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North to South

Heating a House

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Hi,

It’s my first autumn in Adelaide in my own home and trying to work out what the most cost effective way to heat a home is.  Currently, I have reverse a/c with a heat pump and a gas space heater in the living area but not sure how cost effective these are to run or if there are other options I should look at.

Appreciate any advice on this.

Thanks :)

 

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Funnily enough, a reverse cycle air conditioner is a pretty effective and economical heater.  Just be sure to set it at the temperature you really need.  People are inclined to set it too high, thinking it will heat up faster (it doesn't) and then it gets too warm but by that time they're used to the heat. That wastes an enormous amount of energy.   Try setting it at 21 degrees and don't mess with it!

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Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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We had the reverse cycle a/c heating and I couldn't use it. The air is so horrible and dry it was getting on my chest and drying my skin out. Plus, the heat isn't retained, as soon as you switch it off, it dissipates.

I was planning on getting a wood burner, they're great. Aside that, just normal electric heaters do a job although you need them close to you in open plan houses. And obvs switching them on and off is very manual.

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10 minutes ago, s713 said:

We had the reverse cycle a/c heating and I couldn't use it. The air is so horrible and dry it was getting on my chest and drying my skin out. Plus, the heat isn't retained, as soon as you switch it off, it dissipates.

Surely that has more to do with the room or the house than the heater?   It's true that if you have a wood heater, it stays hot for a long time.  But an electric heater would be just the same as the air con.


Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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1 hour ago, North to South said:

Hi,

It’s my first autumn in Adelaide in my own home and trying to work out what the most cost effective way to heat a home is.  Currently, I have reverse a/c with a heat pump and a gas space heater in the living area but not sure how cost effective these are to run or if there are other options I should look at.

Appreciate any advice on this.

Thanks 🙂

 

I agree with Marissa, reverse cycle is quite cost effective in comparison to electric heaters. We dont use ours all the time through winter, maybe a couple of hours at night and an hour in the morning when its most chilly and i havent really noticed much of an increase in my power bill. We do have solar though.

Up until getting air con a couple of years ago,we had a wood fire and to be honest nothing can beat it for that cosy affect and heating the whole house, but it can be a PITA gathering wood, cleaning the fire out etc. I must have got lazy as this last couple of years ive found it much easier to click the 'on' button on the air con,lol..

 Cal x

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If you don't go after what you want, you'll never have it. If you don't ask, the answer is always no. If you don't step forward, you're always in the same place...

If you get a chance,take it, If it changes your life,let it. Nobody said it would be easy they just said it would be worth it...

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1 hour ago, calNgary said:

Up until getting air con a couple of years ago,we had a wood fire and to be honest nothing can beat it for that cosy affect and heating the whole house, but it can be a PITA gathering wood, cleaning the fire out etc. I must have got lazy as this last couple of years ive found it much easier to click the 'on' button on the air con,lol..

When we first arrived in Australia we house-sat, and the house had a Coonara wood heater.  Fabulous thing.  I always thought if I ever bought a house, I'd definitely install one.

You still have to gather wood (but you can get it delivered to your door!).  But the Coonara is a dream to clean, because it burns so efficiently.  It's just a case of emptying a little tray of ash once a week or so (and that was even though we were using it every day because it was a cold winter).  

The other PITA about a wood fire is having to get it started every day, and that wasn't an issue with the Coonara either.  You just made sure there was a decent pile of embers in it when you were ready for bed, then you closed down the vent.   The embers would die down. Next morning, you could open up the vent again and the embers sprang back into life, and then all you had to do was throw in another log.  

SO cosy!

https://coonara.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/SHAM6532_Coonara-Wood-Heaters-12-19_FA03_DIGITAL.pdf

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Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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Reverse cycle and upgrade all the insulation especially the roof.  Don’t forget the walls and the floor if you’re not on a slab.  Heavy backing curtains behind the decorative ones too. Set temp max 21 but govt recommendation is for 19.5 for max energy efficiency.  

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I second reverse cycle AC. We often run our 2.5kW and 8kW overnight, and used 8kw (8 × $0.25). Our house is extremely poorly insulated. But as stated above, you can time them to run during the coldest time of the night.


IELTS : 13/08/16: W8 S8 L9 R9. Skills Ax sent/Rcvd/granted: 30/08/16, 12/09/16, 10/10/16. AHPRA sent/AIP : 05/09/16, 28/12/16. EoI/invited: 20/1/17, 01/02/17. 189 submitted: 06/02/17, Caseworker: 23/02/17. Medicals: 31/03/17. Grant: 12/04/17. Child 101 submitted: 09/06/17. Granted: 06/07/17. Landed: 01/09/17.

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10 hours ago, Bulya said:

Reverse cycle and upgrade all the insulation especially the roof.  

Totally agree with this, we insulated the roof a few years ago and it makes a lot of difference. 

 Cal x

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If you don't go after what you want, you'll never have it. If you don't ask, the answer is always no. If you don't step forward, you're always in the same place...

If you get a chance,take it, If it changes your life,let it. Nobody said it would be easy they just said it would be worth it...

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1 hour ago, DukeNinja said:

I second reverse cycle AC. We often run our 2.5kW and 8kW overnight, and used 8kw (8 × $0.25). Our house is extremely poorly insulated. But as stated above, you can time them to run during the coldest time of the night.

Easier to fix the insulation.  So many options available.

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15 hours ago, Marisawright said:

When we first arrived in Australia we house-sat, and the house had a Coonara wood heater.  Fabulous thing.  I always thought if I ever bought a house, I'd definitely install one.

You still have to gather wood (but you can get it delivered to your door!).  But the Coonara is a dream to clean, because it burns so efficiently.  It's just a case of emptying a little tray of ash once a week or so (and that was even though we were using it every day because it was a cold winter).  

The other PITA about a wood fire is having to get it started every day, and that wasn't an issue with the Coonara either.  You just made sure there was a decent pile of embers in it when you were ready for bed, then you closed down the vent.   The embers would die down. Next morning, you could open up the vent again and the embers sprang back into life, and then all you had to do was throw in another log.  

SO cosy!

https://coonara.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/SHAM6532_Coonara-Wood-Heaters-12-19_FA03_DIGITAL.pdf

Yup we have a Nectre and its great too. My DH is an urban scavenger so apart from last year when we arrived back from UK and the DS had depleted the wood pile, we havent bought wood in years. We've got enough for probably this winter and next in the pile now.

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3 hours ago, DukeNinja said:

8kw (8 × $0.25)

I meant to say 8hrs x $0.25


IELTS : 13/08/16: W8 S8 L9 R9. Skills Ax sent/Rcvd/granted: 30/08/16, 12/09/16, 10/10/16. AHPRA sent/AIP : 05/09/16, 28/12/16. EoI/invited: 20/1/17, 01/02/17. 189 submitted: 06/02/17, Caseworker: 23/02/17. Medicals: 31/03/17. Grant: 12/04/17. Child 101 submitted: 09/06/17. Granted: 06/07/17. Landed: 01/09/17.

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Insulation is the key. Good insulation and reverse cycle keeps us warm in Adelaide Hills. Wood fires are lovely but hard work and the price of good firewood has gone up. Last winter it was also in short supply. You can’t burn unseasoned wood your neighbours will soon complain if you do.  Some councils are also discouraging use in townships because of the smoke pollution and more dense housing. 
Also you can put a/c on a timer and have the house warm to wake up to, all the rooms not just the core of the house. 


So many wineries ......so little time :yes:

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7 hours ago, Bulya said:

Easier to fix the insulation.  So many options available.

Unless it's asbestos sheeting, which mine is.


IELTS : 13/08/16: W8 S8 L9 R9. Skills Ax sent/Rcvd/granted: 30/08/16, 12/09/16, 10/10/16. AHPRA sent/AIP : 05/09/16, 28/12/16. EoI/invited: 20/1/17, 01/02/17. 189 submitted: 06/02/17, Caseworker: 23/02/17. Medicals: 31/03/17. Grant: 12/04/17. Child 101 submitted: 09/06/17. Granted: 06/07/17. Landed: 01/09/17.

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12 years in and we're still plugging in expensive electric heaters every winter in our poorly insulated house. Next house, wood burner, I really dislike the heat from reverse cycle, very dry and feels unhealthy. That's just me. Oooh actually I discovered heated blankets last year and they are AMAZING. 

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Yes the air can be dry but tbh we don’t need it on very much.  The sun heats the main room in winter when the sun is low and once warm the house stays warm so maybe an hour in the morning and an hour at night does it. We are in most of the day too.

Again insulate as much as you can. Even just putting extra batts in the roof space can make a huge difference 

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So many wineries ......so little time :yes:

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Fires are nice but if you are susceptible to asthma they are terrible.


I want it all, and I want it now.

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Our house is well insulated and husband made sure it's draught proof.  The wood burner heats the whole house and it's easy to maintain.  We also have double glazing which helps.  

Nice mild day today so I've got the back and front doors wide open and no wood burner necessary.  We will put on an electric room heater this evening.  The solar pays for the electric bill!  This is the room heater we use.  It has a timer and a thermostat.  The wood heater will go on when it's much colder.

 

heater.jpg

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3 hours ago, rammygirl said:

Yes the air can be dry but tbh we don’t need it on very much.  The sun heats the main room in winter when the sun is low and once warm the house stays warm so maybe an hour in the morning and an hour at night does it. We are in most of the day too.

Again insulate as much as you can. Even just putting extra batts in the roof space can make a huge difference 

We have designed our new house with solar passive principles in mind so should fare a little better. In our existing home we had no choice as bought what we could afford. Our main living is west facing. Freezing in winter and roasting in summer. Zero insulation. 

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We have gas ducted heating and it's too noisy. There's a lag between it cutting out or coming on at the right temperature and I'm forever fiddling with the control panel to override it. My ideal heating would be the type they embed in the slab, not sure what it's called. That or the radiators I grew up with.

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36 minutes ago, Melbpom said:

We have gas ducted heating and it's too noisy. There's a lag between it cutting out or coming on at the right temperature and I'm forever fiddling with the control panel to override it. My ideal heating would be the type they embed in the slab, not sure what it's called. That or the radiators I grew up with.

It might need a service. I don't have those issues. Mind you my system is only 3 or 4 years old.


I want it all, and I want it now.

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6 minutes ago, Parley said:

It might need a service. I don't have those issues. Mind you my system is only 3 or 4 years old.

The heating unit is only 12 to 18 months old. I've recently bought the house and couldn't get the heating working so replaced the unit. Doesn't help that the house is on a slope so there's a large gap under the wooden floors and of course there's no insulation. I think the issue is more that I just don't like gas ducted heating.

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Just now, Melbpom said:

The heating unit is only 12 to 18 months old. I've recently bought the house and couldn't get the heating working so replaced the unit. Doesn't help that the house is on a slope so there's a large gap under the wooden floors and of course there's no insulation. I think the issue is more that I just don't like gas ducted heating.

My mum had the electric heating in the floor in her unit. I didn't like it.

It took 24 hours to kick in and any adjustments take hours or a day to be noticeable. She had her place so hot in winter i didn't like it.

Gas is instant and can be adjusted quickly, and it can be switched off when you are out..


I want it all, and I want it now.

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1 hour ago, Parley said:

My mum had the electric heating in the floor in her unit. I didn't like it.

It took 24 hours to kick in and any adjustments take hours or a day to be noticeable. She had her place so hot in winter i didn't like it.

Gas is instant and can be adjusted quickly, and it can be switched off when you are out..

Now that you mention it, my gran had underfloor heating and for some reason she never used it. That was years ago so I don't know why, maybe cost or as you say, too difficult to control.

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On 21/04/2021 at 17:29, s713 said:

We had the reverse cycle a/c heating and I couldn't use it. The air is so horrible and dry it was getting on my chest and drying my skin out. Plus, the heat isn't retained, as soon as you switch it off, it dissipates.

I was planning on getting a wood burner, they're great. Aside that, just normal electric heaters do a job although you need them close to you in open plan houses. And obvs switching them on and off is very manual.

We have a wood burner, which I love, heats the whole house and is a really nice cosy heat. Bad for the environment though and a bit expensive, unless you can get cheap wood. 

My wife doesn't like the messing around though, the reverse cycle aircon has made us lazy. Considering the short periods we use it it's not that expensive, probably the best and cheapest option.

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