Absolute Airflow Heating and Cooling

Gas Ducted Heating Vs Reverse Cycle: Which Is Better for Your Home?

Jun 12, 2023 Heating concept - miniature model house wrapped in a red blanket

With Melbourne winter already in full effect, there is no better time than now to invest in high-quality ducted heating. Unlike a single wall-mounted unit, ducted systems provide excellent coverage across all the important areas of your home – making it ideal for properties with multiple stories, bedrooms or living spaces.

If you’ve been looking into ducted heating, there are two key questions to answer:

1. Should I go with reverse cycle or gas ducted heating?

2. Which system best suits my home?

Ducted systems are becoming an increasingly popular option for many Melbournians – and for good reason. As Melbourne’s leading heating and cooling team, we can supply reverse cycle air conditioning in Northcote, ducted gas heating in Surrey Hills, or any corner of the city. 

Throughout this article, we will dive into the many benefits of ducted systems, as well as explore the key differences between reverse cycle and gas.

Why Choose Ducted Heating?

In Melbourne and regional Victoria, the cooler weather can last for as much as 6 months of the year. When daylight savings ends and the nights become cold and frigid, every home needs a viable form of heating to get through this period.

As more and more people move away from inefficient portable gas heaters, ducted heating systems have quickly become a popular long-term solution for local homeowners. More effective than a single indoor unit and less expensive than hydronic underfloor heating, ductwork represents a middle ground between the two.

Generally, ducted heating is favoured for its ability to cover multiple areas of the home, whilst delivering a consistent level of warmth that very few HVAC systems can compete with. This is also a great alternative to some traditional gas heaters that we now know spread dangerous carbon monoxide.

If your single electric heater isn’t providing the warmth you need, the good news is that there are many great ducted heating options available. From Brivis to Rinnai, Mitsubishi and Daikin, HVAC brands continue to create more efficient, effective and adaptive ducted heating technology for cold climates.

This is why so many customers have turned to us for ducted heating in Donvale, Box Hill and many other areas across the city. 

Gas Ducted Heating – The Traditional Option

White heating vent on white wall of a home

With origins in the 1800s, gas ducted heating or ‘central heating’ has been a mainstay of Australian homes for many decades. Gas-based ducted heating works by drawing air from inside the home and moving it to a central furnace/boiler. From here, the air is warmed and distributed through ducts and vents across various rooms.

The temperature and level of warmth are controlled by a thermostat. While this is normally positioned next to the return air grille, modern gas units can even be controlled through apps and other smart devices.

One of the major advantages of these systems is the ability to heat the home quickly. This is particularly beneficial if, like many Victorians, your home lacks proper insulation and tends to be very cold in the winter months. 

Another key benefit is zoning technology. Essentially, this feature allows you to avoid waste by only warming the areas you need to. For example, if you have bedrooms or living spaces that are never used, zoning prevents unnecessary energy usage. 

Reverse Cycle Ducted Heating – An All-in-One Solution

Before we go any further, it is important to note that reverse cycle can refer to both split systems and ducted systems. Here, we will specifically focus on ducted reverse cycle units. As you can probably gauge from the name, these systems have both heating and cooling capacity and can quickly shift between each mode.

Rather than generating artificial warmth, reverse cycle air conditioners draw in the air from outdoors and transfer it to a central heat pump. From here, the reverse cycle system can either heat or cool, after which the air is distributed through the ductwork to the vents at various locations across the home.

Like a gas-ducted unit, these systems are also easily controlled through a thermostat. If you are buying a new model, selecting the type of compressor is another important decision. Compressors can be standard or variable-speed. Also known as an inverter, variable speed compressors are generally the more efficient and quieter alternative.

If you’re looking to lower your gas consumption or make your home entirely gas-free, reverse cycle split systems or ductwork is a no-brainer. This way, you receive all the same benefits of traditional central heating without ever receiving a gas bill. 

Average Costs

Obviously, both upfront and installation costs will play a large role in your final decision.

The cost for gas ducted heating can range from $2,500 to $10,000, depending on the brand, make and model

The cost for reverse cycle ducted systems generally averages out to between $6,000 to $12,000 (again, this figure will fluctuate from brand to brand).

It is also important to note that there are rebates available for the installation of both gas and reverse cycle ductwork in Victorian households, and you can check your eligibility right here

Efficiency

Energy efficiency is an important prerequisite for any form of heating and cooling. 

But how exactly can you gauge the efficiency of gas heaters and reverse cycle air conditioning units? 

The answer is quite simple. In Australia, both gas and reverse cycle units come with star ratings that indicate their level of efficiency – The more stars, the more efficient the system and the more you ultimately save on power bills. A similar star rating also exists for fridges and other household appliances.

As reverse cycle air conditioners offer both heating and cooling, a unit will have a rating for each side of the HVAC spectrum – blue for cooling and red for heating. Since gas heaters have no cooling functionality, they will only come with a red star rating. 

Across the board, modern gas and reverse cycle models have far superior efficiency ratings than their counterparts of the past. You can even find a selection of units that have achieved an industry-leading 7-star classification. However, you’re able to reduce heating costs with anything rated 4 stars and above.

Power Bills

Given the current cost of living, gas prices and power bills are a major concern for many Victorians. So, how can you meet your heating requirements without incurring further costs on utility bills?

Whether your ducted system is reverse cycle or gas, the best way to avoid hefty power bills is to stay within the recommended temperature settings. Across the board, the recommended temperature range is between 18 to 20°C. Every degree higher than 20 is likely to add appropriately 10% to your utility bills. Since these systems are highly effective and able to recirculate heat across the home, there is rarely a need to set the temperature beyond 20.

Your network of ducts will only maintain their effectiveness if they are clean and free from obstructions or debris. One step you can take is to clean the return air grille once a month. Of course, another important step is to arrange regular servicing through a local HVAC company. Even if there are no existing issues, a professional check-up can save you a significant amount of money in the long run.

Finding a Suitable System for Your Home

If you’re after ducted heating in Coburg, Thomastown or any other corner of Melbourne, there are various factors to consider. These may include the size of the property, your budget, the climate, and how much you intend to use the system. For example, there is no sense going with a large fully-fledged system if you are rarely home – and the reverse is true. If your home is always cold, a state-of-the-art ducted network is definitely a wise investment. 

Space is a major consideration and requirement for ducted heating installation. This is why the ideal installation period is during renovations or the construction of a new home. However, as long as your home has enough space above the ceiling or below the floor, installation should be smooth and stress-free. 

For reverse cycle installation, you must also have the necessary space for the placement of the ducts, as well as the outdoor unit. As some of these outdoor coils can be loud, it is also worth considering your neighbours before rushing into the installation phase. 

Not all homes will have access to a viable gas connection. This is both true of some older homes and new builds. If this is the case, you have two options – LPG gas or reverse cycle. When opting for LPG gas, we recommend that you seek out a unit with a high star efficiency rating. Otherwise, running costs may quickly spiral and place a serious strain on your household budget.

Speak with a Heating and Cooling Expert

Whether you have your eyes set on gas or reserve cycle ductwork, it never hurts to get a second opinion from a professional. An experienced HVAC technician can assess your home, find a suitable location for installation and supply a free quote.

As one of Melbourne’s leading HVAC companies, we can provide end-to-end installation for reverse cycle air conditioning in Heidelberg, ducted gas heating in Burwood, and various other tailored solutions. 

If you already have ductwork in place and want to upgrade, we’re also more than happy to install a cost-effective and efficient replacement.

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