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Compare the top 5 heating systems for your home

Written by Azwood Energy on July 12th, 2022.      0 comments

Choosing a heating system

When purchasing or building a home, one of the most important considerations is your heating system. New Zealand is known for its insulation and ventilation problems so often we are looking for a durable and cost-effective solution to keep our families warm, healthy and dry during winter.


While some prefer the traditional burn of a log fire, others enjoy the control and autonomy of electric. When thinking about heating systems here are some things to consider:

  • energy types and their availability
  • cost and efficiency
  • appearance
  • how the heat is distributed throughout the house
  • nature of the heating
  • characteristics of the house, such as insulation levels, amount of glazing and ventilation performance.

A consideration also when building a new home that, in some cases due to new regulations, you can only install a pellet fire, or use clean air heat sources such as heat pumps or electric heaters. 

Below we have picked the top 5 home heating systems and compared the pros and cons of each with an unbiased overview so you can get a better understanding of which is the best option for you.

Log Fire


  • Cheap if you have a source of wood yourself.
  • Traditional wood burn.
  • Visually ambient flame
  • Will still work in power cut.


  • Manual labour to source wood - added risks with chainsaws and equipment.
  • Need a lot of storage.
  • Have to manually start the fire.
  • Produces smoke which reduces the air quality in your area.
  • Some new builds are not able to install anymore due to air quality issues.
  • Need council permits to install, similar to pellet fires.

Initial set-up costs - Medium

Ongoing costs - Low

Heat Pump


  • Can turn on with the press of a button.
  • Timer options to pre-warm your home
  • Control the temperature which is better for your health.
  • Low maintenance


  • Uses a lot of power.
  • Sometimes not efficient enough to heat the whole house.
  • 100% reliant on electricity
  • No ambiance 
  • Can circulate viruses

Initial set-up costs - Low

Ongoing costs - Medium

Pellet Fire


  • Carbon neutral energy source. No smoke, only produces steam.
  • Some have timer options to pre-warm your home.
  • Can ignite with the press of a button.
  • Traditional burn of log fire.
  • Back up options in power cuts.
  • You can purchase pellet fuel as needed all year round


  • Partially reliant on electricity (can use battery pack as a back up).
  • Need council permits to install, similar to log fires.
  • Requires ongoing maintenance

Initial set-up costs - Medium

Ongoing costs - Low

Gas Heaters


  • Cheaper to run if you have piped gas
  • The cleaner option of fossil fuels
  • Controlled heat output
  • Can turn on with the press of a button.


  • Gas is being phased out in 2050 meaning you will have to replace your heating system by then.
  • Air pollution - The heat caused by the combustion of gas is not healthy
  • Health risks as it increases moisture in the air which can cause mould and promotes dust mite growth.
  • Can inflame some allergies if not vented
  • Potential risk of gas leaks 
  • Higher fire risk with open flame

Initial set-up costs - Medium

Ongoing costs - High

Solar heating


  • If you can afford the install then your will have little ongoing costs from there on.
  • Renewable heating source
  • Low maintenance costs
  • Reduce your carbon footprint


  • Install costs are extremely high.
  • Weather dependent.
  • Uses lots of space
  • Doesn't work for every roof type

Initial set-up costs - High

Ongoing costs - Low

Warmer Kiwi homes programme

Warmer Kiwi Homes grants are available to homeowners (not for rental properties) and cover both:

  • 80% of the cost of ceiling and underfloor insulation. In some areas, such as Auckland, generous funding from community organisations means the cost to the homeowner is even lower for insulation.

  • 80% of the cost of a heat pump or efficient wood or pellet burner for the main living area. Grants for heaters are capped at $3000 (including GST). 

Find out if you are eligible for a grant for a heater and/or home insulation


Thinking of buying a pellet fire?

Azwood Energy supply wood pellet fuel for pellet fires. If you are considering a pellet fire for your home, speak to one of our partners about the installation process.



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About us

Azwood are working to help New Zealand transition to a lower carbon future by supplying cost-comparative carbon neutral wood fuel as an alternative to fossil fuels.

Azwood have been in the energy sector for 38 years. Our main products are biomass hog fuel, wood energy chip and wood pellet fuel (industry and retail).
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