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How much does it cost to run your heater in winter 2024?

It's going to cost on average $257 to keep warm this winter, but there are ways to cut down on your energy bills and tame the sting.

What you need to know

  • Based on our research, the cheapest way to heat your home is to use a reverse cycle air conditioner.
  • We found South Australians will be doing it tougher with their heating bills than other states. This is not a real shocker given energy prices tend to be on the higher side there.
  • Heating can account for 20% to 50% of energy use in a home which is always a handy stat to be mindful of to curb bad energy use habits.

How much does it cost to run a heater in winter 2024?

We looked at running costs for 70 electric heaters and 10 gas heaters to work out how much it would cost you to heat your home this winter.

Heater cost in winter





Your actual costs may be higher or lower depending on a variety of factors, including:

  • How often you use your heater - somebody living in Melbourne may use their heater more often than a household in Brisbane.
  • The actual price you pay for electricity or gas from your energy provider.
  • How many heaters you're running at any given time.
  • The level of insulation in your home.

Winter heating costs by state

We love a little state-by-state comparison to see where people are paying more in the country.

It's not helpful to see your friends in Victoria being charged less while you're suffering in South Australia, but it can be a good benchmark of sorts.

Keep in mind: We had to skip WA because their pricing structure makes calculations a bit more complicated. We didn't include the NT and TAS in the second graph as there are much fewer household connected to gas.

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.

This comes down to their energy efficiency.

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?

Just keep in mind that running costs for a reverse-cycle air conditioner will increase depending on the capacity of the air conditioner 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.

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 elementsUses 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 $750Expensive – 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 gasCheaper, but requires more gas for the same amount of heat
Safety concernsElectrocution, electrical firesCarbon monoxide fumes (requires ventilation)
Environmental impactSustainable if your home is powered by solar. The majority of Australian homes are powered by burning fossil fuelsOkay – gas heaters produce around 80% fewer emissions than electric heaters

How else can I reduce my winter energy bills?

Finder's Consumer Sentiment Tracker has found 7 million Australians are desperate to save money this winter. This isn't a surprise given energy bills is the third most stressful expense faced by Australian households.

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

  • Switching energy providers. It's likely you're missing out on significant savings if you haven't compared and switched energy plans in over 12 months.
  • 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 powerpoint. It's a small habit change that could save you $100 a year.
  • Keep an eye out for rebates and concessions. Contact your energy provider if you're unsure what types of rebates you're eligible for. Some run for longer periods while others are short-term. For example, the federal government will be giving all Australian households $300 in energy bill relief from 1 July. The Queensland government will be giving all households in the state $1,000 as energy rebate, also from 1 July.
  • Add extra insulation to your home. F

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