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home-imgThere are many options out there for electric heaters and home heating systems. To get maximum energy efficiency - just like getting the right solar power system - you’ll need to choose one that suits your needs.

As most of New Zealand experiences a cold snap that’s well and truly welcoming in winter, we take a look at some home heating options and give you some tips on choosing the right heater for your home.

Heat pumps

Heat pumps are probably one of the most economical ways of heating your home, and heat up rooms quickly. A heat pump should be professionally installed to ensure you get the correct size unit for your requirements.  Their output can easily be adjusted with inbuilt thermostat and temperature controls.

Fan heaters

Fan heaters are good for smaller spaces as they heat up a room quickly, but can be noisy. The fans help evenly distribute warm air. The cost per hour to run can be high, so fan heaters are better used for short amounts of time to take the chill out of the air. 

Oil column heaters

Column heaters are quiet, economical and good for heating the air. The large surface area of the columns heat up and circulate warm air around the room. Most have thermostats, which is ideal for the home as they can be timed to switch on and off when needed.

Tip: Oil heaters can take a while to heat up a cold room, so place the heater on the cold side of the room - like near a window if possible. Heated air will mix with the cold down-draught from the window, resulting in better heat distribution.

Radiant heaters

Radiant heat mainly heats objects and people rather than the air, so are great in bathrooms where you need a heat source quickly and for a short amount of time. The surface can get very hot so watch out for children and pets getting too close.

Micathermic heaters

These are generally light weight and thin so great for small spaces or if you need to move it around. They provide heat in a similar way as oil-column heaters, but heat up quicker, making them one of the most energy efficient ways to heat your home.

Panel heaters

These are cheap to run, but produce a small amount of heat – so are better suited for use in small rooms that need continuous heating.

Fire places and wood burners

Open wood fires are inefficient as most of the heat goes straight up the chimney, plus the smoke can contribute to air pollution. Modern wood burners however can be a cheap heat source and - if your wood is dry - don’t produce much air pollution. Plus you’ll have a heat source even during a power cut!

Understanding wattage

The lower the wattage, the cheaper the heater will be to run. But consider how large the room is you need to heat; a small to medium sized room will need at least 1500 – 2000 W to heat effectively.

 

Heater Wattage

Electricity Costs

250 W

6 cents/hour

500 W

13 cents/hour

1000 W

25 cents/hour

1500 W

38 cents/hour

2000 W

50 cents/hour

2400 W

60 cents/hour

Source: https://www.energywise.govt.nz/at-home/heating-and-cooling/types-of-heater/electric-heating/

Ways to minimise your heating bill:

 

  • Let some fresh air in during the day by leaving a window or door open. This will prevent dampness and mold. If your home gets damp, consider a dehumidifier to extract moisture from the air, making your home drier and easier to heat.
  • Check for draughts. Cold air can creep in through cracks in door frames or windows that aren’t sealed properly. DIY insulation kits like Window Film Kits and Weather Strips are available from most hardware stores, or use a draught stopper.
  • Healthy indoor temperatures sit between 18°C to 20°C, and 16°C in bedrooms overnight.
  • Let sunlight inside during the day, and keep doors and curtains shut at night to keep heat in .
  • Did you know a heated towel rail left on 24/7 can cost you $170 per year to run?* If your heater doesn’t have a built in thermostat, buy a separate plug-in thermostat to set to tun off when you're not home.
  • Even a small 3kW solar PV system can reduce those huge winter electricity bills by generating your own power from the sun and reducing your reliance on the grid. While you’re mulling over heating options, why not consider if solar energy is right for you? Check out our eBook Is Solar the Right Choice for Your Home? 

Is solar the right choice for your home?

* Source https://www.energywise.govt.nz/at-home/simple-ways-to-lower-energy-bills/