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Heating your home

Keeping the cold from your home with energy-efficient heating could reduce your power bills by 40 per cent - so long as you choose wisely.

The size and the type of heater you need is determined by room dimensions, insulation levels, window area and covering, and indoor and outdoor temperatures. The heater you choose should maintain a comfortable temperature in a room on an average cold day in winter. 

The following table is a guide, but your supplier should be able to advise on the size of system you require, particularly if you are choosing central heating.

HomeHeater output required per m2 of floor area*
Uninsulated home 130 watts/m2
Insulated ceiling and walls 100 watts/m2
Energy-efficient home 70-80 watts/m2

* Figures will be greater for electric storage heaters and for rooms with ceilings higher than 2.4 metres

Types of heating

The type of heating you should choose depends on which areas of your home you need to heat, how large those areas are and how long you need to heat each one. The two main types are:

  • Central heating systems, which can heat most of your home at the same time. However, heating an entire house when you are only using part of it is a waste of money and energy, so you may prefer to use a high efficiency space heater to warm the area you are using.
  • Space heaters heat a zone, rather than a whole home, so give you greater flexibility and tend to cost less to run than central heating, simply because the units are smaller. The most economical are high efficiency (five or six-star rated) natural gas heaters, high efficiency (three to six-star rated) reverse cycle air-conditioners and slow combustion wood heaters.

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Page last updated: 10 December 2015