Gas heating

Gas heating is convenient and easily controlled. While burning gas causes little local air pollution, gas heating causes more greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change than other heater types that use renewable fuels or electricity.

Pros and cons of gas heating

  • Gas heaters create fast, convenient and easily controlled heat.
  • Gas heating causes little local air pollution but causes more greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change than other heater types that use renewable fuels or electricity.
  • Gas heaters come as gas space heaters and decorative gas fireplaces.
  • Gas heaters can run on either natural gas or LPG. Natural gas is piped into houses from gas mains and is available in many centres of the North Island, but not in the South Island. Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) is usually supplied in large 45 kg bottles.
  • You will have to pay fixed charges for reticulated gas supply - so gas heating makes more economic sense if you already use other gas appliances in your household.
  • Running costs are relatively high if you use LPG bottles.
  • Gas heater flues can be installed almost anywhere in your home - they can be run out of the house horizontally or vertically, so they don't need to be on an outside wall.
  • Most modern gas heaters need electricity for ignition and to run internal fans. They won’t work during a power cut.

Choosing a gas heater

  • Insulate first - starting with your ceiling and floor. This will make your house easier and cheaper to heat properly.
  • Choose a flued gas heater - unflued gas heaters emit water vapour and toxic gases directly into your home. This can make your house damp and harm your health. 
  • The efficiency of gas heaters varies widely because there are no minimum energy performance requirements for gas heaters in New Zealand. So look for the Australian Gas Association gas energy rating label to ensure you buy an efficient model - the more stars, the more energy efficient.
  • Work out what size you need - ask your heating supplier to advise you on the right size heater for your needs.
  • Building consent - you don’t need a building consent to install a gas heater. If you’re putting in a building consent for other work at the same time as installing a gas heater, you will need to specifically state that a building consent is not being sought for the gas heater.
  • Registered gasfitters - you must have a Registered Gasfitter install your gas heater, and you need a Gas Certificate for the installation. You also need to use a Registered Electrician for any electrical work and get an Electrical Certificate of Compliance issued (if required).

Gas installations and appliances - Energy Safety website

Unflued gas heaters and portable LPG heaters

Unflued gas heaters, including portable LPG heaters, don’t have vents or chimneys to carry away emissions like water vapour, nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide. These emissions can make your house damp and harm your health, especially if there isn't enough fresh air ventilation. Portable LPG heaters can also be a fire risk.

We strongly advise against using unflued gas heaters - if you do use one, keep at least one window open to allow fresh air to enter the room and waste gases to escape. Never use them in bedrooms.

Portable LPG heaters are also the most expensive form of heating. If you can’t afford an effective, fixed heating option, consider portable electric heaters. They’re cheap to buy, cheaper to run and much safer than portable LPG heaters.

Unflued gas heaters and your health - Ministry of Health website

 Electric heaters

Using gas heaters wisely

  • Get your heater and flue checked and serviced before winter every year by a licensed gas worker so you know it is in a safe condition for winter.
  • Only heat when you need it - don't leave your heater on all day if you're not there.  Use the timer to turn on the heater shortly before you get home and turn it off when you don’t need it.
  • Only heat the space you're actually using - shut doors and curtains to keep the heat in.
  • Set the thermostat to a healthy temperature - aim for 18ºC to 20ºC. High thermostat settings cause high heating costs. Inadequate heating can lead to mould growth and dampness.
  • Find out if your existing gas heater is flued. If you have recently moved into a house with an existing gas heater, look if there is a flue or chimney that goes to the outside – either through an external wall or up through the roof. If there is only one pipe connected to the gas heater (for the gas supply), then this means the heater is unflued and emits water vapour and toxic gases directly into your home.
  • Avoid using unflued gas heaters, but if you do, keep at least one window open to allow fresh air to enter the room and waste gases to escape. Never use them in bedrooms.