CalifontCalifonts provide the majority of water heating on Great Barrier Island. A califont uses LPG (liquid petroleum gas) to heat water as it travels through a copper heat exchanging pipe. There are a variety of different types of califont readily available.

Califonts are easy to use and provide a reasonably cheap and reliable source of hot water to households on the Island with over 50% of the population using them to heat their water. They also cause less immediate pollution than wood as the combustion process is far more efficient and only used when you need the hot water.

The main drawback to the use of califonts is their need for water pressure to operate efficiently, with a general rule of thumb being 4 metres of head required if the system is a passive gravity feed one or a pressure pump if not. Efficiency can be dented by the distance between your califont and your tap as the califont has to heat water to carry the length of the pipe. If there is a limited water supply, an on-demand (instantaneous) califont is not as water efficient as a water storage solution. It is best to locate the califont closest to the most frequently used hot taps (eg; kitchen) and insulate the hot water pipes where they are exposed. There are some houses on the Island that have ring mains which allow hot water to be delivered instantly to taps instead of waiting for water to come through the cold pipes. Careful consideration should be given to placement of the units. They also have to be fitted by a Registered Plumber and Gas Fitter which can add to the cost.

Califont cost example

Gas installations have to be certified so all previous gas fitting needs to be legal.


Standard califont.


Butelene pipe

Butelene hot water pipe.


Copper pipe

Copper hot water pipe.



Each installation will be different.


Total Cost

Including GST.



Great Barrier Plumbing & Drainage

Certified Plumber, Drainlayer, and Licensed Gasfitter.

Ph:09 4290 298
Mob: 027 429 0298

Last updated on the 06-04-2020