Pros and cons of heating options
Heating is at the forefront of many people’s minds as the weather gets cooler. How you use a room will help you decide the type of heater that’s most suitable, according to EECA ENERGYWISE.
Senior technical advisor Christian Hoerning says for rooms you use regularly, it’s well worth investing in suitable fixed heaters that heat the room effectively and cheaply.
If you don’t use the room often, an electric heater may be enough – they’re cheap to buy but slightly more expensive to run than fixed heaters.
Here are the pros and cons for common types of heating: Heat pumps Good for: Low running costs (when you use them properly) Producing instant heat Convenience – you can control the temperature with the thermostat Be aware that: They must be sized correctly – for the space and the climate – to work well
Some are a lot more efficient than others – look for ENERGY STAR qualified models for superior energy efficiency and better low temperature performance
They won’t work during a power cut Modern woodburners 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 Heating large spaces Heating hot water in winter through a wetback system Be aware that: Firewood must be dry to burn efficiently, so you need to plan ahead and store it under cover, ideally for at least 12 months
You need a building consent to install one and – unless your property is larger than two hectares – you need to choose a woodburner on the Ministry for the Environment’s list of approved wood burners
Wood pellet burners Good for: The environment – the pellets are made from waste products and burn cleanly
Heat control (better than a wood burner) Heating large spaces Heating hot water in winter through a wetback system Be aware that: They won’t work if your electricity isn’t working (they use a small amount of electricity)
You need a building consent to install one
Only authorised burners can be used in areas with poor air quality
Flued gas (natural or LPG) heaters or fireplaces Good for: Convenience – you can control the temperature with the thermostat and use the timer
Heating larger areas for longer periods Be aware that: If you don’t already, you will probably have to pay a fixed charge for reticulated gas supply
You must have your gas heater installed by a registered gas fitter Electric heaters Good for: Heating a small room infrequently and for short periods only Very cheap to buy Be aware that: They are more expensive to run than most other heating options
There are different types (radiant, convection, fan) that deliver heat in various ways, but all have the same efficiency
Many of these heaters have built-in thermostats, but generally they aren’t very accurate Central heating Good for: Providing heating for your entire house with zone- controlled options
Convenience – you can control the temperature with the thermostat and use the timer Be aware that: Can be expensive to install
Heat can be supplied by a range of heating systems
Can be very expensive to run if your house isn’t well insulated or is draughty
Unflued gas (natural or LPG) Good for: Back-up heating during power cuts Be aware that: Unflued LPG heaters are the most expensive form of heating
There are health risks – it will pollute air with toxic gases and large amounts of water vapour, so you must keep at least one window open when it’s in use and never use in bedrooms
They can make your home damp and mouldy
Portable LPG heaters can be a fire risk, as anything too close can catch alight.
It’s time to start thinking about how you’ll heat your home this winter.