Couple trying to keep warm

At McClelland Refrigeration, when we look at home heating systems, we know that both radiator heating and heat pumps play crucial roles. While radiator heating has been a traditional choice for many years, heat pumps have emerged as a highly efficient and eco-friendly alternative.

In this article, we will delve into what radiator heating entails, highlight the differences between radiator heating and heat pumps, and clarify the reasons why heat pumps are an excellent choice for Dunedin homes.


Understanding Radiator Heating

Radiator heating, or central heating, is a popular method of heating residential spaces. It operates by heating water in a central boiler and distributing the hot water through a network of radiators placed in various rooms or zones of the house.

The radiators release the heat into the surrounding area, warming the room. When it comes to fuel, natural gas, oil, or electricity are the usual methods for fueling radiator heating systems.

Key Differences Between Radiator Heating and Heat Pumps:

Energy Efficiency

At McClelland Refrigeration, we know that one of the most significant advantages of heat pumps over radiator heating systems is their energy efficiency. Heat pumps achieve higher efficiency by utilising a refrigeration cycle that extracts heat from the air, ground, or water sources.

Instead of generating heat through fuel combustion, heat pumps transfer existing heat, resulting in less energy consumption. Compared to the energy efficiency of traditional radiators. A heat pump is up to 3x more efficient than traditional radiator boiler systems.

woman sitting with cat by a radiator heater

Environmental Impact

Heat pumps are an environmentally friendly heating option. They do not burn fossil fuels directly, resulting in lower carbon emissions and a reduced ecological footprint.

On the other hand, radiator heating systems, especially those fueled by oil or gas, can contribute to air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. By opting for a heat pump, homeowners can actively contribute to a cleaner environment and help combat climate change.



Heat pumps provide a versatile solution for year-round comfort as they can both heat and cool. In addition to effectively warming spaces during colder months, heat pumps can reverse their refrigeration cycle, extracting heat from indoors and expelling it outside, effectively providing cooling during warmer months.

Radiator heating systems typically do not offer cooling capabilities, making heat pumps a more versatile option for maintaining your comfort with indoor temperatures throughout the year.


Consistent Comfort

Heat pumps distribute heat evenly throughout the living space, ensuring consistent comfort. By utilising fans or air handlers (A air handler plays a vital role in controlling and distributing airflow. Its purpose is to circulate air throughout the entire building efficiently.), heat pumps deliver conditioned air evenly, eliminating cold spots or overheating issues. On the other hand, radiator heating can result in uneven heating due to variations in radiator size, positioning, and heat transfer. Certain room areas may feel significantly warmer or cooler than others, leading to discomfort and the need for additional heating sources.


Space Efficiency

Heat pumps require minimal space for installation, making them suitable for homes with limited square footage. Heat pumps can be mounted on walls or placed outside the building, efficiently utilising vertical or horizontal spaces.

In contrast, radiator systems require individual radiators in each room, which can occupy valuable wall space and limit furniture placement options. Heat pumps offer a more flexible heating solution, allowing homeowners to optimise their living spaces.


Control and Automation

Heat pumps often come with advanced control systems and programmable features, enabling precise temperature management and automation. Homeowners can set temperature schedules, adjust settings remotely, and integrate heat pumps with smart home systems.

These features enhance convenience, comfort, and energy savings. In contrast, radiator heating systems typically lack such sophisticated control options, requiring manual adjustments to each radiator and providing limited control over the entire system.


Why Choose a Heat Pump:

Energy Savings

Heat pumps can achieve high energy efficiency, resulting in significant cost savings on heating and cooling bills. Their ability to extract and transfer heat rather than generating it from scratch makes them incredibly efficient.

While the upfront cost of a heat pump may be higher than that of a radiator system, the long-term savings on energy bills often make heat pumps a cost-effective choice over time.

Environmental Benefits

Another benefit of heat pumps is that they contribute to a cleaner environment and a much more sustainable future by reducing the reliance on fossil fuels and minimising greenhouse gas emissions.

Choosing a heat pump demonstrates a commitment to eco-friendly living. And this helps reduce the overall carbon footprint of your home.

Comfort and Versatility

A heat pump in Dunedin provides consistent heating and cooling throughout the year, ensuring a comfortable indoor environment, regardless of the season.

A heat pump maintains desired temperature levels and humidity control for Dunedin homes, ensuring optimal comfort all year round. Heat pumps can create a pleasant living environment, whether on a hot summer day or a chilly winter evening.


Long-Term Investment

While the initial investment in a heat pump may be higher, the long-term benefits and potential savings outweigh the upfront cost.

At McClelland, we have heat pump specials. And although we keep the prices low on every heat pump we sell, we’ve got crazy low pricing on some models. Check them out on our Heat Pump Specials Page.

Heat pumps are known for their durability and can last for 15 to 20 years or more with proper maintenance. Additionally, government rebates, incentives, or tax credits may be available for installing energy-efficient heat pump systems, further enhancing the long-term cost-effectiveness of the investment.

Take a look at the EECA website to see if you are eligible for any rebates, incentives or tax credits.


Durability and Low Maintenance

Heat pumps have fewer mechanical parts than radiator heating systems, resulting in reduced maintenance requirements and a longer lifespan. 

To keep the heat pump in your Dunedin home running efficiently, routine maintenance—such as cleaning filters and inspecting components—is generally all that’s needed.

On the other hand, radiator heating systems require regular maintenance, including bleeding air from the system, checking for leaks, and ensuring the proper functioning of valves and pumps.



While radiator heating has been a reliable heating solution for decades, the emergence of the heat pump offers many advantages for your Dunedin home.

Heat pumps provide an enticing alternative for homeowners seeking a more sustainable and efficient heating and cooling system, from enhanced energy efficiency and environmental benefits to versatile operation and long-term savings. Consider the benefits outlined in this article when deciding which system to choose for your home.

By opting for a heat pump, you can enjoy year-round comfort and significant energy savings, contributing to a greener and more sustainable future. Talk to us at McClelland Refrigeration about getting a heat pump for your Dunedin home. And remember to check out our Heat Pump Specials page too.

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