What's hot right now

What's hot right now
Universal Magazines
By

Nicholas Agnew, managing director of Agnews Fireplaces

What are the advantages of having a fireplace?
A fireplace is as much about making decorating decisions as it is resolving heating requirements. Whereas other forms of heating are largely invisible and do their job in the background, a fireplace is a focal point and central to the decorating mix. A fireplace always has a strong presence within the room, even when it is not burning. It is that aesthetic impact that a fireplace has on the space and the ambience it creates that will appeal to many home makers. Including a fireplace is a decorating and to some extent a lifestyle decision that looks beyond just space heating.

What are the differences between gas and wood fireplaces?
Gas and wood fireplaces are very distinct products requiring quite a different input and providing very different experiences. The technology and efficiency of the modern gas firebox make this type of product very easy to manage and provide very effective heating solutions. With the flick of a switch, or even the press of a remote-control button, a gas fireplace will spring into life, delivering rapid heat with fan assistance to distribute the warmth. And the flame patterns of the modern gas fireplace can be quite spectacular, with an ability to adjust for high and gentle simmer flames. The simulated log sets look realistic and develop an appealing glow as they get hotter. Many of the gas fireplaces now offer the option of pebble sets as a modern alternative to traditional coals or logs. It is the simplicity and effectiveness of a gas fireplace that make it a popular choice. Wood fireplaces are a very different experience. Gathering the fuel, coaxing the fire to start and stoking the fire are all very hands on. It is something of a ritual that connects people with experiences and places in their lives. Selecting a wood fire in preference to other high-tech systems is more about a lifestyle decision. And then there is a unique heat that comes from a wood-burning fireplace that makes you feel like it is warming the bones. We encounter a lot of passionate fans of wood-burning fireplaces who wouldn’t consider anything else.

Are fireplaces environmentally friendly?
The developments in gas and wood-burning technology in recent years have been quite significant. People in the industry are very aware of community expectations and their responsibility to the environment. The modern gas and wood-burning fireboxes are much more efficient than even those of a few short years ago. They are able to deliver higher heat outputs with lower fuel inputs.

What’s your advice on choosing the perfect fireplace for your home?
If heating is your only objective, then the selection process is pretty easy. Find a system that delivers the best performance, fits comfortably into the space available and complements the room’s décor. If you are trying to create a feature out of your fireplace, then heating performance has to be considered together with a number of styling factors such as size and appearance of the firebox, appearance of the flame pattern, and the ability to achieve the desired decorative effect with a surround and hearth.

What are some of the new technologies for heating?
It is an exciting time in our industry as new things are coming through to respond to lifestyle changes and new building trends. Below are a few examples: Compact “Electrafyres” have been a good solution for apartments and areas where building in a fireplace is not possible. These are electric-powered heating systems that plug into a power outlet and have a real flame effect display. Either freestanding or able to be integrated into a standalone mantel console, they look attractive and effectively heat a medium-sized space. Electrafyres are a quick and cost-effective solution for a problem space. We now have a selection of wood and gas-fired heating systems for use in outdoor spaces. As the trend toward alfresco entertainment spaces gathers popularity, these outdoor heating systems are giving people year-round access to their courtyard and balcony spaces. The new Heat and Glo VERTICAL freestanding gas heater is a terrific response to catering for small and awkward spaces. It can be flued vertically or horizontally and has a small footprint that allows installation just about anywhere. Styling is modern and sharp, proportions are compact, and it works just as well as a standalone feature or integrated with the contemporary mix of furniture and appliances.

What are the advantages of having a fireplace?
The ambience, warmth, security and cosiness a fireplace offers are the obvious advantages of having a fireplace in a home, particularly an open wood fire. However, the fireplace is increasingly becoming a contemporary artistic statement with an ever-growing range of stylish modern gas and wood fireplaces available. A fireplace also adds value to a home; many real estate agents utilise the fireplace as a feature when selling a home. However, the ambience and focal-point aspect of a fireplace are really what it is about. Of course, let’s not forget the purpose of a fireplace — to provide heating as well — although some gas fireplaces are purely decorative.

What are the differences between gas and wood fireplaces?
Gas fires offer convenience, with a fire at the flick of a switch or in some cases a remote. However, for heat output and ambience you can’t beat a real wood fire. The most effective flue-gas fires offer around 75 to 85 per cent efficiency and wood heaters achieve about 62 to 68 per cent. However, there are fewer restrictions on the amount of fuel that can be loaded into an open fireplace or wood heater so heating capacities of a good wood heater can far exceed the best gas fire. A gas fireplace in many instances is easier to install, particularly direct-vent gas fires, which can flue or vent straight out the back with a very short flue. However, wood fireplaces nowadays offer versatile installation options with minimal or no brickwork. Wood is renewable, therefore the greenhouse impact is neutral.

Are fireplaces environmentally friendly?
The new generation of wood fires certainly are environmentally friendly; wood is a renewable energy source and it is carbon-neutral. Trees utilise CO² to grow and release the CO² when they decompose, get burnt in bushfires or are burnt in a fireplace. It makes sense to rather burn wood in an efficient heat-circulating open fireplace such as a Jetmaster or a slowcombustion wood heater than that wood either rotting on some farmer’s land or getting burnt in a bushfire. The firewood association www. firewoodassociation.com.au has some information on sustainable firewood which is wood from sources such as plantations and waste wood that may eventually be burnt by farmers or decompose. Gas fires are lower in CO² emissions than electricity from coal-fired power stations, however they are not renewable sources of energy.

What’s your advice on choosing the perfect fireplace for your home?
Your fireplace ideally should be located where you spend most of your time. There are planning considerations as well, regarding flueing or venting options. In some cases a vertical flue will be impossible to install and a balanced flue or direct-vent fireplace may be the only choice. Another consideration would be whether the fireplace is a complementary or main form of heating; this will greatly influence the style and type of fireplace that is chosen. Whether to choose wood or gas is another consideration. Some fireplaces, such as the Jetmaster open fire and others, offer a woodburning option which can later be converted to gas. Next comes the décor design and here, possibilities can be endless.

What are some of the new technologies for heating?
With climate change such a hot topic, efficiency is going to play a huge part in most heating appliances. Jetmaster, for instance, with its Kemlan C24 wood heater, has created a ceramic blanket technology achieving emission outputs of 1.4gms/kg with a 68 per cent efficiency. The Australian standard is 4gms/kg. Certainly wood heaters and open heatcirculating fireplaces offer cleaner burning and are more efficient than their predecessors. A new form of heating not seen much in Australia but popular in the USA and Europe is the Pellet stove .These generally use pellets from waste timber and burn with almost zero emissions, however this technology has yet to take off in Australia. What are the advantages of having a fireplace? If you have an existing working fireplace, it will save you money on both the fire and the install as you will not need a zero clearance kit for the fire and the only flue components required will usually be an approved cowl and chimney plate. A working fireplace is one that draws properly and does not spill any fumes into the room.

What are the differences between gas and wood fireplaces?
There are a number of differences. Gas certainly offers cleaner burning, has no smell, is instantaneous and better for the environment. Wood fires generate a higher calorific value and therefore can heat much larger areas. Are fireplaces environmentally friendly? Glass-fronted high-efficiency gas fireplaces are one of the most environmentally friendly options for heating. Natural gas is a naturally occurring gas which is found deep within the earth’s crust. It is extracted via wells and processed simply by a filtering and separation process. It produces up to 75 per cent less greenhouse gases when compared to electricity.

What’s your advice on choosing the perfect fireplace for your home?
When considering a fireplace for your home or business, there are three simple questions that will help you select the right fire:
1 Is the fire for heating, ambience, or a bit of both?
2 What style of home do you have: modern, contemporary, or period?
3 Is the fire going into an existing fireplace or will it be a new construction?

What are some of the new technologies for heating?
Most manufacturers are now concentrating on efficiencies. All states in Australia now enforce strict building codes which include minimum efficiency ratings; this in turn has a direct effect on the type of appliances that can be installed. Also, the AGO is continually reviewing its M.E.P.S (Minimum Energy Performance) program, which forces manufacturers to develop product with higher efficiency or star ratings.

Some like it Hot
Warm up in style
Fireplace, insert and freestanding stove manufacturer Regency Fireplace Products has released its stunning new Contemporary Collection of fireplaces. The Regency Contemporary Collection fireplace line is for the discerning homeowner as well as the designfocused architect or custom builder. Some of the key trademark elements of the Regency Contemporary Collection include a cobalt-blue crystal firescape (Gem54 and P33s); optional reflective panels to amplify the appearance of the fire; dramatic-coloured frames; and a fireplace face without louvres. The collection can be included in blueprints or added to a home during a remodel. Beyond residential applications, the Contemporary Collection is being included in commercial designs such as restaurants, hotels and lounges. Regency’s Contemporary Collection includes the following new products:

Regency Gemfire54™ gas fireplace
This direct-vent natural gas fireplace has a 1168mm-wide panoramic view, replacing traditional logs with cobalt-blue crystals or soothing ceramic spa stones. This model is appropriate for use in both residential and commercial applications, offering stylish fascia colours in brushed stainless and black.

Regency P33 Sunrise™ gas fireplace
This model expands the modern design selection for architects, designers and consumers in new home builds and residential renovations. Its shallow depth (324mm) allows for the P33 Sunrise to be installed nearly anywhere. It features cobalt-blue crystals and a range of fascia colours including brushed stainless, black, blue and sunset bronze to suit many décors.

Regency IG34 gas insert
This offers the features of room-sealed “direct vent” technology combined with the unique FireGenie electronic control system. This modern and contemporary-style heater will fit into most existing fireplaces, creating the ambience of a wood fire with the efficiency and convenience of a realistic gas log fire. The IG34 also features a three-speed fan and electronic ignition along with the option of adding a FireGenie remote control to vary your comfort levels at the push of a button. More information is available from Fireplace Products Australia.

Outdoor delight
The Escea outdoor gas fireplace (EF5000) from Woodpecker is built from high-quality stainless steel. It has an electronic control system and with the choice of fuel beds makes this the ideal focal point within your outdoor living. Escea’s design for this gas fire has eliminated the need for a flue, so the setup could not be easier. The outdoor gas fire place has two optional colours — Satin Black or Stainless Steel — allowing you to choose which suits your outdoor living best.

New addition
The Pyrotech has long been the flagship product for Real Flame, one of Australia’s leaders in gas fireplace technology, and the company is proud to announce a new addition to the range, the Pyrotech Deluxe. This incredible fire has all the hallmark looks of the Pyrotech Standard with some outstanding additions! The new Deluxe model comes with full wireless remote control incorporating a seven-day programmable timer with four individual settings per day, modulating thermostatic control, auto two-speed fan, electronic ignition and an impressive 4.1-star rating. Most high-efficiency gas log fires that boast four or more stars start to lose their flame appeal — but not the Pyrotech Deluxe! This fire has an amazing flame pattern which will bring warmth and romance to any environment; whether with traditional logs and coals or the contemporary look of pebbles, this fire will captivate and command your attention. Available in black or stainlesssteel finishes, it will enhance any décor and you can enjoy a night by the fire anytime, without “burning” excess energy. The New Pyrotech Deluxe joins its other high-efficiency stable mates, the Captiva 600 4.5-star and Captiva 900 4.06-star energysaving fireplaces. Climate change and the health of our environment are some of the hottest topics of this century. People are more conscious of the products they use but at the same time still put emphasis on buying a product that looks great. Your home is no exception. Why not install a fantastic, modern fireplace and at the same time know you’re being careful about being energy efficient. Real Flame kept this in mind when designing all of its high-efficiency fires — a stylish but environmentally friendly choice in gas fireplaces. What is the benefit of using gas? Gas allows you to have real fire, real fast — it couldn’t be made any easier. With a gas fireplace there is no work. No longer will you have to chop or stack wood and the fireplace will not have to be cleaned regularly. Gas provides instant fire and instant heat once lit. You can alter the temperature simply with a touch of a button. The New Pyrotech Deluxe also has a double-glazed front for a full uninterrupted view of your new fireplace.

Demand efficiency
Real Flame announces yet another innovation in the market, the new Captiva 900 — Real Flame’s 4.0-star energy-saving fireplace, which joins its smaller version, the Captiva 600. On a cold night there is nothing better than curling up in front of a warm fire in the comfort of your own home. With the new Captiva 900, you can enjoy a night by the fire anytime, without “burning” excess energy. The new Captiva 900 is a 4.0-star highefficiency space heater and is rated one of the most energy-efficient fireplaces available in today’s market.

Designer heating
Those familiar with hydronic heating will love its unique draft-free warmth, but may not be so impressed with the traditional radiator panels that can intrude on interior design. Melbourne Hydronic Heating offers a new range of customised designer radiators from around the world that will have year-round impact in any room. From the natural look of marble or granite to interchangeable artworks and photos, your luxury heating system can now be a design feature in your home.

The eco-friendly alternative
Heatmaster has turned green with its new 4.6- star energy rating gas heater, the Heatmaster Enviro, awarded Best New Product of the 2009 DesignEx Awards. The Australian-made and -owned company has certainly paved the way for homes to achieve a more environmentally sound heating system by developing a gas heater that ensures heating, style and the environment can go hand in hand. Heatmaster not only gives home owners a pat on the back for going green with the Heatmaster Enviro, but also for transforming an otherwise practical necessity into a stylish and fashionable feature. Whether the units are in a contemporary or period-style home, three flame-background options of coals, pebbles or logs and stainless steel or black finishes will definitely complement any décor. In addition to the impressive star rating, Heatmaster has also teamed up with Landcare to help contribute 100,000 trees back to nature in support of the “Habitat 141” project that spans three states. Standard and additional features are abundant in these heaters, the most noticeable being the rectangular, streamlined shape. Many units currently on the market have the traditional square fascia with louvres and grills. The Heatmaster Enviro, however, has moved with the times with its cutting-edge technology. Style in mind, the profile is waferthin and the elimination of louvres and grills provides a generous glass frontage for excellent viewing and sensational ambience. Since money doesn’t grow on trees, Heatmaster has produced an exceptionally energy-efficient unit. Included is a programmable thermostat that modulates the flame until the desired temperature is met and the gas input is reduced. In addition, four programs can be set in one day and an option to heat an additional room via the main unit is also possible — gas bills will never have looked so good! Heatmaster really has ticked the boxes when it comes to top-of-the-range heating, and boasts a full range of award-winning products to suit any home. Australian made and owned with an array of standard and optional features, and with a focus on environmental and energy efficiency, these units will undoubtedly work in with individual needs. Zeta is the new addition to the Designer Range from The Fire Company. In recognition of its outstanding design — a leather-upholstered piece of designer furniture — it has been awarded an Australian International Design Mark. Designed by John Dimopoulos, director of Geoform design and architects firm in Sydney and the first architect ever to specify EcoSmart Fires in Australia, the EcoSmart Zeta is a fully portable elliptically shaped fireplace, sitting on a brushed or polished stainlesssteel swivel base. The plywood body of the fire is shaped from a high-frequency heated aluminium mould into the perfect elliptical shape. A thin stainless-steel firebox insert is moulded to the internal face of the plywood, and the outer surface is upholstered in leather. The toughened glass screens that sit either side of the fire enhance the stunning visual effect created by the flame. The Zeta is available in different leather colours including Ciocolatta, Nero, Ranch Hide and Latte. The XL Burner is defined by its sophistication, elegance, cutting-edge performance and functionality. The onemetre- long XL Burner includes baffles for fuel efficiency, drafters for flame stability, smart filling point, and a new design shut-off mechanism. A popular trend among designers and architects has been to join several EcoSmart fire burners in line to form an elongated flame, creating a stunning centrepiece for use in both residential and commercial projects. Design your own fireplace with the XL Burner from The Fire Company.

Always warm
Arrow wood heaters are proudly manufactured in Australia from imported and local components, by Shamic Sheetmetal (Aust) Pty Ltd. Introduced to the market in 1981, Arrow wood heaters have set the benchmark for reliable and effective wood heating performance for larger spaces. Since that time, continuing product development has seen significant improvements in performance, efficiency and lower emissions. The Arrow range of wood heaters comprises two inbuilt and two freestanding models, which heat between 25 and 35 squares. There are two standard colours — charcoal and golden fire brown. Further colour and stainless-steel options are also available. Inbuilt models can be inserted into brick fireplaces. All models come with a threespeed fan to ensure maximum heat distribution. Arrow’s enduring traditional styling will enhance your home and its rugged, heavy-duty construction will ensure years of unparalleled heating performance. All Arrow wood heaters are tested to and fully compliant with the relevant Australian Standards for emissions, power output and efficiency. By choosing an Arrow wood heater you can be assured of high quality construction.

Where tradition meets innovation
The Coonara Gas Log Collection is ideal for people who desire the beauty and atmosphere of real wood heating but want the ease, convenience and efficiency of gas log heating. There are seven models in the Coonara range starting with the Hermitage Freestanding and Inbuilt bay window models, which heat up to 12 squares. The Freestanding has a 4.2-star rating and the Inbuilt a 4.6-star rating. The Chateau Inbuilt has a flat glass window, heats up to 12 squares, and has a 4.6-star rating. The Chateau Series 2 Inbuilt combines modern electronic technology and power-balanced flue system for greater heating efficiency with a beautiful log flame and has a 4.6-star rating. The Grange Freestanding and Inbuilt bay window models heat up to 20 squares and have a 5.1-star rating. The Grange Classic Inbuilt flat window model is fitted with a climate controller and also has a 5.1-star rating. An optional air transfer kit can be attached to the Grange Inbuilt models to heat up two areas from the one heater. Coonara gas log heaters are proudly manufactured in Australia and offer a variety of colours and flexible fluing options. The inbuilt models are zero clearance and can be installed into a mock fireplace. If you are looking for a gas log heater that puts out heat and looks great, you can’t go past Coonara, where tradition meets innovation. Australian-made and -owned by Shamic Sheetmetal (Aust.) Pty. Ltd.

Publish at: , last modify at: 30/06/2013

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