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Convection Heat: The Ins and Outs of Gas Fireplaces and Gas Heaters


Instead of heating objects in a room with radiant heat, convection heating relies on drawing air over a hot surface and then circulating the warmed air. This process creates a higher air temperature, which can make you feel warmer faster than radiant heat.

But since hot air rises, it will heat the room from the top down so it can take longer for your feet to feel the warmth, especially in a room with higher ceilings. Some convection heaters use a fan to draw the cool air in, which create air currents and often noticeable temperature zones within the space.

The most popular types of convection heat for home heating are gas fireplaces or heaters and heat pumps. Gas heaters can run on either natural gas or LPG (liquefied petroleum gas). While natural gas mains are widely available to pipe natural gas into homes in many centres of the North Island, plumbed or reticulated natural gas is not available in Queenstown or anywhere on the South Island, unfortunately. LPG gas is usually supplied in large 45kg bottles in Queenstown.

Advantages of Gas Heating:

  • Gas heaters are convenient and easily controlled.
  • Many gas heaters can be operated remotely through an app so you won’t ever have to walk into a cold home—making them ideal for holiday homes.

Disadvantages of Gas Heating:

  • Most modern gas heaters need electricity for ignition and to run internal fans so your heating won’t work during a power cut.
  • Running costs are relatively high if you use LPG bottles.
  • LPG is a less eco-friendly option than other types of heat that use renewable fuels.

LPG is mainly a by-product of refining crude oil and sometimes captured when extracting natural gas and petroleum from below the ground. Although it’s clean burning and doesn’t create soot so it has minimal impact on local air pollution, it does emit more greenhouse gases, which has been shown to contribute to climate change.

You will have to pay fixed charges for your gas supply, so gas heating makes more economic sense if you already use other gas appliances in your household. You’ll also need a flue for gas heating, but they can be installed almost anywhere in your home since they can be run out of the house either horizontally or vertically and don't need to be on an outside wall.

This was Part 5 of the Smarter Home Heating for Queenstown Series