Heating Worries For Winter

Posted 13 Mar 2011 by Swiggs Popular

This article linked below was written before the Feb 22nd Earthquake Winter Heating In Christchurch Is Becoming A Worrying Issue Now after Feb 22nd we have a bigger issue and even less time.

Heating solutions As night-time temperatures drop dramatically in Christchurch, concern is growing that residents will freeze in winter because quake damage means they can't use their fires or heat their homes. Even before last month's devastating quake there were concerns at how some people would get through the winter because the September quake had damaged around 32,000 chimneys, and left many people without any means of heating.

Now the situation is even worse, and with temperatures already in single figures at night, the pressure is mounting on the authorities to get alternative heating installed in quake-damaged homes. Under an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority scheme set up after September's quake, people whose chimneys were damaged could choose to replace their old log burners or open fires with a new, clean and efficient heating system, with the cost covered under their claim to the Earthquake Commission. But many are wondering if New Zealand's heating industry can meet the demand in Christchurch for both heat pumps and solid-fuel burners.

Ed Hawkes of the Home Heating Association, which represents wood-heating manufacturers and retailers, said it was working on the issue and hoped to have a work programme in place by the end of the week. Teams of installers might have to be flown in. Even then there might not be enough capacity to get burners installed in people's homes before winter hit. "Whether we have enough capacity is still unknown," he said. The authority said its priority was to get heating into the homes that needed it most – those containing the sick, elderly and young children.

"Before February 22, the commission had received about 32,000 claims for some form of chimney damage. Initial estimates are that 10,000 could be priority cases. We do not know how many more will have been affected as a result of the February 22 quake," an authority spokesman said. Christchurch East MP Lianne Dalziel, who represents the hard-hit eastern suburbs, said keeping people warm was going to be a huge issue – and one authorities needed to address.

"There are serious issues confronting us across the city, but particularly in the east," Dalziel said. "I hope someone is doing some strategic thinking about how we are going to manage this problem. It's too late to do it once it's freezing cold." Dalziel said it was not just people in older homes with damaged chimneys that she was worried about.  

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