Get the right heating that meets your needs.
A warm home is a healthy home. Guidelines from the World Health Organisation recommend a minimum temperature of 18˚C in houses, though this should be higher for vulnerable groups such as children and the elderly. With this in mind it's important to choose the right heating for your living spaces and consider the ongoing costs and environmental impact of the options available to you.
It's important to the health of you and your family that your house is warm and dry. The Ministry of Social Development states that cold and damp homes are linked to poor health, especially for babies and small children, people with existing illnesses and older people.
Types of heating - For larger rooms that you want to heat regularly, like a living room, it’s worth paying a bit more upfront for a fixed heating system (i.e. fixed heaters, fireplaces and heat pumps) with lower running costs and more heat output than smaller heating systems can provide. There are lots of options for heating - electric heaters, modern wood or wood-pellet burners, energy efficient heat pumps, four-star qualified flued gas heaters, and much more.
kW (heating capacity required) - Before you purchase a heater, heat pump, or wood burner, it's important to know how much power is required to heat your home. Most indoor heating solutions will state how many kW of heat they deliver. Tenancy Services has a Heating Assessment Tool you can use to determine how much power is needed to heat the different spaces in your home. Make sure you have a tape measure handy before you start.
As a landlord you need to ensure that the main living room must have a qualifying heater that can heat the living room to at least 18°C throughout the year. The heating capacity must be suitable for the size of the living room and in accordance with the Tenancy Services Heating Assessment Tool. Your heating must be fixed (not portable, open fire or combustion heater i.e. portable LPG bottle heaters) and if you use a heat pump or an electric heater, it must have a thermostat. For smaller living areas a small fixed heater with a heating capacity of at least 1.5 kW may be sufficient.
Some heating devices such as unflued gas heaters, open fires and electric heaters (except heat pumps) with a heating capacity greater than 2.4 kilowatts are inefficient, expensive or not healthy to run. These heating devices will not meet the Healthy Homes heating standards and in most cases the landlord will need to provide an alternative, compliant fixed heating device.
Did you know up to 20% of heating can be lost through draught? This means you should assess your insulation before you look at heating options. This way, you'll be able to use a smaller heating system and your home will be cheaper and easier to heat. While the Healthy Homes standard isn't legislative for homes, it's a good guide on the size of heating unit you might need. Good quality, lined curtains that fit your windows well are an essential part of a warm, energy efficient home.
While your landlord is responsible for heating, there are things you can do help keep your energy consumption down and optimise the heating in your home. Open windows and curtains on sunny days, and close them when the sun goes down to trap heat in your home. Talk to your landlord about trimming any trees that prevent sunlight entering your house.