What makes a great heater and how do you choose? Certainly, you will want to consider the type of heater - whether it’s electric or gas powered, flued or unflued, and so on. The capacity is also important - too small and it will struggle to heat the space, too big and it will waste energy and overheat the room. As always, price will play a significant part in your decision. These are all good things to think about and look out for but it is also crucial to consider a heater’s energy efficiency, as the more efficient it is, the less energy it uses and the more money you save in the long run. What’s the easiest way to work out which heaters are the most energy efficient? Look to the stars...
What is the star ratings system and when was it created?
Essentially, star ratings are an indicator of how energy efficient an appliance is. The more stars, the higher its energy efficiency. To enable consumers to quickly and easily compare the star ratings of a range of models of a particular appliance, they are displayed on the Energy Rating Label. This was first introduced in 1986 in NSW and Victoria and is now mandatory in all Australian states and territories for a range of electric appliances. However, this does not cover electric heaters.
Gas Energy Rating Label
There is now also an industry-led Gas Rating Label which can be found on gas space heaters, ducted heating systems, and water heaters. This is technically a voluntary scheme but the Australian Gas Association (AGA) requires all gas heaters to be energy rated before it will certify them. AGA undertakes energy performance tests and uses the results to produce a star rating, which is incorporated into the Energy Rating Label. On that label you will find a star rating - the more stars, the more efficient the model.
You will also see a red star rating band - likewise, the further the colour extends around the semi- circle, the more efficient the model. It will also show the amount of gas used by the unit over an average year. As well as displaying the ratings on each heater, the organisation records the energy performance information (including the annual energy consumption figures in MJ/year and the star ratings) of each model in the Directory of Certified Gas Appliances and Components.
Why does energy efficiency matter?
Choosing an energy efficient heater will help you to save energy and to save money as the less energy used, the lower the running costs will be. You may even find that you end up spending more on that low-price heater in the long run as the operating costs are higher. Because they consume less energy, energy efficient heaters also contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions so you will be lowering your carbon footprint and helping to ensure we live in a safer, cleaner, greener environment.