Helping to make New Zealand homes warmer
Dunedin business Highlander Heating provides a level of service and expertise virtually unmatched anywhere in New Zealand.Owner Neil Riddoch’s skills, particularly in fault-finding, are recognised to such a degree he regularly travels throughout New Zealand, and even Australia, as the preferred installer/technician for several central heating systems and manufacturers.
Neil learned his trade in his homeland of Scotland, hence the name of his company, and moved to New Zealand about sixteen years ago.
He observes that while most of the Northern Hemisphere uses central heating to keep toasty warm in winter, New Zealanders’ can suffer through cold, draughty and mouldy living conditions and have some of the coldest homes in the developed world.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends a room temperature of 21 degrees to stay healthy. On arrival, Neil was surprised to find how few New Zealand homes had energy-efficient integrated heating systems.
“Seventy to seventy-five percent of the integrated heating systems are in the European market,” Neil says.Because of this there is more comprehensive training overseas which translates to much greater skills in installation and servicing.
In addition to working in the United Kingdom for 10 years specialising in central heating diagnostics and repair, Neil also worked on installation projects, from small scale residential/commercial jobs to a palatial 22 bedroom house in Perth, Scotland.
During this time he gained recognition for his skill in fault diagnostics and heating control/programming expertise, along with building a broad range of boiler maintenance experience in both commercial and residential installations.
This included servicing and maintaining more than 60 % of the boiler manufacturers’ contracts in Europe at the time. “Here in New Zealand you usually have limited access to the full range of central heating products that are available in other parts of the world.”
Highlander Heating’s overseas experience and close network of manufacturers means it can supply most of the European central heating products that are also ideal for New Zealand homes and workplaces.
Highlander Heating can also install diesel, gas, wood pellet, heat pumps or waste oil boilers. Neil is constantly training and upskilling to ensure he continues to lead the industry.
He recently travelled to the United States to complete advanced training in Omniheat systems and he is now the accredited installer for this manufacturer While the New Zealand climate is similar to the climate in the United Kingdom in that there can be extremes of heat and cold and heat pumps, although popular, can struggle to cope in some conditions.
They are also not ideal for heat transfer through doorways, whereas an integrated central heating system is more effective and heats a whole house evenly.
However the economics and efficiency of any system must be carefully considered, Neil says.“Every day in New Zealand I see people spending more than they need on heating and still putting up with a cold and damp house.”
Neil’s advice can include information about central heating system installation, the right products available and how to run a central heating system to achieve maximum efficiency.
“We are also experts in installing customer friendly controls which allow you to monitor and control temperatures from across the world by using your smartphone.”
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