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house heating and cooling

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Thread replies: 61
Thread images: 16

hey /diy/, australian here.

I'm struggling with all the info on heating and cooling for a 2 story house, just wanting to check if my current idea is a decent one (house currently under construction).

For my needs i think that a ducted electric heating/cooling system is the best for the general house (cheaper unit than gas, higher running cost) and a freestanding gas heater in the main room would provide a nice feature and a cheaper heating solution for the winter months (girlfriend will run the heater flat out in winter).
should end up costing about 1k more than the gas ducted system all up, but i can just heat the main room most nights and the one bedroom upstairs through the night if need be.

So basically, are freestanding gas heaters relatively efficient? Or would i be better off getting a ducted gas unit.
What are good brands/what to look out for with freestanding gas heaters?
Any other things i should be thinking about/general advice would be welcome.

Am carpenter, have tools.
Trying to keep it as cost effective as possible.

If i left any info out let me know, only just started posting here, thanks!


> Electric heating

Where I'm from (Denmark), electric heating is the most expensive form of central heating in a house, followed by oil, then gas and wood pellets and other wood products

For a localised heatsource, a freestanding "oven" like the one in your pic, will give off more heat if you take care to run the exhaust pipe in a way that goes through several rooms. Another thing is to get a air circulation system so that the hot air from your living room (or whereever the "oven" is) is circulated around the house. Is that what you mean by ducted gas unit? Because that will transport the heat in the best way.

You should also consider to get a sun-to-water-heating unit: these are wondrous for heating up your bathing and tap water and a cheap and easy to install and you have an abundance of solar energy where you live
Its the most expensive here also, so my plan was to use the ducted electric heating and cooling unit sparingly and use a gas freestanding oven in the central room of the house for the bulk of the heating, and using the electric ducted system (does both heating and cooling) possibly circulate air from the central room to others through the ducts (need to confirm if this is possible). i really hope it is as it seems the best way to go from what i've read.

Ill definitely look into sun to water heating, more alternative power the better!
A thick short wall next to your sunniest big window will absorb large quantities of heat in the day so keeping the room cooler, and keep the room warm late into the evening as a further benefit!

There are other passive systems too, a bit of research should find some answers.
Cooling a house can be as simple as planting big leaf trees about. They draw water up and evaporate it so producing a cool downdraught from the canopy.
Carpenter, works with wood. Buying a gas fire?

Wait, what???
no big windows unfortunately, but a passive system for the master bedroom would be a great idea so it can keep the chill out of there and i only have to heat downstairs most of the time, thanks.

floor boarded house so id be a little worried about the water draining from the plant to the floor and wrecking it, particularly with having pets around. possibly in the back yard around the decking though.

i cut wood all day, last thing i want is to cut more when i get home haha. plus most of the wood we use is pine, so it burns fast and smokey, not too good for an indoor fire.
you are an idiot.
please STFU about things you have no clue about.
trees don't "produce" downdraughts (not even a word, faggot)
trees block thermal gain in the summer, lightening the heat load of the building.
>Where I'm from (Denmark), electric heating is the most expensive form of central heating
This depends on outside Temperature ; on much of the East-coast of Australia [I'm not OP] the outside temps are quite mild overnight [never freezing] so Many people have a Reverse-Cycle Airconditioner for heating , and obviously for cooling.
Then - yes for OP I would think a gas powered 'fireplace' is a cheap and cost-effective add-on for the coldest nights : but it is only easy/cheap if you have reticulated Gas ; otherwise you might burn about Eight x 45kg cylinders each winter and what to do they go for now? $120 delivered?
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See, the problem with being a cunt, is that people just love to prove you wrong.

> downdraughts (not even a word, faggot)
Hot air rises, cold air sinks. Sinking air is called.. a downdraught.
> inb4 spelling, british english versus americunt english.

> Trees can reduce air temperature by blocking sunlight. Further cooling occurs when water evaporates from the leaf surface. The conversion of water to air vapor --- a chemical process --- removes heat energy from the air.

> Trees transpire water through their leaves, increasing the surface area contributing to evaporation. When a molecule of water evaporates, it takes with it some heat that could otherwise be used to warm the nearby environment. Trees provide an evaporative cooling effect that can decrease local air temperatures by several degrees Fahrenheit. This effect typically reaches its peak when evaporation levels are highest, usually at midday.

> Trees and vegetation lower surface and air temperatures by providing shade and through evapotranspiration. Shaded surfaces, for example, may be 20–45°F (11–25°C) cooler than the peak temperatures of unshaded materials.1 Evapotranspiration, alone or in combination with shading, can help reduce peak summer temperatures by 2–9°F (1–5°C).

If you weren't such an angry fucklord you might have considered googling it before posting. I would suggest trying that next time.
Joiner here, I personally would bet on wood/ pellets and what not there all is. But it all depends on having your own shop to be able to use the leftovers for what ever you want. Also where I live, pellets sell fairly well.
when he's right he's right
plumbers in next week to rough in so can get him to run a gas line to where the heater is no worries.
And yeah, was going to use a reverse cycle unit. Its also handy that i can put a duct in the bathrooms to keep air circulation in the wet areas.

thanks for all the feedback, still fairly happy with the ducted/gas fireplace method from all the feedback, good to have a few other people spitball some ideas and (generally) confirm that this is an ok method.

probably a few months till its all going in but if i remember ill check back with some pics (if your all interested)
Wanted to post some Thermo-Mass Rocket Stoves
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Another look. You can make a kind of bench with the outlet of heat and sit on it. Most of what I see has a kind of drum where the heat accumulates and can be used for a stove. The idea is just a small fire can create lots of heat by using a draft or a kind of carbarator that bring the heat to a central stove like area. Very little soot, but you have to clean below where you feed in twigs or wood. Then uses a kind of stove pipe to the outside. I guess you can even make a stove out of a log, then sit a pot on top of it using a small internal flame and hole in the top tho not strictly/technically a rocket stove. It seems the idea works well if you use an oil drum as the stove surface.
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This one is adobe I think.
Here is one where they light the twigs, then drop down and add twigs or wood as needed.
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Here is a more attractive variation.
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Here is a better diagram for the sitting on version.
In Australia you may not need the Sitting Version at all, but seems interesting to me for some reason.
Yurt Tent Rocket Stove Version.
This might be the cheapest version I've seen other than the hollow log.
Another Australian here -

Reverse air - Mitusbishi Industrial, Dakin (overpriced though), Panasonic, and even (these days) Fujitsu are all good.

If you're in an area that actually has a cold-ish winter (Tas/Vic/ACT) the combination of air-con and the gas fireplace work reasonably well, especially if the return air box for the a/c is in the same room as the fireplace, so that the fireplace helps heat the whole house. Adding ducted gas heating means you may be springing out for all new ductwork as well, as the size requirements are different, so an attractive free standing fireplace isn't a bad alternative.

Note that many a/c systems cannot be zoned down to just one or two rooms - generally you can manually close off a few vents or have a bedrooms/rest of house type zone but that's about it.

A/C can be pretty slow to ramp up the temperature by itself (the air comes out only a few degrees warmer than it goes in), but if your g/f likes it warm, she can huddle in front of the gas heater for that extra warm feeling which she WONT get from a/c.

And for all the O/S people suggesting wood fireplaces...many councils in Australia don't allow you to install them anymore.

Also think about solar panels - Low Energy Developments on ebay sells grid connect panels for about $1/watt - to offset a/c running costs during summer, as the top floor of a two story house does tend to get considerably hotter than the bottom floor.

See also yourhome.gov.au
I haven't looked into which unit yet, but I’m not too worried about that. Getting the right unit seems pretty easy with a few contacts to talk to.
I was thinking of going reverse cycle heating/cooling and the fireplace. So I suppose this is a 2 part response.

Only A/C and fireplace: It would be far cheaper to just use this method, but do you think just A/C ductwork would draw the heat throughout the house enough to warm the other rooms? I assume putting the return air in the right place would be key for this? This is something I've had some trouble figuring out; I’m still a fair beginner with this stuff.

Reverse cycle unit and fireplace: A reverse cycle heating and cooling uses the same ducts as the cooling for the heating, there just bumped up by a few inches (from 8"-10" to 12" i think?), Planned for the ductwork already so it shouldn’t be an issue. I was planning on this method as I could heat all of upstairs if necessary, plus there‘d be warm air circulating in the bathrooms.

>Note that many a/c systems cannot be zoned down to just one or two rooms
I’ve heard the zoning can be quite difficult, was planning on closing the 2 spare bedrooms vents and shutting the doors and just zoning up/downstairs. It’s an average-small place so the heater should do all of downstairs.
Also spot on about the g/f, she’d bankrupt us with just an electric ducted heater I think.

>Also think about solar panels
Gonna start looking into solar now but roof space is an issue, had to draw water tanks on the plan to get the energy rating high enough as solar wasn’t gonna get us past the required threshold. Will probably get rid of the water tank later but, yard is too small.

reading now, thanks friend.
If you have the return air grill in the room with the fireplace, it'll circulate the warm air throughout the house when you also run the a/c - think of it as a heat booster for the a/c, which a/c can really do with in cold weather. Although yes, a./c is 400% efficient, that's in the middle of its operating range - get near the edges and it can be much, much less.

As someone who has lived in a house with both a/c for heating, and ducted gas, I much preferred the gas in a Canberra climate - with a/c the warm up time on a -2 winter morning was sooo goddam slow getting from 15 degrees to 20 it meant you'd have to set the thermostat to 20 degrees at 3am if you wanted it there by 7...so it might be cheaper, but you have to run it a fucktonne more. Ducted gas will do that sort of rise in 30 minutes, even on a night where the outside temperature is -10.

My brother has one of the gas fires - I looked after his place for a few months when he was overseas - and it was great for sitting in front of and reading. You could nicely toast your back while looking at the dismal grey rain outside.

Roof insulation - R8, if you can. Screw that R5 recommendation.

Also look at doing whatever you can to increase the insulation on the walls of the upstairs area - R2.5 on a west facing wall just does not do it in summer!

Roller shutters are another good investment - ignore the guys selling them in the malls, rollershutters.com.au has on line pricing, so if you have a tame sparky (or can do it yourself, it's not that difficult) they can be quite cheap.
>ac this
>ac that

Why you running the Air Conditioning in winter? AC makes air colder...
>AC makes air colder..
> plebs that have never lived in an air conditioned house.
Air conditioning is literally just that. Conditioning the air by altering its humidity and temperature to be more comfortable, be it warmer than ambient or cooler than ambient. In winter we set ours to 24C and the place gets nice and toasty.
>Air conditioning is literally just that.

Technically true, but "air conditioning" is all but synonymous with "cooling" in the public vocabulary (at least in the US). Even if it's an all-in-one HVAC unit, it's referred to as the AC in the context of cooling, the heater in the context of heating, and the fan if it's merely providing air circulation.
> You're technically correct, but instead of allowing plebs like >>787552 to feel a moment of shame for being an idiot, and hopefully adjust their behaviour as a result, I'm going to make excuses for them.

You are part of the reason this society is so fucking retarded when it comes to technology. Well played good sir.
Basically because I can't be assed to type in 'reverse cycle air conditioning' every time, and HVAC is not a household use term in Australia. I'm sorry if this makes it hard to comprehend for US based readers.
>reverse cycle air conditioning
Ah, well theres the problem. We almost never use that for heating over here. You only find that on window units or split units, the latter of which are not common stateside. When we talk about HVAC we generally mean a forced air system that has 'air conditioning' for cooling and a natural gas powered furnace for heating. They use forced air because its the easiest/cheapest way to combine both in a central heating/cooling system.

Thats in more mild climates though. not a whole lot of need for 'AC' in Maine so they generally don't used force air and go with a more efficient system based on radiators or or in floor heating or some such. Likewise, in places that don't need heating much they just have AC or swamp coolers.
The market here is mostly split systems, and maybe 10% whole house ducted.

Combined HVAC with included oil/gas heating is only in commercial buildings.

I guess that's because most places in Australia generally have no need for 'works in a snowstorm' type heating. as it simply doesn't get that cold here. It's the 40 degree days that we want to dodge.
Here in the UK typical solution is to highly insulate the entire house and use a small gas boiler to drive a hot water loop with radiators in most rooms. The positives is each room can be controlled with wet thermostatic valve and the whole system can be thermostatically controlled from a sensor typically within the main living space which features a 7 day timer with different temperature limits for different times of day. Systems which are even more advanced sense outside temperature and plan the ramp up and speed of heating in advance in order to maintain the most efficient burn rate and compensate for expected thermal loss from the building and even have a mobile main thermostat you can move around.

Modern boilers condense out the heat from the exhaust and recover it giving 93%+ efficiencies.

The down sides are ventilation in winter and excess humidity especially in older buildings designed to 'breath' and the disruption in installation and placing radiators. Also you don't typically get a perfect balance of radiator size and potential heat transfer into a space balanced with maintaining an efficient hot water temperature for all seasons, but thermostatic controls at least don't lead to you having to think about timings on those odd days with extreme weather.

I have a solid fuel/wood heater in the main living space for a feature and also a source of heat. I tend to set my main thermostat quite low to keep the house as a tolerable temperature and use the wood stove to boost the main living space to a luxurious heat on those evenings when that is desired. It is much less controllable, a pain in the ass to fuel and maintain, but it is a nice feature and a very cost effective way to get the main living space to 25-30C compared to driving the gas boiler crazy.

There is a point where the difference between internal and external temperature is so extreme that heat loss from the house is rapid and the boiler has to work constantly flat out. Then the wood stove wins.
For your ducted system I would install a double damper since you have a 2 story. A double damper let's you heat cool the upstairs independently from downstairs. I put one in my house and it works great. The upstairs gets hotter than down (heat rises) I have two separate thermostats to compensate. Works well.
>Roof insulation - R8, if you can. Screw that R5 recommendation.
>Also look at doing whatever you can to increase the insulation on the walls of the upstairs area - R2.5 on a west facing wall just does not do it in summer!

Holy shit...

USA, our normal insulation is R15 to 25 in the walls, 40 to 50 on the roof. Our building code requires R10 in the BASEMENT.

I'm in New York, but that's pretty much everywhere - even warm/moderate climates like Texas.

Just a regular wall, sheetrock on one side and plywood on the other, before you even sheathe it - has an R-value of 2 or 3...

and here I thought we were the most wasteful people on earth.
US R-values are imperial and give a rating about 6 times the metric values used in the rest of the world.
heat pump
so simple
heat pump

not faggot "reverse cycle air conditioning".

and zoned forced air systems are fairly simple if building them from start. Expensive, but easy. It is tying to retrofit zones into an existing duct system that is pain.

>heat pump

Hush, darling. Let the grown-ups have their playtime.
electric isnt that expensive. there are lower running cost tarrifs for electric heating. get this.
also your house is under construction? stop fucking everything. ducted heating is an old school retrofit solution for old crappy houses. under no circumstances should you listen to anyone who suggests such a thing. a passive heating system that runs off peak ie. a giant ceramic thermal sink in the middle of the house that is heated using the off peak tarrif to keep the house warm all the time, making it much cheaper to run. you can even boost the hydronic system off of black plastic pipe that you lace over your roof, so its solar powered.
>be le me
>living in tasmania
>everyone calls reverse cycle airconditioning "heat pump"
>I know they exist but have never even seen such a system in australia.
Well, technically they both are heat pumps. Thing is, its a very common technology. You could call your refrigerator a heat pump and you AC a heat pump without either needing underground pipes. All it means is it moves heat from one place to another.
yes, but in HVAC, heat pump is a commercial term for a unit with a passive heat exchange element. I wish it was a legally protected term so people could stop selling air conditioners to people as an energy efficient alternative to air conditioners.
Unless you live in an area that doesn't have peak and off peak rates. Or you live somewhere without reliable power in the winter. Or you live in the boondocks and use power generators, so its basically gasoline/diesel powered. Or your house is shaped in such a way that having a central heating element will leave parts of the house cold.

TL;DR. There is no magic bullet solution for all climates, locations and municipalities.
Yeah, but you're a tasfag, you guys are a few notches behind the curve anyway.

< 3
- The mainland (best land).
>- The mainland (best land).
Southern hemisphere only.
in WA, everywhere else is "the eastern states and territories." even on official documents.
>you're all tasmania
I'm in the US state of ND.

Here that "works in a snowstorm" kind of heating is needed. BTW - I like that phrase. Anyway, I have been studying the different kinds of heating and cooling for a structure, and here with this climate (-50c to +50c air temp more or less) I have decided to have a combined system: a geothermal heat pump to pretreat the air that goes to a high efficiency (95%+) standard gas forced air updraft furnace with a cooling condenser coil (standard "air conditioner"-type) for the really hot days. I also plan to have a high efficiency gas boiler (don't know the exact percentage available) heating water that goes through an extra-thick concrete floor to boost the "thermal mass" and help heat the whole house (and keep the 9' basement extremely liveable). For most of my water I want to have a tempering tank (a huge uninsulated tank of water, really) that goes to a standard 40gal high-efficiency gas water heater. I also want a high-efficiency instant water heater for the bathtubs / showers in the house. I was thinking about a solar preheat system, but according to what I have read, the angle of the sun here near the 48¼ parallel really isn't good enough to justify the added expense / trouble of snow removal in the winter. Not sure if this is directly applicable to you, but maybe a combination system is something you could look in to also.

As for electric heat, to the best of my knowledge it is the least efficient and most expensive way to heat a structure. Even propane is cheaper than a wholly-electric system.

My wife is a lot like your gf, it seems: if she could the house would be at 18c in the summer and 27c in the winter.

Hope it helps in some way.
You also need to factor in the cost of the space used by the giant thermal heat sink. Australia has some of the most expensive residential land prices (a small block of land in a capital city will cost you upwards of $2-300,000), so every square meter of space used up by a giant thermal sink is something that you are paying for in your average $500,000 home loan.
>make one wall a feature wall
>it's more expensive than the timber frame portion it replaces but the same size
>the entire floor
>it's going to be there anyway
>use sensible easy clean open plan living
>heat the tiles or concrete
>use dark tiles and large thick windows
>close curtains in summer
>open curtains in winter.

it really isnt that much more expensive or space consuming. even if you live there for five years, you've got your money back anyway just on the cost of installing and installing an electric heater/AC unit.
You're not going to get away with not needing heating or AC, so you can only really look at reduced running costs.

Plus you have to get a block with appropriate north exposure, which, with the smaller (read 'affordable' 350 square meter) blocks available, may be quite difficult.

Then to really make it work well, you have to add in things like double glazing (not standard in Oz) at about $800 per glazed meter vs. $250 for regular glazing.

Trust me - I've been down the solar passive design path, and when it comes time to sell the house, it doesn't provide a return on its capital cost because the market is generally not interested and typically won't pay more for the feature.

So it's sunk money - you have to look at recovering the money you spent on mass walls/trombe walls/hyperinsulation/earth coupled heat pumps/passive cooling towers or whatever in savings on running costs, which these days is better done by spending $7k on 5 kilowatts worth of grid connect solar panels (which the market will pay a slight premium for on house sale).
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you don't need sealed gas filled double glazed units unless you live in norway. I knew an architect in perth and he designed his house very well. was always a nice temperature and not actually very expensive the way he built it.

properly installed AU standard curtains are actually very good for insulation. this is how most bauhaus styled houses are insulated. because the entire house is a giant glass box, you'd think they would be unlivable. but they're not. curtains provide excellent insulation vs cost.

Perth , most isolated capital in the World.
>if she could the house would be at 18c in the summer and 27c in the winter.
humfh! , yeah bitches.
My friend got married to an Israeli girl whilst mooching off my free spare bedroom and she drove the fire to a lounge temp of 27c in winter, But ok she did cut much of firewood . . .
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>open curtains in winter.
"Yeah , I'm gonna need you to motorise those curtains".
I should get Heavier Curtains [and get Pelmets] AND open them in the morning and close them at dusk - but it's not gonna happen ; well the heavy/pelmet thing might ; me open/close : not without motors.
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Currently building this
What is the purpose of this device?
Looks like it would burn out kettles quite effectively...
I'm guessing it's an electricity waster
Ah. Thanks. I feel like an idiot, but in a good way.
OP, had a really busy few days so sorry about not replying.

The space/walls are the big issue with most systems, there are 3 townhouses going up on the block and my north facing wall is shaded by one of them most of the time, and the land being at about 350k for under 300 square meters we really squeezed these houses onto the block, and there isn't much room to alter the plans, as >>789326 said.

Theres a lot of air traffic over the top so they called for double glazing on most windows, just did it on all the habitable rooms, didn't really cost much more.

As much as these other options are great (and I've got some sweet ideas for my next place now), the climate here doesn't get too cold (-2 at worst) so i feel this system is the best tradeoff for efficiency and resale later on.

anywho, talked to the heating and cooling plumber, and we found a spot to run a return air duct to both up and downstairs. So the plan is to put a gas fire downstairs and an electric zoned ducted unit throughout the house, and put an override on it so i can just use the fan to draw the heat from downstairs around the house if need be. i can still just turn on the electric heating for those average nights or zone it just upstairs for the master bedroom.

He also said the best gas fire he's used was an archer, only need a 40mm pipe outlet for carbon dioxide, so im looking up these now.

Thanks for all the back and forth, helped my understanding of it all heaps.
Thread posts: 61
Thread images: 16

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