Australian homes averagely consume about 40% of energy on heating and cooling excluding hot
water heating. The long winters will necessitate use of room heaters for longer periods of time. It
is therefore paramount to identify the most cost effective heating solutions for various needs.
You may need to ask yourself, What is the size of the room you are trying to heat? What is the
average duration you will need to turn your heater on?
Portable heaters or Electric heaters
The maximum size of heater that can be plugged in to the standard Australian 3-pin power socket
is 2400 watts. Depending on the cost of electricity from your supplier, the electric heater running
costs will solely depend on the number of hours you run the heater. Further saving may be
achieved by using a thermostat to regulate the temperature at desired levels by turning on and off
the heater accordingly. We would only in a pinch recommend this option. Preferring an installed reverse cycle or ducted
systems as they are far more effective in keeping you comfortable.
The ceramic disc fan heaters are usually more expensive to purchase but will offer an
improvement of 40% energy to heat conversion over the ordinary wire heaters. They offer more
efficiency and safety when heating small areas and particularly where kids are involved. The
thermostat control ensures the heater is turned off when the desired temperature is achieved and
on again when the temperature drops.
Reverse-cycle air conditioners and Ducted Heating systems
These models of electric heaters may be more expensive to purchase as compared to small
electric heaters, but very efficient in terms power consumption. The heat they generate is much
more effective in comparison to the energy consumed. They are therefore commonly preferred
for large living spaces like open plan homes, office buildings and class rooms.
Micathermic Panel Heaters
Micathermic panel heaters use the mineral mica to heat up the air. The panel acts instantly to
heat up air within the room making the occupants feel warmth and comfort. They have adjustable
thermostats that help to maintain the temperatures at desired levels. They are highly preferred by
many home owners due to the high energy efficiency especially when heating medium sized
rooms for longer periods of time. Each room will typically take about 30-60 minutes to warm up
to the optimum temperatures of 20 degrees Celsius. From here, the thermostat takes charge and
minimal energy is consumed in maintaining the temperatures.
If you have a gas supply in your area, these heaters can offer high efficiency and great value for
They come in two forms namely flued and unflued. Flued type has fumes redirected outside the
room through a pipe, while the unflued type has fumes being pushed out to the room. Flued
models are slightly less efficient and more expensive to fit, but unflued models give better
efficiencies but with added downside. They can give rise to issues with fumes and moisture
being expelled, hence are subject to regulations. The rooms will also need to be properly
If you’re likely to leave a heater running all day, gas will provide a cheaper model than portable
electric heaters. However, as solar power gets more accessible and the overall cost of electricity
reducing, this may not always be the case.