Heating is an essential requirement in most parts of Victoria and Australia, especially during the winter months when the temperature can vary significantly – depending, of course, on your location.
There are now several, widely popular heating systems available in the market, each with its advantages and disadvantages.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the four most common types of available in Australia, including:
- Gas heaters
- Electric heaters
- Ducted gas heating, and
- Hydronic heating
We’ll also take a look at the pros and cons of each, focusing especially on average installation costs energy efficiency.
But firstly, we need to tackle the most important element of this entire topic:
What Does “Best Option” Really Mean?
Well, it’s certainly true that the phrase “best option” can be a bit subjective. After all, what’s best for one person may not be the best for you.
When it comes down to it, choosing the right heating system for your home is a bit like choosing a favourite flavour of ice cream – believe it or not! It all comes down to personal taste and preferences.
But, unlike ice cream, the decision about heating systems is a bit more complex and requires a bit more research – especially given the issue of rising energy/gas prices and the state of the environment more broadly.
At the end of the day, we’re here to suggest that the best option for you is the one that:
- Fits within your budget
- Balances upfront cost with long-term considerations like quality of product, replacement/maintenance, lifespan, contribution to monthly bills, and more
- Suits the specific needs of your home/build
With over 15 years of expertise in the art of high-efficiency HVAC, your G Store team is here to help you make the right call. If you’ve got questions, you can give our friendly team a call any time on 1300 766 940 and we’ll happily walk you through your options.
Understanding Gas Heating Systems
Gas heaters are one of the most popular types of heating systems used in Victoria. Typically, these are the kinds of systems that our customers come to us with, looking to replace or upgrade.
Gas heating systems use natural gas or propane to create heat, which is then circulated throughout the house. Gas heaters provide heat quickly, making them an interesting option for homes that require that facility or method of operation.
The average installation cost of a gas heater ranges from $1,000 to $3,500, depending on the size and type of the system.
However, it’s important to consider the downsides of these systems as well. While they’ve traditionally been amongst the most popular heating systems in Victoria, they are – generally – far from the best, particularly in the context of comparisons to hydronic systems (with and without heat pump).
- Safety concerns: Gas heating systems can pose a safety risk if not installed or maintained properly. Gas leaks or carbon monoxide poisoning can occur if the system is not functioning correctly.
- Limited energy efficiency: While gas heating systems are efficient, they are not as efficient as hydronic heating systems. They can also produce greenhouse gases and contribute to climate change.
- Limited heating options: Gas heating systems typically provide warm air through vents, which can create uneven heating in a room. This can be uncomfortable for some people.
Understanding Electric Heating Systems
Electric heaters are another popular heating option for heating your home, and particularly so in Victoria. These systems are powered by electricity and can be portable or wall-mounted. Electric heaters are easy to install and can provide instant, fairly consistent heat making them ideal for small spaces or rooms that need to be heated quickly.
They are also relatively inexpensive to purchase, making them a popular option for those on a tight budget, and those who are interested in a lower upfront cost (with the risk of further costs down the line such as early replacement and higher energy bills).
However, electric heaters can be more expensive to operate than gas heaters, especially if they are used for long periods.
According to Energy Rating, a 2.4 kW electric heater with a 5-star rating can cost up to $400 per year to run, which is more expensive than a gas heater with the same rating. The average installation cost of an electric heater ranges from $50 to $1,000, depending on the size and type of the system. Portable electric heaters are the cheapest option, while wall-mounted electric heaters can be more expensive.
Understanding Ducted Gas Heating
Ducted gas heating is a great heating solution for larger homes, or those with multiple “zones” that need to be heated. These systems use natural gas to create heat, which is then circulated through a series of ducts to different areas of the house. Ducted gas heating is highly efficient and can provide heat quickly, making it ideal for homes that need to be heated quickly.
The average installation cost of ducted gas heating ranges from $5,000 to $10,000, depending on the size and complexity of the system. According to Energy Rating, a ducted gas heating system with a 5-star rating can cost as little as $500 per year to run, making it a cost-effective heating solution for many households.
But how does this sit in comparison to hydronic heating, one of the most popular energy-efficient options currently available on the market?
Understanding the Benefits of Hydronic Heating Systems – with and without a Heat Pump
Hydronic heating is a fantastic, energy-efficient heating solution for those who prefer a more comfortable, radiant heat. These systems use water to create heat, which is then circulated through a series of pipes to different areas of the house. Hydronic heating can be used with or without a heat pump, depending on the specific needs of your household.
While hydronic heating systems involve a higher upfront cost at installation and require regular maintenance to ensure optimal performance, they offer a huge range of long-term benefits not afforded to owners of gas/electric systems. The average installation cost of hydronic heating ranges from $6,000 to $15,000, depending on the size and complexity of the system. According to Energy Rating, a hydronic heating system with a 5-star rating can cost as little as $300 per year to run, making it a cost-effective heating solution in the long run.
Hydronic heating facilitated by a heat pump can further increase energy efficiency. The heat pump uses electricity to transfer heat from the outside air or ground to heat the water used in the hydronic heating system. This means that the system can provide heat even in colder temperatures, and it can be powered by renewable energy sources like solar power. What’s more, some models of heat-pump powered hydronic heating can even facilitate both heating and cooling, offering you year-round comfort – a huge plus!
However, it’s important to note that hydronic heating with a heat pump can be more expensive to install than traditional hydronic heating systems, with an average installation cost ranging from $12,000 to $20,000.
What’s the Best Long-term Heating Solution?
Overall, the ideal choice of heating system for you will depend on several factors, including the size of your house, the number of rooms that need to be heated, and the energy efficiency required.
While gas heaters and electric heaters are popular options for smaller homes or those with limited heating needs, ducted gas heating is ideal for larger homes or those with multiple rooms that need to be heated. Coming out on top, however, is hydronic heating: perfect for those who prefer:
- Lower energy bills
- The option to run the system on solar with battery storage (saving and even making you money in the long term)
- A more comfortable, radiant heat
- A heating option that adds long-term value to your home
It is important to note that the energy efficiency of a heating system is just as important as the upfront cost. A more energy-efficient system may be more expensive to install, but it can save you a truly significant amount of money in the long run.
Ready to explore your heating options before winter hits?