All about central heating systems

June 30, 2015

Central heaters can achieve a five-star rating and are among the most efficient central heating systems. Central heating sounds cozy, but can be expensive if not used frugally. Here are some facts you should know.

All about central heating systems

Things to know about central heaters

If you do opt for central heating, consider your options carefully and look for systems and features that will reduce costs and cut greenhouse emissions. Every 1° C increase in thermostat temperature can increase your energy bill by 10 per cent or more.

  • If your lifestyle is such that you're out of the house most of the day and only want to warm a room or two in the evenings and on weekends, you are likely to find the total cost of a central heating system is much higher than using one or more efficient space heaters.
  • If you opt for central heating, make sure you buy a zoned system – one that lets you turn heat off and on in each room or at least different parts of the house. This can easily halve your heating costs.
  • Consider the pros and cons of the main types of central heating: ducted air, hydronic (hot-water), thin film and in-slab heating. Most can be fuelled by electricity (including solar), or gas.
  • Choose a system with a high efficiency rating.
  • Make sure that the system is the right size and has the right amount of power for your home.
  • Look for well-insulated ducts, and check regularly for air leaks – you don't want to pay for heating the roof space!
  • Make sure the system has a programmable thermostat that will allow you to control the temperature at different times of day.

Different kinds of heating

  • Ducted: Warm air is heated by a central furnace and then circulated to rooms through long, flexible tubes or ducts, usually located under the floor or in the roof space.
  • Electric thin film: Heat is generated by electric elements set in thin films usually fixed behind the ceilings, walls or floor.
  • Hydronic: Water is heated by a furnace and then circulated through pipes to metal radiators, usually mounted on walls.
  • In-slab floor: Heat is produced by electric coils or hot-water pipes set in a concrete-slab floor.
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