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What no central heating

Having spent a holiday in New Zealand before we came to live here, we already knew the deficiencies in N.Z. housing, the main ones being no central heating and no double glazing. When I pointed this out to the locals, the reply was, “we don't need it here it doesn't get that cold”. Cobblers; in winter the night time temperature can fall to 4 degrees C, rising to 12 degrees C during the day. And that's in Auckland - in South Island they get snow blizzards, and 160 nights of frost. Now that's cold, and still no bloody double glazing or proper heating.

Back in Auckland where we live, a lot of older houses have no insulation and suffer from condensation and damp. This promotes mould. Our house is fairly modern (1980) and is built to reasonable standards, but it has acres of single glazed windows and very little insulation under the floors. The windows allow excellent views over the bay and are well sealed against the sea winds, but they allow the cold in, so a shower in winter is a public school boy experience.

New Zealand houses are generally quite large with through livings areas of lounge, dining and kitchen, so one heat source can be used to heat all the living space and if doors are left open or heat transfer ducting in the loft is used then bedrooms and other rooms can be reached too.

Before this winter set in we investigated various methods of heating.

* Gas - but we do not have a connection. * Paraffin and LPG heaters - can be dangerous. Both LPG and Paraffin produce large amounts of water vapour, therefore more moisture and more mold. * Wood burning stoves - again very popular and possibly romantic or so I am told…. Rubbish! what's romantic about bringing in wood (which is not cheap) and lighting it, then when lit is not that controllable.

I might have been more pre-disposed to some of the above if someone could tell me me how to connect a time clock to them so we can have had a warm house in the morning. I suppose you leave then going all night.

* Electric - much favoured here in the form of oil filled radiators and fan heaters but expensive to run (but we could have attached a timer to them)

Most kiwi houses use recessed fittings for lighting (as in UK office corridors). Very functional, but expensive to use, e.g. our bedroom has five fittings each using 60 watt lamps and because of the heat produced make great chimneys to remove heat from the room. First thing we did was to replace the lamps with energy efficient 10 watt lamps and put hoods on the fitting in the loft.

Heat Pumps

So what have we chosen? Well, still fairly new over here but gaining in popularity are Heat Pumps. Heat pump? These are the split air conditioning units that are fitted in offices and sometimes in UK bedrooms to cool excessive summer temperatures. We have not needed cooling, being high up and near to the sea, so we have had one installed for its heat output. The Japanese models have a heating COP of between 3 and 4.5 depending on the size (smaller models are more efficient 2-4 KW), so for 1KW of electricity one gets up to 4.5 KW of heat. Other advantages are:

- Quick to start heating - Very quiet - Controllable from the sofa - Cheap to run - Usually mounted high on a wall so the air does not stratify (all the heat next to the ceiling)

And you can fit a time clock and set the Temperature.

Installed price for a Mitsubishi 6KW unit with a peak of 8KW and 7 day time clock, £1300 equivalent, no mess and fitted in 3 hours. I could not have bought a unit for that price in the UK, never mind had it installed.

So now we are ready for the winter, not looking forward to it though. (Update, fitted a second heat pump in the bedroom, so heating in winter and cooling in summer)

Reported in the Herald 3rd April 09. Aucklanders are using their heat pumps for cooling so that the summer electrical load is getting similar to the winter, but do to the efficiency of heat pumps the winter load is not rising as people change from burning wood and electic heating.

This wiki was written in 2007, so prices are out of date, The heat pumps are still going strong no problems and have not required servicing, just clean the filters every few months. This summer (2013) has been one of the hottest on record so cooling has been used a lot

Mitsubishi Panasonic Fujitsu Daikin

Grants for Insulation Website

The government have introduced a grant towards a third of the cost of insulating your house, the remainder can be obtained by a loan or having it included in your power bill over a period. The expected cost for a typical home is around $3000

Government grants for insulation and heatpumps

living_in_new_zealand/no_central_heating.txt · Last modified: 2013/07/14 09:32 by art
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