Power price rises grows wood fire demand

Increasing power costs leading into winter is a key driver for homeowners to investigate more reliable, cost effective ways to heat their homes. With around 35% of the energy used in the average New Zealand household being used for heating, it makes good sense and dollars to do so.

According to one of the country's largest wood fire manufacturers, Metro Fires, rising electricity and gas prices were forcing more and more "value conscious" kiwis to go back to the tried and true heating efficiency and reliability of a wood fire. Managing Director Darin Butler said with power price increases of up to 7% in some regions, keeping homes warm, dry and healthy can be an expensive challenge and is near impossible for some families. "Ideally the temperature in our homes during winter should be between 18°C and 22°C – and not drop below 16°C for bedrooms. For children and the elderly the temperature should be a minimum of 20ºC. By choosing to heat your home with a wood fire, you have protection against the elements and the self sufficiency to cook and heat your water if the power goes out.”

"There is always an increase in electricity charges leading into winter so homeowners like the idea of not having to rely on electricity to keep their families warm, and are taking back control of their home heating costs. Wood fires are relatively cheap to run, even if you have to purchase firewood. If you have access to free firewood, your running costs will be close to zero. And thanks to Kiwi ingenuity, wood fires are even more efficient than ever before.”

Wood fires have become more sophisticated and functional, with different models, colours, styles, and options such as wetbacks to heat your water, coupled with heat transfer systems to distribute the heat from your wood fire throughout the home. Even for city dwellers, wood burners can meet most home heating needs – independently of electricity or gas supplies – and keep the home environment safe.

Mr. Butler says hot water supply is still a big issue with customers concerned about power availability. Electric hot water cylinders with ripple control are frequently the first items to be switched off by electricity suppliers when demand exceeds supply – and this has increased demand for wetbacks. Mr Butler said the research shows that utilising a wetback with your wood fire can make considerable savings in power consumption. "An average household uses approx 4500 kWh of electricity over winter, with around 40% being used to produce hot water, so up to 1800kW hours of electricity can be used per household just to heat water and at around 25c a kWh, that’s around $450” he said.

“Metro produce wetbacks capable of supplying an average family’s hot water requirements during winter, and heat transfer systems to maximize the heat produced by your wood fire. This winter, there’s no need to be left in the cold. Everyone can enjoy the warmth, comfort and reliability a wood fire has to offer.” During April and May homeowners can also choose a free heating accessory valued up $539 when they purchase any Metro wood fire and flue combination.