When the heat’s on
Heating accounts for about 29 per cent of all the energy consumed in a typical New Zealand home. Despite this, the majority of our homes are under-heated by international standards.
There are lots of heating options for homes, but using the right kind of heater for your circumstances will mean you can keep your home warm, healthy and comfortable to live in while keeping running costs low.
An appropriate heating system can also help our environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.
Clean, effective heating means more than just having a good heater. It’s also about having a well-insulated house and using your heaters wisely. modern wood and wood-pellet burners, Energy Star-qualified heat pumps and high star-rated, flued gas heaters.
For rooms that only get used occasionally, for short periods of time, electric heaters which are cheap to buy but slightly more expensive to run can often be sufficient. There are different types to suit different needs. Heat pumps are good for: low running costs when used properly producing instant heat convenience – you can control the temperature and timing with the thermostat and timer controls. Be aware that:
they must be sized correctly – for the space and the climate – to work well (if you live in a colder area, ask the supplier to size the heat pump based on its ‘‘H2’’ performance)
some are a lot more efficient than others – look for the Energy Star mark to show you the most efficient model
they won’t work during a power cut. Modern woodburners are good for:
low running costs, especially if you have access to free or cheap firewood
the environment – they produce very little pollution and use renewable wood energy as a fuel heating large spaces heating hot water in winter through a wetback system. Be aware that:
firewood must be dry to burn most efficiently so you need to plan ahead and store it undercover, ideally for at least 12 months
building consent approval for installation is needed and, unless your property is larger than two hectares, you need to use a woodburner that’s on the Ministry for the Environment’s list.