Whether you’re in the market for a heating and cooling system for your new build home or looking to retrofit a solution in your existing property, researching to find the best heating and cooling systems for your home, lifestyle and climate is paramount.
Climate control in Australian homes uses the highest amount of energy, clocking in at approximately 40% of total household energy use. This fact alone demonstrates why making a sound system choice is important.
What is ‘best’ for one home and its occupants might not fly for another, so let’s start by looking at the pros and cons of the different heating and cooling systems on the market.
In this article we’ll look at:
- Ducted Heating and Cooling
- Hydronic Heating and Cooling
- Electric Heating
- Gas Heating
- Is it worth insulating your home?
Ducted Heating and Cooling
Running on gas or electricity, ducted systems can be installed into new properties or retrofitted into existing homes, with the option to have a setup that provides both heating and cooling.
While initially cheaper to purchase and install than other systems on the market, ducted heating and cooling presents a few challenges. Namely, as it is fan forced, dust, pollen, mold spores and any other airborne pollutants are circulated through the ducts and your home. Not great news for anyone’s respiratory health, particularly allergy and asthma sufferers. They can also be slightly noisier when operating, depending on your system and installation. As well as this, the ongoing running costs are often higher, and maintenance is also a consideration with duct cleaning and system inspections of the boiler if running on gas.
In addition to health impacts, the inevitable buildup of dust in ducts can present a fire hazard and regular cleaning by a professional is required to keep your system running effectively and safely. So, it’s a higher maintenance option in this regard.
Design wise this solution is discreet as it is installed within the roof and the unit itself either wall mounted or via vents in the floors.
While ducted heating is well known in Australia, it is worth comparing ducted heating and cooling to hydronic heating and cooling to see which is the best option for your needs.
Hydronic Heating and Cooling
A relatively new kid on the Australian climate control scene is hydronic heating and cooling.
Gently warming objects within a space rather than air, hydronic heating uses natural thermal convection, where water is heated by a boiler or air-to-water heat pump and then circulated through a sealed piping system to heat your home.
The healthiest option for home climate control, hydronic systems run silently with radiant heat not relying on fan force. The air temperature is consistent and comfortable and not dry as commonly occurs with ducted systems.
Hydronic heating and cooling products integrate seamlessly into any home design with options including in floor trench heating for properties with floor to ceiling window facades, underfloor heating and wall mounted radiators, with many options for using the designer radiator products which are design features in themselves.
Those who have heard of hydronic heating systems often only consider it as a heating solution, when in reality hydronic systems can also provide effective and efficient cooling for your home.
While initially a higher investment to install, hydronic heating and cooling systems are 35% more cost effective to run than ducted systems. They can also have a ‘thermal efficiency’ of up to 90%, compared to air forced options, which can hover at around 50% or less.
Less energy efficient and more costly to run, electric heating does have some perks compared to gas run systems, namely that it doesn’t produce carbon monoxide which can be problematic if your home isn’t kept adequately ventilated.
It isn’t all doom and gloom with electricity though – especially if you’re looking at which are low maintenance as they don’t need to be bled or balanced. When it comes to electric radiators, 100 percent of the energy used is converted to heat, zero wasted.
Substantially cheaper than electricity (up to a whopping 40% less), gas is a very popular energy source option for home heating.
Both ducted and hydronic systems can run on gas, in addition there are also space heaters and log fire gas heaters. The latter two are much more efficient than their electric counterparts but do require regular servicing by a licensed gas fitter to ensure there aren’t any leaks or other health and safety issues.
Traditional gas heating is hugely popular with Australian homeowners and it is worth comparing gas heating with hydronic heating, which can offer additional benefits.
Is It Worth Insulating Your Home?
Insulation creates a barrier and is vital if you want to keep your home cool in the warmer months and cozy in Winter. Whichever heating and cooling system option you select, adequate home insulation will provide increased energy efficiency, resulting in reduced bills and greenhouse gas emissions and optimal performance from your system.
Which Heating and Cooling System Is Best?
While lower purchase and installation costs might attract you to certain solutions, it is wise to look at the longer term and to consider ongoing expenses such as running costs, maintenance and projected product lifespan.
If your priority is lower running costs, increased health and safety benefits, reduced environmental impact and flexible installation options, then hydronic heating and cooling systems are without a doubt worthy of your consideration.
Hunt heating has over 30 years’ experience with providing top quality hydronic heating and cooling systems to Australian homeowners and can advise on the best solutions to suit your property and lifestyle.
Get in touch with the team today to discover what’s possible for cost effective climate control in your home.