Staying cosy and warm has never been easier. Luci Morris explores our home-heating options.
When it comes to home heating, ‘bang for your buck’ is essential and part of this is ensuring your home is adequately insulated. Did you know that a 2% gap in insulation can result in a 20% heat loss? This can make a huge difference to the comfort of your home.
Insulation works by slowing heat loss from your home, enclosing it in a thermal envelope. This is why around 40% of heat is lost through the ceiling in the average uninsulated home. In addition to insulation, simple measures, such as using thermal curtains and sealing gaps and cracks, will eliminate draughts
and prevent warm air escaping where it shouldn’t. It also pays to remember that heating a room to a moderate constant temperature is much more efficient than a fluctuating heat. Designed to not only be practical and functional but to enhance the décor of your home, there is a home-heating option for every home, and everyone.
Providing fast, convenient and easily regulated heat, gas can bring a moderate-size room to a warm, comfortable temperature in about 10-15 minutes. Glass-fronted gas fireplaces are significantly more efficient than open-fronted ones, and as gas fires are cleaner than woodburning fires they are favoured in clean-air
areas, making this a popular heating option in Christchurch. Like other heating options, most modern gas fires have a timer facility.
Heat pumps come in a variety of options: highwall, floor consoles, slimline, quiet … the list goes on, ensuring there is a design, size and placement to suit your needs. Be smart about your energy use and ensure you have the right size heat pump for your space. If you pick one that is too small, it will have to work hard all the time, and will use more power than necessary. A unit that is the right size should heat your space in 5-15 minutes.
DUCTED AIR CONDITIONING
Ducted air conditioning systems work exactly the same way as a high-wall heat pump, in that there is an indoor unit and an outdoor unit, and by passing a refrigerant between them they transfer heat (or cooling) into a room. Unlike the high-wall system, where the indoor unit is visible, the ducted indoor unit is hidden away in the ceiling space and uses flexible ducts to pass the heat from room to room through vents in the ceiling, wall or floor.
Growing in popularity in New Zealand, warmwater central heating is the even distribution of heat throughout the home from a central point or heat source. Warm water is distributed via a network of pipes connected to radiators in each room, or looped under the floor for underfloor heating. Releasing a gentle heat, no water is actually consumed, ensuring this is the ultimate in efficiency.
HEAT RECOVERY SYSTEM
Home heating isn’t just about keeping the house warm; it’s also about maintaining a healthy home. In the summer months we are able to throw open the windows to air the house, an option not available in cooler weather, meaning condensation is often an unhealthy side effect of winter. The installation of an effective heat-recovery or ventilation system can help solve this problem, thereby working towards creating a warmer, drier and, above all, healthier living environment.
When used properly, wood burners are a great and economical option, especially if you have access to free or cheap firewood. You do, however, need to ensure your fire is clean-air approved, especially in Canterbury. When buying a wood fire, consider efficiency rating, clean burn, emission levels and size.
Pellet fires have come a long way in recent years and most are now available as free-standing or inbuilt, offering a wider variety when it comes to selecting the right look for your space. There are many benefits to a pellet burner as they offer all the warmth and luxury of a flame without the hassle of cutting, carrying and storing firewood. Made from sawmill waste, the pellets are carbon-neutral and burn cleanly. One of the biggest limitations is the initial cost, with the price of buying and installing a pellet burner greater than that of a conventional wood burner. The burner also relies on electricity so won’t work during a power cut.