Heating a home in NZ – what are the options?
Having a warm, dry home is not just a factor to consider for comfort – the health of your family members depends on it. How do you decide what is the best way to heat your home in New Zealand in the winter?
Whether you’re building a new home or are renovating, it’s good to consider all the options for heating your NZ home to determine what will work best for your style of house, the size of your household and what the climate is like where you live. You may also be concerned about the carbon footprint or environmental effects of the heating source you choose. And you will undoubtedly be interested in knowing the costs and cost-effectiveness of the heating options you consider.
There are three broad ways of looking at the energy source for the heating systems available – electricity, gas or wood. Some are cheaper than others. Some are more environmentally friendly, depending on how you use that energy source.
We look here at some of the heating options you have available to you here in New Zealand, and provide an overview to help you make informed decisions about the best ways to heat your home this winter. As always, we here at Regency Plumbing are available to help. If you can’t find the information you require on our website, please get in touch with us and we’ll discuss what will work best for your home.
A heat pump is one of the most economical ways to heat your home. They work by taking the air from outside, heating it and then pushing warm air through your home. You might hear the comparison of a heat pump working like a refrigerator in reverse. A heat pump consists of an outdoor unit (which houses the compressor, fan, coil unit, etc) and the indoor unit that hangs on the wall (the source of the warm airflow inside the house).
As well as being practical and economical, a heat pump offers other great benefits:
- quiet operation
- multiple temperature settings and airspeeds
- dry setting keeps your home dry (particularly helpful if you hang laundry inside during the winter)
- stylish design
- programmable timer
- manufacturer’s warranty
- acts as an air conditioning unit in the warmer months
The Regency Plumbing team can help you decide what unit(s) will be most effective for your home based on its size and layout.
An underfloor heating system consists of electric cabling or water-filled pipes laid under the flooring. Electricity or hot water flowing through the pipes heats the floor and generates radiant heating to heat the house. The pipes, embedded in the floor carry heated water that conducts warmth to the surface of the floor where it then pushes heat energy to the room above.
Underfloor heating was originally common in bathrooms (and some kitchens) – smaller rooms where you wanted to have a warm floor to walk on first thing in the morning. But as underfloor heating systems have progressed, it is now economical to heat an entire house using underfloor heating in NZ. It is a brilliant system which gives even heat across the entire house.
The Regency Plumbing team can help you install underfloor heating in NZ in a new house build, or we can retrofit it to your existing home. Read more about underfloor heating here.
A radiator is essentially a heat exchanger, that most often hangs on the wall. It draws cool air in, heats it, then transfers warm air into the room. Radiators are excellent for heating a specific area of your home quickly. They don’t take up a lot of space and are easy to install. Because radiators run on electricity, they help keep your NZ home dry – they don’t fill the air with moisture as some gas heaters can.
A central heating system provides warmth to the entire house from one point to multiple rooms. Heat generation occurs in one place with a unit out of the way. The heat is then distributed throughout the home, typically by forced-air through ductwork, or by water circulating through pipes.
Gas central heating uses warm water transfer to produce heat. A main boiler or heat pump is the heat source that generates the heat. Warm water then circulates through a closed network of pipes, carrying heat around the home to radiators or to the pipes laid in the floor for underfloor heating.
Central heating, therefore, raises the temperature of your home faster than other methods, as water transfers energy at a higher rate than air.
There is no waiting for a room to heat up as a central heating system warms the home faster, and it enables you to set the temperature in different zones on a timer.
A gas fireplace is a wonderful way to heat your NZ home while adding a stylish design element to your house. Many people love the idea of having a fireplace but don’t want to have the hassle and mess of having a wood fire. A gas fire is a great alternative. Not only does it look fantastic, a gas fire can heat large areas of your home. It is also a safer alternative to a traditional wood fireplace if you have children or pets.
A gas heater from Rinnai is a great option when you need a heating solution that delivers excellent air quality and efficient heating to any room.
They are available as fixed or free-standing units that run on natural gas or LPG. They are easy to use if you already have gas hooked up to your home and want a quick way to generate heat.
Read more about Rinnai gas heaters here.If you’re unsure about what is the best way to heat your home this winter, give Regency Plumbing a call. We can discuss a range of options that will suit your home and budget.