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How to Choose the Right Heating System for Your Home

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It is possible for homes across parts of Australia to have an environment that requires no heating or cooling input. These homes would need to rely on proper insulation, passive solar design, and a draught-proofed building. For existing homes and buildings, however, new technologies in heating and cooling mean you can always count on a comfortable home environment where the temperature can easily be controlled.

With the impending arrival of winter, the need for heating systems in the home will increase as we see more wind and rain fall and less sunshine. This article will describe the features and advantages of different modern heating systems so you can find the right system suitable for your home.

Heating systems can be either radiant or convective. Radiant heating creates warmth through direct radiation, while convective heating warms and circulates the air in a room.

  1. Radiant heat works best in draughty, large rooms
  2. Convective heating is most effective in small rooms
  3. A combination of both radiant and convective heating may work best in large rooms with high ceilings.

Whatever heating system you have installed, you should not leave it running while you’re out. The better option is to install a timer that turns your heating system on 15 minutes before you arrive home.

Hydronic heating

This system circulates hot water through radiator panels and provides a mix of radiant and convective heat. Insulated water pipes can also be installed under the floor, as well as slab and trench heating – the latter in front of doors and windows. Panel and underfloor heating can be installed so that they work together.

To save heat loss, it’s recommended that the exterior walls on which panels are mounted should be fitted with wall cavity insulation or a layer of reflective foil. The water pipes should also be well insulated to prevent heat loss and unnecessary running costs. In addition, each room or panel should have its own control to regulate water circulation and temperature.

The system uses a high efficiency boiler running on natural gas or LPG. In exceptional circumstances, the boiler can also be fired with firewood or solar panels with gas or LPG as a backup. The water is circulated by a pump.

The hydronic system provides pleasant warmth which is clean, silent, and draught-free.

Ducted heating

Ducted heating is powered by a furnace that can be fitted against an external wall in the roof space or in a cellar. The furnace can be powered by natural gas, LPG, or solar power with a backup system. The system can also be powered by a reverse cycle air conditioner. It functions as a sealed system, which means that warm air is heated, circulated, and reheated again. It does not draw in any air from outside. A fan circulates the warm air through the ducts.

The ducting can be fitted under the floor, above the ceiling, or on external walls. The heating ducts should be divided into different zones that can be separately controlled. Unoccupied zones should be closed to save energy.

The ducts should be the correct size, and insulated. Larger ducts are required if the system is also used for cooling. All duct outlets should be adjustable to control airflow. There should also be a return air path from every outlet. Air will be drawn from the house into the return air grills, and back to the furnace to be reheated. The return air filters are normally fitted onto the interior walls of the house.

Reverse cycle air conditioning

These units absorb air from the outside into the room when heating. They are normally fitted with an air-to-air heat exchange unit. These systems are especially useful as they are able to both heat and cool a home efficiently.

They provide convective heat and are energy efficient electric heaters.

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