The Ultimate Guide to Heating your Home

It’s getting to that time of year again where the winter coats are being dusted off and hot chocolate is back on the menu. Read our advice on how to keep your home warm this winter, including some tips to save energy and money.

Do you have a winter warmer tip you can share? Please post it in the comments below.


In regards to heaters i bought a ceramic heater only a small one but i find the bad deal with them specially when i went to only just use it right now is dust has collected in between the fan and the part that heats up.I have tried to vacuum front and back of the heater with no luck of getting the dust out where it collects. Just my opinion about these choice is it is a bad design as the dust collects and the fan cannot push the hot air through to heat efficiently enough. When i purchased it originally seemed fine but the dust gets caught where part of the heating fins are. I think i will buy a column heater as that worked quite well the last time i had one. I dont have a huge amount of area to heat something cost effective. Thumbs down to all those ceramic heaters i wont buy another one ever again due to poor design and not being able to adequately clean between the fan and the heating part.Designers need to rethink about making them easier to clean.The only way to clean it properly is unscrew the back cover which i suppose i should not attempt as it it may damage it and i am not returning it for a service. Be aware everybody about ceramic heaters not worth it.


I don’t know if this is beyond the scope of a “tip” but I will pass on some valuable advice given to me by a sparky/refrigeration friend doing some work at my home. We have a reverse cycle ducted system with usual ceiling vents and return. He said to force the return air to floor level before it enters the return grille. In our case the return grille is in the bedroom hallway so we installed a vent in the bottom of the hallway door and close the door when the heating is on. Wow does it make a difference.

I used a multi sensor datalogger to see air temperature profiles when heating. With the door open it
appears air is heated in a distinct layer from ceiling to about 100mm below the top of the doorway and just keeps cycling and increasing the differential between cold air below and warm/hot air above. With the door closed it forces the differential layer close to the floor and makes the living area feel warmer faster.


Great tip @Geoff2, thanks for sharing :thumbsup:.

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Winter is on the way, here are some tips to keep warm:

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Electric heater vs air conditioner - which is cheaper? Find out below:


For those who rent their current abode rather than own, here are our heating picks:


You could also if moving to a new rental try to find a house with either ducted or Split systems to the rooms you want the heating in. More and more rentals are starting to come with at least 1 split system (normally the main bedroom). The other ideas in the article at least give some hope of warmth in colder weather.

Can portable reverse cycle A/c’s work to a renters advantage? Are they cost effective? Are they effective as heaters and/or coolers?

Are the in Window types worthwhile? Have they been tested?

They are expensive but if effective and efficient maybe worth the outlay?? (You can always take them with you to your next abode)


The (2.7 kw)

or (3.9 kw)

or the (6 kw)

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With a cold front predicted to be incoming in some areas, these tips can help you stay warm:


Up here in the Deep North, we have a very simple and totally free way to keep warm in winter.

Just don’t turn the aircons on.



One thing forgotten, while not something one does to their house but themselves, is to put on another layer of clothing. This might reduce the amount of heating required to keep warm.


I just got the latest issue of the magazine and need to add to @ChrisBarnes comments on hydronic systems.

In categorising heating systems he describes hydronic systems as being powered by heat pumps. Heat pumps may be best practice in these times but there are many installations, old and possibly new, using gas fired high efficiency boilers.

I found this relevant report about upgrading a gas fired system to a heat pump.

As a point of comparison for costs my now 22 year old 35KW gas fired boiler would cost about $6,000 all up to replace with a new gas boiler. Running costs in Melbourne are admittedly not cheap; the system is not zoned and whole of house comfort is the tradeoff. With our single story open floor plan for the living area any benefit of zoning would be questionable. My best estimate is the hydronic boiler system costs about $1,200 p.a. in incremental gas costs above the gas storage hot water and gas cooktop.

We have a PV system that works a treat on nice days, but in NE Melbourne it can be perverse. When we turn on the dishwasher or dryer or oven the clouds seem to synchronise so most of the power is from the grid as often as not. As soon as the cycle ends the clouds vanish :frowning: Thus supplying a heat pump might or might not be as effective as it would further north or even to the west in Melbourne. We are on the foothills that are about as cloudy as Melbourne gets, on average.


Thanks @PhilT. I assume you’re referring to my reply in “Ask the Experts” in the August issue. I focused on the heat pump hydronic option there because the member seemed keen to move to an electric system. But you’re right, a modern gas boiler is another option for such a system, and anyone looking into hydronic heating would be well-advised to consider all the options to see what best suits their home and budget. (Also - the weather in Melbourne can be perverse? I didn’t know that! :slight_smile: Sorry, as a Sydneysider I couldn’t resist.)


Definitely great advice, when we looked at installing hydronic heating in our home. Recycling the wood stove and hot water boiler worker out the winner.

This comment on the grid sourced electrical demands of the ReNew project are also enlightening.
In June, daily energy drawn from the grid for heating has been up to 20 kWh on weekdays and up to 30 kWh on weekends, plus some input from solar PV.

160kWh of electricity required on top of solar PV consumption. Renew did not offer an operating cost comparison or payback assessment of the conversion. Heating after the conversion to electric $40 per week at $0.25 /kWh plus or minus?

Heating costs using a gas boiler a little higher? It’s possible to estimate the actual heat energy delivered by the new system and convert to a gas equivalent. If it was a financial success ReNew has missed the opportunity to promote that outcome. In respect of carbon footprint it is also likely both a gas system and the electric heat pump options deliver similar outcomes, due to the GHG Emissions from the NEG. ReNew also avoided that comparison. The heat pump project is promoted it as an upgrade. It included a number of additional items including splitting zones and insulating the under house distribution pipework which would also benefit an existing gas boiler system in the same household.

Of lesser interest to some, the electrical demands of the heat pump replacement are well beyond that of any average solar PV system. Looking at our slightly sunnier SE Qld home the nominal 5kW solar PV averages around 100kWh per week total output in Winter. For those wonderful winters in Victoria the BOM data suggests averages of around half that output. That’s before anyone considers the load demand reported by ReNew is when the sun does not shine as @PhilT pointed out.

There’s nothing wrong with heat pump solutions in principle. Just as there is nothing wrong with choosing an Audi e-TRON over a Hyundai Kona various model options. Both will meet the needs of the average user.