It can be overwhelming trying to decide how to heat your home in New Zealand (NZ). You have to consider the purchase and running costs of the many different types of heating. You should also take into consideration the size of the area to be heated and the frequency of use of that room.
Questions you may be asking include:
- Is a heat pump more efficient than a wood burner?
- What are the benefits of a heat pump as compared with a pellet burner or gas heating?
- Which form of heating has the cheapest running costs?
Options for in home heating include:
- Heat pump
- Wood fire
- Pellet fire
- Fluid gas heater
- Portable gas heater
- Electric heaters (panel, fan, night storage, convection or radiant)
Which types are recommended for use where?
- Lounge/family rooms – heat pumps
- Bedrooms – panel or oil-filled column heater
Heat pumps provide background warmth which is great for large rooms that are used often such as the lounge or family rooms (although panel and convection heaters may also be suitable depending on the size of the room). Panel and oil-filled heaters are great at keeping the chill off and usually have a thermostat and timer for ease of use. A night storage heater in a hallway is also an option especially if all bedrooms are located off that hallway. Spot heating in a kitchen or work area is best provided by portable fan or radiant heaters for short periods of usage as they are more expensive to run than other forms of heating.
Heat pumps are highly recommended by the New Zealand Government and encouraged by other agencies throughout New Zealand because they provide the most efficient form of heating available. Heat pumps are energy efficient (providing 3 to 4 kw of heat energy for each kw used), they are the cheapest tor run and offer temperature control. Heat pumps are convenient and easy to use and have the added benefit of being able to cool your home in summer. No other form of heating also cleans the air it uses improving air quality for allergy and asthma sufferers. Heat pumps can reduce humidity too. Heat pumps can be wall mounted up high so they are out of the way, don’t take up floor space and are not hot to touch or a fire risk like some forms of heating e.g. gas heaters and wood burners.
Two disadvantages of heat pumps are the initial purchase costs with units costing $1000’s and the fact that they will not work in a power cut. For these reasons some consumers may choose to have a back up source of heating that does not require electricity such as gas or wood. The long term power savings need to be weighed up against the initial costs. Although convection, fan and panel heaters are cheaper to purchase, their running costs are higher and they do not all heat a whole room or area effectively.
Remember that insulating your home will reduce the amount of heat you need to keep your home at a comfortable temperature.