How you use a room will help you to decide the type of heater that’s most suitable. For larger rooms you want to heat regularly, like a living room, it’s worth paying a bit more upfront for a fixed heater with lower running costs and more heat output than an electric heater.
This could be a modern wood or wood-pellet burner, an energy efficient heat pump, or a four-star flued gas heater. Electric heaters may be enough for smaller rooms and rooms you only heat occasionally, like bedrooms - they’re cheap to buy but more expensive to run.
Home heating running costs
The lower end of the running cost ranges represents the highest efficiency heaters and lowest fuel prices, and no fixed charges attributed to space heating. The higher end of the running cost ranges represents low efficiency heaters, high fuel prices and fixed charges fully attributed to space heating (for natural gas and LPG (45kg bottles) only).
convenience - you can control the temperature with the thermostat and use the timer
zoning - many are zone-controlled so you can control the temperature in different parts of the home.
Can be expensive to install
heat can be supplied by a range of heating systems for example gas, wood pellet or heat pump
it’s worth choosing a system that has an individual thermostat for each room
can be very expensive to run if your house isn't well insulated or is draughty.
Unflued gas (natural or LPG) heaters, including portable gas heaters
Be aware that:
back-up heating during power cuts, if your normal heating relies on electricity to operate.
unflued portable gas heaters are the most expensive form of heating (except for some open fires)
there are health risks - it will pollute air with toxic gases and large amounts of water vapour, so you must keep at least one window open when it’s in use and never use in bedrooms
they can make your home damp and mouldy
portable gas heaters can be a fire risk, as anything too close can quickly catch alight.
Guide to reading home heating running costs chart
Based on typical highest and lowest heater efficiencies for new heaters, and typical highest and lowest fuel prices. Flued gas heaters with a star rating of less than 4 stars and older heat pumps, woodburners and gas heaters may have lower efficiencies, resulting in higher running costs. For unflued gas heaters 30% of the heat produced is assumed to be lost due to the need to leave a window open. Purchase, installation and maintenance costs are not included.
Fuel cost assumptions: Electricity 19-40c/kWh; firewood $50-150/m3; wood pellets 55-93 c/kg; natural gas 5.4-11.2 c/kWh variable price; LPG (45kg bottles) $92-110 per refill; LPG (9kg bottle) $27-42 per refill.
Consideration of fixed charges: No fixed charges have been included for electricity, firewood, wood pellets and LPG (9kg bottle).
For natural gas and LPG (45kg) fixed charges have only been included for the higher end of the running cost ranges, assuming a total annual gas consumption of 3,000 kWh, fixed charges of up to $1.45/day for natural gas and up to $115 annual bottle rental charge for LPG (45kg bottles). This represents households where gas is only used for space heating. For the lower end of the running cost ranges, no fixed charges have been included, representing situations where gas is also used for other purposes than just space heating.
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