With temperatures touching 27°C today here in Brisbane, it might seem a little ridiculous of me to start talking about central heating in Australia. But elsewhere around the country both Adelaide and Melbourne have had their coldest July in 20 years and Hobart is covered in a blanket of snow right now…
— ABC News Tasmania (@abcnewsTas) August 3, 2015
So, whether you need central heating or not largely depends on whereabouts in Australia you’re going to live, but I can assure you that even here in Brisbane it does get substantially colder when the sun goes down. So some form of heating in the house is a very good idea, even in Brisbane and many places further north.
Heating usage in Australia
Being from Brisbane though, as I am, I’m not all that up on the various choices for heating your home, so I’ve had to rely on research on the subject of which there is precious little.
Here’s what I did find out:
- 77% of dwellings across all of Australia have some kind of heating
- Non-ducted gas heating is the most popular at 26%
- Next is reverse cycle split system air conditioning at 18%
- Around 13% use a heater for less than one month a year
- Between 25 and 30% use a heater for one month to less than three months
- Almost 45% use a heater for between three and six months
- Slightly more than 10% use a heater for six months or more
For the record, I have ducted reverse cycle air-conditioning and use it between one and three months of each year. It is a modern system, I only had it fitted about a year ago to replace the 25-year-old unit we inherited with the house.
The outdoor unit…
And an indoor duct…
It’s hugely efficient, the first hour probably costs around 60 cents as it warms up the house from cold, and then it seems to tick over at between 30 to 35 cents an hour after that. It’s not a stuffy heat either; it’s very comfortable to be in.
Of course, the same system gets around five weeks of use in the summer as an air conditioner to help us get through those sticky humid nights.
Heating choices in Australia
The main forms of heating used across Australia include:
- Electric heating, including portable heaters
- LPG gas non-ducted heating
- Mains gas ducted heating
- Mains gas non-ducted heating
- Reverse cycle ducted heating
- Reverse cycle non-ducted heating
- Wood heating, both open and closed
Here’s what wood heating, both open and closed, can look like. First, open…
Piped gas is more common in Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Canberra. It’s not quite so common in Sydney with around 50% of households having gas. Gas is not at all common in either Queensland or Northern Territory simply because these states are both significantly warmer.
Source: energyrating.gov.au (PDF)
Why Tasmania doesn’t have much gas though, I don’t know, they certainly need it. When we were in Tasmania four years ago, we turned everything on trying to heat up the room…
When I lived in the UK, my heating of choice was gas fired central heating with water filled radiators. Here is one of those radiators:
And what of those 23% of households that have no heating whatsoever?
A small percentage of those houses are probably in the far northern part of the country and simply don’t get cold enough. For the others though, where it does get quite chilly, it’s not uncommon for people to snuggle up under a blanket to watch the TV and keep warm that way.
What heating do you use where you are?