Always here to answer your call

Heating Habits

How Australians are heating their homes and what it costs them

Despite what many non-Australians may believe, winter in Australia actually gets pretty cold, with temperatures dropping below freezing in some states. Thanks to insufficient insulation, single-glazed windows and inadequate heating systems in many Australian homes, winter can often bring uncomfortably cold indoor temperatures as well, putting many Aussies at risk. 

But just how cold are Australian homes? How is this affecting their residents? And how much are heating bills costing the nation? We surveyed 1,000 Australians across the country to discover the answers to these questions.

How cold are Australian Homes?

Australians' comfort levels with home temperatures during winter

Just over three in five Australians (61%) find the temperature of their home uncomfortable. Notably, colder states like Tasmania report higher discomfort rates; 44% of residents find their homes extremely cold without heating, contrasting with only 8% in Queensland.

Renters tend to experience more discomfort than homeowners. Nearly two-thirds of renters (64%) find their home temperatures uncomfortable, compared to 59% of homeowners. Housing type also plays a role. Detached homes are less comfortable, with 64% of residents feeling discomfort, whereas only 54% of apartment dwellers report feeling uncomfortable.

How frequently Australians manage to maintain comfortable warmth in their homes during winter

Even with heating in use, more than a quarter (30%) of Aussies struggle to effectively heat their homes. New South Wales residents face the greatest challenges in heating their homes, highlighting potential issues with housing insulation and the necessity for improved heating solutions. Surprisingly, contrary to earlier findings, occupants of flats and apartments find it the most challenging to heat their homes out of the most common housing types, with nearly a third (31%) reporting difficulties in achieving effective heating regularly.

The average temperature in Australian homes during winter

According to The World Health Organisation, indoor temperatures should exceed 18 degrees celsius to prevent any harmful health effects from the cold. However, over half of Australians (60%) are living in homes with temperatures of under 18 degrees celsius, and almost a third of Aussies (28%) are living in temperatures below 15 degrees. This is a significant difference from the ideal temperatures for Australian homes. The greatest proportion of people (37%) find the ideal temperature of their home to be between 20-22 degrees, however, only 11% of homes are this temperature. 

Tasmania, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory are where you’ll find the coldest homes. Again, renters are notably more affected than homeowners, with 64% enduring temperatures below 18 degrees without heating, compared to 59% of homeowners. Detached and freestanding homes are most commonly affected, often falling below 18 degrees.

The negative effects Australians are experiencing due to home temperatures

Just over 70% of Aussies have experienced negative effects from the temperature of their home. The most common effects are increased energy bills and discomfort from being too cold, which 42% of Australians experience. Almost a quarter of Aussies (23%) have faced health issues due to the temperature of their home, which is extremely worrying.

The most common methods Australians use to heat their homes

The most common way Australians heat their homes is by reverse-cycle air conditioning. Installing air conditioning is a great option for heating your home, as it is the most convenient way to keep your home at a comfortable temperature year-round and is fairly cheap to run. Portable electric heaters are the second most popular method for heating homes, with over a third (36%) of Australians relying on this heating method. However, portable heaters are less than ideal, as they consume a significant amount of energy and are less efficient in heating larger spaces.

The cost of heating Australian homes

The cost of heating Australian homes during winter

The median expenditure on winter heating costs, and the most frequent bracket, was $201-$300. Despite this, a third (35%) of Australians still spend over $301 on their heating bills. As predicted, residents in colder states are spending more on their heating bills. Over a third of residents in the ACT (35%) and Tasmania(33%) estimated that they will spend over $400 on heating their homes this winter, compared to only 9% of Queenslanders. Unsurprisingly, how much you engage your heating impacts your heating bills. Of the 27% who said they heat their houses multiple times a day, 31% of these people spent more than $400 during the winter months.

Australians’ concerns about heating their home in winter

Over three-quarters of Aussies are concerned about heating their homes during the winter. The biggest concern Australians face when heating their homes is the cost. Thanks to the cost of living crisis, it is no surprise that over two-thirds (69%) of Australians are concerned about the cost of heating their homes. This concern is greatest in Australia’s colder states, with 94% of Tasmanians worried about the cost of heating their homes, compared to 61% of Queenslanders.

Alarmingly, one in five Australians are concerned about the health effects of both heating their home (e.g. dry skin and dry throat) and not heating their home (e.g. respiratory illness). Again, health concerns about not heating homes are greater in colder states. Over a quarter (28%) are concerned about this in Tasmania, compared to only 11% of Northern Territorians. This concern also grows with age, 29% of over 65s were concerned about the health effects of not using heating compared to only 14% of 18 to 34 year olds. 

The measures Australians are taking to reduce heating costs

Almost three-quarters of Australians are wearing extra layers or using blankets instead of turning the heating on to reduce heating costs. This is the most common method to reduce heating costs during winter, followed by only heating the rooms used the most (56%) and using door snakes and closing windows and doors to reduce draughts (38%).

Australians are cutting back on heating due to the increased cost of living

Over two-thirds (70%) of Australians have to make some adjustments to their heating to manage expenses. Almost a quarter (23%) of Australians have had to significantly reduce their heating and a third (30%) have been forced to moderately adjust their heating to manage expenses.

How to reduce heating costs

  1. Right temperature, right time – Set your air conditioner to an energy-efficient temperature for heating, ideally between 20°C and 22°C. You can adjust this based on your climate; warmer regions may find 18°C sufficient. Use a programmable thermostat to schedule heating only when necessary, like when you’re home and awake.

  2. Maintain your system – Regular maintenance of the HVAC system is essential for optimal efficiency, helping to prevent higher-than-normal costs associated with air conditioning operation. This involves tasks like cleaning or replacing filters and scheduling routine servicing. It’s also important to keep an eye out for signs of a broken unit, such as foul smells or weird sounds, and arrange air conditioning repairs as soon as possible. By adhering to regular maintenance, you can reduce energy consumption by 5-15%. 

  3. Right-size your unit – Ensure your HVAC unit matches the space it serves. An undersized unit runs constantly, struggling to adequately heat the area. On the other hand, a unit that is too large will turn off prematurely before effectively heating the entire area.

  4. Prevent draughts – Seal gaps around windows and doors with weather stripping or caulking, use draught excluders at door bases and windowsills and install door sweeps to block draughts under doors. Close chimneys and flues and seal any gaps in the attic, basement, or crawl spaces. Close curtains or blinds at night for insulation and draught prevention, but open them during the day to maximise heat.

  5. Replace old heaters – By upgrading to more energy-efficient heating systems, you can substantially reduce costs and energy consumption related to climate control.

  6. Insulate home – By insulating your home you create a barrier to stop heat leaving your home, from areas such as walls, floors, roofs and lofts. There are a number of types of insulation including bulk, reflective and spray insulation. If you have floorboards, you can also try adding rugs. Rugs add an insulating layer to floors which help retain heat and reduce drafts that come through the floorboards.

Goran Surbevski - Senior Comfort Expert

at Alliance Climate Control comments:

“Our survey found that over three-quarters of Australians are concerned about the cost of heating their homes and over 70% have reduced heating to manage their expenses. This isn’t surprising with the increased cost of living we’ve experienced over the last few years, with a third of Australians now spending over $300 on their winter heating bills. However, cutting down on heating costs is putting Australians at risk. 

“It is deeply concerning that 60% of Australians live in homes with unsafe temperatures, especially when a third of these people struggle to effectively heat their homes regularly. This highlights a significant issue stemming from the lack of insulation and poor building designs that fail to retain heat in Australian homes. In addition to this, there is a shortage of effective heating systems in Australian homes. Over half of those living in temperatures below 18 degrees Celsius, who also stated they can’t heat their house to a comfortable temperature regularly, rely upon inefficient heating methods such as electric and gas room heaters, portable electric heaters or no heating at all. 

“Cold home temperatures have caused health issues for almost a quarter of Aussies. Therefore, homeowners and landlords must do more to protect themselves and their tenants. Reverse-cycle air conditioners are a great system to implement for heating —they distribute heat better, cost less to run and are more eco-friendly than gas or electric floor heaters. Ducted air conditioners can also heat your whole house at once, keeping every room at a comfortable temperature.”


We commissioned survey company Pureprofile to conduct this study on our behalf. 

We surveyed 1008 Australians on a variety of questions to understand the temperature of their homes, their heating habits and the associated costs, concerns and behaviours they have in relation to keeping warm in the winter months.

The survey was conducted in line with the nationally representative percentage targets for age, gender and location. 

Individual percentages may not equal to 100 due to rounding.