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For those looking to have ducted heating in Australia, there are usually two main options to consider. These two options include ducted gas heating or a reverse-cycle heating system. Since many people choose from these options, new homeowners usually always consider one of these options too.

However, at some point, they wish to know the differences between these options to make an informed decision. Here you will learn the differences between ducted gas heating and reverse cycle heating systems.

Ducted Gas Heating and Reverse Cycle Systems

Gas ducted heating

This is the traditional option for central heating, and such gas-ducted systems use gas furnaces to create flames that heat air. The heated air is distributed within the home it is installed. This type of heating system does not use unflued gas heaters or other types of gas space heaters.

Reverse cycle heating

This modern air conditioning option uses heat pump technology to absorb heat from outside while transferring it indoors. This type of system can also reverse the process to act as air conditioners.

To a large extent, whatever option you choose will come down to personal preference. However, looking at the bigger picture, you would want to consider reverse-cycle heating.

Reverse Cycle Versus Gas Ducted Heating Costs

To determine which option is cheaper, you must first consider your gas and electricity prices, efficiency, the size of your heater, the size of your home, the zoning capabilities, etc. Findings have shown that gas can experience about 50% energy loss when used.

This means that for each unit of energy put into the system, you should expect that only about half of it is used for heat generation while the rest will escape through ductwork, exhausts, etc.

In comparison, reverse cycle air conditioners can give 300-600% efficiency, which means one unit of electrical energy could generate six times as much heat. The reverse cycle air heating may be seen by many as the cheapest option.

This is even more so if you have invested in solar energy but with the downside of hefty costs for the panels upfront.

Installation Costs of Ducted Gas Vs Reverse Cycle

Whether you would love a gas or heat pump, your specific requirements will determine the cost of installing and supplying a ducted system. The considerations you will need to make include the size of the system, the number of outlets, and other complicating factors. Generally, the gas ducted heater is expected to be cheaper to supply and install.

The Future of Ducted Gas and Reverse Cycle Systems

While installing a new HVAC system, it is crucial for you to consider how widely your system will be used in years to come. It is interesting to note that gas systems and reverse-cycle air systems are on opposite trajectories. It is now known that Australia is reducing its reliance on gas.

Although the country is one of the top three gas producers globally, Australian gas companies now export over 70% of their products. Apart from this, the issue of climate change is a growing priority. In order for Australia to reach net zero emissions and reduce its environmental impact, the country will have to phase out the use of fossil fuel or natural gas.

On the other hand, clean electricity is fast becoming a priority. With over 2.7 million solar panels installed in Australia in 20 years, wholesale electricity prices are projected to drop. New incentives are being developed to support homes and businesses to switch from gas to enhance this further.

In other words, if you plan to have a new central heating system, primarily if it is intended for a new home, it would be smart to invest for the future and use a reverse-cycle air conditioning system.

Gas Ducted Versus Reverse Cycle: Similarities and Differences

Some of the similarities between these options include:

  • Both options are central heating systems that use ducts to distribute warmth throughout the property.
  • They are both zoned, allowing them to heat different areas independently.
  • Both have thermostats that can be used to set and control the air temperature.
  • Both have outdoor units.

Their differences include the following:

  • The gas-ducted heating system is solely heating, while a reverse-cycle air conditioner can offer heating and cooling.
  • While gas systems depend on gas combustion to generate heat, reverse cycle units need electrically powered heat pumps for transferring heat energy from one place to another.
  • Reverse cycle units need an energy star rating label because they are electrical systems. Although gas energy rating labels exist, participation is not compulsory. You will find that most systems carry a rating, but some do not.
  • You are not likely to see gas heaters with a heating option, but you may find one with add-on cooling. In such cases, refrigerated air conditioning is delivered using the same ducts but with a separate controller and outdoor unit. You do not have to install an add-on cooling simultaneously, but you should note this to ensure that installation is possible in the future.

Benefits of Reverse Cycle over Gas-Ducted Heating

If you need a new heating system, here is why you may want to consider reverse-cycle air conditioning:

  • Affordable, energy-efficient cooling and heating within a single system.
  • No risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, which may occur when faulty gas systems exist.
  • Reduced maintenance requirement than gas systems due to fewer safety risks.
  • Up to 600% energy efficiency, which comes off better when compared to the less than 100% you get in gas-ducted units.
  • Extra modern features in reverse cycle gas systems, such as dehumidifiers, inverters, and air purification technology.
  • Environmentally friendly option producing about 2/3rds less greenhouse gas emissions than what is observed in gas systems.
  • Whisper-quiet and make less noise than gas systems, especially the older ducted heaters.

Benefits of Gas Ducted over Reverse Cycle Heating

While reverse cycle heating is generally preferred by many, there are still some areas where it gets outstripped by gas heaters, such as:

  • Faster property heating than reverse cycle air conditioning.
  • Greater efficiency, particularly during cold climates.
  • A lot of people prefer to have gas heating because they consider it to be a gentler, more comfortable heat.

Which of the Two Systems is Better?

What you eventually settle for will have much to do with your personal preference, as there are advantages to using either. However, if you are looking for the best indoor temperatures with effective, efficient, and affordable heat output, then it is recommended that you opt for reverse-cycle heating.

With the heat pump technology a reverse cycle ducted heat unit uses, it can be conveniently used as a central heating option which will also cool your home during summer. A gas furnace remains your best option if you want a heating unit that offers strong energy performance and comfortable heat output.

Talk to an HVAC Expert

You may be at a crossroads and still need clarification about which options work best for you. In such a situation, you need to talk with an expert who will guide you on what best satisfies your needs. The additional step of talking to an HVAC expert will ensure your investment is well worth it, and you will have minimal or no complaints.

By discussing your options with an expert, you can better understand the various features and benefits of different HVAC systems, which will help you make an informed decision. Moreover, consulting an HVAC expert can help ensure your investment is worth it.

HVAC systems can be a significant expense, and purchasing a system that will provide value for your money is essential. You don't want to invest in an HVAC system only to find out that it's not effective or doesn't meet your needs.

So, if you're confused or unsure about which HVAC system to choose, consider contacting an HVAC expert. Their expertise and advice can help you make informed decisions and ensure your investment is worth it.

Stay Warm in Winter and Cool in Summer!

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