Heating your house in Tasmania – gas and electricity options

Heating your house adequately is a topic that arises for people considering moving to Tasmania or wanting to upgrade their house in Tasmania. As for many areas in the southern parts of Australia, the winters do get cold in Tasmania.

Amazingly you will find that many houses are not adequately heated. Often heating will only be in the living areas, or if added to the bedrooms this may be small panel heaters. Central heating is not common and can be frustrating, especially when looking for a rental home. Of course when you are looking to buy you have the option of upgrading the heating after settlement and hopefully before winter!

 

Gas Heating in Tasmania

We have lived in many different places around Australia and had many different types of heating and cooling. In our house in Gisborne Victoria, we had ducted natural gas heating plus evaporative cooling. Natural gas, however, is relatively new to Tasmania and is about twice the price of what we were paying in Victoria. If you want to see if your house can be serviced by natural gas then check out the map and information at the Tas Gas website: Pipeline Locator | Tas Gas

Our house in Sandy Bay is serviced by natural gas and we had it connected during the renovations of the house in Spring 2011. You have a choice of two suppliers – either Aurora or Tas Gas. They both charge the same price for the gas but Aurora runs a program called Aurora preferred suppliers whereby you can use one of their accredited suppliers and then the fitness of the product (making sure it does what is claimed) and the workmanship is also guaranteed by Aurora. It was for this program and the extra piece of mind that we chose Aurora to be our gas supplier.

Depending on what type of gas system and appliances you install then there may be an installation fee for the pipeline or none at all. As we are installing a full ducted heating system then we didn’t have to pay any installation fee for the gas pipe and gas meter. If you only install gas hot water then there is a reduced charge.

LPG gas is also available throughout Tasmania and you can use this for your heating needs, though unfortunately, it is about twice the price of natural gas.

 

Electric Heating in Tasmania

Electricity costs have been going up dramatically throughout the whole of Australia and Tasmania is no different. Tasmania has only one retail electricity supplier for individual small consumers (large businesses have more choice) and that is Aurora. You are therefore stuck with the price that is set and you cannot shop around for a better deal unlike the situation on the mainland.

The most prevalent form of heating in Tasmania is called heat pumps. From Googling it seems that this name is unique to Tasmania and New Zealand. The mainland more simply calls them reverse cycle air conditioners. Depending on the size of the heat pump that you install you may be eligible for a reduced electricity cost from Aurora – please ask them for more information.

If purchasing a heat pump also make sure it is one of the brands that is guaranteed to work in low temperatures. Tasmania gets more chilly at night and in early mornings than some places on the mainland so you need to make sure your unit is going to be capable of operating effectively and efficiently.

You can of course purchase a ducted heat pump system to heat your entire house but the cost of this can range from $15,000 to $20,000.  The cost of a ducted gas heating system is also much more expensive in Tasmania than it is on the mainland. In Melbourne particularly you can get a ducted gas system for between $4,000 and $5,000 and sometimes even less on sale. In Hobart we found out recently that the same system could cost $8,000 to $9,000 installed.

 

How are we heating our house in Tasmania

After much consideration we decided to go with a “ducted” “central” hydronic heating system for our house powered by a natural gas boiler. This involves putting hot water powered radiators throughout the house and the system works by utilising hot water to heat the radiators and the entire house.

One of the radiators during installation & Charlie in front having a nap (and it’s not connected)

Hydronic heating as a guide is more expensive than ducted gas but far cheaper than a ducted heat pump system.

We operate the system using one of the automatic programs (which can be adapted to suit you) so it comes on each morning and off again around bedtime. It is also set to come on if the house gets below a certain temperature overnight. Even in summer, it did come on a little some evenings and in the last couple of months is working much harder.

We have lived in houses with heat pumps, ducted gas and now hydronic and hydronic is by far the best by a mile. It is just so superior and you feel warm everywhere in the house -whereas ducted gas has drafts and the temperature goes up and down as the system goes on and off.  Hydronic keeps the house at the set temperature all the time. Plus it is silent and often you don’t realise it has come on (except now when it is on most of the day and evening!).

 

Heating your house, what upgrades you might need to make and other associated issues are all things you need to consider when buying a house in Tasmania. If you would like Settled In to help you find your perfect house and explore these issues with you then please contact us. We look forward to assisting you.

What is your experience with heating in Tasmania? We would love to hear from you.

 

Note: this post has been amended. We previously recommended a supplier for hydronic heating and can no longer make that recommendation. We do not have personal experience with a supplier that we can recommend. 

 

Photo Credit: geoffeg via Compfight cc

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