What is the cheapest way to heat a New Zealand home?


New Zealand homes stay warm in lots of different ways, from open fires to heat pumps. Some are more expensive to run than others, but it isn’t as easy as simply picking “the cheapest” or “the best”.




Source: Energywise.govt.nz

This graph comes from EnergyWise, the government funded programme responsible for helping Kiwis reduce their energy use.

Heat pumps are the cheapest to run on average, closely followed by wood burners and highly rated flued gas heaters. Unflued gas heaters, meanwhile, are the most expensive on average.

But there is some overlap, which means there are some instances where a wood burner is cheaper to run than a heat pump, and some instances where a flued gas heater is cheaper than a wood burner, and so on. It isn’t cut and dried, and there are several things that you need to consider, including:

  • The cost of fuel. Saving on your heating bill doesn’t always necessarily mean buying the most efficient heater. The cost of fuel varies depending on where in New Zealand you live. . A household in Kerikeri, for example, has to spend twice as much on electricity as a similar household in Dunedin. For the Kerikeri home, a heat pump is more expensive to ‘fuel’. Wood pellets, firewood or LPG bottles could be cheaper.
  • The cost of installation. Heat pumps are very efficient, but they’re pricey to install. They cost anywhere between $3,000 and $4,250 to buy and place properly. It’d take quite a while for the long-term savings to cover the upfront costs. If you’re not planning to stay in the home for a long time, you might move before it balances out.
  • The cost of efficiency. Some types of heating are more suitable for some rooms than others. Bedrooms and small living spaces could warm up nicely with an electric heater - but it’d struggle with a big open-plan kitchen that’s twice the size! A heater that isn’t right for the room it’s in not only doesn’t actually get the room warm, but will use up more power than necessary.



We’d love to give you a single clear cut answer, but there are simply too many things to consider to do so! However, Energywise has put together a fantastic summary of each of the major ways to heat a home along with their pros, cons and considerations. Find their guide here.

For more tips and tricks on cutting down your utility bill, check out our other guide on reducing your power bill with just a few adjustments.

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