Australia has some cold extremities (we're thinking of you, Tasmania!), but it gets chilly just about everywhere and you need to know the best way to heat things up so your home is comfortable all year round.

...without drowning in bills

When the cold really hits in winter, you need to find a middle ground between having a home that's cosy but a resulting energy bill that won't send you broke. If you plan in a purposeful way, using our guide, you'll be able to heat your home using the least amount of power but with maximum effectiveness.

All those heated family get-togethers really will be heated, but at least you won't be arguing about the energy bill!

The different types of heating

The main types of heater include, electric heaters, gas heaters and reverse-cycle air conditioners. The best option for you is dependent on a couple of factors. Let's take a look:

Electric heaters

They are portable, cheaper to buy, and a good option if you're not using them in large spaces or for long periods.

Good for: heating small spaces, or individual people.

Gas heaters

If you have gas in your area, these can be very efficient and good value for money.

There are two types – flued (fumes redirected outside through a pipe) and unflued (fumes pushed out into the room). Flued are more expensive to install and slightly less efficient, but unflued can present issues with the fumes they expel, so they are subject to regulations and you need to ventilate them.

If you're going to leave a heater on all day, gas is likely to be much cheaper than a portable electric heater.

Good for: heating smaller to medium-sized spaces.

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.

Good for: a larger space, like an open-plan living area.

Insulate, then calculate!

Ensure you get the right size for the space you are looking to heat.

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. Once you've done that, you can use our calculator to get the most from your heating.

How to keep it cheap

  • 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.