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Active Heating 2017-05-25T23:53:41+00:00


Even with keeping active, dressing in layers, and reducing thermal leaks in your building, you will probably choose to use gas or electricity to heat the air in your home in winter to live comfortably.



Reverse cycle air conditioners are a far more efficient way to heat the air in your home compared to an electric heater, such as a fan heater or an oil column heater. For the same heat output, an air conditioner will be 2.5 to 6 times more efficient than an electric heater (see the table below).

Air conditioners are more expensive up front and may not be worth the cost if you do not use very much heating. However if you used a heater for more than 6 hours a day for 3 months each year, an air conditioner would pay itself back in around 6 years.

Reverse cycle air conditioners heat the air, but can also create airflow that feels cooler for the same air temperature. If it feels cold, try reducing the fan speed or redirecting the air outlet.

Electric heaters do not have a star rating system because they all have similar low performance compared to reverse cycle air conditioners and gas heaters. Electric fan heaters are very cheap to buy and can be effective for taking the chill out of the air in a small room, but use a lot of electricity to heat large rooms.

Electric radiators feel good for direct instant warmth on the skin, but will also warm up the walls and furniture rather than the air around you. Sitting directly in front of a radiator can be an effective way of achieving personal warmth in a large room without needing to heat all the air in the room.

Gas heaters are much more efficient than electric heaters but less efficient than modern high efficiency air conditioners. Many people prefer the feel of gas heaters because of the warm radiated heat onto the skin and because they increase moisture in the air, which helps you feel warmer at the same temperature.

However gas heaters also remove oxygen from the indoor air and produce carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, so un-flued (portable) gas heaters require fresh air ventilation for health and safety. This creates a thermal leak to the outside, which makes them less efficient.