What is Healthier Homes?
The Healthy Homes standards set minimum requirements for ventilation, insulation, draught stopping, and of course, heating, which is where Heat Pumps NOW comes in. According to the government’s Tenancy Services website:
The Healthy Homes Heating Standard
“Heater(s) must be fixed (not portable), and must be at least 1.5 kW in heating capacity and meet the minimum heating capacity needed for the main living room. This capacity can be calculated using the Heating Assessment Tool or the formula outlined in the regulations.”
“If you use a heat pump or an electric heater as part of your solution to meet the healthy homes heating standard, it must have a thermostat. You can’t use an electric heater (except a heat pump) if the required heating capacity for the main living room is over 2.4 kW, unless you’re ‘topping up’ existing qualifying heating that was installed before 1 July 2019.”
Understanding the Healthy Homes Heating Standard
We are only now getting an understanding that the reason we’re having trouble is inflexibility, and we are working closely with Healthier Homes New Zealand and Healthier Homes Canterbury about meeting the standards for future installations. Unfortunately we’re seeing serious discrepancies between different heating assessors. For example, two heating assessors will say a property is compliant and one won’t. Which one is correct?
Finding heating solutions
What’s the issue? Heat Pumps NOW can calculate the size of the heat pump needed to heat the living room and meet the minimum requirements of the heating standards. If there is no door between that room and the rest of the house, the heat will escape. That heat pump will have to work much harder that it’s able, and that room still won’t meet the minimum heating requirements.
There are a few solutions to that problem. One is to install a 12kW heat pump that will effectively be powerful enough to heat the whole house from the living room. Unfortunately, 12kW residential heat pumps don’t exist.
Another solution is installing two 6kW heat pumps at opposite ends of the house, so they can work in tandem to keep the property warm. There’s a downside for the tenant in terms of the running costs of two powerful heat pumps. There’s also a downside for the owner, who could face an approximately $7000 work order for supplying and installing two 6kW heat pumps.
Finally, the answer could be as simple as a door. Installing a door between the living room and the rest of the house means the heat pump will be able to effectively heat the room, keeping it warm and meeting the minimum standards. Instead of a $7000 work order, landlords might only face $3000 for one heat pump, plus a few hundred dollars for a builder to put in a door. That’s a big saving for the owner.
Healthier homes for Christchurch
If you’re unclear about a report you’ve received or want to discuss options for meeting the minimum standards, contact Heat Pumps NOW on 03 377 7393.