The cost of running ducted gas heating — is it worth it?

Supported by Metropolitan Plumbing, Electrical & Air Conditioning

When it comes to investing in your home, one of the biggest decisions you can make is what heating and cooling you have. Heating and cooling accounts for 20-50% of your home’s energy consumption depending on climate, so it’s important you make the right choice. 

Many people opt to warm their homes with ducted gas heating. While there is a whole range of benefits associated with this heating system, do they justify the cost? And how much does it cost to run ducted gas heating in the first place? 

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Ducted gas heating thermostat set to 18 degrees Celsius.

Written by Metropolitan Air Conditioning

Advantages of ducted gas heating

Do you want a heater that won’t intrude on your home’s style and design? 

Are you after a heater that offers whole home heating control from one unit?

Or maybe you’re looking for something that will clean the air?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these, then you should consider ducted gas heating. These are just some of the advantages of ducted gas heating and why it’s such a popular option for Australian homes. 

The benefits don’t stop there though:

  • discreet ducts in the ceiling that won’t cramp your style
  • filters air so your home’s air quality is improved
  • gas is cheaper than electricity in most states
  • heats the whole home with one unit
  • zoning provides control over which rooms are heated
  • instant warmth that doesn’t dry out your eyes and skin.

It’s no surprise that so many people opt to warm their home with gas ducted heating given those benefits. 

Like any whole home heating and cooling system, gas ducted heaters can be more costly to run. So, are the advantages of gas ducted heating worth it?

Living room with gas heating ducts in ceiling

Calculating ducted gas heater running cost

Consumer advocate group, CHOICE, has calculated the average running costs of small, medium and large gas heaters that are used for 6 hours a day for 12 weeks — that’s roughly the length of winter. These were $212.50, $300, and $412.50 respectively for a gas rate of 3 cents per mega joule (c/MJ). 

While these are helpful ballpark figures, you can calculate your approximate gas heating cost for your system specifically.

Gas rates vary quite significantly across Australia. The average gas usage rates for residential customers on a single rate tariff in Victoria are 2.19 c/MJ. Meanwhile, Queenslanders are paying over twice as much at 4.93 c/MJ!

Gas heaters will typically list their energy consumption in kWh. You can easily convert this by multiplying the kWh value by 3.6 to calculate the equivalent in MJ. 

For the next step, you’ll need either your latest gas bill or the average gas rates for your state. Find your current gas rate or use the average rate and multiply this by the MJ value. This is the cost to run your ducted gas heater per hour.

Multiply this by the number of hours you use the heater per day and the number of days you’ll use it over the colder months, and now you’ve got the approximate cost to run your ducted gas heater per year.

You’ll also need to factor in a small electricity cost to power some components of your gas heating system.

If running costs are a concern, you can compare the energy efficiency of ducted gas systems with their energy rating. The star rating allows you to quickly compare different gas systems and choose the most cost-effective one for your home and its needs.

What affects ducted gas heating running costs?

While these calculations are useful, you can only use them as a guide. There are simply too many factors that can affect the running cost of your ducted gas heating. 

Your gas ducted heating system running costs will vary with several factors:

  • temperature setting
  • ambient temperature outside
  • zoning capabilities
  • size of your home
  • how well insulated your home is.

The cost of running ducted gas heating will also change depending on the brand, make and model of your ducted heating system and its energy efficiency.

Living room with TV, dining table and reverse cycle air conditioner

Gas vs reverse cycle — which is better?

The ultimate debate — gas vs reverse cycle. Which system is better for your home’s heating and cooling?

As the name suggests, ducted gas heating uses natural gas to heat your home. Some electricity is required to power some components of the unit, but this is largely negligible. A ducted gas heating system specialises in just heating.

Reverse cycle, on the other hand, runs totally off electricity and uses refrigerants to do the heating and cooling. Being reverse cycle, these units can both heat and cool with just one system!

Many ducted gas heaters can have add-on cooling installed which means they can also heat and cool from the same unit. This means you will be using both natural gas and electricity for whole home climate control.

Generally speaking, gas is always more cost-effective than electricity in Australia, so reverse cycle air conditioning will be more expensive to run than gas heating. Not everyone has a connection to the gas mains though, so an electrical system might be the only option.

All of this is to say that it depends on your home’s needs, budget and what is available to you. 

How to save money on your ducted gas heating

When the cold winter months roll around, it’s only natural for your gas bills to increase with your increased use of gas heating. While you can’t escape paying for the use of your heater, there are several ways you can go about reducing the cost.

If you’re looking at installing a new heater, the first place to start would be checking the energy rating. Starting with a system with a high star rating means you’ll be saving from the get-go. These systems tend to be less impactful on the environment too.

Save on running costs by ensuring you have a zoned system. This means you can selectively turn heating on and off to certain areas of your home and you’re not wasting money keeping empty rooms warm.

With your energy-efficient and zoned ducted gas heating installed, it’s important you have it regularly serviced. This will ensure the system continues to work efficiently and prevents unexpected, costly repairs down the road.

How’s your home’s insulation? In winter, warmth from inside radiates out through your roof, windows and floor, cooling down your home. This means you need to use your heater more often to bring it back to a cosy temperature.

Good insulation will minimise this heat loss and helps you to save on your heating. You can also seal up draughts and leaks where warm air escapes your home.

We hope this information on the cost of running ducted gas heating helps you.

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