There are more options than ever for heating your home, but how do you work out which one will work in your space?


How you use the rooms that you want to heat often determines the type of heat source that you should be considering.

For rooms that you use regularly it is well worth investing in suitable, fixed heaters which enable you to heat them effectively and cheaply. Clean, effective forms of heating include modern wood and wood-pellet burners, ENERGY STAR® qualified heat pumps and high star-rated, flued gas heaters.

For rooms that only get used occasionally, for short periods of time, electric heaters which are cheap to buy but slightly more expensive to run can often be sufficient.



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 as a fuel to heat large spaces.
• heating hot water in winter through a wetback system.


Be aware
• firewood must be dry to burn most efficiently so you need to plan ahead and store it undercover, ideally for at least 12 months.
• building consent approval for installation is needed and, unless your property is larger than 2ha.


Good for
• the environment – the pellets are made from waste products and burn very cleanly.
• heat control (better than a wood burner).
• heating large spaces.
• heating hot water in winter through a wetback system.


Be aware
• they won’t work if your electricity isn’t working (they use a small amount of electricity).
• building consent is needed for installation.
• in areas with air quality issues only authorized burners can be installed

FLUED GAS (natural or LPG) heaters or fireplaces

Good for
• convenience – you can control the temperature and timing with the thermostat and timer controls.
• heating larger areas for longer periods.


Be aware
• you may have to pay a fixed charge for reticulated gas supply.
• EECA recommends choosing an ENERGY STAR qualified model.
• gas heaters must always be installed by a registered gas fitter.

UNFLUED GAS  (natural or LPG)

Good for
• back-up heating during power cuts, if your normal heating relies on electricity to operate.
• unflued LPG heaters are the most expensive form of heating (except for some open fires).


Be aware
• 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 is in useand never use it in bedrooms.
• they can make your home damp.
• portable LPG heaters can be a fire risk, as anything too close can catch fire quickly.

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