Cost and custom blamed for lack of central heating in NZ homes

A reliance on wood burners in the past, the Kiwi mentality of heating a single room and the perception New Zealand has a warmer climate than Europe and the UK means central heating is non-existent in more than 95 per cent of our homes, according to experts.

They say central heating is a nice luxury allowing bedrooms and living areas to be kept at a consistent heat, but the reality is the majority of people cannot afford or do not expect to pay between $8000 and $15,000 to heat their homes.

Whereas the majority of UK houses have central heating, less than 5 per cent of homes in New Zealand do.

“We might put a heat pump in our living room and possible hall and use portable heaters in our bedrooms – but we kind of think of it as quite a luxury item.”

However Squire said heating solutions had advanced and heat pump central heating was proving an efficient solution. While installation was between $10,000 and $15,000, the running costs were under 10c per kilowatt hour compared to electric heaters which were 30c per kwh, he said.

“If you can afford it, then central heating is a wonderful solution.”

Many of the trust’s clients either relied on landlords to install heat pumps in the living areas or the trust recommended radiant or micathermic plug-in heaters.

The Community Energy Network member Gary Kelk, who also manages Healthy Homes Tai Tokerau, said although New Zealand would benefit from having whole heating solutions such as gas central heating, the cost of installing them was too expensive for the majority of people.

He said New Zealand’s housing stock was so far behind that a lot of houses needed to first have adequate insulation installed before heating and then ventilation was considered. Read full article here >