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Is air conditioning an energy efficient heating option?

Thankfully southeast Queensland has short, mild winters compared with many areas of Australia but we still have times when the mercury drops and wearing all your clothes becomes impractical. Keeping the chill from your home on cold winter nights can mean a significant investment for a short period of time.

Points such as which areas of the home you need to heat, relevant safety considerations, fuel choices, and energy efficiency all need to be considered when choosing the best heating option for your home and family. In most cases, homeowners will have a budget to work around, so setup and installation cost considerations will come into the decision making too.

There are many home heating options available on the market including:

Choosing which option is right for your specific home design and your family's needs as well as your budget is very important.

Some options just won’t be practical for your situation for instance if you don’t have a natural gas connection installing a fitted natural gas heater probably won’t make your list of possible choices. Having small children in the home could make gas heaters impractical and a safety risk. Retrofitting in-floor heating may not be an option for those in established homes.

Taking out all the obvious unrealistic options should leave you with a couple of choices.

MHIAA Reverse Cycle Air Conditioning


Considering reverse cycle aircon for heating

Split system reverse cycle air conditioning is often an option that homeowners overlook to heat their homes. Some may already have an air conditioner installed but forget about the heating option.

Air conditioning is frequently thought to be an expensive climate control alternative. And it can definitely crank the power bill if you run it 24/7, but if you break it down to a cost per hour, especially for super energy efficient 5, 6, or 7-star rated units, reverse cycle aircon is a very economical heating option for many homes.

Benefits of using air conditioning for heating

  • One appliance for both cooling and heating your home offering year-round climate control. This means a single installation cost and only one unit to service and repair.
  • The cost of running a reverse cycle air conditioner on the heating setting in a small room is around $113 compared with $212 for a gas heater or $312 for a portable electric heater.*
  • Safe for at-risk persons such as children and the elderly - no hot element at floor level, fire risk, or carbon dioxide poisoning danger.
  • Energy efficient - with 5,6 or 7 Star-rated options available.
  • Available fuel source - a standard electricity supply is all you need.
  • Further cost reduction options - solar power can bring down operation costs even more
  • It works quickly - no need to run the unit for extended periods prior to needing it.
  • Versatile - the right-sized aircon can effectively cater for small or large rooms. Speak to your air conditioning technician for advice on the right size unit for the space you wish to heat and cool.
  • Inverter air conditioners provide a variable output which means they don’t work as hard or consume as much energy on milder days.
  • Cost-effective to install - a split system air conditioner is usually a straightforward installation with only two main components, the outdoor condenser and the indoor wall or floor mounted unit.
  • Lower greenhouse gas emissions than power-hungry options such as ducted or electric radiant heaters.
  • Room specific -heat only the areas of your home being used.

If you would like more information on which heating option is right for your home speak to your local licenced electrician or air conditioning technician for advice specific to your home design and your family’s needs.

* Based on 500 hours - electricity price 30c/kW and gas price 3c/MJ.

Ref - https://www.choice.com.au/home-and-living/heating/home-heating/buying-guide/your-guide-to-home-heating, http://www.energyrating.gov.au/products/space-heating-and-cooling/air-conditioners

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