With the mercury continuing to drop and cold days setting in across the country, many of us are thinking about the heating we have in our home. Does it heat the house well? How much does the heating cost each season? Is there a better solution?
There are a number of heating options available for Australian homes, though it's important to choose one that will work best for you. Any built-in and long term heating solutions will require a qualified tradesperson to install.
An expert will be able to talk you through all heating options available, their energy use and associated running costs. Here is Tucker's overview of heating options to consider.
Space heaters to heat a small room
Fan forced space heaters are a great idea for smaller rooms like a study or living area. These heaters are some of the least expensive heating options, costing between $38 - $700. Most space heaters are electric with gas options also available, though these are typically more expensive.
Split system heating for an entire room
Split system heaters have an outdoor unit that generates heat and an indoor unit that releases that heat throughout a room. These types of heaters can come in many different sizes and it's important to choose one that matches the square metres of your room. This will also determine the cost. Inexpensive split systems can be around $750 with large capacity systems around $3000.
Multi-split system heaters for several rooms
Multi-split heaters are larger units and have ducting that can deliver heat to several rooms of the home. These can be used for either heating, cooling or reverse cycle, costing around $3000. In addition, this system requires installation from a qualified tradesperson, which would typically cost $50 an hour though could increase to as much as $2500 for a difficult installation.
Hydronic heaters built under the floor or in wall panels
Hydronic heaters use heated water to generate warmth available as a wall unit or under flooring. The drawback is that they take longer to heat a room (about half an hour) compared to other instant options. A hydronic wall mounted heater usually costs between $10,000 to $15,000, including installation. Floor systems cost around $7200, but are best laid on new floors as installation under existing floors is expensive.
Ducted heating for the entire home
Ducted heaters are expensive but effective if you're wanting a solution to heat your whole home. If you have a large house, a good way to save money on ducted heating is to buy a zone system which allows you to choose the rooms heating will go to. Zone systems cost more to install but will save you money in the long run. A ducted heating system must be professionally installed and the cost, including installation, will be based on the size of your system.
Traditional timber burning fireplaces are no longer considered old-fashioned and do still exist in homes today. They are effective for heating large rooms and do look great aesthetically within a home. As fireplaces require a brick chimney, they can be expensive to build and require ongoing maintenance from a chimney sweep. These days there are a number of alternative options to timber fireplaces which can be more affordable and may suit your home and lifestyle better.
Gas fireplaces can generate as much warmth as a wood burning fireplace. They do, however, need a way to expel fumes, which can be done through flues that leave the house. Electric fireplaces generate less heat, but the unit itself is inexpensive and can be wall mounted. They often have a "fire" to make them appear more authentic.
Whatever solution you choose in your home, ensure you consult your local professional. A heating expert will make sure your system will fit the room or space you desire, ensure it is installed properly for the safety of your home and that your chosen system will deliver the heating you require without breaking the bank.