Operation Household Energy Reduction: Part 10 - Out With the Old Heating

The previously-existing gas ducted heating in our home was installed when the home was built twenty-eight years ago. It was the type of system for which "those in the know" would say "That was the best type of system of its day ....and so reliable." Indeed it was so reliable and, with regular servicing, showed no signs of breaking down. But in terms of energy use performance the system was clearly "so 1983" with an energy rating somewhere south of current three star systems. Couple that with sub-standard ducting paths and duct degradation and we had serious performance and efficiency issues. Indeed with solar boosted hot water and behaviour change around gas usage in the kitchen, gas ducted heating was now the one thing causing mass fluctuations in our gas usage.

We investigated various electrical and hydraulic heating options and in the end decided that both from efficiency and cost-effectiveness of transition our best option was a new six star gas heater with redesigned ductwork with a R1.5 thermal resistance value and insulated plastic joins and outlets. The coziness and thermal performance outcomes have been amazing.

Now, those caveats to all of this work – from previous posts - again….

1) whilst there are technical fixes that can contribute to energy reduction, we wanted to make sure that we didn’t concentrate exclusively on them. My gadget-attracted persona is fascinated with new photo-voltaic cell technology or the latest approach to circulating filtered warm ceiling air into the house. We have considered or are considering all of these approaches but prioritised actions according to the most significant thermal performance improvements for the lowest cost, specific to our home.

2) Related to this point, we are aware of the relative economic capacity we enjoy that allows us to make some of these changes simply.

3) So we want to avoid seeing this as a way we can “proof” our little home against the rest of the world. 90000 litres of localised water storage might be fine if it makes sense in the context of your local rainfall and reasonable water usage. It doesn’t make much sense if it is to safeguard your lifestyle while the rest of the world runs out of water.

4) And part of the reason for adding these thoughts to this blog is to add to the conversation about what is possible and keep us all thinking about ways we can contribute to this kind of work for ALL dwellings, regardless of personal economic capacity.

5) Our efforts are not necessarily particularly remarkable in the scheme of things, but its fun to tell the story, to be encouraged in what you are doing and to encourage others.

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