Turn up the heat as winter sets in with the latest looks in home heating
The classic good looks of traditional Victorian radiators have stood the test of time and as well as looking good in period properties, they can also add an unexpected instant sense of history to the most contemporary of 21st century homes. Modern cast-iron radiators combine their excellent heat-retaining qualities – which ensure they will stay warm long after the central heating has been turned off – with the latest in heating technology, so there’s no need for creaking pipes or cold spots.
If you’re looking for one or more new radiators, do check out the Radiator Centre’s wide selection. As well as delightful classics, they’ve also got a fantastic choice of ultra-modern styles to add real wow factor to a room, such as the Mod-u shown overleaf . With its mosaic structure, it’s more like a work of art rather than a radiator. But its wonderful design is also what makes it very efficient – thanks to the numerous heating plates, it provides uniform warmth throughout the room.
The latest trend in multi-fuel stoves is for double-sided designs that offer maximum value as they can heat more than one room at a time. Perfect for smaller homes with interlinking rooms as well as contemporary open-plan spaces, the stoves have big viewing windows and a large firebox.
New from Mendip Stoves, a British family-run company, is the Loxton double-sided steel stove . With an 8kW heat output, the design means that each room will benefit from 4kW of heat but with only one fire to light. It has 78% efficiency (compared to an average of around 15% to 20% for an open fire) and can be used with wood or coal. There are two opening doors and revolutionary singular air control for both primary and secondary air input. As an added bonus, £10 will be donated to the Woodland Trust for every Mendip Stove sold.
The Unico 12 from Lotus, shown left  is also multi-sided and the large firebox is constructed from moulded vermiculite, which not only looks aesthetically appealing but also enhances the fire’s longevity. The Danes have a word for the wonderful cosiness that a wood-burning stove imparts to a room, says Declan Walsh, the MD of Morso UK – ‘hygge’. And there‘s a thing or two we could learn from the Scandinavians, where the parent company is based, he says. “The UK consumer needs to get away from wanting a stove to burn overnight – a practice that isn’t very environmentally friendly. A modern stove can be lit and producing heat within minutes so there’s no need to keep your fire going all the time. Burning good-quality wood with a low moisture content is vital to ensuring your stove works correctly and efficiently – something our Scandinavian friends understand by making sure the wood they use is stored appropriately throughout the year.”
“The cost of the average heating bill in Great Britain is apparently £1,265”
And his prediction for the future? “The next big thing in the UK may be pellet stoves, which can be set up to come on and off with timers, just like a central heating system,” says Declan.
The flame effect in gas fires is becoming ever-more realistic and Gazco’s Studio 2 freestanding model , with black front and matching plinth log-effect fuel bed, also has a good-looking vermiculite-lining. Where burning solid fuel isn’t an option, this would be an excellent alternative.
Keep in the heat
With almost half of all properties in the UK thought to be more than 100 years old, the reality of living with high ceilings, timeworn structures, drafty windows and original wooden doors can often mean a chilly home that’s difficult to insulate and keep warm.
Double-glazing, although in theory a good solution as 50% of domestic heat escapes through windows and doors, can be fraught with practical and planning issues in older houses. Pre-1920s homes were not built with modern-day insulation techniques in mind and often have single skin or solid walls, meaning cavity wall insulations is not an option either.
But there is one simple solution that could curb the amount of heat lost through windows by up to 46% and potentially save up to 25% on annual heating bills (a significant reduction, given that the cost of the average heating bill in Great Britain is apparently £1,265) – fitting Duette® blinds , which have an insulating honeycomb design that means rooms stay warm in winter (and also cool in summer). They come in a huge range of designs to suit any room and size or shape of window and are certainly worth looking into if you struggle to keep your home warm and cosy in the colder months.