Spend more to save more in winter
Technical expert Christian Hoerning ofEECAEnergywise says spending a bit more upfront on amodernwoodburner, heat pump or flued gas heater works best for larger rooms you want to heat regularly.
For other rooms used infrequently a portable electric heater may workwell. These are cheap to buy but more expensive to run. Heat pumps are good for: low running costs (when used properly) instant heat convenience— control the temperature with the thermostat and timer
heat pumps must be sized correctly for the space and the climate to work well— get a reputable installer to size the area.
some are a lot more efficient than others— look for Energy Star qualified models.
theywon’t work during a power cut.
if you live near the coast or in a geothermal area, check for warranties. Modernwoodburners: low running costs, especially if you have free or cheap firewood
the environment heating large spaces heating hotwater in winter. firewood must be dry to burn cleanly and efficiently, so plan ahead and store it undercover
you need a building consent and choose one on the Ministry for the Environment’s list of approved wood burners. Wood pellet burners, good for: the environment— pellets burn cleanly
heat control (better than a wood burner) heating large spaces heating hotwater inwinter. they won’twork in a power cut (they use a small amount of electricity) you need a building consent only authorised burners can be used in areaswith poor air quality.
pellet prices vary you cannot burn firewood. Flued gas (natural or LPG) heaters or fireplaces good for:
convenience— control the temperaturewith thermostat and timer
heating larger areas for longer periods
youwill probably have to pay a fixed charge for reticulated gas
must be installed by a registered gas fitter.
some gas space heaters are a lot more efficient. Electric heaters are good for: heating a small room infrequently and for short periods very cheap to buy. more expensive to run than most other options
different types (radiant, convection, fan) deliver heat in various ways
different types all have the same efficiency
many have built-in thermostats, but generally they aren’t very accurate. Central heating is good for: heating your entire house convenience— you can control the temperature with the thermostat and use the timer
zoning— many are zonecontrolled so you can control the temperature in different parts of the home. Be aware that: it can be expensive to install heat can be supplied by a range of heating systems— gas, wood pellet, hot water heat pump
it’s worth choosing a system that has an individual thermostat for each room
can be very expensive to run if your house isn’t well insulated or is draughty.
some are a lot more efficient than others— look for the Energy Star.
Unflued gas (natural or LPG) is good for:
back-up heating during power cuts, if your normal heating relies on electricity to operate Be aware that: unfluedLPGheaters are the most expensive form of heating
there are health risks— itwill pollute air with toxic gases and large amounts ofwater vapour, so youmust keep at least one window open when it’s in use and never use in bedrooms
they can make your home damp andmouldy
portable LPGheaters can be a fire risk, as anything too close can quickly catch alight.
BETTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT: Wood pellet stoves are cleaner than traditional wood fires.