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Electricity Heating System


  • Electricity is available almost everywhere in Australia.
  • Some companies offer GreenPower—a subscription scheme where you pay slightly more to use clean electricity generated from renewable sources such as solar, hydro, wind or biomass.


  • Peak rate electricity is very expensive, at around four times the cost of natural gas. However, where high efficiency reverse cycle air conditions are used, running costs can be comparable to natural gas.
  • Off peak electricity is significantly cheaper than peak rate electricity, but is still around 1 to 2.5 times the cost of natural gas. Availability is restricted to off peak times (11pm—7am).
  • Heating with portable electric heaters can be expensive.
  • Power plants generate electricity by burning fossil fuels, producing considerable amounts of greenhouse gases and other air pollutants.

Types of electric heating systems

Reverse cycle air conditioners (or heat pumps) Reverse cycle air conditioners are the most efficient form of electric heating and are energy rated—the more stars the more energy efficient the product.

Reverse cycle air conditioners:

  • are electric convection heaters which extract heat from the outside air and deliver it into the home using a compressor and fan
  • can be installed in a wall or window, as a split system, or as a central ducted system, usually zoned.
  • provide refrigerative cooling in summer
  • are available in sizes suitable for bedrooms, living areas or whole house

Look for:

  • a high star rating (4 to 6 stars) on the energy rating label
  • remote thermostat
  • adjustable directional louvres
  • programmable timer.

Electric space heating

Electric space heater

Electric space heaters are available as convection or radiant heaters, and use peak rate electricity. They are designed to heat a zone, rather than a whole home. Installation of space heaters in different zones of your home allows heating flexibility. However, they can be quite expensive to run, and are only recommended for rooms that require infrequent heating for short periods of time (bedroom, bathroom, study).

Electric space heaters:

  • are not suitable for main living areas
  • are available in sizes to heat up to 70 m2.

Look for:

  • remote thermostat or AA rated unit
  • programmable timer.

Electric slab heating

Electric slab heating is a central heating system which uses electric cables embedded in a concrete slab floor to provide home heating.

Electric slab heating:

  • is suitable for homes with high ceilings
  • may not be an option for new homes depending on the availability of off peak electricity tariff.

Look for:

  • availability of off peak electricity tariff—peak rate electricity should not be used as it is very expensive to run
  • zones with individual thermostatic control.
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