored in a tank on your property to generate heat, and so they can be expensive to run.
  • Electricity - Electric furnaces produce no fumes or exhaust gases so they could be safer. However, they’re almost always more expensive to run than gas furnaces.

Most efficient heating - heat pumps

Heat pumps are one of the most efficient heating systems available. These systems capture heat by using a liquid refrigerant to absorb heat and move it from place to place. In summer, heat pumps keep your home cooler by pushing heat out of your interiors.

Air source heat pumps capture heat from outdoor air, extracting heat even from cooler outdoor air, and drive it into your home. Geothermal heat pumps work similarly to air source heat pumps but they utilise the soil outside your house or a nearby body of water to capture heat and release it into your house. Geothermal heat pumps offer the most efficient type of heating, and they typically feature pipes buried in the ground or submerged in the water source.

Most efficient heating - boilers

Boilers rank behind heat pumps and furnaces for home heating. This type of system produces hot water for circulating around pipes and radiators inside your house, thereby heating your spaces. Condensing boilers offer the most efficient home-heating option, and these use an additional heat exchanger to extract heat from the boiler’s exhaust gases before they’re vented outdoors.

Most efficient heating - portable heaters

The main types of portable heaters are electric heaters, gas heaters, and reverse-cycle air conditioners. Electric heaters cost the most to run and reverse-cycle air conditioners the least to run, all else being equal.

  • Electric - Portable electric heaters are cheaper to buy and excellent for dedicated smaller spaces and shorter periods, as opposed to whole-house heating all day long.
  • Gas - Portable gas heaters can be highly cost efficient and offer good value for your initial outlay. They can run from either the gas connected to your home or bottled LPG.
  • Reverse-cycle air conditioner - Reverse-cycle air conditioners are excellent for both individual rooms and large spaces like open-plan living areas, and their heat-pump technology makes them highly economical and efficient. However, a reverse-cycle air conditioner tends to be more expensive to buy.

The Delonghi 2400w Dragon Oil Heater, Noirot 2000W Panel Heater, Dyson AM09 HotCool Portable Heater, Delonghi 2400W Convection Heater, and Delonghi 2000W Convection Heater have been ranked as some of the most energy efficient (and hence cost effective) heaters to run.

Most efficient heating - hydronic heating

Hydronic systems are typically central heating systems using gas, wood, or solar. These heat up your interiors by circulating hot water or steam through coils, radiator panels, or convectors that push hot air into rooms. Hydronic heating can be for the whole house or it can be installed in specific spaces, such as through individual radiators for each room.

Most efficient heating - whole house electric heating

Ducted reverse-cycle air conditioning is one type of whole-house electric heating, and it uses a compressor and ducted outlets in individual rooms. Like hydronic heating systems, these require a large initial outlay but the latest systems can be very economical to run, especially if you generate your own electricity from solar panels.

Underfloor heating uses electric wiring or water pipes installed into concrete floor slabs to warm the home. As such, installation ideally occurs during the construction stage of the home.

Most efficient heating - whole house gas heating

Ducted gas central heating offers another economical option for whole house heating. These use an outdoor or underfloor gas furnace to generate heat and push it through ducting vents through your rooms. While installation requires an initial outlay, a ducted system might end up to be more cost effective than two gas space heaters in the long run.

Final thoughts

On average, Aussie households are spending thousands of dollars on electricity and gas each year. With heating making up a significant percentage of total energy usage, reconsidering how you’re staying warm could be well worth it. Whatever system you decide on, make sure it’s the right size for your home and your needs. Additionally, check you’re boosting efficiency by measures such as insulating and sealing your home, eliminating leaks in ducts and using a programmable thermostat.