Heating options for those who love the look of a fire blazing.
With winter setting in, in many parts of the country, our thoughts suddenly turn from dealing with summer’s sweltering heat to how to keep our homes warm in winter. In newer homes, temperature control is factored in during the building process. Reverse-cycle or ducted air conditioning, which takes care of both cooling and heating needs, is a feature in many homes. But many of us are looking for an alternative to air conditioning, which, for all its benefits, is costly to run and often unsightly, with large plastic units on the wall or vents in the ceilings.
While they’re incredibly romantic, old-style open fires are not terribly efficient, plus they’re time-consuming to prepare and the soot and ash getting into the home is a turn-off for many people. However, there is good news for those of us who love the look of a fire blazing — there are many new heating options around these days.
An old favourite is slow-combustion heating, using wood to heat in an enclosed firebox. The beauty of slow-combustion heating is that it’s far cleaner and more efficient than open fires. And, believe it or not, burning wood is actually one of the most energy-efficient ways of heating your home. Just as importantly, slow-combustion heaters look fabulous and can become a centerpiece in a room. Some slow-combustion fireplaces, such as some of Cheminees Phillippe’s range, can be used with the glass door open, giving you an “open fire” option.
If you like the traditional fireplace look, or have a fireplace to fill, fireboxes for wood and gas fires can be installed in existing brick fireplaces. Most heating manufacturers have options that can be installed in a faux mantelpiece as well, giving you a traditional look with modern benefits.
If you like the open flame look, but don’t want the hassle of wood, a selection of gas fires is also available that look like authentic log, coal or pebble fires. With a flick of the switch, you get an instant fire.
In Australia, with our relatively mild winters, we don’t have to completely give up on alfresco dining and entertaining just because it’s chilly. There are many outdoor heating options that mean you can comfortably continue barbecues and outdoor entertaining through the winter months. From an outdoor wood-burning fireplace to gas-powered heaters designed for smaller spaces, to infratube heaters powered by electricity, there are a lot of options.
If you’re looking to save money on heating this year, bear in mind that all heating options can add to your power bill. Reverting to old standbys can keep you warmer and slash your heating bill. Try hot water bottles or heat packs; bed socks or slippers; an extra jumper while you’re up and about; or an extra blanket or quilt when you’re in bed or watching TV. All you have to do is train the rest of the family to do the same and you’re sorted!