Canberra winters are cold. Really cold. Heating is a must for most households, but with so many options on the market, it can be difficult to decide which method of heating is best suited to you.
Let’s take a look at the three most common forms of heating: electric, gas and reverse-cycle air conditioning.
Electric heaters are incredibly popular. They are portable, inexpensive to buy, and they come is almost any shape and size imaginable. From oil heaters, to small fan heaters, bar heaters, and even ducted heating and floor heating, there is an electric heating method to suit almost any budget.
Electric heating is can be both radiant heating and convection heating. Radiant heating heats surfaces, and quickly warms up people. It doesn’t, however, do the best job of warming an entire room. Convection heating, on the other hand, heats up the air, and is usually fan assisted.
It’s plain to see just how versatile electric heaters are, and this is probably their biggest selling point. However, there are a few things to keep in mind before you decide whether or not electric heaters are for you. While they are cheap to buy (you can pick up electric heaters for less than $50), they can be expensive to run. Electric heaters use a lot of energy to heat entire rooms, so are best suited for heating small spaces or individual people.
If you do want to heat entire rooms with electric heating, ducted and floor heating may be the best option.
Gas heaters, while more expensive (around $500 – $1500), are usually more energy efficient and therefore cheaper to run. They come in a range of models, including as portable heaters and gas fireplaces.
There are two kinds of gas heaters: flued, where gas fumes are pushed outside through a chimney or pipe, and unflued, where gas fumes are released into the room. Flued heaters are pricier, and they need to be installed, but unflued heaters require proper ventilation, such as an open door or window. This mustn’t be ignored, as the fumes released are potentially dangerous.
Gas heaters are usually a more affordable option in the long run, and they do a good job of heating small and medium spaces. But you will need to consider ventilating the fumes, and your home’s access to gas.
Reverse-Cycle Air Conditioners
Reverse-cycle air conditioners are also more expensive than portable electric heaters. You’re looking at anywhere between $600 and $2500. However, they are relatively energy efficient, they do an excellent job of heating an entire room or even open plan living space, and they can be used to cool your home in the warm Canberra summer.
Air conditioners are a type of convection heating, meaning they heat the air of the room. This can lead to the air becoming very dry, which can cause dry skin and chapped lips. The heated air can also cause allergies to flare.
If you aren’t sensitive to drier air, and you have a large area to heat, reverse-cycle air conditioner may be the heating method best suited to you.