Simple Ways to Lower Energy Bills Series: Heating

Information thanks to EECA

Taking the time to think differently about how you heat and your home can have a really positive impact on you, your energy bill and the environment.

Keeping the temperature of your home at a minimum of 18’C (as recommended by the World Health Organisation) or higher for more vulnerable groups like children, the elderly and people who are ill. Heaters play an important role in this, especially over the winter months. Here are a few key considerations:


Make sure your home’s insulation is sorted out. This will mean you can use a smaller and more cost-effective heating system to keep your home warm.

The right heater for you

When heating large spaces such as living rooms, it’s a good idea to choose a heater that is fixed, with a larger heat output and lower running costs than a smaller electric heater. Good options include:

  • Wood or wood pellet burner
  • Heat pump (ensure it is energy efficient)
  • Flued gas heater (ensure it is four-star qualified)

Heater size

Another important consideration is the size of the heater. Heaters that are either too small or too big for your room are not good for efficiency of heating and therefore also not for your energy bill. This Heating Assessment Tool will help you figure out the best heater for your space.

Costs and environmental impacts

There are both monetary and environmental costs when it comes to using heaters. Using an energy efficient heater will keep your power bill down. Heaters that use either wood, wood pellets or electricity are better for the environment.

  • Heat pumps are considered to be highly energy efficient when used properly. Using the thermostat is a good way to keep these costs down. The benefit of heat pumps is that they provide instant heat.
  • Electric heaters are best for heating small spaces and are cost effective to purchase and run when used correctly.
  • Wood pellet burners burn cleanly and use pellets made from waste products. They are good for heating large rooms and the heat can be controlled. Wood pellet burners require building consent to install and don’t work with firewood.
  • Modern wood burners can be good if you have access to free firewood. They have low running costs, are efficient and are also environmentally friendly as they use renewable wood energy. Wood burners need dry wood in order to run cleanly. Choose one from the Ministry for the Environment’s approved list.
  • Flued gas heaters or fireplaces are useful for heating large rooms and have convenient thermostat controls. For more information about heating cost efficiencies, go to the EECA website here