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Ducted Gas costs in Canberra?

miss molly 21 April 2011 24

We don’t want to suffer another Winter with costly oil burners and an ineffective reverse cycle aircon.  So, we’re going to take the ducted gas plunge.

I have a quote from ACTEW for $5700 for 8 ducts.  That includes a $500 electricity rebate though, so really $5200.

They have a repayment plan over 24 months, so I don’t have to find $5000 upfront which I like a lot.

Before I commit though, I was hoping you’d compare our deal with others you’ve come across, and let me know if it’s around about right.  

I’m happy to pay a little more to be able to pay it off over 2 years.

What do you reckon?


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24 Responses to Ducted Gas costs in Canberra?
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Deref Deref 8:35 am 28 Dec 11

Gungahlin Al said :

miss molly said :

So we’ve done heaps of extra stuff to get ready for Winter, including putting bubble wrap on some of the glass windows which is meant to be as good as double glazing. It’s also a bit weird, so only on windows no one actually looks through:)

Good move. On the bubble wrap. It is cheap. A better alternative for windows you want to look through is Magnetite. This is a perspex window overlay that sticks on with magnetic stripping around the frame. Gives you real double glazing benefits (the air gap) for a lot cheaper than replacing everything. They are at Mitchell I think.

I second Magnetite. Better than double glazing and less than half the cost. Good people to deal with, too.

Don’t forget to make sure that your ceiling insulation’s good, too.

MWF MWF 7:35 pm 27 Dec 11

Slumlord said :

I just got a quote from these guys, fantastic service (so far) and 5 star Braemar system 8 ducts for $4500 goes in next week. I’d take your quote to them as they’re offering to beat quotes by 10%. Good luck!

http://canberra.gumtree.com.au/c-Business-Services-building-trades-airconditioning-heating-DUCTED-HEATING-DEAL-DIRECT-WITH-THE-INSTALLER-AND-SAVE-W0QQAdIdZ274669821

Anyone know who these guys are? The link won’t work anymore.

Very Busy Very Busy 7:49 pm 22 Apr 11

You can do MUCH better than that price. Companies that have dedicated sales reps and shop fronts will add about 25% to the price to cover overheads. You’re much better off finding a smaller operation where the installer and the salesman is the same person and they don’t have a costly shopfront. They will still use the same quality units and the installation is usually better because the business owner is the installer and they rely on their reputation.

We just had a 5 star top of the range Brivis ducted system (HX30) with 14 vents and 2 separate zones installed for around $5,500. Quotes from ACTEW and another supplier were both well over $8,000 for exactly the same system.

eily eily 8:42 am 22 Apr 11

Just one thing, do you have gas appliances? Because you will still have to pay quartery to have the gas connected even if you are not using it.

eily eily 8:11 am 22 Apr 11

One question, do you already use gas appliances? Because if you don’t you will be paying a fee even for the months you’re not operating the unit, which will very likely negate any savings you will make on heating.

Hosinator Hosinator 9:35 pm 21 Apr 11

Gungahlin Al said :

miss molly said :

So we’ve done heaps of extra stuff to get ready for Winter, including putting bubble wrap on some of the glass windows which is meant to be as good as double glazing. It’s also a bit weird, so only on windows no one actually looks through:)

Good move. On the bubble wrap. It is cheap. A better alternative for windows you want to look through is Magnetite. This is a perspex window overlay that sticks on with magnetic stripping around the frame. Gives you real double glazing benefits (the air gap) for a lot cheaper than replacing everything. They are at Mitchell I think.

I second the Magnetite, we have it in our home and it is unbelievable. The magnetite along with insulating under the floor halved our heating bill. The only drawback is that it is costly, however you can focus on doing the bedrooms or living areas first and then one by one buying the windows for the rest of the house.

JC JC 5:39 pm 21 Apr 11

RedDogInCan said :

I’d also recommend considering getting your system zoned if the living areas of your house can be closed off. We have three separate living areas in our house – bedrooms/bathroom, kitchen/family room, and lounge room – which can be closed off by internal doors. Our ducted gas heating system has three zones that correspond to the living areas and the control is programmed to only heat the living areas in use at any particular time. In our case, only the bedrooms are heated at night, the kitchen/family room zone turns on in the morning, every thing switches off when we leave for work, the lounge and kitchen zones switch on in the evening, and the bedrooms come on just before bedtime.

No point heating areas you aren’t using. The zoning cost us an extra $500 odd dollars and easily paid for itself over five years. Unfortunately all three damper units failed after 6 years and had to be replaced – newer mechanisms are more reliable though.

Good advice in principle, though in practice for a system that only needs 8 outlets it is probably not going to be very practical and may in fact be detrimental to the efficiency and longevity of the system. The reason being is all ducted system have a requirement for a minimum number of outlets open at any one time. As a general rule if an 8 outlet system has been quoted then the minimum number of outlets that must be open at any one time will be ~6. Close more than that or zone into zones smaller than that then you are not allowing enough air to pass through which puts a ‘back’ pressure on the furnace unit which means it doesn’t run as efficiently as it should and could also prematurely wear out the fan etc as it will struggle to push the air through.

Where zoning comes into it’s own is in larger houses, which sounds like yours where you can specify a smaller capacity furnace unit, but still have zones big enough to meet the minimum open outlet requirements.

Slumlord Slumlord 4:53 pm 21 Apr 11

I just got a quote from these guys, fantastic service (so far) and 5 star Braemar system 8 ducts for $4500 goes in next week. I’d take your quote to them as they’re offering to beat quotes by 10%. Good luck!

http://canberra.gumtree.com.au/c-Business-Services-building-trades-airconditioning-heating-DUCTED-HEATING-DEAL-DIRECT-WITH-THE-INSTALLER-AND-SAVE-W0QQAdIdZ274669821

RedDogInCan RedDogInCan 4:26 pm 21 Apr 11

Gungahlin Al said :

Then ensure it is well insulated in the ceiling, and under the floor if it is raised timber (or raised anything for that matter). Then look at your curtains or blinds. Would tight fitting roman blinds or Luxaflex Duettes do a better job?
[\quote]

Adding wall insulation (the blown in rockwool type) our gas bill dropped by two thirds – paid for itself in two years.

Gungahlin Al said :

You can get an inexpensive “heat transfer kit” that is basically two ceiling vents, some insulated ducting, a thermostat and an inline exhaust fan.

We use our ducted gas system on ‘fan only’ setting to do this. Cools our hot family room and warms the rest of the house for almost free.

Gungahlin Al said :

Noise – you want the place warm when you get up so you set it to start at 5am, and that’s when you’ll be woken.

But at least it will be warm enough to get up – no more excuses for hiding under the doona. Honestly, noise isn’t an issue with a good installation.

Gungahlin Al said :

Dust/asthma: any respiratory issues in the family? Ducting will only exacerbate things blowing it all around.

Actually we found the opposite. The ducted system has a filter on the intake which removes a LOT of dust from the air. The problem we have is in the one room which doesn’t have a duct – the dust seems to settle in that room instead of anywhere else in the house.

Gungahlin Al said :

Dry skin: the dry heat will dry your face out, lots of nose bleeds, dry eyes etc.

A small indoor water feature solves that and looks good to. Uses about a cup of water per day. We also use this effect to our advantage – the air return is in our laundry and it very effective in drying clothes indoors on a damp winters day.

Gungahlin Al said :

Thermal mass: ducted heating does next to nothing for warming the mass of your building. So as soon as it goes off, you lose the heat quickly. On off on off…

Typical modern houses have very little thermal mass anyway. Thermal mass in buildings needs to be planned carefully as it can have to opposite effect than intended – slow to heat up or cool down.

Gungahlin Al said :

Poor heat profile: because only the air is warm it rises and at floor level everything is still very cold.

Yes, high ceilings are a killer. Air temp differs by more than 20 degrees from floor to ceiling in our house. This can be circumvented heaters that have a continuous circulation setting which just runs the fan between heating cycles but does cost power to run.

georgesgenitals georgesgenitals 3:57 pm 21 Apr 11

When we built our house went from a single heater (boiling loungeroom, freezing bedrooms) to a high efficiency ducted gas system. The difference was phenomenal. Add in a well insulated house with good sloar orientation, and heating costs are bugger all.

I’d like a fireplace for effect, but the ducted gas will always stay.

Burning_Log Burning_Log 3:08 pm 21 Apr 11

Sounds like a reasonable price and you are making the right move – searing away from electric heating. Defiantly get the system zoned – as RedDogInCan states “You don’t need to heat areas that you aren’t using”.

Just check the gas usage on the unit – a friend of mine got caught with the average running usage and the peak usage. The value that they show on many systems is the average running usage – this unit uses X MJ per year – check the maximum input.

Gungahlin Al Gungahlin Al 2:04 pm 21 Apr 11

miss molly said :

So we’ve done heaps of extra stuff to get ready for Winter, including putting bubble wrap on some of the glass windows which is meant to be as good as double glazing. It’s also a bit weird, so only on windows no one actually looks through:)

Good move. On the bubble wrap. It is cheap. A better alternative for windows you want to look through is Magnetite. This is a perspex window overlay that sticks on with magnetic stripping around the frame. Gives you real double glazing benefits (the air gap) for a lot cheaper than replacing everything. They are at Mitchell I think.

ABC129 ABC129 2:02 pm 21 Apr 11

Had ours done by the ActewAGL Energy Shop a few weeks ago. 9 vents, similar price. Un-freakin-believable comfort in the house.

But as Gungahlin Al says, it’s just going to cost you a lot of coin if you don’t have good ceiling and wall insulation and good blinds/curtains/pelmets because you’ll be loosing any heat that you’ve generated very quickly.

miss molly miss molly 1:59 pm 21 Apr 11

This is all great advice! Thank you for taking the time to respond. I really appreciate it.

As for making sure our house has got all the gaps sealed etc, we had the HEAT guys (Home Energy Advice Team) come in and they gave us some great pointers. And you can get a $500 rebate on purchases over $2000 if you take their advice

So we’ve done heaps of extra stuff to get ready for Winter, including putting bubble wrap on some of the glass windows which is meant to be as good as double glazing. It’s also a bit weird, so only on windows no one actually looks through:)

tommy tommy 1:14 pm 21 Apr 11

Make sure you choose a gas plan that’s suitable for high volume usage too. The default one isn’t that great.

Having good insulation helps too – otherwise all that gas heat pours outside.

Gungahlin Al Gungahlin Al 1:13 pm 21 Apr 11

There’s the rub with the ill-considered decision to corporatise the energy supplier – they now have a driver for selling more energy, and can see you – a “consumer” – coming a mile off. Bet they didn’t bother with any of the following advice first?

I would recommend that you first ensure the house is sealed up tightly, around doors, windows, down lights and exhaust fans. A good trick is to light an incense stick on a windy day and take it around inside to find where drafts are coming from.

Then ensure it is well insulated in the ceiling, and under the floor if it is raised timber (or raised anything for that matter). Then look at your curtains or blinds. Would tight fitting roman blinds or Luxaflex Duettes do a better job?

Sun access – do you have windows facing north-east, north or north-west? Are any of them blocked by foilage that could be pruned back? Do you have a room or two that get really warm from the sun, but the rest doesn’t? You can get an inexpensive “heat transfer kit” that is basically two ceiling vents, some insulated ducting, a thermostat and an inline exhaust fan. It will sense when the warm room is hotter and start pumping that free solar energy into the cooler parts. With one of these we move heat from upstairs where it will get up to 30 in winter and drop it downstair near the laundry.

If you have all these aspects covered, you may be surprised to find how effective basic heaters can be – because you aren’t losing all your heat in a three-steps-forward-two-steps-back situation.

If you still need heating, then reasons to avoid ducted:

Noise – you want the place warm when you get up so you set it to start at 5am, and that’s when you’ll be woken.

Dust/asthma: any respiratory issues in the family? Ducting will only exacerbate things blowing it all around.

Dry skin: the dry heat will dry your face out, lots of nose bleeds, dry eyes etc.

Thermal mass: ducted heating does next to nothing for warming the mass of your building. So as soon as it goes off, you lose the heat quickly. On off on off…

Poor heat profile: because only the air is warm it rises and at floor level everything is still very cold.

Of course it isn’t likely many people can retrofit hydronic heating in the floor. But you may be able to do wall panel hydronics. This will give you many of the benefits of hydronics over ducting.

thatsnotme thatsnotme 12:56 pm 21 Apr 11

RedDogInCan said :

Unfortunately all three damper units failed after 6 years and had to be replaced – newer mechanisms are more reliable though.

When we had our unit installed in 2008, I asked about zoned units, and was advised to steer clear of them for exactly that reason. Perhaps the guy I spoke to was basing his recommendation on experience with older units too, but even if they are more reliable, does that just mean they now fail after 10 years instead? Were yours replaced under warranty? I imagine it’d be an expensive exercise to fix if not…

thatsnotme thatsnotme 12:53 pm 21 Apr 11

We had an 8 duct installation done in 2008, that came in a bit under $5,000, done by Scandia. That was with a 5 star energy efficient Braemar unit too. Would definitely use them again – it was a completely trouble free experience the whole way.

RedDogInCan RedDogInCan 12:51 pm 21 Apr 11

I’d also recommend considering getting your system zoned if the living areas of your house can be closed off. We have three separate living areas in our house – bedrooms/bathroom, kitchen/family room, and lounge room – which can be closed off by internal doors. Our ducted gas heating system has three zones that correspond to the living areas and the control is programmed to only heat the living areas in use at any particular time. In our case, only the bedrooms are heated at night, the kitchen/family room zone turns on in the morning, every thing switches off when we leave for work, the lounge and kitchen zones switch on in the evening, and the bedrooms come on just before bedtime.

No point heating areas you aren’t using. The zoning cost us an extra $500 odd dollars and easily paid for itself over five years. Unfortunately all three damper units failed after 6 years and had to be replaced – newer mechanisms are more reliable though.

Snarky Snarky 12:32 pm 21 Apr 11

Yes, we paid a bit less than $5K for our 7 outlet install in 2003.

We went from a very attractive but largely ineffectual wood fired heater (*very* hot living room, no effect at all 2 bedrooms down) to ducted gas and could not believe just how wonderful it was to have a wholly warm house from one end to the other 🙂

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