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Thinking about heating and cooling appliances when renovating the home takes some research especially with the many varieties on the current market. Most renovating is done during the summer months, so heating the home for the winter can easily be overlooked. There are different ways to heat the home that will yield effectiveness, energy efficiency and be cost efficient. With careful planning you will not need to compromise on any of these factors.

Reverse Cycle Air-conditioning

reverse cycle air conditioningReverse Cycle Air-conditioning is the cheapest form of heating for your house and with proper window insulation, roof insulation and plugging up of the gaps to stop drafts, it is still the cleanest and best way to get your whole house warm quickly and efficiently with out mess.

According to the Australian Greenhouse Office as part of the Department of Environment and Heritage, starting off with passive design principles in the home, or building envelope, reduces the need for heating, and makes heating more energy efficient. This includes adequate insulation of the walls and roof, double glazing windows, letting sun in during the day, and closing blinds or curtains at night. When deciding on what kind of heater you need for your home, consider the size of the rooms you will be heating, and whether you will heat every room or just a few.

Be aware of the illusive salesman ready to sell you a Reverse Cycle Air-conditioning unit. Generally, you will be asked the size of the area to be heated, and will be given a text book estimation of what size of air-conditioner you will need, at a very expensive cost. Rather than rely on the sales person, it pays to have a air-conditioning contractor come to the home who can offer the right kind of advice.

The Victorian Govt has handy tips ... more HERE

Gas Heaters

heatersGas heaters produce only one third of the amount of green-house gases as electric heaters. However, gas heaters can affect indoor air quality due to the release of carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide.

Ensure your home is ventilated to enable fresh air to circulate inside the house. In winter, open windows during the warmest part of the day.

High efficiency natural gas heaters release the least greenhouse gases, and also have the lowest running cost, out of all space heating options.

High efficiency natural gas heaters release the least greenhouse gases, and also have the lowest running cost, out of all space heating options. Of course flued heaters are the best option, but sometimes are not possible. Unfluted gas heaters can create condensation problems, so take care that mould growth does not occur.

Wood heating

Wood heating is another option, used by approximately 20 per cent of homes in Australia. It is a renewable energy source, if it is obtained properly, but most homes use wood from unsustainable sources. Wood heating also produces the most amount of pollution. Be careful not to use green or treated timbers and burn wood in high efficiency heaters.

Open fireplaces are the least efficient heaters, with 90 per cent of the heat going up the chimney. Slow combustion heaters and stoves are the best option, as long as they comply with AS 4013 for flue gas emissions.

Central heating systems

The efficiency of central heating systems is difficult to ascertain, as their effectiveness depends on the specifications of the home in which they operate. They can be a waste of energy if heating space in the house which is not used. However they can be more effective than space heaters, such as a portable fan heater, as they can redistribute hot air, and heat an entire room more quickly.

Fireplace style heater

The appearance and comfort of a fireplace style heater is something that may be desired by a lot of households, but is incompatible with a modern home, as well as being an inefficient heater. One brand of heating solutions is Designer Fires who have both natural gas and wood burning fire products for the modern home. Their products are glass open fires, which mean that the flames are visible through the glass, and the heat is transmitted through glass surfaces instead if being lost through brickwork. They have several types; a wall mounted fire, a wall fire between two rooms, a fire in the corner of a room, and also a freestanding fire which can be seen on all sides. There is also a product which has natural gas flames that appears to be burning on pebbles in the bottom of the fireplace. This is a design feature which is now a popular option in modern homes, which still has the appearance of a fireplace, but without the by-products of a wood fire such as ash and smoke. Designer Fires have variations in design, to fit into the existing living space.

If you are still stuck with what kind of heater to use, then check out the Australian Consumers' Association website.

They have a great online calculator which helps you estimate what size heater you might need according to the specifications of your home.