Heating up

An essential in winter, we look at heating options for your home this season – and how renewable gas could energise the future.

A warm home is a healthy home, but it can be costly. In New Zealand, home heating on average accounts for around one-third of a household’s energy bill – so choosing the right system is important.

From compact and economical space heaters to flame-effect fireplaces and whole-home central heating and ducting, there are plenty of options today when it comes to gas.

“The beauty of energising your home with gas is that you can connect one appliance now and easily retrofit others later,” explains Don Elers Powerco General Manager Gas on behalf of The Gas Hub (a division of Powerco Limited).

“Gas is on a journey to transform as we move towards a carbon-zero future. It really is the ultimate comfort upgrade for your family.”

Gas heating options

Central heating

Did you know central heating can be ducted under your house, in your walls or in the roof space, depending on your home’s layout?

Some larger flame-effect fires can also be ducted and act like central heating, transferring all-over luxurious warm air around your home. Radiators are another style of central heating, and gas can also be used to power underfloor heating.

Compact heaters

Compact gas heaters are a heat pump equivalent. “Natural gas has a heat pump alternative that Rinnai call the Energysaver,” says Elers. “It’s a space heater that’s compact and located on the floor – offering a more subtle option that disperses air more evenly. Energysavers are flued and won’t add dampness to your home. It’s a heating solution that delivers excellent air quality and efficient heating.”

Gas fireplaces

Switching to gas doesn’t mean needing to sacrifice on the ambience of a fireplace. With no mess and zero fuss, gas flame-effect fireplaces operate with a simple push of a button.

Another great thing about gas fires is the huge variety of styles and sizes, and most brands offer the option to both retrofit and customise. “Plus, don’t forget you can get outdoor gas fires to keep you toasty once the sun goes down in your backyard so you can entertain year-round,” says Elers.

Gas hot water

For many, hot water is a common reason for connecting to natural gas. Continuous hot water systems, powered by natural gas, will mean there’s always hot water ready to go. Sometimes referred to as continuous or ‘infinity’ gas, some appliances promote 95 per cent efficiency with 7-star ratings.

Gas hot water cylinders are also a great option and work well with either low pressure or mains pressure.

They come in various sizes to suit your household.

Comparing costs

There’s lots of competition in the energy market, and energy retailers are offering many deals and incentives – so it’s worth shopping around. At The Gas Hub, connections can be free for residents in Wellington, Taranaki, Hawke’s Bay and Manawatū if they are within 40 metres of the gas main in their street and connecting to gas hot water. Visit thegashub.co.nz to check if your address can get a free gas connection.

Cost saving tools

  • Powerswitch: Independently operated by Consumer NZ, Powerswitch helps Kiwis find the cheapest electricity and gas plans from participating retailers. By using Powerswitch, over 90 per cent of people find an average saving of $300 per year. powerswitch.org.nz
  • The Gas Hub’s gas hot water tool: This tool helps you decide if gas is best for your home and compare different options for heating water – including natural gas, electricity, LPG and solar hot water systems. It only takes a few minutes to calculate the estimated upfront costs and running costs for your household, and to see how much you could save. hotwater.thegashub.co.nz

The future of gas

In terms of today’s gas usage, Kiwis using natural gas to power their homes produce less than 1 per cent of New Zealand’s total greenhouse gas emissions and use around 3.6 per cent of all the natural gas produced in New Zealand.

With New Zealand’s carbon neutral goals, it’s an exciting time for gas as the industry looks to transition from natural gas to renewable gas.

“If you like today’s gas, you’ll love the gas of tomorrow.

New, renewable, low and zero-carbon gases are the future. With hydrogen gas and biogas already being developed and trialled here in New Zealand and globally, you can continue to enjoy the benefits of gas in your life as we move to tomorrow’s gas energy.”

Renewable gas is a clean energy source that doesn’t produce any additional emissions when used – like natural gas, it can be used for cooking, hot water and heating. In Aotearoa, a range of options for the future of gas are being explored, from hydrogen to biogas and blends of different gases – biogas being produced from decomposing organic waste such as fruits and vegetables.

“So, in the future, you should be able to use renewable gas that has lower carbon emissions than today’s natural gas. Take your home into the future and enjoy better living,” says Elers.

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