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Choosing the Right Heating/Ventilation for Your Property

By Liam O'Boyle

As winter’s icy fingers grip the country, it’s important to be sure that your tenants are warm and comfortable while living in your property. There are a number of economical and cost-effective ways to heat and ventilate a home. Providing one of these options will not only keep your tenants happy and healthy, but also reduce or eliminate the mould and condensation that forms when a house is cold and wet, which can lead to cosmetic and structural damage.

Ventilation: why, how and where?

Having fresh air flowing through a house provides all sorts of benefits to the property and its tenants. Investing in a ventilation system or extractor fans will extend the life of a house and reduce allergies and ailments for those who reside there. Encourage tenants to open windows when cooking or bathing to let steam escape.

Extractor fans

These are simple fans that are turned on to extract steam from an area. Without these, steam can make air damp and musty, and gather on windows and walls as condensation – this water damages window sills, curtains and walls, and can then turn into mould, which has more lasting and adverse effects.

Extractor fans can be cheap to buy and install. Optimum placement areas are in kitchens, bathrooms and laundries.

Whole house ventilation

There are many systems available that replace or circulate air around a house. Keeping air dry and clean reduces asthma and other respiratory problems, while eliminating the mould and condensation that can build up during winter.

A heat exchanger system extracts the damp, musty air from inside and passes it through a heating element to warm up air that is brought in from outside. These are better suited for more modern, airtight homes.

Forced air systems blow dry air into a house from the roof space above the ceiling or, in some cases, from outside. These are better suited to older houses that have wooden joinery.

C’mon baby, light my fire

Your heating needs will depend on the size of your property, the specific areas you want to heat and which (if any) heating systems are already in place. The first choice to make is whether you’re looking for whole house heating or heating for a single room.

Single room heating

Single room heating options are designed to warm a specific room or area in a house. They work best with an existing system that does not adequately heat a particular area. These are popular for homes that have a large central room or to add extra warmth in bedrooms, lounges, bathrooms or living areas.

Options include gas heaters or gas fires, electric heaters, wall panels or wood fires. Heat pumps are a great option as they can be used to cool an area in summer.

Whole home heating

Systems designed to heat an entire home provide a constant temperature throughout, ensuring comfort and warmth. It’s a common misconception that these systems can only be installed during the construction of a new house – these days it’s almost always possible to install a system into an existing home with little visual impact.

Gas and radiator central heating systems are popular throughout New Zealand and provide cosy warmth during winter. It’s important to choose the right size for the house so the system is efficient and economical. Ducted air conditioning systems offer cool air in summer and warm air in winter. These are installed in a roof or under floor space.

Deciding what you need and want

To help you choose, ask yourself these questions:

  • What power source you will use?
  • What is available or more cost-effective (gas, electricity, solar, water, wood etc.)?
  • What areas do you want to heat? What is the size of the area to be heated?
  • What size system will you need? How many (wall panels, heat pumps etc.) will be required?
  • Who will be using it? For example, wood fires may be dangerous with small children around.

Be sure to ask around and get advice from professional installers and manufacturers in order to make the best choice.

Did you find this helpful? Have you recently installed a heating system? Tell us about it in a comment below.

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