When deciding between an electric or gas heater, the best option for heating your home is dependent on a number of factors. Find out the best uses for fan and radiant electric heaters, wall and ducted gas heating and tips on saving on your energy bills.
Electric heaters are cheaper to buy up front and offer both portable and fixed installation options. Electric heaters are good when a large installation is not feasible or not within your budget.
Electric heaters are ideal for heating small spaces or provide direct heating to individual people. Portable electric heaters generally come in two types. Electric fan heaters and electric radiant heaters.
Portable electric fan heaters work best for small rooms with low ceilings. If you want to use electric heating in a large room or room with high ceilings then the best option is electric radiant heaters.
Split system air conditioners are electric and provide both heating and cooling. Unlike portable electric heaters which work by heating coils and are expensive to run, split system air conditioners can provide heating and air conditioning at a relatively efficient cost. However, split systems generally have a similar install cost as gas ducted heating and can only heat from the one room where the air conditioner head is located.
Gas heaters can be a 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.
Gas wall heaters are cheaper to install and will heat the room in which they are located very well. Gas wall heaters are good for heating smaller to medium-sized spaces.
Gas ducted heating, while costing more upfront for installation the price is still very affordable and overall is the cheapest and most cost-effective method for whole home heating.
Note: It is important to have gas heater service every 1-2 years as a faulty gas heater can emit carbon monoxide which can be deadly.
Things to remember when choosing gas or electricity
- Electric heaters are generally less efficient than gas heaters
- Gas heaters are generally significantly cheaper to run and much better at whole home heating.
- Electric fan heaters are best for small rooms with low ceilings
- Electric radiant heaters work best in large rooms and rooms with high ceilings. Although will only heat a direct line of sight area.
- Split system air conditioning can heat your home efficiently and is the cheapest electric heating option, but has the drawback of only heating from the room with the split system head.
6 Tips to reduce your heating bills
- Don't heat rooms to excessive temperatures. Try 20 degrees instead of 23 degrees. Every 1 degree will save about 10% on your energy use.
- Only heat the rooms you're actually using.
- Hot air rises to the ceiling, so small electric fan heaters will not work efficiently and be very expensive to operate
- Ensure you get the right size for the space you are looking to heat.
- Ensure your home is insulated, draught-proof windows and doors, close your blinds at night, and shut the doors between heated and unheated areas.
- Having your heater service regularly will increase the efficiency of your unit and help keep your heating bill down.