Gas vs Electric Heating – Which is Better?
April 09th, 2024
Family In Home Happy

When cold weather sets in, it’s time to turn up the heat in your home, but you want to be certain you’re choosing the best system. With steadily rising utility bills and the cold months rapidly approaching, it may be worth examining how much you’re spending on your heating and whether it may be time to seek alternative means of warmth.

Whether you’re contemplating ducted heating, wall panel heaters, reverse cycle heating, or need guidance on the ideal heating element, choosing between gas or electric heating is a major decision. 

This is why we’ve created this article to help you choose the right type of heating system, steer you to the best option that supports your heating requirements, and draw an evidence-based comparison between gas and electric heating costs.

What is a Gas Heater?

Fuelled by butane, propane, liquified petroleum gas, or natural gas, gas heating systems are connected to a gas source. A valve controls gas flow, igniting heat via a pilot light or electric filament. Gas heating options include:

  • Gas-ducted heating with innovative temperature controllers for comfort in the office and at home. 

Generally better suited for larger spaces, gas heating comes in many sizes and shapes. Connected to the gas mains, heating is a popular option for quickly warming inside and outdoor spaces. Over 2 million Victorians use gas-based heating systems and appliances in their homes or businesses, and although Victorian governments want to phase gas out in new residential properties or build, it can still be a worthwhile option for you.

What is an Electric Heater?

Electric heating and cooling systems pass electricity through different materials to create heat, don’t need ventilation, and require an easy installation process. Electric heating systems include:

  • Heat pumps and reverse cycle systems. These heat small and large rooms are ideal for singles in units or large families with multiple rooms. 

  • LG, Daikin, and Panasonic split system reverse cycle heating are available for families looking for high air quality and climate control. Panel wall heaters are also excellent for heating small spaces.

These heating options are an excellent way for the family to stay cosy overnight and are arguably exponentially cheaper annually than relying on a gas connection. In any case, always speak to a heating and cooling professional when weighing your property requirements.From air conditioning to evaporating cooling systems, Aust Climate provides heating and cooling services to Carrum Downs, Frankston, Cranbourne, Dandenong and surrounding areas across Melbourne.

Gas & Electric Heating – Considerations

Woman Turning On Heating And Cooling

Regardless of what you’re planning to purchase, there are a few key considerations to ensure you’re investing in the best for your family space! Let’s take a look.

1. Energy Efficiency

Although different types of heaters have their energy ratings, it is important to consider what rating is more energy efficient for your space. This can be the difference between hiked energy bills or less expensive options, saving you money for the long term.

  • The efficiency of a gas heating system depends on the age, condition of the equipment, and the type of burner or combustion technology used. Electric heating converts electricity into heat, so they are 100% efficient at the point of use.

  • The cost of gas versus electric heating depends on your area’s natural gas, propane, and electricity prices. This can change based on market conditions and energy policies.

  • Electric heating is considered more environmentally friendly as the electricity can be generated from renewable resources such as solar, wind, or hydroelectric power. Contrarily, gas heating produces emissions during combustion, impacting air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

2. Safety Features

Safety features play one of the most important roles in any appliance, especially if you have children or pets. Gas heaters can be risky–depending on whether they’re flued (allows fumes to exit the house) or unflued (traps fumes in the house)–if excess gas is leaked into a room. 

  • Safety features of a gas heating system: include a pressure relief valve that stops over-pressurisation and equipment damage, exhaust systems that remove combustion by-products, CO detectors, and automatic fail-safes in the case of a system malfunction.

  • Safety features of an electric heater include circuit breakers or proper wiring to counteract short circuits, electrical fires, and shocks. Thermal shut-offs stop overheating, and unsafe temperatures, and safety certifications assure you of their safety features and performance.

3. Installation Costs

It is important to consider where you want your heater installed. Whether you’re searching for a permanent heating solution or need heating for a short period, there are things to consider in terms of installation costs:

  • The cost of equipment: A higher fee may be required upfront, but generous long-term savings exist. Think about what works for you financially.

  • Wiring and electrical connections to the main control panel are critical: Wiring upgrades and modifications can impact the installation expenses, though you only need to consider it if installing electrical heating.

  • Ventilation systems: Gas heaters need suitable ventilation to dispel combustion gases, so installation vents, flues, and exhaust pipes need to be considered.

  • Thermostat installation: For electric heaters, a smart thermostat improves energy use and comfort.

  • Permits and inspections: Both electric and gas installations may need permits or inspections to ensure compliance with building codes and safety standards in your area.

4. Operating Costs

Locking in your heating costs for over a decade, a heating system is an important decision. In terms of gas and electricity costs, what can you expect with both gas and electric heater systems? The cost efficiency of gas or electricity depends on lifestyle, fuel available to you, how much space you want to heat, market rates, limitations of your property, and how energy-efficient your appliance is.

The Australian Energy Regulators’ annual retail markets report in June 2020 states gas and electricity usage prices in four major states. Victoria is 3c/MJ for gas and 36c/kWh for electricity, so overall, electricity is cheaper to run. For most Victorians, electric reverse-cycle heating systems are the most energy-saving, inexpensive option with the lowest greenhouse emissions, and rebates are available to assist with making this change. Speak to a heating and cooling expert at Australian Climate Systems for more information.

5. Environmental lmpacts

Environmental impacts of gas and electric heating systems depend on energy sources, system efficiency, emissions, and the energy policies in your area. Nowadays, many people find themselves concerned with their impact on the world’s climate. If this is a concern for you, consider the following points:

  • Gas heaters produce carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and trace amounts of other pollutants, affecting air quality.

  • An electric heating system’s environmental impact depends on the electricity generation source. When generated from renewable sources such as solar and wind, this heating is environmentally friendly, typically 100% effective at its point of use since it converts electricity into heat.

  • Equipment extraction, production, distribution, operation, and disposal must be considered. Overall, the environmental impact varies on electricity generation and transmission. If you’re unsure of what will work for you, contact the heating and cooling experts at Australian Climate Systems.

6. Maintenance Requirements

Like any regularly used household appliance, gas and electric heating have regular maintenance needs, but what should you expect?

  • Annual inspections. A qualified HVAC technician ensures your system is functioning safely in your home or commercial building. A technician will inspect the burner, ignition system, gas valve, pressure regulator, combustion chamber, flue, and ventilation for gas heaters to prevent leaks. As for electric heating, system troubleshooting, complex electrical repairs, checking components for damage, and safety inspections are essential.

  • Periodic cleaning. Gas heating systems must be cleaned with gas burners, heat exchangers, and ventilation components to prevent carbon build-up or blockages that affect performance. Filters may also need a replacement to maintain airflow.

  • Electric heating systems need thermostats calibrated and tested periodically for accurate temperature control, and safety checks such as circuit breakers, ground fault circuit interrupters, and temperature limits need frequent testing.

  • Maintenance costs. Gas heating can have higher costs from regular professional inspections, cleaning, and potential repairs related to combustion components. As for electric systems, these costs are lower but vary based on the complexity of the system and the need for professional services.

Do you need to consult a heating installation specialist? Aust Climate offers heating and cooling services to Camberwell, Box Hill, Glen Waverley, Lilydale, and surrounding areas across Melbourne.

Heating and Cooling – Considerations For Your Home

Heating And Cooling Remote Control

  1. Do you live in a small apartment or a four-bedroom home? Think about your space requirements and if your heater of choice is powerful enough to keep it warm during cold nights
  2. Make sure that your heating system isn’t too small or too large. You don’t want to pay excessively or have an underperforming appliance.
  3. How are you using your thermostat during the colder months? For every degree increase, energy use can go up as much as 10%, so set your thermostat between 25 to 27 degrees in summer and 18 to 20 degrees in winter.
  4. Electric split systems are cheap options for your space, with low overall running costs.

Whether your preference is central heating for your home or space heating for your bedroom, zoning options are excellent considerations as you can save money instead of heating rooms you don’t use.

What’s the verdict? Consider the conversion to electric heating and cooling, ideally a reverse-cycle system, as it is beneficial throughout every season. According to this article by Planning Victoria, the Gas Substitution Roadmap is guiding the state to net-zero emissions while offering broader choices and cheaper energy bills. The Department of Transport and Planning aims to transition to cleaner energy with support from the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action.

Since January 2024, the Victorian State Government has planned to phase out gas installations in all new homes, such as apartment buildings, new dwellings, and residential subdivisions that require planning permits. This will make energy prices more affordable, cleaner, and efficient for everyone. These requirements apply only to natural gas, not Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG). 

With this in mind, your family is still free to use gas–especially if your existing home has a gas connection–but there are more benefits to converting to electricity and even more savings if you own solar panels!

Reliable Heating and Cooling Services – Choose Australian Climate Systems

At Australian Climate Systems, we understand how Australian consumers appreciate a warm, inviting home as the weather drops. If you’re concerned about indoor air quality, installation, and maintenance costs, you should always seek professional advice on what works best for you, your home, and your lifestyle. In some 

Operating in Melbourne for more than 25 years, our locally owned and operated business specialises in selling, installing, maintaining, and repairing electric heating and cooling solutions that work.

Whether you want to try Bonaire, Brivis, Daikin, or Panasonic, our fully qualified and trained technicians provide a 6-year workmanship guarantee. Contact us today for sales and installation, builders, or warranty repairs services.

Need advice?Call: 03 9726 4444
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