Looking for the most cost-effective option for heating your home this winter? Gas heating and reverse cycle heating are two of the most popular options in Australia. But which is the most affordable and effective overall?
Our guide takes you through the differences between reverse cycle heating and gas heating, compares heating costs, heating efficiency, and provides a helpful guide to help you decide which option is best for your home and family.
Reverse Cycle Air Conditioning vs Gas Heating
A reverse cycle air conditioner is a specially-designed air conditioner that is capable of both heating and cooling your home. Also known as a heat pump, it extracts heat from the outside air and transfers it inside. In contrast, gas heaters use the radiant method of heating, or gas combustion, to create a flame that heats the air.
A gas heater creates heat energy, while a reverse cycle air conditioner absorbs heat from the outside air to warm the air inside. The latter method is ultimately much more energy efficient.
Reverse cycle air conditioning is one of the most budget-friendly methods of heating or cooling your home. They can perform both functions, cancelling the need to buy an air conditioner and heater separately.
Since reverse cycle air conditioners do not have exposed elements, they are a 100% safe way to generate heat. Gas heating requires routine servicing to ensure safety and health.
Reverse cycle air conditioners tend to run less efficiently in cold weather and regions. In contrast, gas heaters tend to run more efficiently as they are not impacted by outside air temperatures. If you live in a place with mild winters, such as Queensland, this is less of a concern.
Reverse cycle air conditioners have a lifespan of up to 20 years.
Gas heaters can warm a space much more quickly than a reverse cycle air conditioner.
#6 Energy efficiency
Efficient for both heating and cooling, reverse cycle air conditioners become more efficient in terms of energy consumption and cost with time. One kilowatt of electricity consumed will typically create three or more kilowatts of heating or cooling energy.
If you’re seeking to buy an energy-efficient reverse cycle air conditioner for your home, remember to consider both the star rating and the size of the space to be air-conditioned. Here’s a rough outline of the recommended air conditioner capacity to cool or heat different room sizes.
- Between 20-40 square metres: 2.7 – 5.4kW
- Between 40-60 square metres: 5.4 – 9. 6kW
- Between 60-80 square metres: 9.6 – 11kW
- Between 80+ square metres: 11kW
#7 Adaptability and flexibility
Many reverse cycle air conditioners come equipped with thermostats and advanced inverter technology to easily adapt the temperature and humidity of the room.
Some reverse cycle air conditioners come with an inbuilt air-purifying filter to purify and dehumidify the air. This filter is designed to trap airborne particles, neutralise odours, and deactivate bacteria and viruses. These benefits make reverse cycle air conditioners ideal for households that experience asthma and hayfever.
Reverse cycle air conditioners are much more environmentally-friendly than gas and electric heaters, producing two-thirds less the amount of greenhouse gas emissions.
Reverse Cycle Vs Gas: Heating Cost Comparison
On average, a reverse cycle air conditioner costs about $0.13-$0.36 per hour to heat your home and $0.25-$0.35 per hour to cool it, compared to $0.36-$0.43 per hour for an electric heater (which does not offer a cooling capability). The most expensive option, portable electric heaters, typically cost $0.60 per hour to run. If you’re intending to leave your heater on all day, a gas heater may be cheaper to run than a portable electric heater, though likely not as affordable as a reverse cycle air conditioner.
Here’s a more in-depth guide on how to calculate the best heating option for you:
Gas heater: Calculating heating costs
Step #1: Find out your gas consumption in megajoules per hour (MJ/h).
Step #2: Find your tariff rate by looking at your gas heating bill. Ask your gas provider for this rate if it’s not available on your bill.
Step #3: To calculate your hourly running cost, multiply your gas consumption by the tariff rate.
Step #4: To calculate the daily running cost of your gas heater, multiply the hourly running cost by the average number of hours per day you use it.
Reverse cycle air conditioner: Calculating heating costs
Step #1: Discover your air conditioner’s input power in kW.
Step #2: Check your bill for your energy tariff rate. This should be provided as per units of electricity.
Step #3: Multiply your input power by the energy tariff to obtain an hourly running cost.
Step #4: To calculate a daily rate, multiply the hourly running cost by the average number of hours you use your gas heater.
Use these two daily rate calculations to determine which heating system is more suited and affordable for your needs.
Final Thoughts: Reverse Cycle Air Conditioning vs Gas Heating
Reverse cycle air conditioning is designed to help ease your electricity bills in both winter and summer. They offer several benefits over gas heating in terms of affordability, safety, energy efficiency, flexibility, air purification and eco-friendliness.
For assistance with installing or maintaining a reverse cycle air conditioner, get in touch with H&H Air Conditioning on (07) 3276 1800 (Brisbane) or (07) 5477 1777 (Sunshine Coast).