Got your central heating terminology right?

Date: Jul 21, 2016 - 11:50 pm

You suddenly feel the cold snip one morning and decide.. “I want central heating”. Next thing you do is go to your preferred search engine and start searching for a central heating installer or supplier.

The results are overwhelming and most likely not what you were actually looking for.

In principal searching the term “Central Heating” is a good idea, the only problem though, is that not many companies actually specialise in all forms of central heating.

So let’s try to clarify what’s what and differentiate some of these systems readily available in New Zealand.

The term Central Heating itself is a noun and in general refers to one system that is designed to heat a whole house or building. So to clarify, a heat pump or air conditioning unit is not a central heating system because such units are only designed to heat the room or space they are actually installed in.

To classify as a central heating system all areas need to be heated by the same heat source.

So what types of central heating systems is there in New Zealand?


Auckland being the largest city in New Zealand, offers the largest selection of central heating.

Some of which include:

  • Ducted Central Heating systems, these systems transfer heat by mass motion of air via a ducting system.
    Available heat sources included: Gas powered and electrical. Ducted Central Heating can be retrofitted into most existing homes.
  • Electric Underfloor Heating, (also called under-tile heating) is typically installed in smaller areas such as bathrooms or kitchens. Low profile pre-formed cable mats or cables can be installed under tiles, carpets or wood. In most cases electric underfloor heating is not a desirable total home heating solution due to electrical running costs.
  • Hydronic Underfloor Heating, is strongly recommended when building new. The cost to install the pipework into the concrete slab is a fraction of the ROI. These systems can be powered with gas boilers, heatpumps, solar, electricity, wood or thermal energy. Pex pipe is installed above the building mesh (in some cases below) before the concrete is laid. The energy source will heat water which will then circulate in the pipe generating radiant central heating energy. This system will maintain an even spread of heat throughout the home without drafts and is easy to control and manage. Underfloor heating systems are low temperature systems.
  • Hydronic Radiator Heating, works the same way as underfloor heating with the difference that you have good looking radiators on the wall (typically positioned under windows) instead of pipes in the concrete slab. A Radiator may vary from steel to slick aluminium and comes in many sizes to suit any situation. Radiator heating can be retro-fitted into existing homes and is currently the most popular form of heating in the Auckland areas due its low installation and running costs. Radiator hydronic heating is the most popular form of heating in Europe and the UK.
    Radiator systems are high temperature systems and cannot be run with heat pumps.

Selecting the one of above systems will fully depend on whether you are building new or not, your circumstances, expectations, site conditions and availability of energy sources. This could be Gas, diesel, wood, solar, wetback or even thermal energy.

Why not speak to the professionals about a key turn solution tailored to your needs.