Heating options: before you choose…

There are a lot of heat source options when it comes to heating your home. At Queenstown Plumbing & Gas we guide you through all your viable options and discuss all the pros and cons to discover which heating solution will best suit you and your home.

At Queenstown Plumbing & Gas we are dedicated to providing heating solutions that are sustainable, affordable and efficient. We will guide you through the best options available so that you have all the information you need to make an informed and confident decision. With so many options available it can be tough to know where to start.

You can call us for a free chat to the discuss the best central heating solution for your home and your family.

How well insulated is the house?
Insulation helps keep properties warm in the winter and cool in the summer by trapping air in the space between two surfaces. The more heat lost through non-insulated surfaces – walls, ceilings and floors – the more energy is used to keep the house warm.
Are the windows double glazed?
Double glazing is effectively insulation for your windows. Houses with double glazing are warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. As with insulation, the less heat that is lost through windows, the more efficient your heating system will be at heating your home.
How much sunlight is the house exposed to?
North facing houses will receive more sun exposure than those that are south facing. A lot of houses and commercial properties in Queenstown are south facing and so require more energy to heat than north facing properties. Innovative heating solutions are needed to provide a healthy and comfortable inside temperature at an affordable price.
These factors will determine how much energy is used to heat the property. The more energy used, the higher the cost of heating. Queenstown Plumbing & Gas create innovative heating solutions to ensure a healthy and comfortable indoor temperature at an affordable price.

When choosing your heat source there are a lot of things to consider. Most importantly, Queenstown Plumbing & Gas highly recommend thinking about the potential running costs of each system. Running costs can differ drastically depending on what heat source is used. A basic rule of thumb is that the cheaper the outlay is the more expensive the running cost will be. Have a look at the heat comparison chart below.


Wood burners

Wood-burners are the classic kiwi heating option. Most New Zealand homes will have one or most of us have at least lived in a house with one. This type of heat source is defined as a space heater as it only heats the space in which the appliance is located.

Wood-burners are often over sized for the room and can quickly over heat the space making it uncomfortable to be in. Opening the doors to allow some fresh air in takes the edge off, but this does not help to heat the rest of the house. To save dollars and be truly comfortable we need to be more efficient.

A good option with a wood-burner is to use a heat transfer system. This is installed in the roof space to push the air from the heat source through insulated ducts to other areas of the house. By teaming a wood-burner with a heat transfer system you get the best of both worlds- the wonderful ambiance of a wood burning fire and a lovely warm and healthy home throughout.

New wood-burners need to comply with current emission laws and require council consents. If you live in Arrowtown you may want to make use of the Otago Regional Council clean air subsidy for removing wood-burners that don’t now meet the current emission laws. Of course, Queenstown Plumbing & Gas provide all wood-burner and heat transfer system related services.

Woodburner - Queenstown Plumbing and Gas
Queenstown Plumbing and Gas Woodburner

GAS energy savers

These are fan forced gas heaters. They blow air through a burner, pushing out warm air. As with wood-burners, these appliances are space heaters- only intended to heat the space in which they are located. Many different sizes are available depending on the space you require to heat.

Gas energy saver heaters have timers so that the heater can be programmed to come on and off at different times of the day and night. They also have thermostats so once the room is up to temperature the heater shuts off. The timers and thermostats help to avoid energy wastage and keep running costs down.

Queenstown Plumbing & Gas can help you select the most appropriate gas energy saver heater to ensure that the property can maintain a comfortable temperature all year round.

GAS boilers

Gas boilers are a central heating heat source. These are common place in Europe, and are fast becoming more popular here in New Zealand for providing central heating to the whole house. Water is heated in the boiler and then the hot water is pumped through a series of pipes to radiators throughout the house.

The boilers are small, often kept within a cupboard, and are very quiet. Within the radiator, as in any space, hot air rises above cold air. The warm air is emitted from the radiator to heat the room, and the cool air within the room is drawn into the radiator and recycled.

The result is a consistent temperature easily controlled using the thermostat and timer. To get the most out of this central heating solution the layout of where the boiler, radiators and connecting pipelines are situated must be carefully planned.

Gas boilers can also be used in conjunction with under floor hydronic loops to provide under floor central heating. There is even an option for a split system if you would like under floor heating in the living rooms but prefer radiators in the bedrooms.

Central heating comes in at the more expensive end of the heat sources spectrum. However, this really is a case of if you pay more, you get more. We find that clients enjoy central heating because the system is easy to use, the internal climate is a consistent temperature, and they feel satisfied knowing that energy is not being wasted.

Queenstown Plumbing & Gas can help you select the right boiler and radiators for your needs and design a layout plan that will create the most effective and efficient results. We can also do all the installation and provide follow up servicing.

Diesel Boiler - Queenstown Plumbing and Gas

diesel boilers

Diesel boilers work on a similar principal to gas boilers. Water is heated in the boiler and the hot water is pumped through a series of pipes to radiators or hydronic underfloor loops. The results within the property are just the same as gas boilers and again a carefully designed layout will help to maximise the benefits.

Diesel boilers are much larger but slightly cheaper to run than gas boilers in the South Island as the diesel cost is cheaper than the LPG. Diesel boilers are usually located in a garage and connected to the outside via a flue.

They also need a diesel tank at easy access to fill when required. This form of central heating will provide excellent results for a more economical price than the gas boiler option. Queenstown Plumbing & Gas have the knowledge and expertise to assist in choosing the correct appliances, designing a customised plan and completing the installation.

air to water heat pump

An air to water heat pump is an electric alternative to heating water, usually only used for a new build with underfloor heating. The water is heated to a lower temperature than that of gas or diesel as outlined above, and so uses less energy.

This central heating source can be adapted to serve radiators but this requires larger radiators and careful planning to reduce heat loss and other disruptive factors. Air to water heat pump units are located outside, preferably away from bedrooms as the two large fans within the units do create noise.

If you’re building a new home, this is likely to be the very best solution for you.

Heat Pump - Queenstown Plumbing and Gas

ground source heat pump

Ground source heat pumps are the kings of central heating. This heat source is highly coveted for delivering the very best results whilst incurring minimal running costs. It is worth noting that the initial outlay for a ground source heat pump system is more expensive than the options above, but users will reap the rewards for years to come through huge running cost savings.

Ground source heat pumps work just as all hydronic heating systems work – heating water and then pumping the water around the a series of pipes to underfloor loops or radiators. The difference here is in the way that the water is heated. Water is pumped through a network of pipes buried below the ground at about 2 meters deep.

As the temperature of the ground at 2 meters deep is about 12 degrees centigrade, regardless of the weather conditions above ground, the water is heated to 12 degrees by the warmth of the earth. This increase to 12 degrees centigrade is essentially free; the ground at 2 meters deep has provided free energy.

The heat pump then only needs to heat the water from that point up to the required temperature; thus, using less energy than if the heat pump was starting from scratch. Ground source heat pumps are about the same size as a large washing machine, are located inside and are very quiet as no fan is needed inside the unit.

Ground source heat pumps are an investment that will pay dividends in the long-term. Queenstown Plumbing & Gas can guide you through the whole process from consulting, designing, installing, and commissioning.

Queenstown Plumbing and Gas Ground Source Heat Pump

…but that’s not all.

There are still many other heating options for your home that we have not covered here. We have simply outlined the options that we believe can satisfy most of our client’s needs, and we’re always happy to discuss other options for heating your home.