Is central heating expensive to run?

Date: Feb 14, 2022 - 8:31 pm

Typically, heating accounts for roughly 30 percent of a New Zealand household’s annual energy use (that’s a huge chunk of your electrical bill!) And as energy costs rise and homes grow in size, the expense will only increase as well. 

Many Kiwi’s are taking drastic measures to cut down on their energy bill, and one of those is looking into more efficient heating options. Central heating is a highly desirable heating method for its ability to create a healthier and more comfortable home. 

However with ongoing running costs being a greater priority than comfort, is central heating still worth it?

The average running costs of central heating

A lot of variables come into play when estimating the overall cost of a central heating system. But basically, the operating cost of a system is determined by its efficiency. Factors such as your home’s insulation, boiler and fuel type all impact the cost of running central heating.

Central heating is widely considered to be energy efficient. It has the potential to save money and power. However, it comes at a high upfront cost which may turn away some people.

Central heating uses piped hot water to heat the various rooms in your home. To heat this water typically natural gas or electrical elements are used.

Natural gas heating is one of the cheapest and simplest methods for running central heating. Gas systems tend to be cheaper to install and cost far less than electricity.

In order for electricity to be comparable to natural gas a more complex system is required. A heat pump is used to heat the water in your central heating system. Paired with PV solar panels the cost of the heat pump can easily be offset and in some cases the cheapest option for its running costs.

A solar heat pump system running non stop in the winter may only cost as much as $100 a month. More energy is used to bring your home to temperature than to keep it there. Allowing your central heating to stay on greatly increases its efficiency.

How to make running central heating cheaper


To maximise your home’s energy efficiency, you must ensure that it is adequately insulated. Insulating your home lowers the amount of energy required to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home. 

To do this, you need to inspect and add insulation to vulnerable parts of your home, such as your loft. This is because as hot air rises, the top portions of your home, such as the loft, are susceptible to heat loss. 

Central heating is designed to keep your home at a stable temperature. So, if your home is quickly losing heat, your central heating system will struggle to keep up. If your system is constantly running hot to try to heat your home it will drive up your energy bill. Therefore ensuring your home is well insulated with double glazed windows is a requirement to have your central heating be affordable.

Be Patient

Central heating uses radiant heat instead of the traditional convection heating methods. By design it is slow to heat and cool down. Cranking up the heat on your central heating to heat up faster will cause a far higher energy bill. Instead, allowing your central heating to come up to temperature slowly is the best method. 

Once at temperature your central heating systems efficiently will skyrocket, making the system far cheaper to run, and may be worth leaving running all winter. 

This is because central heating heats all objects in your house, not just the air. Creating a huge thermal mass which easily retains its heat. The disadvantage is that this can take upwards of 48 hours to come to temperature.

If you are interested in installing central heating give us a call at 0800 443 284 or contact us online for a quote.