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How much does it cost to run your heater in winter 2023?

It's going to cost around $228 to keep warm this winter, but there's ways to cut down on your energy bills.

What you need to know

  • Based on our research, the cheapest way to heat your home is to use a reverse cycle air conditioner
  • Electric heaters have a lower daily running cost of $2.44. For gas heaters it is $2.90 per day based on 4 hours running time.
  • Given energy prices are set to rise on 1 July 2023, it is important to understand which heaters will not end up being power guzzlers

How much does it cost to run a heater in winter 2023?

We looked at a 100 heaters in total to find out it would cost an average of $228 to heat your home this winter.

This includes 8 different types of electric heaters and 2 types of gas heaters.

Heater cost in winter

$228

COST/HOUSEHOLD


$2.54

DAILY COST

Your actual costs may be smaller or larger depending on a variety of factors, including:

  • How often you use your heater
  • The actual price you pay for electricity or gas from you provider
  • How many heaters you choose to run
  • Level of insulation in your home
  • Climate where you live

What type of heater is the cheapest to run?

According to our calculations, reverse cycle air conditioners are the cheapest way to stay warm this winter. Our figures are based on running a heater for 4 hours a day.

Based on the 10 models we analysed, the average running cost per day is $1.41 or $127 for the winter period.

Just keep in mind that running costs will increase depending on how big your air con is and the size of the room you're heating.

Upfront costs are also high if you don't already have one installed. However, they can significantly save you money in the long run.

Alternatively, here are some other options to consider:

  • Panel heaters are the second cheapest type of electric heater to run, costing $1.97 per day. The average daily cost of electric heaters is $2.06.
  • Convection heaters are the cheapest type of gas heater to run, costing $2.76 per day. The average daily cost of gas heaters is $2.90.

Costs are an estimate only. Your actual running costs may be different. They can be affected by multiple factors including actual usage, level of insulation in your home, climate and prices.

Which type of heater is the most energy-efficient?

Reverse-cycle air conditioners are both the cheapest and most energy-efficient way to heat your home.

This comes down to the way they work. We won't get into the technicalities but it boils down to this:

While other electric and gas heaters have to use energy to "make" heat, a reverse-cycle system actually "takes" heat from outside of your home and releases it to warm a room. Isn't science wonderful?

Reverse-cycle air conditioners are able to generate 3 or more kilowatts (kW) of heating per 1kW of electricity consumed.

If you're not looking to install a reverse-cycle air conditioner, you can still look at the individual efficiency ratings of other appliances and choose the one with the highest energy rating.

What are the differences between electric and gas heaters?

There are many variables at play when considering if electric heating is cheaper or more expensive than gas.

FeatureElectric heaterGas heater
OperationUses electricity to heat up elements.Uses combustion of gas to heat up elements.
Installation costCheap – often heaters are "plug and play" with no installation. Installation of reverse-cycle air conditioners can be between $600 and $750.Expensive – often starts from $1,200 all the way to $5,000 depending on the number of fittings.
Running costsExpensive – electricity rates are much higher than gas.Cheaper, but requires more gas for the same amount of heat.
Safety concernsElectrocution, electrical fires.Carbon monoxide fumes (requires ventilation).
Environmental impactSustainable if your home is powered by solar. The majority of Australian homes are powered by burning fossil fuels.Okay – gas heaters produce around 80% fewer emissions than electric heaters.

How else can I reduce my winter energy bills?

Finder's Cost of Living report shows rising energy costs are causing Aussies the 4th most stress, after groceries, rent/mortgage and petrol.

Besides looking for a cheaper, and more energy efficient heater type, consider:

  • Switching energy providers. There's probably a better offer out there especially if you haven't switched energy plans in over 12 months. Consider providers that are offering electricity and gas deals, including sign up credit.
  • Using electric blankets. When it comes to staying warm, an electric blanket is actually the cheapest option according to our analysis, costing just 14 cents a day to run.
  • Switch things off. When you turn an appliance off, it's still using power in standby mode. It might not be much but the cost can quickly add up. Make sure to turn off electric devices at the power point. It's a small habit change that could save you $100 a year.
  • Consider changing tariffs. If you have a smart meter, you may be able to change from a single-use tariff to a time of use tariff. How much you could save depends on your state and provider.
  • Keep an eye out for government incentives. With the rising cost of living, various states are offering reductions on your power bill via government subsidies. Keep an eye out for what you might be entitled to via your state government's website.

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Government rebates

A few states and territories have rebates in place to help with the cost of upgrading your existing appliances.

You can see the full list of rebates available on the government website.

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Long-term investments

Install solar panels. Installing solar can have a high upfront cost. However, it can take as few as 4 years before it has effectively paid for itself. There are also solar rebate schemes across the country which can subsidise the costs.

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