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Winter Warmth

Getting smarter & warmer Alistair Hughes finds no excuse for ‘toughing it out’ in the traditional Kiwi way.

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ccording to ancient myth, when Prometheus planned to steal fire from the gods and share the warmth with mortals, he needed a container to pull this heist off. Settling for a glass tube, things went badly for him from that point on. Humanity has certainly discovered far more convenient and efficient heating methods since, and advances continue to be made. Chris Chapman and Fraser Dayman, at Nelson’s Chapmanz Central Heating, know how important a warm property is. “I returned to a customer to service their boiler, and when I walked in the door I got a hug,” Chris recounts. “They told me I’d changed their house into a home. So heating is something we really enjoy doing because of the reaction we get from people.” Chris keeps an eye on heating technology developments overseas and sees plenty of applications for New Zealand. “The latest thing that’s coming in is ‘radiant heating and cooling panels’. They are aluminium with a network of centrally heated pipes inside, and sit between the rafters or battens where gib is fitted to the ceiling. Originally from Britain, Chris has been installing central heating for 15 years, and believes it could be employed a lot more efficiently in this country. “Underfloor heating is used quite a bit in New Zealand, but 90 percent of the installations are done by tying the pipes to the mesh in the construction slabs. You then have to heat the bulk of the slab, so it takes a bit of time to get it up to temperature.” Instead, Chris advocates putting the pipes on top of the construction slab, on an insulated panel with a 40mm screen on the top, “so it’s far easier to get the heat through quickly, then cool it, and costs less to run.” 36

There’s even a control system that regulates the humidity within the house and the temperature of the water, so that condensation doesn’t form.

Power supply ‘maxed-out’

Another issue with conventional heating options bothers Chris: “New Zealand is basically ‘maxed-out’ on electricity generation. Unless there’s a massive increase, the government is going to run into all sorts of trouble. I know they struggle now, with the lakes as low as they’ve been, and little wind.” He contends that heat pumps will be a better option when solar-powered, but for now he prefers to work with gas. “The gas boilers we put in burn at 98-plus efficiency. It’s a really good medium for heating. We can put in a gas boiler, and if it’s needed, from that same supply we can run to a gas cooker, and even to a remote BBQ point somewhere. Then there’s ‘combi-boilers’, which are central heating and a califont (gas-powered water heater) all in one unit. So there are lots of ways it can work, and it’s clean.” Using hydrogen for gas boilers might also lie ahead. Another development Chris foresees is ‘heat recovery’. “Humidity within the house is managed by air circulation, and whatever heat you put in, you get the best out of it. It’s like a wall fan, and it pulls air out of the house past a ceramic battery, and after 90 seconds, it reverses, and pulls the air back in. Because that ceramic battery has heated up, it warms the air coming into the room.” In terms of efficiency and economy, controlled systems may be the best way forward. “You can get a hybrid system now, which is a heat pump and a gas boiler. The control system can decide which of these heat sources is the most efficient to use at that particular time and switch between them.”

Profile for WildTomato

WildTomato May 2019  

Joinery & Design Awards | Winter Heating | Learning Programmes | Bev Doole | Superbike Racing | Kono Wines | Fire Retardant Plants | Arden |...

WildTomato May 2019  

Joinery & Design Awards | Winter Heating | Learning Programmes | Bev Doole | Superbike Racing | Kono Wines | Fire Retardant Plants | Arden |...