Heating your home

When choosing heating for your home, consider the amount of heating you need, upfront and running costs and environmental impacts of the different options.

Healthy temperatures

World Health Organisation guidelines recommend a minimum temperature of 18˚C in houses, or higher for more vulnerable groups like children, the elderly and people who are ill. This recommendation applies to all occupied rooms in your house.

Insulate first

Before looking at heating options, sort out your insulation - you'll be able to use a smaller heating system and your home will be cheaper and easier to heat.


Heater type

For larger rooms that 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 a small electric heater can provide. This could be a modern wood or wood-pellet burner, an energy efficient heat pump, or a four-star qualified flued gas heater.

Electric heaters may be enough for smaller rooms and rooms you only heat occasionally, like bedrooms. Avoid unflued gas heaters (with pipes fixed to the walls or portable) which release toxic fumes and moisture, and open fires which are draughty and inefficient.

 Types of heater

Heater size

Match the size of your heater to the space you want to heat. An oversized or undersized heater will struggle to heat your room effectively, and can cost more to run. Ask your heating supplier for advice about what size heater will suit your needs.

Running costs

Running costs can vary a lot depending on your fuel price and how well you use and maintain your heating appliance.

 Home heating running costs

Environmental impacts

To minimise the environmental impacts of your heater:

  • choose a heating option that uses renewable energy, like wood, wood pellets or electricity (which is about 80% renewable on average)
  • choose the most efficient model for the job
  • use and maintain your heater properly.

Winter heating guide - Consumer NZ website