Friday, 19 August 2011

Reno - Heating and cooling

We've bought a wood heater with a glass door for the living room up the road.  It's the same as the one we have in our lounge room here at home - a Heat Charm.  We've been very happy with the one we have now and it efficiently heats most of the house.  It's only that the back room of the house (kitchen and sitting room) are a few steps lower than the rest so the heat won't travel down the stairs.  We have a wood fired Rayburn in the kitchen so this room is always cosy warm anyway.  The new house is all one level so it won't be an issue.

As we'll be renting the "house up the road" out while we're in England we're going to put in a split system heater/air-conditioner.  They are a popular choice in Australia now.  We're quite happy relying on firewood for our heating (Mick is occasionally asked to cut down a tree for someone and he gets the firewood so we don't always have to buy it) but for a tenant we think it would be better to have electric heating available.  Plus, this option will give us air-conditioning to get through the next Summer or two.

When we return from England, and if we decide to stay in that house, we'll install ducted evaporative cooling like we have now.  We much prefer the evaporative cooling to refrigerated air-conditioning.  It's nicer to be able to have a couple of windows or doors open and have fresh air moving through the house in Summer.  With refrigerated air-conditioning you have to close the house up to keep the cool air in.  The running costs of evaporative cooling are much lower too.  You are basically only paying for the running of a large fan (blowing air over a tray of water).  During a normal hot Summer we can have the evaporative cooling going from first thing in the morning until after we've gone to bed, or even all night in an extreme heatwave. 

There is little difference in our electricity bill between Summer and Winter.  In Winter we occasionally use a portable electric heater as a backup - for example if we've been out and the wood fire has gone out and the house is cold we'll put the electric heater on for an hour while the fire is getting established.  In Summer we often have the evaporative cooling going every single day for weeks at a time.  The cost is minimal.  So we're happy with how things work for us now and will eventually have a similar setup at the new house.

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