It’s not just the cold weather that’s making people cranky this season. A recent survey found that a large proportion of Australian’s feel financially stressed during winter months, and many are looking to cut costs by turning down their heating bills. But is there any truth in the idea that you can save money on your heating bill without feeling the chill?
Find out more below. But first, let’s start from the beginning.
What is Ducted Heating?
In a nutshell, a ducted system for heating is exactly what it sounds like. A centralised system for distributing heated air throughout your home via a network of pipes and vents installed behind your walls or under your floors. However, the actual ducted system used to distribute this air varies between different homes, you can opt to use either hot water or electricity to heat up your rooms.
Electricity vs Hot Water Ducted Heating System
The main difference between an electrical and a hot water ducted system is how they create their heat in the first place. An electric heater works by passing an intense current through an element until it becomes red-hot, while most hot water systems work by running regular tap water through your boilers coils until it reaches scalding temperatures. While both methods are effective in distributing heat throughout your home, they both have their unique pros and cons.
On the upside, an electrical system is often more effective at distributing high levels of focused heat over a small area, which makes them perfect for areas like bathrooms or bedrooms where you probably want to stay warm but still need decent ventilation. Hot water systems tend to be more useful for larger living spaces that require more even heating, such as open-plan kitchens/living rooms, as it’s far easier to direct the flow of hot water around these areas rather than the strong current of electricity.
The upfront vs running cost is another factor that depends on which type of system you choose. Electrical heating tends to be more expensive upfront as there are more components involved in setting up a system, such as pipe fittings and wiring. Hot water heating costs can vary from system to system but generally speaking, they’re cheaper in the long run, especially if you opt for a gas-boosted hot water option which helps keep your bills lower over time.
Ducted Gas Heating System
If you’ve done any research on heating systems, chances are there’s been talk about heat pumps. Heat pumps work by transferring heat from one area to another, whether that be from the surrounding air into your home, or from your home into the greater atmosphere. Although a ducted gas system won’t work as quickly as electrical or hot water heating systems, heat pumps are still a viable option for those living in warmer climates where you’ll probably need to rely more on your air conditioner than your heater throughout the year.
Reverse cycle ducted systems, gas ducted systems, and a variety of multi-head reverse cycle units and portable heating devices are just three of the many options available to homeowners when it comes to heating their homes. The possibilities may be dizzying, and if you want to make an educated decision, it’s important to find out what you want your home heating system to do for you, and based on your research, choose the best system. When it comes to ducted prices, natural gas has long been marketed as having lower running expenses, generating less pollution, and requiring less installation money than traditional electric heating.
Ducted Heating Cost
First and foremost, obtaining a range of ducted gas heating and/or ducted air conditioning quotes is an excellent method to get a feel for pricing in your area. A ducted heating system may cost you as little as $3000 but may reach a high point of $10000. The size and type of system you need may also play a huge role in the final price you pay. We found in the latest energy prices survey that the cost of heating was almost $400 higher than average in Adelaide, while Sydney came in under the national average at just $200 higher.
The decision to switch from an open fireplace to ducted gas heating systems can save you hundreds of dollars each year when it comes to heating your home.
Central Heater Cost
You’ll need to figure out what type of heating system you’ll require. The most common factors to look at when picking a ducted heating system are:
- How big your home is
The amount of floor space required may be determined by the dimensions of your heater. If you have a multi-story home, you’ll require vertical ducting, which may increase the overall cost of your installation.
- Height of your ceiling
If you have high ceilings, your ducted gas heating may need to produce enough heat in each room to keep it at a pleasant temperature. This may have an impact on what size ducted heating system you could get.
- Number of windows
Windows can account for up to 40% of a home’s heat loss, so you’ll need to factor this into your ducted heating system choice.
Ducted Heating Installation Cost
Installation costs may range between $600 and $1500, depending on the size of your home, the number of ducts, type of unit, access to the roof or floor cavities, as well as the installer’s experience. In terms of installation, it all boils down to your specific home needs and the cost of installation, which can range from $60 to $120 per hour.
In many scenarios, obtaining a full-service quote for the installation of your new heating system, which may include an on-site estimate, transportation of the unit to your home, measure, fit and test by the same firm is preferable. This ensures that there are no ‘buck passing’ when it comes to any potential problems or faults with your equipment
Ducted Heating and Cooling Cost
There is one disadvantage of ducted gas heating when compared to a ducted reverse cycle system, which is that there is no cooling system on ducted gas heaters.
If you’re building a new system, there are several manufacturers that offer dual evaporative and gas heating systems that can save you money. These systems may use the same pipe network as most current ones, however, due to existing standards, many previous systems cannot be retrofitted with a heating/cooling option.
In conclusion, if you’ve decided to install a ducted gas heating system in your house, plan on spending between $2500 and $5,000 all-inclusive. On the other hand, a fully ducted reverse cycle air conditioning unit for the same size home may cost approximately $10,000 to $12,000+.
Gas Ducted Heating Cost
The most popular reason for homeowners to use natural gas instead of electricity is because it is less expensive. However, there are a variety of reasons why individuals choose to heat their homes with gas rather than electricity. The following are the average expenses associated with operating the systems (note that these costs could vary and are only an indication):
– Using electricity to run your air conditioning or any component costs around 30c per kWh
– Using LPG to run your ducted gas heating system costs 17 to 20c per kWh
– Using natural gas usually costs between 11 and 15c per kWh
If you run your heating systems for around 8 hours each day, 365 days per year, that can save you a lot of money on fuel. For example, if you use LPG for heating and cooling for three months (90 days), the cost would be approximately $216 in electricity, from $112.4 with LPG and $79 for natural gas.
How Much does Ducted Heating Cost
There are plenty of other factors that might affect your decision on what type of heating is best for your home. If you have any pets or children then some experts suggest going with electrical power as it’s a safer option overall. Meanwhile, a lot of people tend to prefer hot water systems because there are fewer exhaust fumes being circulated throughout the house, making them ideal for homes with asthma sufferers or older family members who struggle with breathing problems.
- Myth #1: The more vents in your home, the better.
To create a comfortable level of heat throughout your entire home, ducted heating works best when there are vents to distribute warm air evenly. However, many people believe that the more vents you have in your house or apartment, the better. This isn’t true at all, too much air may cool before it reaches each room and causes not enough heat to reach some areas.
- Myth #2: You can save money on your heating bill by turning down the temperature setting
When the mercury drops it’s easy to crank up the heat, but this can be very costly, especially if you’re only at home for part of the day. Most heaters may lose their effectiveness after running continuously for more than four hours, which means that every time you switch them on again they’ll take much longer to reach your desired temperature. If you want to warm your home quickly without racking up your heating bill, try turning down the setting and getting into some warmer clothes instead.
- Myth #3: It’s advised to turn off all electric appliances before bed
Another popular myth is that it’s important to turn off all electric appliances before going to sleep so they don’t consume electricity when not in use. But leaving these appliances on overnight won’t make a significant difference to your heating bill, the only thing that you’re likely to notice is a drop in temperature. If you want to reduce this and keep an air conditioning unit on, go ahead and turn it down before going to sleep.
- Myth #4: Prices for ducted heating systems are ridiculous
The truth about the prices is that they can vary greatly depending on the brand and type of equipment installed in your home, there isn’t one overall price tag for everyone who has them installed. Having said that, the initial investment may provide many years of comfort when compared with other types of heaters such as gas or oil units, so any complaints about their cost could be taken with a grain of salt. Sometimes air conditioning may be much more expensive for heating and cooling while being energy efficient than gas systems.
- Myth #5: Ducted gas heating is expensive to run
One last myth about heating is that they’re expensive to run, but the costs are actually comparable to other types of heaters so deciding on whether or not you could use them depends more on personal preference than cost. Even if electricity prices do go up in the future, this wouldn’t be enough to send their running costs skyrocketing, there are often ways to save money without dramatically reducing the effectiveness of your equipment. For example, using a ducted gas heater may normally provide better results at a similar cost as an electric system. Heat Pumps and Air conditioning also have low running costs but do have higher installation costs.
Is a Gas Ducted Heating System Energy Efficient?
From an energy efficiency perspective, the best type of heating is one that responds quickly and heats your home evenly. Gas and heat pump systems both work quickly to change the temperature in your house, while electric systems take longer because it takes time for their motors to reach full speed. Heat pumps produce a more even level of heat throughout your home too, which isn’t possible with oil or LPG units that could get extremely hot in some areas and cold in others.
Installation costs of ducted heating systems can vary greatly depending on whether you have central heating installed inside the walls of your home or underfloor heating laid out across it. The latter is much more expensive than if you were to use ducts and vents so if you want something effective, you could consider gas units.