Comparing the options

Heat pumps - Good for:
  • Low running costs, when used properly
  • Producing instant heat
  • Convenience, as you can control the temperature and timing with the thermostat and timer controls
Heat pumps - Be aware that:
  • They must be sized correctly for the space and the climate to work well (if you live in a colder area, ask the supplier to size the heat pump based on its "H2" performance)
  • Some are a lot more efficient than others (look for the ENERGY STAR® mark to show you the most efficient model)
  • They won't work during a power cut
Modern wood burners - Good for:
  • Low running costs, especially if you have access to free or cheap firewood
  • The environment, as they produce very little pollution and use renewable wood energy as a fuel
  • Heating large spaces
  • Heating hot water in winter through a wetback system
Modern wood burners - Be aware that:
  • 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 two hectares, you need to use a woodburner on the Ministry for the Environment's list of approved wood burners
Flued gas (natural or LPG) heaters or fireplaces - Good for:
  • Convenience, as you can control the temperature and timing with the thermostat and timer controls
  • Heating larger areas for longer periods
Flued gas (natural or LPG) heaters or fireplaces - Be aware that:
  • You may have to pay a fixed charge for reticulated gas supply
  • EECA recommends choosing an ENERGY STAR qualified model (view a list of ENERGY STAR qualified products)
  • 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 gas (natural or LPG) - Be aware that:
  • Unflued LPG heaters are the most expensive form of heating, except for some open fires
  • There are health risks, as it will pollute air with toxic gases and large amounts of water vapour and can make your home damp
  • Portable LPG heaters can be a fire risk, as anything too close can catch fire quickly
Electric heaters - Good for:
  • Heating a small room infrequently and for short periods only
  • Your budget, as they are very cheap to buy
Electric heaters - Be aware that:
  • They are more expensive to run than most other heating options
  • There are different types but they all have the same efficiency, i.e. the same amount of heat output per unit of electricity used
  • There are different types, e.g. radiant, convection, fan, that deliver heat in different ways
  • Many have built-in thermostats, but generally they aren't very accurate