Warm In Winter, Cool In Summer: Heating and Cooling Options For Your Home


This article explores the different options and indicative pricing of heating and cooling systems available for your new home so you can make an informed decision on the system best suited to your needs and budget.

When it comes to heating and cooling you new home there are a dizzying array of options. Do you need a separate or an integrated system that can efficiently heat and cool your home? What is best for you? The answer to this will depend on the type and size of your home as well as your budget. We’ve outlined some of the options below to help you make decisions.

Gas Ducted Heating

As the name suggests, gas ducted heating comprises a gas fired heating unit connected to a series of ducts leading to outlets. The system works by drawing air from inside your home through the heater with a fan pushing the warmed air back through the ducts and outlets in the form of a steady, gentle supply of warm air. Once your home reaches your desired temperature the heater unit switches off. The fan then comes to a halt more slowly, making sure that all the remaining heat in the unit is used rather than going to waste.

The position of the heating unit depends on your house but most commonly within the roof space – the roof structure needs to be designed to provide sufficient space for installation and maintenance of the unit and the roof trusses may need to be strengthened to support the weight of the unit.

The ducts are routed from the heating unit to outlets strategically placed throughout your home, in either the floor or ceiling. The duct routes are carefully considered at design stage to ensure sufficient space is provided through the roof space and floor space with droppers or voids to route ducts from upper floors to lower floor areas.

A wall mounted controller allows you to set the temperature for the entire home or the system can be zoned to allow just the occupied areas of the home to be heated, saving on energy costs.

The benefits of a ducted heating system include:

  • Heating for your entire home. Ducted gas heating systems are designed to heat every room in your home. It is an efficient and discreet way to heat multiple rooms compared to operating several portable or wall-fixed heaters.
  • High efficiency no matter what the weather. Reverse cycle systems are prone to losing efficiency when the temperature really drops outside but ducted gas heating systems remain unaffected, no matter how cold it gets. This saves energy, reduces bills, and keeps you warm.
  • Energy-saving zoning. The ability to segregate your home into zones allows you to heat different rooms at different times, to suit your household’s needs. You can heat only the rooms that are actually being used, saving energy. Many models offer a timer function so that you can programme the heating to be switched on and off in different rooms without even having to think about it.
  • Less irritating heat. Heating systems powered by wood and reverse cycle systems produce dry air, which can irritate eyes, throats and skin. The heat produced by gas heating systems is moister, which results in a more comfortable environment and is much better suited to those with allergies or asthma.
  • Instant heat at the touch of a button. As soon as a ducted gas system is switched on, the ignitor lights the burners, the gas ramps up to maximum, quickly heating the heat exchanger, the circulation fan starts moving, and warm air starts to flow into your home. It’s quick, quiet, warm.
  • Kinder to the environment. Natural gas produces far fewer greenhouse gas emissions than a large percentage of electricity generation. In fact, in an assessment conducted by the Australian Gas Association, it was found that gas ducted central heating produced only one-third of the emissions that coal-generated electricity-powered heating did.
  • Economical to run

Gas Ducted Heating systems typically range from around $3,000 to $6,000.

Refrigerated (Add On) Air Conditioning

A refrigerated air conditioning system can be “added on” to a gas ducted heater. The refrigeration coil is bolted to the heating unit and the fan in the heater is used to distribute heated or cooled air. The compressor unit is located external to the home, typically on the ground or roof with refrigerant piping connecting the “indoor” unit to the “outdoor” unit.

Add on cooling is typically sized to cool 50% of the home at any time, under peak conditions. This keeps the cost of the system down and avoids an oversized unit with excessive running costs. It is unusual for home owners to be occupying every room in a home at one time so typically a unit designed in this way will be appropriate year round.

A refrigerated air conditioning system operates most efficiently when doors and windows are closed (like a domestic refrigerator).

Adding refrigerated cooling to a ducted heating system typically costs $11,000 to $15,000.

Evaporative Cooling

Evaporative cooling systems are made up of a central unit connected to a series of ducts throughout your house. The duct network is separate from the ducted heating system and the 2 systems are completely independent.

Evaporative cooling works by drawing fresh air through fabric panels moistened with water. As the fresh air passes through these panels, the air is cooled and filtered before flowing through the ducts and into your rooms.

The benefits of evaporative cooling include:

  • A healthy cooling method because it uses clean, fresh air to replace the air in your home many times per hour. The air inside your house is not re-circulated which means that smells and allergens are expelled.
  • As it is based on a natural process of air being cooled by water it won’t dry out the air, or irritate your skin, throat or eyes.
  • Windows and doors can be left open allowing you to enjoy the summer and an indoor-outdoor lifestyle.
  • Low running costs and low environmental impact

Evaporative cooling systems typically range from around $4,500 to $8,000.

Ducted Reverse Cycle Air Conditioning

Reverse cycle air conditioners can heat and cool your home. In fact, a reverse cycle air conditioner, planned and installed by a specialist, is one of the most efficient ways to heat your home using electricity.

There are several types of reverse cycle air conditioners:

  • Split systems
  • Multi-unit split systems
  • Ducted systems

In winter, a reverse cycle air conditioner absorbs heat from the outdoor air to warm the air inside. This is a more energy efficient heating technique than conventional heaters which ‘create’ heat energy.

In summer, a reverse cycle air conditioner absorbs heat from the inside air and dissipates it outside, leaving your home cooler. Advanced technology means modern air conditioners can continue to cool your home in high ambient temperatures.

Better quality reverse cycle systems provide inverter technology which can speed up or slow down the fan speed with varying demand, thereby saving energy and reducing noise.

The benefits of a reverse cycle air conditioner include:

  • Only one appliance to heat and cool your home
  • Energy efficient with the use of inverter technology
  • Quiet operation
  • Very precise climate control (good for asthma, allergies, babies, the elderly etc.)
  • Filtered pollution-free air

A split system air conditioner has an indoor and outdoor component (hence the term “split”). The indoor unit is typically wall mounted, recessed into the ceiling (cassette type) or concealed in a bulkhead with the outdoor unit typically mounted at ground level. Single split systems are typically used to cool one area within the home. A multi-unit or multi-head split system has up to 5 indoor units connected to a single outdoor unit. The individual indoor units in different rooms, such as the living room, study, and bedrooms can be controlled independently to match your family’s lifestyle.

Split systems maximise energy efficiency as you only heat or cool the rooms and spaces required and you can set different temperatures in each room.

A ducted reverse cycle system has an indoor unit, typically mounted in the roof space with a compressor located outside, similar to add-on refrigerated air conditioning, with ducting routed to a series of outlets. The duct network is used to deliver heated or cooled air to the home.

Unlike add on air conditioning, reverse cycle is a standalone system and does not require connection to a gas ducted heater.

A single split system typically costs $3,000 – $5,000.

A multi head system to service multiple areas typically costs $8,000 – $20,000+.

A reverse cycle ducted system typically costs $12,000 – $20,000+.

Hydronic Heating

Hydronic heating uses a boiler to heat water and circulate the heated water through in slab pipework and/or wall mounted radiator panels. Hydronic heating is considered to provide a very comfortable feeling home without the air movement associated with ducted systems. However, hydronic systems are much slower to respond, so tend to suit climates where temperatures do not fluctuate considerably over a short period of time.

Where in slab hydronic heating is proposed, the slab design is changed to provide a thicker top surface to accommodate the piping. The pipe network in laid in on top of reinforcing steel and the concrete is poured and finished. Great care needs to be exercised to ensure the pipe network within the slab is not damaged. This type of system is typically only offered by bespoke or custom builders due to the complexity, risk and cost.

Hydronic in slab or panel heating typically costs $20,000 – $30,000.

It is important to consider your preferred heating and cooling system in the early stages of design and to ensure your Builder makes appropriate provision for mounting of the equipment, structural support, routing of ductwork, pipe routes, electrical connections etc.

Speak with your Latitude 37 Consultant to discuss heating and cooling options for your home. The information and indicative pricing contained in this article was supplied by Executive Heating and Cooling, a distributor of Brivis heating and cooling systems. You can view further information on their website: Executive Heating and Cooling.

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