Feel The Heat

Feel The Heat

From wood-burning stoves to open fires, we take a look at how to warm your home in time for winter…

Winter’s baffling dips and dives – ranging from mild to Arctic – and more predicted cold spells ahead, mean it’s important to have effective, versatile heating at home.

While turning up the thermostat on chilly nights is fine, it’s worth looking at other solutions too, in order to maximise warmth, minimise heat-loss (which could be needlessly firing up those energy bills, too), and add raise the style stakes as well.

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A real fire always adds a special ambience to a room, and serves as a focal point around which everyone can gather. Although, in reality, a real open fire often isn’t the most efficient solution, only warming up the immediate space – a significant proportion of the heat generated (up to 80%) will be lost up the chimney – the psychological and aesthetic benefits can be worth the investment.

No chimney? That needn’t mean your hopes of enjoying the crackle of wood, and glowing embers turn to ashes, because with new ethanol fires, you can have all the beauty, warmth and comfort of a real flame, but without the need for a chimney or flue. They’re odour—free and ecologically friendly too, as the material’s extracted from plants.

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Wood burning stoves, once only found in country cottages, are hugely fashionable these days, sought after for both their look – many are design statements in themselves – and their eco-friendly credentials.

“Stoves are designed to burn wood, coal or smokeless fuel. As well as heating rooms, some also heat water and a limited number of radiators. All stoves use heat more efficiently and can be lit and produce heat in minutes,” says Nick Sloane, managing director at stove specialists, Jotul UK.

“A stove prevents heat loss up the chimney, even when not lit, and one burning only wood operates at around 80% efficiency, compared to around 15% for an open fire, and burning wood is classed as carbon neutral, and burns more cleanly than coal or smokeless fuel. Many models are now approved for burning wood in smoke control areas.”

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Radiators ceased to be ‘wallflowers’ long ago, when designers – especially in Europe – turned their attention and transformed them into works of art.

“We know these days that people view radiators as far more than just a heat source, and they’re looking for high quality, individual products, which are efficient but also in harmony with the design of the home,” says Nick Duggan, managing director at The Radiator Centre.

“One of our most popular models is The Big One, renowned for its high heat output and strong powerful design. For colour and impact, the funky Mod-u radiator is an outright winner.”

Don’t overlook windows. According to experts, around a third of a home’s total heat-loss escapes through windows and doors – so double glazing is a sound investment, or consider draught-proofing and other solutions, including heavy drapes or shutters.