What is Cheaper to Run − Gas Heater or Split System?

When it comes to selecting a heating system for your living space, the choice between a gas heater and a split system can significantly impact your energy bills. Many Australian homeowners grapple with this decision, wondering what the most cost-effective option is.

Understanding the running costs of each system is crucial and can lead to significant energy savings. Factors like energy efficiency, local climate, heat output, cooling efficiency and usage patterns all play a role. This article will delve into these aspects, providing a clear comparison to help you make an informed choice.

Understanding Gas Heaters

Gas heaters operate by burning natural gas or Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) to produce warm air, which is then distributed throughout the home. They are known for their quick heating capabilities and can be a reliable source of heat during colder months.

There are two main types of gas heaters commonly used in Australian homes: flued and unflued. Flued heaters expel combustion gases outside through a flue, reducing the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Unflued heaters, on the other hand, release combustion gases inside the home, necessitating proper ventilation.

Initial costs for gas heaters can vary. Flued heaters tend to be more expensive due to the additional installation requirements, while unflued heaters are generally cheaper but may incur higher operating costs.

Installation of gas heaters, such as gas log fires or a traditional fireplace, should always be performed by a licensed professional to ensure safety and efficiency in your gas heating.

 

Understanding Split Systems

Split systems, also known as ductless systems, consist of an indoor unit and an outdoor unit connected by pipes. These systems are popular in Australian homes for their efficiency in both heating and cooling, making them versatile for year-round use.

There are two main types of split systems: reverse-cycle air conditioners and cooling-only units. Reverse cycle systems have a significant advantage as they can provide both heating and cooling, making them a cost-effective option for households that need climate control in all seasons. Cooling-only systems, as the name suggests, are designed solely for cooling and are typically used in regions with mild winters.

Initial costs for a split system can vary based on the unit’s capacity and features. Reverse-cycle air conditioners tend to be more expensive but offer the benefit of dual functionality. Installation is generally straightforward but should be performed by a certified technician to ensure optimal performance and energy efficiency in your air conditioning.

Factors Affecting Running Costs

When comparing the running costs of gas heaters and split systems, several factors play a crucial role:

  • Energy prices: The cost of electricity and gas can vary significantly by location and over time, impacting the overall cost-effectiveness of each system. Generally, regions with lower gas prices may favour gas heaters, whereas areas with cheaper electricity might benefit from split systems.
  • Efficiency ratings: The efficiency of heating equipment is crucial in determining its cost-effectiveness. Higher efficiency ratings typically mean lower operating costs. Gas heaters usually have an Annual Fuel Utilisation Efficiency (AFUE) rating, while split systems use the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) and Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF).
  • Climate: The local climate heavily influences heating requirements. Split systems might be more cost-effective in milder climates, as they can efficiently handle both heating and cooling. In contrast, gas heaters might be preferred in colder regions due to their ability to provide consistent and powerful heating.
  • Home insulation: Proper insulation significantly reduces heating costs by retaining heat, regardless of the heating system. Homes with poor insulation may see higher operating costs, making the choice of heating system even more critical.
  • Maintenance and lifespan: Regular maintenance and the potential lifespan of the heating system also affect long-term costs. Split systems may require more frequent servicing but often have a longer lifespan compared to gas heaters.

By considering these factors, homeowners can make a more informed decision about which heating system is more economical to run in their specific situation.

Cost Comparison: Gas vs Electricity

The cost of running a gas heater versus a split system depends heavily on the current prices of gas and electricity in Australia. Generally, natural gas prices have been lower than electricity, but this can fluctuate based on market conditions and location.

Energy consumption rates and efficiency are key in comparing costs. Gas heaters, especially older models, can be less efficient than modern split systems, which use advanced technology to maximise energy use. High-efficiency split systems can offer significant savings on electricity bills when used for both heating and cooling.

Seasonal variations also impact costs. During winter, gas heaters might seem cheaper due to lower gas prices, but the year-round efficiency of a reverse cycle split system often balances out costs.

 

Environmental Impact

Evaluating the environmental impact of gas heaters compared to split systems involves considering several key factors:

  1. Emissions: Gas heaters burn natural gas, which emits carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. In contrast, the environmental impact of split systems depends on the source of electricity. If the electricity is generated from renewable resources, split systems can be a cleaner option.
  2. Energy source: The sustainability of the energy source is crucial. Natural gas is a fossil fuel with limited reserves, whereas electricity can be produced from renewable sources like wind, solar, and hydro, making split systems potentially more sustainable if powered by green energy.
  3. Efficiency: Modern split systems are generally more energy-efficient than gas heaters. Higher efficiency translates to less energy consumption for the same heating output, reducing the overall environmental footprint.
  4. Refrigerants: Split systems use refrigerants, which, if not properly handled, can contribute to ozone depletion and global warming. The choice of refrigerant and its management during the system’s life cycle is critical for minimising impact.
  5. Life cycle impact: The production, operation and disposal of heating systems all contribute to their environmental footprint. Split systems may have a more complex manufacturing process, but advancements in recycling technologies can mitigate some environmental impacts.

By considering these factors, users can better understand the broader environmental implications of their heating choices, which goes beyond just the operational costs.

Making an Informed Decision

In summary, both gas heaters and split systems have their advantages and drawbacks. Gas heaters offer quick and effective heating, especially in colder climates, but they can be less efficient and more harmful to the environment.

Split systems, particularly reverse cycle units, provide efficient year-round climate control and can be more environmentally friendly when powered by renewable energy.

Ultimately, the choice depends on your specific needs, local climate and environmental considerations. By evaluating running costs, energy efficiency, and environmental impact, you can make an informed decision that best suits your home and budget.

Please note: This information is provided for advice purposes only. Regulations differ from state to state, so please consult your local authorities or an industry professional before proceeding with any work. See our Terms & Conditions here.


Published: 2024-06-25

Air Conditioning Specialists You Can Trust

Our Promise Going Further

Our specialists pride themselves with honest reliable services

Honest

Our fixed pricing structure guarantees transparency. You will always be quoted the complete costs before work can commence, and our expert technicians will guide you through the process.

Our specialists pride themselves with honest reliable services

Committed

Not all jobs are created equal, but all jobs are equally important. Whether it's a simple repair or ducted air conditioning install, we apply the same high levels of dedication and service no matter the scope of the work.

Professional Expert Technicians

Professional

Home is your castle. Your pride and joy. Our well-spoken technicians will show respect towards you and your property and always clean up after themselves.

Technician Zip Pay Payment Options Image
Technician Zip Pay Payment Options Image

Now Available!

Air Con finance options** with trusted pay later options

What Our Happy Customers Have to Say

Better service starts here

5 stars rating

I called them in the morning, and they were at my doorstep within a few hours. The technician was quick to identify the problem, had the necessary parts, and repaired my AC unit in no time.

Marion Minguillon - WA
5 stars rating

My AC was acting up, and I was worried about a hefty repair bill. However, the technicians quickly identified a minor issue, fixed it, and didn't overcharge me. I appreciate their honesty and expertise in troubleshooting the problem.

Sara Cribbs - VIC
5 stars rating

Thorough filter cleaning left no room for concerns, resulting in cleaner air and AC that requires less maintenance. Our home's air quality has improved dramatically, and we couldn't be happier with the outcome.

Lorenzo Rodriguez - SA
  • Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Air Conditioning Logo

    When looking for a leading supplier of wall mounted split systems, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries air conditioners offer reliable, high-quality heating and cooling perfect for Australian family homes.

  • Temperzone Air Conditioning Logo

    Temperzone is the award-winning global manufacturer of air conditioners and leaders in climate innovation with a wide range of systems suitable for Australian homes and commercial applications.

  • Bonaire Air Conditioning Logo

    Bonaire heating and cooling systems are economical, yet high performance. Their reliable air conditioners are manufactured in Adelaide and expertly designed to withstand year-round weather extremes.

  • ActronAir Air Conditioning Logo

    For incredible home comfort, you want ActronAir. Ducted systems or wall hung splits, ActronAir air conditioning has the best residential cooling solutions. You'll never complain about the heat again.

  • Kelvinator Air Air Conditioning Logo

    Australians have enjoyed Kelvinator's cooling reliability for over 80 years. Whether you have a Kelvinator window air conditioner or Kelvinator split system, Metropolitan is here to help 24/7.

  • York Air Air Conditioning Logo

    For optimal year-round comfort from your AC unit, York is the name to know. Distributed by Bonaire, York air conditioners Australia offer superior AC solutions perfect for our Australian climate.

  • Lennox Air Conditioning Logo

    Lennox is a globally recognised brand with a great range of energy-efficient HVAC systems. Choose a Lennox air conditioner when craving that desirable climate control and year-round comfort.

  • LG Air Conditioning Logo

    LG is a world leader in consumer electronics, and its air conditioners are no different. From smart split systems to energy efficient ducted air conditioning, LG air conditioning does it all.

  • Midea Air Conditioning Logo

    Midea is an Australian giant with an international reputation for quality split system air conditioning. You can also find portable coolers and window boxes among the Midea air conditioner range.

  • Mitsubishi Electric Air Conditioning Logo

    Mitsubishi Electric supplies premium residential air conditioners in Australia. Their sophisticated designs, including their sleek wall split system models, are built to offer long-term comfort.

  • Panasonic Air Conditioning Logo

    The latest and greatest Panasonic air conditioners go beyond heating and cooling with air purifying features for healthier breathing. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

  • Rinnai Air Conditioning Logo

    Rinnai is a trusted household name in all things heating and cooling. From the Rinnai gas heater to inverter splits and reverse cycle ducted systems, there's a Rinnai solution for every Aussie house.

  • Samsung Air Conditioning Logo

    Samsung Air Conditioning is known for its reliability and performance. These efficient climate systems are as highly regarded as Samsung’s TVs, home appliances and popular Galaxy smartphones.

  • Brivis Air Conditioning Logo

    Brivis by Rinnai has been a titan in the air conditioning game for 50 years. With an impressive heating and cooling system range, the Brivis name goes hand in hand with quality and longevity.

  • Braemar Air Conditioning Logo

    Braemar has all your heating and cooling needs sorted. Evaporative cooling, ducted gas heating, space heaters, wall heaters, split systems and reverse cycle - Braemar has you covered year-round.

  • Carrier Air Conditioning Logo

    The Carrier air conditioning range is known for sustainability and affordable prices. As a leading Australian AC supplier, Carrier strives to improve the industry through innovative cooling solutions.

  • Breezair Air Conditioning Logo

    Are you after a market leader in evaporative cooling? You need Breezair. Breezair evaporative coolers are manufactured in Australia so you know you're getting cooling to stand the Aussie heat.

  • Kaden Air Conditioning Logo

    Simple solutions are the foundations of Kaden heating and cooling. Products like the Kaden split system are perfect for the ever changing Australian climate so you can always remain content at home.

  • Celair Air Conditioning Logo

    Celair is a leader in ducted evaporative air conditioning with over 40 years of experience behind them. Manufactured right here in Australia, Celair heating and cooling supports local Australians too.

  • NEC Air Air Conditioning Logo

    Beat the heat with a NEC split system. NEC has a heating and cooling solution that will keep you comfortable in all seasons. Experience superior energy efficient heating and cooling with NEC.

  • Coolair Air Conditioning Logo

    As an Australian owned and operated manufacturer, Coolair evaporative air conditioning makes a great high performance companion for anyone looking to escape the harsh heat of our great southern land.

  • Sanyo Air Conditioning Logo

    Sanyo air conditioning models were known for providing trusted AC performance. Although Sanyo no longer operates, Metropolitan can still offer expert 24/7 service to your existing Sanyo system.

  • Fujitsu Air Conditioning Logo

    Stay comfortable all summer long thanks to Fujitsu air conditioning. Fujitsu ducted air conditioning units are perfect for Aussie homes so when you need repairs or servicing, call Metropolitan.

  • Sharp Air Air Conditioning Logo

    With over 100 years in the industry, Japan’s Sharp Air Conditioning is known for luxury products. Sharp air cons provide convenient and effective cooling performance, to deliver year round comfort.

  • Hitachi Air Conditioning Logo

    Are you ready to discover the incredible range of Hitachi air conditioners? We’re talking split systems, wall mounted, ducted heating and cooling and more. So plenty of options for achieving comfort.

  • Stadt Air Conditioning Logo

    STADT air conditioning is synonymous with high quality Australian owned ducted heating and cooling. For any STADT air conditioning service and repair, we are your Australian experts.

  • Haier Air Conditioning Logo

    With over 30 years in the industry, Haier is known internationally for its energy efficient and smart heating and cooling solutions. Haier heating and cooling is just a tap away.

  • Vulcan Air Conditioning Logo

    When you're after a Vulcan air conditioning service, you want Metropolitan. We're experts in Vulcan climate control, providing repairs and servicing for air conditioners.

  • Toshiba Air Conditioning Logo

    Toshiba air conditioning makes use of innovative DC Hybrid Inverter technology which automatically provides high capacity heating and cooling when necessary and minimises running costs when it’s not.

  • TECO Air Conditioning Logo

    TECO has been heating and cooling Australian homes for over 30 years. With split systems, multi splits, window/wall air conditioners and ducted air conditioning, TECO has the whole home covered.

Metropolitan Air Conditioning Service Reviews Metropolitan Air Conditioning Service Reviews