How you use a room will help you to decide the type of heater that’s most suitable. For larger rooms you want to heat regularly, like a living room, it’s worth paying a bit more upfront for a fixed heater with lower running costs and more heat output than an electric heater.
This could be a modern wood or wood-pellet burner, an energy efficient heat pump, or a four-star flued gas heater. Electric heaters may be enough for smaller rooms and rooms you only heat occasionally, like bedrooms – they’re cheap to buy but more expensive to run.
Home heating running costs
The lower end of the running cost ranges represents the highest efficiency heaters and lowest fuel prices, and no fixed charges attributed to space heating. The higher end of the running cost ranges represents low efficiency heaters, high fuel prices and fixed charges fully attributed to space heating (for natural gas and LPG (45kg bottles) only).
Guide to reading home heating running costs chart
Based on typical highest and lowest heater efficiencies for new heaters, and typical highest and lowest fuel prices. Flued gas heaters with a star rating of less than 4 stars and older heat pumps, woodburners and gas heaters may have lower efficiencies, resulting in higher running costs. For unflued gas heaters 30% of the heat produced is assumed to be lost due to the need to leave a window open. Purchase, installation and maintenance costs are not included.
Fuel cost assumptions:
Electricity 19-40c/kWh; firewood $50-150/m3; wood pellets 55-93 c/kg; natural gas 5.4-11.2 c/kWh variable price; LPG (45kg bottles) $92-110 per refill; LPG (9kg bottle) $27-42 per refill.
Consideration of fixed charges:
No fixed charges have been included for electricity, firewood, wood pellets and LPG (9kg bottle).
For natural gas and LPG (45kg) fixed charges have only been included for the higher end of the running cost ranges, assuming a total annual gas consumption of 3,000 kWh, fixed charges of up to $1.45/day for natural gas and up to $115 annual bottle rental charge for LPG (45kg bottles). This represents households where gas is only used for space heating. For the lower end of the running cost ranges, no fixed charges have been included, representing situations where gas is also used for other purposes than just space heating.
Be aware that:
low running costs (when you use them properly)
producing instant heat
convenience – you can control the temperature with the thermostat and use the timer.
they must be sized correctly – for the space and the climate – to work well (if you live in a colder area, ask the supplier to size the heat pump based on its low temperature performance)
some are a lot more efficient than others – look for the Energy Rating Label (the more stars, the more energy efficient)
they won’t work during a power cut.
Be aware that:
low running costs, especially if you have access to free or cheap firewood
the environment – if used correctly, they produce very little pollution and use renewable wood energy
heating large spaces
heating hot water in winter through a wetback system.
firewood must be dry to burn cleanly and efficiently, so you need to plan ahead and store it undercover, ideally for at least 12 months
you need a building consent to install one and – unless your property is larger than two hectares – you need to use a woodburner on the approved list from the Ministry for the Environment.