In Part 1, we discussed ducted gas heating and split system air-conditioning for heating and cooling your home. Here we’ll go into detail on a few other options.
You can tell if a home has evaporative cooling without even stepping inside. It’s the strange raised box that sits on top of a roof. It works by circulating water onto a cooling pad and making it very wet. A fan draws air from outside the unit through the moistened pad to cool it, then passes the cool air into the home. You’ll need to have one or two windows cracked to allow the cool air to circulate throughout the house. The unit will burn out if you don’t.
Evaporative cooling systems are cheap to run and can be preferred to refrigerated cooling, but are limited on their ability, particularly in hot humid conditions or a few days into a heatwave.
If installed in a home with gas ducted heating, it also adds an additional duct in the ceilings in each room or space it’s installed, which can deter some people.
Ducted Reverse Cycle Air-conditioning
The next step up is fully ducted reverse cycle air conditioning. Generally, at the higher end of the budget, ducted air-conditioning both heats and cools your home through one unit. It also means you only have one type of duct in your ceilings as both the heating and the cooling run through the same vent. Even better these days, many systems now come with full zoning, meaning you can turn it off in the areas and rooms you aren’t using, thus making it much more cost and energy-efficient.
Gas Log Fire
Many people like the ambiance of a gas log fire as a way to channel a traditional wood fire, but these are often installed to enhance a heating system and create a cosy atmosphere, rather than as a total heating option.
By far, our new favourite heating is hydronic, even if it comes at a cost. As the name suggests, hydronic comes from the word “hydro”, meaning water. Hydronic heating works by circulating heated water (usually via a gas furnace) throughout the home either through your concrete slab or wall panels.
While the cost of installing hydronic heating is at the top end, the lovely warmth of the slab under your feet on those chilly winter days is worth every penny! Generally, hydronic systems are reasonably inexpensive to run. It’s also a great option for people with allergies and asthma as you’re not blowing air and dust around your house.
If hydronic or under-floor heating is the one for you, you’ll need to take it into consideration before you get building as the concrete slab needs to be specifically designed to accommodate the pipes.
There are many options, all of which have varying supply, installation, and running costs. However, having your home designed to work efficiently using passive solar principles ensures it will heat and cool more naturally, reducing energy costs considerably.
Using quality insulation, double glazing, draft control, and leveraging nature’s free energy source, sunlight, will have a dramatic effect on the performance and efficiency of each system to deliver year-round comfort.