Keep cosy this winter by making your home a respite from the cold.
With so many different heating options to choose from, you won’t need to forgo style in your pursuit of warmth.
As well as keeping you snug, fireplaces make for striking focal points. For a traditional wood fireplace, you can opt for open hearth, a metal insert (you’ll need a flue) or slow combustion. Slow combustion heaters, also known as wood heaters, are a great option – they’re the most energy and cost efficient. Use sustainably harvested wood in the fireplace and avoid treated timbers as they release toxic pollutants.
If you want the visual appeal of a fireplace at the flick of a switch, choose a gas decorative fireplace. Gas fireplaces are stylish, designed to look just like wood fireplaces. They can be easier to manage though and are a great choice for small spaces like apartments. Real Flame offers an extensive range.
Space heaters are devices that channel heat into specific areas, like column heaters and wall units.
They’re fantastic if you want to heat specific areas, such as a bedroom or lounge room. Gas is considered to be more environmentally friendly than electricity, with electric heaters producing two-thirds more emissions. Both gas and electric space heaters can be portable or fixed.
If you need to heat your entire house, central heating is a good choice. It can feel like a pricier option up front, but an energy efficient house with central heating can actually use less energy than an inefficient house using space heating.
Ducted heating sends heat into the house through underfloor or roof ducts, usually a gas system (with electricity used also, to fan the air through the house). Because warm air rises, floor ducts are more efficient than roof ducts. A central switch allows you to control the temperature, and you can open or close ducts in particular rooms to change the distribution of heat.
If you’re building a new home or extension and want to keep your feet toasty, consider in-slab heating. An electric heating element is placed under concrete floors (before the concrete has been poured), providing a subtle warmth.
Hydronic systems heat water and circulate it through sealed pipes to radiator panels located throughout the home. Usually, these systems are gas fired but they can use a heat pump, a wood fired heater or solar. Insulation around the radiator panels is necessary to avoid heat loss.
It’s important to have your heating system installed by accredited experts – not only for safety but to reduce energy losses and maximise cost-effectiveness. There are also simple solutions you can install yourself, such as a heated towel rail and heat lamps in the bathroom, and hanging heavy curtains throughout your home.