Most New Zealand homes don’t feature central heating.
Sustainability Trust chief executive Phil Squire says that it comes down to cost and custom:
"It's not customary for us to have central heating...I think it's just the norm that folks don't expect to spend that kind of money because we are also very used to single room heating. We might put a heat pump in our living room and possible hall and use portable heaters in our bedrooms”. – Source NZ Herald
Old New Zealand housing stock typically requires that adequate insulation be fitted before heating and ventilation is installed.
"Historically, we have had a lot of timber in New Zealand so we have had wood fires, which have been the open fires... and also insulation didn't come into homes until 1978 and that was a very low requirement."
When these houses were built, New Zealand was not perceived to get as cold as places like Canada and the UK, yet New Zealand has a very wet climate and experiences significant drops in temperature overnight.
Although there is a higher installation cost, the running costs of heat pump systems are typically under 10c per kilowatt hour (Kwh) compared to electric heaters which can be around 30c per kwh. "If you can afford it, then central heating is a wonderful solution.", says Squire.
Ducted heat pumps offer a great alternative to traditional central heating. Just like central heating, they can provide warmth throughout your home and are an energy efficient heating solution.
Cold homes have been linked to cardiovascular disease and respiratory illness. Indoor dampness and mould have been linked to asthma, respiratory infections and rheumatic fever. - (Environmental Health Indicators New Zealand)
University of Otago professor of the Department of Public Health in Wellington Philippa Howden-Chapman said “New Zealand should be concerned about cold houses because more people get sick during winter”.
"There is recent evidence in Japan that your blood pressure actually goes up during the night and that's a problem if people have their heart compromised or are a young baby or older person, whose regulation of their temperature isn't as good as people in the middle years of their lives."
Howden-Chapman said there needed to be heating designed especially for New Zealand homes. “The big issue now - because we are not doing well on reducing carbon emissions - is to make sure we make ourselves warmer without using lots more carbon."
When compared to wood, gas, and coal burning systems, heat pumps are an environmentally friendly alternative to keeping your home warm. As New Zealand generates 80% of electricity supply from renewable sources, ducted heat pump systems don’t incur the same emission costs of gas-powered central heating options.
More and more New Zealanders are choosing to have ducted heat pumps installed. This centralised heating solution helps to ensure the entire house is always comfortable and warm.
Heat pumps are a very popular method of heating in New Zealand. As the demand has ramped up, so too has the range available. With so many options to choose from, it can be a daunting task to choose the right heat pump for your home.
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Heat pumps are a very popular method of heating in New Zealand. As the demand has ramped up, so too has the range available. With so many options to choose from, it can be a daunting task to choose the right heat pump for your home.Read more