Every home needs effective heat sources to make it habitable and comfortable to live in. Although space heating from the sun as a natural source may seem like a nice idea, its suitability is very limited considering New Zealand experiences four seasons. Among the four seasons, only summer can be depended upon for room and home heating. Electric options are, however, more efficient and reliable.
Factors to consider when planning how to heat a New Zealand home: Suitability: Before you buy any electric appliance to heat your home, you first need to consider its suitability and main purpose. There are heat appliances that can be used for a short duration, while others can be permanently installed for long term needs. You may need a convective appliance, (either thermostat controlled or manually operated) and one that will not attract huge energy bills. The size of such electric appliances also matters a lot in relation to efficiency and energy consumption. Energy conservation: You will want to consider options which do not consume a lot of energy. You can look for an energy star label. The energy star is an emblem used to signify energy efficiency. Thermostat controlled appliances are also highly recommended, as they only turn on when needed. Efficiency and cost of operation: You need to have a heat source that is both efficient and reliable. Thermostat operated appliances have proven to be more efficient that manually controlled ones. This is because you only need to set a comfortable temperature, and the automated system will maintain it at all times. At other times, these devices may automatically switch off if no one is in the house. This helps reduce energy bills remarkably. Electric heaters: These are the most commonly used option in the whole of New Zealand. This is basically because electricity is readily available and is 100% clean. Electric heaters range from radiant panels, portable heaters, permanent heaters, heat pumps, and oil distributed heaters and bar heaters. For increased efficiency, electric heaters can be used together with fans to distribute warm air through controlled air ducts. Heat pumps: These are becoming increasingly popular in NZ. Heat pumps absorb heat form an outside source, and redirect it into the house through a device known as a heat exchanger. They are useful all year round to help regulate the temperature in your home. In summer time they act as an air conditioning (cooling) unit for your home. Heat pumps are highly efficient as heat transfer is fast. Solar heating: This is the most energy efficient way of heating up rooms for a long time efficiently. Solar heaters mainly operate on solar energy, where the energy from the sun is used to heat up water in roof mounted units. The hot water is then directed via radiant tubes to all rooms of the house. Heat radiation from these radiant pipes helps keep the rooms warm for a long time. Solar panels can also be installed to capture solar energy, convert it into electricity, which can also be used to power heat pumps and other electric heat devices. However, solar heating is only efficient during sunny days and when the weather is hot. An alternative may be required during winter and colder days.
Room ventilation and fans: Room ventilation plays a key role in keeping your home comfortable. A well ventilated house (sealed during cold seasons) contributes to how effectively a room can contain heat and for how long. There are electric room ventilation units that employ fan and wind energy to pump clean air into the rooms. These are especially effective during on hot and humid nights. Fans can also help distribute heat energy from heat pumps, room heaters and oil based heaters effectively. Special fans are, however, needed to ensure the hot air is evenly distributed around the house.