As tomorrow marks the first day of winter, it’s time to consider your home heating options. With electricity prices on the rise the right decision could save you money and reduce your energy use.
CHOICE has looked at the three main types of heaters:
The best option will depend on a few things, including whether you’ve got gas connected, how big the space you want to heat is and how often you’re going to use the heater (for just brief periods or hours at a time). Here's the rundown:
Reverse-cycle air conditioners
- These will be more expensive to buy than a small electric heater, but very effective in terms of the power they use compared to the heat they generate.
- Very good if you’ve got a larger space, like an open-plan living area.
- If you have gas in your area, these can be very efficient and good value for money.
- There are two types – flued and unflued. Flued are more expensive to install and slightly less efficient, but unflued can present issues with fumes so they are subject to regulations and you need to ventilate them.
- For heating smaller spaces, when you’re going to leave a heater on all day, gas is likely to be much cheaper than a portable electric heater.
Portable electric heaters
- Cheaper to buy, and a good option if you’re not using them in large spaces or for long periods.
- Ensure you get the right size for the space you are looking to heat – you can use CHOICE’s home heating calculator.
- When comparing, it’s not about the amount of heat they generate - it’s about what they do with it. That's why our testers look for things such as how they distribute the heat (do they have a fan; if so, how good is it?), whether they have a thermostat or timer, and how simple the controls are.
- Our advice is insulate, then calculate – so insulate your ceiling, draught-proof windows and doors, cover windows at night, and close the doors between heated and unheated areas.
- Don’t heat rooms to tropical temperatures; for example, try 20 degrees instead of 23 degrees. Each degree less will save about 10% on your energy use.
- Only heat the rooms you’re actually using.
- Hot air rises to the ceiling, so if you have a ceiling fan with a reverse-direction option, consider using it at a low speed to help circulate the hot air more evenly through the room without creating a downward breeze.