What is the cheapest way of heating your home in winter?

Choice compares the costs of heating methods.

Choice compares the costs of heating methods. Getty Images

The dire reports of surging energy prices hit home the moment you tear open you energy bill and discover a jaw-dropping cost increase.

It’s no wonder Australians are growing increasingly disillusioned with the energy sector’s ability to meet their needs.

Choice has compared the costs of various heating methods and provided advice to cut those bills.

Air conditioning

Reverse-cycle air conditioning offers the most cost-effective heating option.

However, the initial investment in air conditioning is substantial, and installation time must be considered. The average cost for a new split-system air conditioner ranges from $600 to $5,500, and add on installation fees costing hundreds of dollars.

These are the best heaters when it comes to electricity costs. Photo: Shutterstock

Gas heating

Gas heating is the next cheapest option.

But gas heaters aren’t suitable for everyone – you’ll need to have gas already connected or set up an LPG system for your heater.

They can’t be installed in bedrooms and confined spaces like bathrooms, and some require a flue to vent outside your house.

Costs range from $500 to $1,400, with regular servicing fees.

But it’s worth keeping in mind that gas prices are on the rise, and potential health and safety hazards accompany gas heating.

Portable electric heating

Electric heaters provide an accessible alternative to installing air con.

Portable electric heaters are affordable, widely available, and do not require installation. These heaters are perfect for small spaces and temporary usage.

But portable electric heaters are not nearly as energy efficient as a split-system air conditioner and can get expensive. You’ll likely see a rise in your energy bills, particularly if you’re running multiple heaters in different rooms.


For many people heating is becoming unaffordable. Photo: Getty

Comparing different heaters

The cost of heating varies according to factors such as climate, room size, and insulation.

Here’s a comparison of various heating options for a small room:

Air conditioner
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries SRK25ZSXA-W reverse cycle air conditioner
Initial cost: $1,273 (plus installation)
Winter running costs: $163* (annual running cost: $306)

Gas heater
Rinnai Dynamo 15 portable gas heater
Initial cost: $1,099
Winter running costs: $237.50*

Portable electric heater
Dimplex DHCERA20E tower (ceramic) electric heater
Initial cost: $145
Winter running costs: $308*

*Based on 500 hours of use: Six hours a day for three months, with peak pricing at 30c/kWh.

Keeping costs down

Boosting the temperature in your home while reducing costs can also be achieved by installing proper insulation, sealing drafts, and using curtains and rugs.

Some other methods include using ceiling fans to circulate warm air and using solar panels.

Purchasing heating systems during sales periods and organising air conditioning installations ahead of peak seasons can also lead to savings.

Topics: Heating
Stay informed, daily
A FREE subscription to The New Daily arrives every morning and evening.
The New Daily is a trusted source of national news and information and is provided free for all Australians. Read our editorial charter
Copyright © 2024 The New Daily.
All rights reserved.