Hot stuff Our go-to mod­ern heat­ing guide

It’s of­fi­cial – don­ning an ex­tra jumper while the wind whis­tles un­der the door is no longer the Kiwi way. Check out our handy beginner’s guide to mod­ern heat­ing for to­day’s fam­i­lies

Your Home and Garden - - Contents - Text by Sally Conor.

Choos­ing a heat­ing type might be one of the most im­por­tant de­ci­sions you make for your home. Not only could you end up sav­ing money up­front and in the fu­ture, the right type of heater can make your fam­ily health­ier and im­prove your qual­ity of life.

There are a lot of vari­ables in­volved with find­ing the best heat­ing for your place – in­clud­ing cli­mate, hous­ing type and your bud­get – so it pays to do your re­search. We’ve rounded up some of the main pros and cons to get you started. But first…


Ef­fec­tive home heat­ing starts and ends with in­su­la­tion. A lit­tle money spent on in­su­la­tion now will save you thou­sands on bills in the years to come and will cre­ate a health­ier en­vi­ron­ment for you and your fam­ily.

Check the re­quired R val­ues (the re­sis­tance of a ma­te­rial or build­ing struc­ture to trans­fer­ring heat) for your cli­mate zone and, if you can af­ford it, in­su­late above these min­i­mum re­quire­ments. In­stalling dou­ble-glazed win­dows and cosy car­pets will max­imise the health and ef­fi­ciency of your home even fur­ther.


+ Very ef­fi­cient + Cosy and at­mo­spheric

+ Wood­burn­ers are cheap to run and can heat a large area + Bio­fuel fires burn clean, don’t need a chim­ney and use a green en­ergy source + Gas and bio­fuel fire­places fit a num­ber of spa­ces + Gas is easy to turn on and off and pro­vides in­stant heat


+ Wood­burn­ers can’t be turned on and off and sur­faces can get hot + Wood needs to be stored and smoke con­trib­utes to air pol­lu­tion + Wood­burn­ers may need build­ing con­sent + Gas price may fluc­tu­ate; non-re­new­able re­source + Gas usu­ally heats only one room + Bio­fuel fires are not a pri­mary heat­ing source


Care­fully cal­cu­late the heat out­put your home needs and do lots of re­search. For a wood­burner, you’ll need to find out if you’re in a clean air zone or not and check emis­sions re­quire­ments for your area; con­sult your lo­cal coun­cil for help.


Lo­ca­tion is ev­ery­thing for your fire but there are also op­tions out there for all types of homes. Get a range of ad­vice and check that your cho­sen fire­place in­staller has New Zealand Home Heat­ing As­so­ci­a­tion cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.


Many fire­places can also heat your hot wa­ter or even boil the ket­tle. There are some in­no­va­tive new looks – Py­ro­clas­sic fires come in over 200 colours, and Liv­ing Flame’s bio­fuel fires can be in­stalled any­where, with no need for a chim­ney.


If you’ve got an ex­ist­ing fire­place, you can re­search the era of your home and re­store its orig­i­nal char­ac­ter, but make sure you have a pro­fes­sional check it over for safety. Or you can start from scratch with a mod­ern free­stand­ing fire in the most con­ve­nient spot for your fam­ily.


Burn­ing wood is car­bon-neu­tral be­cause it’s re­new­able, but burn­ing it cleanly is the key to mak­ing it en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly. En­sure you ask your in­staller about the best way to run your fire cleanly and ef­fi­ciently.


+ Pro­duces a com­fort­able dry heat

+ Lower heat­ing costs + Can cool the air in hot weather + Pu­ri­fies the air + Adds value to your home


+ Can cre­ate cross-draughts + Loses ef­fi­ciency the colder it gets + Can be bulky, es­pe­cially the ex­ter­nal unit


When shop­ping for a heat pump, it’s most im­por­tant to choose one that’s the right size and ca­pac­ity for your space. Many in­stall­ers of­fer on­line cal­cu­la­tors, so grab a tape mea­sure and get an idea of what you’re in the mar­ket for. How­ever, un­less you’re a con­fi­dent home handyper­son, you’ll still need a pro­fes­sional to ad­vise you be­fore the fi­nal in­stal­la­tion.


When get­ting quotes from in­stall­ers, make sure you ask ques­tions and un­der­stand the whole process. Ask for quotes with itemised costs and a clear in­stal­la­tion plan in layper­son’s lan­guage. En­sure your in­staller fol­lows EECA’s good prac­tice guide and is ac­cred­ited for the heat pumps they in­stall. Make sure you un­der­stand the vis­ual im­pact of your choice in­side and out.


> Wifi-con­trolled heat pumps can be turned on and off us­ing an app.

> Some sys­tems use an out­door unit to pump air to sev­eral rooms in­side, or a cen­tral com­pres­sor that dis­trib­utes hot air through­out the home.

> Air-to-wa­ter sys­tems can also heat your wa­ter. > Ground-source heat pumps use heat from the earth rather than from the air.


Floor-mounted heat pumps can heat a space faster but take up more room and are harder to ig­nore. Wall units are more dis­creet but slightly less ef­fi­cient. Ducted heat pumps are the most dis­creet of all. Man­u­fac­tur­ers are start­ing to re­lease more op­tions in terms of colour and fin­ish.


A heat pump must be well suited to your space, type of home and cli­mate to run ef­fi­ciently.

If you make the right choice, your heat pump will run very ef­fi­ciently and you’ll see the dif­fer­ence on your power bill, es­pe­cially if your home is well in­su­lated.


+ Heats a space quickly + No con­sent or tricky in­stal­la­tion re­quired + Cheap to buy


+ Ex­pen­sive to run for long pe­ri­ods

+ Can be hot to touch and risky for small chil­dren


There are so many op­tions out there for free­stand­ing heaters, it can be hard to know what to look for. To help you get value for money, look for these three things: a ther­mo­stat (to main­tain an even tem­per­a­ture), a timer

(so you can set your heater to warm up the kitchen be­fore you get up) and a fan (helps to warm a room faster and dis­trib­ute the air more evenly). Even tick­ing just one of these boxes will mean ex­tra ef­fi­ciency and con­ve­nience.


Easy to in­stall; most sim­ply re­quire a socket!


Os­cil­lat­ing tower heaters – such as Dyson’s Hot+Cool range – are quiet, ef­fi­cient and look like some­thing from outer space. Goldair makes a sleek range of wifi-en­abled heaters.


There are end­less op­tions avail­able to suit the decor of your home, but work­ing out where you’re go­ing to keep your heater will help you nar­row down the op­tions in terms of size and shape. While you’re at it, check if your cho­sen model has cord stor­age so you can keep it tucked away when not in use.


Free­stand­ing heaters range from very en­ergy ef­fi­cient (oil col­umn heaters) to very in­ef­fi­cient (cheap fan heaters). Ask your re­tailer for ad­vice.

Choose from sleek elec­tric wall pan­els or a cen­tral wa­ter, air or gas trans­fer sys­tem to heat your en­tire home by way of dis­creet ra­di­a­tors.


+ Easy to run + Heats the whole house

+ Dis­creet and stylish de­signs + Healthy and safe

+ Can add to your home’s value + Easy to con­trol


+ Wa­ter trans­fer cen­tral heat­ing sys­tems (wa­ter-heated ra­di­a­tors) are more ef­fi­cient than air trans­fer sys­tems, but are more ex­pen­sive to in­stall + Wa­ter trans­fer re­quires a new hot wa­ter sys­tem


Be­fore choos­ing a sys­tem you’ll need to re­search which one is right for you. Con­sider your fam­ily’s needs, house size, cost, in­stal­la­tion, avail­abil­ity of fuel to keep it run­ning (eg gas, elec­tric­ity, etc) and de­sign. If you can af­ford it, a long-term so­lu­tion is best, so con­sult an ex­pert about the right choice for your home.


Ra­di­a­tor in­stal­la­tion for cen­tral heat­ing re­quires new pipework through­out your home. Houses with gen­er­ous un­der­floor space – es­pe­cially older houses – are best suited to retrofitting ra­di­a­tor heat­ing due to the greater ease of in­stal­la­tion. Elec­tric pan­els are sim­ply mounted onto the wall and plugged into a power socket.


The next gen­er­a­tion of cen­tral heat­ing sys­tems will be con­trolled from your smart­phone and will in­tu­itively sense which ar­eas to warm up and when. Smart home tech­nol­ogy is on its way!


Ra­di­a­tors are ex­tremely sleek and chic these days but many mod­els can also be painted to blend in with your wall colour.


Choos­ing a sys­tem that is cor­rectly sized to your home is es­sen­tial for ef­fi­ciency and value for money so make sure you con­sult a qual­i­fied spe­cial­ist and get a few quotes be­fore you make a de­ci­sion.

With so many mod­ern homes in­cor­po­rat­ing out­door liv­ing ar­eas these days, it would be a shame to stop us­ing our ex­te­rior spa­ces just be­cause the tem­per­a­ture has dropped a few de­grees. Grab the woolly blan­kets, a hot drink and con­sider these op­tions:

+ A fire­place or bra­zier – looks great, adds a real sense of cosi­ness and at­mos­phere to your out­door area and can dou­ble as a marsh­mal­low roaster or even a full-blown oven.

+ Gas bot­tle heaters – easy to run, very ef­fec­tive, cheap and can be stored dur­ing warmer months.

+ Elec­tric ra­di­ant heaters – the cheap­est and eas­i­est op­tion to get up and run­ning but only suit­able for short-term blasts of heat as they can hit your power bill hard.

Flick­er­ing flames pro­vide a won­der­fully cosy at­mos­phere. To­day’s fires come in a vast range of styles and burn a va­ri­ety of fu­els, in­clud­ing wood, gas and bio­fuel.

Pyro mini

wood­burner, $2899, from Py­ro­clas­sic.

Brook­lyn bioethanol in bronze and

black, $5000 or un­der, from Liv­ing Flame.


R1500WS free­stand­ing ra­di­ant

wood­burner, $1699, from


Akaroa ra­di­ant

wood­burner, $2999, from


Cur­rently a pop­u­lar heat­ing choice, heat pumps are best suited to larger rooms and liv­ing ar­eas that re­quire a steady level of com­fort over sev­eral hours. Heat pumps use elec­tric­ity to move and warm air, and are an en­ergy-ef­fi­cient heat­ing op­tion.

Daikin Cora heat pump and air con­di­tioner,

$3300, see for stock­ists.

Mitsubishi Elec­tric Hyper­Core FH Se­ries heat pump

and air con­di­tioner, $3799, from Noel Leem­ing.

Pana­sonic E21 heat pump and air con­di­tioner,

$2998, from Har­vey Norman. Mitsubishi Elec­tric De­signer Se­ries 4.0W heat pump

and air con­di­tioner, $2399, from Noel Leem­ing.

Por­ta­ble heaters are best for when you need a short blast of warm air in a spe­cific area.

Dyson AM09 Hot+Cool fan heater, $799, from Noel


DeLonghi HCX3220FTS slim­line con­vec­tor heater,

$379.99, from Briscoes.

Moretti 2200W mi­cather­mic

fan heater, $117, from Bun­nings.

Goldair retro oil col­umn heater, $129, from Mitre 10.

Goldair panel heater

with wifi, $199, from Mitre 10.

Moretti 2000W retro

fan heater, $69, from Bun­nings.

DeLonghi Mul­ti­colonna

ra­di­a­tor (wa­ter­heated), POA, from cen­tral­heat­

Daikin Nexura heat

pump (wall-mounted close to floor), POA, see for


Goldair 425W

panel heater

with timer, $159.99, from Noel Leem­ing.

Jum­buck out­door elec­tric heater with car­bon fi­bre ele­ment, $249, from Bun­nings.

Fi­ammetta stainless steel out­door patio

heater, $269, from Bun­nings.

Tekapo wood

fire, $6499, from Kent.

Menu fire

pit, $425, from Tim Web­ber.

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