Calculate heating running costs

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This page provides approximate annual running costs and greenhouse gas emissions for a range of types and sizes of heating options.

These should be used as a guide only. Energy costs will depend on:

  • the area being heated
  • how well insulated your house is
  • your thermostat settings
  • the amount of time the heating is run
  • your local climate
  • your energy tariffs.

The calculations are based on an average 2-star house in a Melbourne climate.

To estimate the running cost for a cold climate, such as Ballarat, multiply these figures by 1.3. For a warm climate, such as Mildura, multiply these figures by 0.7.

To estimate the running cost for a 5-star house in a Melbourne climate multiply these figures by 0.4. For a 6-Star house multiply these figures by 0.3.

The calculations for slow combustion wood heaters only include greenhouse gas emissions. Wood heaters can also produce smoke pollution.

Read EPA’s advice on reducing wood smoke pollution.

Central heating

Small house 100m2

Heater type Energy star rating Annual energy cost Annual emissions (kg/year)
Gas ducted 3 star $835 2,810
4 star $735 2,470
6 star $635 2,135
Gas hydronic European C rating (84%) $675 2,250
European A rating (92%) $620 2,055
Electric ducted reverse-cycle 2 star $840 3,415
4 star $585 2,380
Electric multi-split reverse-cycle 2 star $730 2,965
3.5 star $580 2,355
Electric in-slab No ratings $1,955 11,185
Slow combustion wood heater Standard $760 200

Medium house 160m2

Heater type Energy star rating Annual energy cost Annual emissions (kg/year)
Gas ducted 3 star $1,250 4,500
4 star $1,095 3,955
6 star $950 3,415
Gas hydronic European C rating (84%) $1,005 3,595
European A rating (92%) $920 3,285
Electric ducted reverse-cycle 2 star $1,295 5,270
3.5 star $990 4,030
Electric multi-split reverse-cycle 2 star $1,140 4,640
3.5 star $915 3,720
Electric in-slab No ratings $3,120 17,865
Slow combustion wood heater Standard $1,215 320

Large house 220m2

Heater type Energy star rating Annual energy cost Annual emissions (kg/year)
Gas ducted 3 star $1,645 6,185
4 star $1,445 5,435
6 star $1,250 4,695
Gas hydronic European C rating (84%) $1,325 4,945
European A rating (92%) $1,210 4,515
Ducted reverse-cycle 2 star $1,750 7,120
3.5 star $1,360 5,535
Electric multi-split reverse-cycle 2 star $1,555 6,315
3.5 star $1,250 5,080
Electric in-slab No ratings $4,280 24,515
Slow combustion wood heater Standard $1,670 440

Room heating

Small room 12m2

Heater type Energy star rating Annual energy cost Annual emissions (kg/year)
Gas room heater 3 star – natural gas $125 345
5 star – natural gas $105 290
3 star – LPG $265 395
5 star – LPG $225 335
Electric room reverse-cycle 2 star $120 485
5 star $70 285
Electric portable heater No ratings $330 1,340
Electric fixed heater No ratings $330 1,340

Medium room 30m2

Heater type Energy star rating Annual energy cost Annual emissions (kg/year)
Gas room heater 3 star – natural gas $295 845
5 star – natural gas $250 720
3 star – LPG $655 970
5 star – LPG $560 830
Electric room reverse-cycle 2 star $270 1,080
5 star $170 695
Electric portable heater No ratings $810 3,285
Electric fixed heater No ratings $810 3,285

Large room 60m2

Heater type Energy star rating Annual energy cost Annual emissions (kg/year)
Gas room heater 3 star – natural gas $530 1,680
5 star – natural gas $455 1,440
3 star – LPG $1,305 1,935
5 star – LPG $1,115 1,655
Electric room reverse-cycle 2 star $555 2,245
5 star $380 1,535
Electric portable heater No ratings $1,605 6,525
Electric fixed heater No ratings $1,605 6,525
Slow combustion wood heater Standard $545 145
How we calculated the costs

The figures in the tables above are approximate costs per year. They’re based on an average existing pre-2005 2-star house in a Melbourne climate, heating to 20°C all day on:

  • 9am to 10pm on the weekend
  • 6am to 9am on weekdays
  • 5pm to 11pm on weekdays.  

The calculations are based on an electricity tariff of 27.51c/kWh (peak) and 19.55c/kWh (off peak). Gas tariffs are based on a declining block structure, which means the unit cost of gas decreases as gas use (or area being heated) increases.

Gas tariffs used for central heating are:

  • 100m2 – 1.68c/MJ
  • 160m2 – 1.56c/MJ
  • 220m2 – 1.49c/MJ.

Gas tariffs used for room heating are:

  • 12m2 – 2.05c/MJ
  • 30m2 – 1.94c/MJ
  • 60m2 – 1.77c/MJ
  • LPG – 4.46c/MJ.
The electricity and gas tariffs do not include any pay on time discount or any fixed supply charges.

Greenhouse gas emissions are based on:

  • 1.12kg CO2-e per kWh for electricity
  • 0.05543kg CO2-e per MJ for natural gas
  • 0.0642kg CO2-e per MJ for LPG
  • 0.0013 CO2-e per MJ for plantation-grown bulk firewood.

Ways to reduce heating costs

In the average home, heating accounts for around 40% of the annual energy cost. You can reduce the energy used for heating your home by using your system efficiently and minimising heat lost, as mentioned on this page.

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