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Heat Pump Heating

Heat pumps are extensively used in New Zealand to heat buildings. They mostly pump heated air into living rooms. They can however also be used to heat up water that then is pumped around the house; as a part of a central heating system. A central heating system is a lot more efficient than an air heater as radiant heat is more efficient. For more information on central heating with the options of underfloor and radiant heating, please click here.


A heat pump works by transferring heat from one area to the other. It takes the warmth of the outside air and compresses it, thereby creating more warmth within the air. The resulting warm air is then pumped into the house to either heat your room directly or used to heat water tank, where the hot water is then pumped around the house into heaters to heat the entire home.

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​You might be able to secure funding towards your heating system in New Zealand. Check the below link for free to find out if your are eligible.

Due to the fact that heat pumps do only move heat but not generate heat, heat pumps are on average 2 to 3 times more energy efficient than regular other electric heating methods like a bar or fan heater. The high efficiency is achieved when the temperature at the heat pump outdoor unit is 14 degrees or above and when the temperature difference that needs to be achieved for heating your home is small. So best use the heat pump during the day, when the temperature is higher, ideally above 14 degrees Celsius. Air conditioning in offices and underfloor heating, where the heat is stored in the concrete slab or screed are the most efficient uses of heat pumps. The next most efficient use of a heat pump is via a central radiator heating system. 


We would advise though that before you buy, you ask for a performance graph. While many advertise that their products are three or even four times more efficient than standard heaters, this is only true for certain conditions. The colder it is outside, the less efficient heat pumps are. Also, the higher the temperature difference is you are trying to achieve, the less efficient a heat pump works. Again, avoid a bad awakening by checking the performance in lower temperatures with your potential supplier. Other things to consider is where will the outdoor unit be mounted: should be at a spot with plenty of air flow and a spot with a warm temperature. Ensure your heat pump is maintained. So, what are the pros and cons of using a heat pump to heat your home?

Advantages of using a heat pump to heat your home:

  • Cheaper running costs and lower power bills for the same amount of heat produced by a conventional bar or fan heater

  • Heat pumps can be used for heating and cooling

  • Heat is created in non freezing temperatures very fast

Disadvantages of using a heat pump to heat your home:

  • Higher upfront cost compared to an infrared, fan or bar heater

  • Heat pumps lose efficiency in lower temperatures- ensure to find a unit that copes well with the temperatures on offer in your  area during the cold months

  • The outside units of heat pumps do require in certain temperatures defrosting, which requires energy without direct heat output

  • Air heat pumps will often leave a cold area close to the floor, making the climate for small children potentially uncomfortable 

  • Air heat pumps only heat the air. This means that older houses that are poorly insulated and have many gaps and cracks will lose the heat incredibly fast and require a higher running time than radiant and infrared heaters

  • The forced air will rise to the ceiling straight away, which slows down the speed of when you actually benefit from it

  • The forced air will create a turbulence, which can cause it to pick up dust and other small particles

  • Heat pumps create noise when they run

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