Whilst renovating or building their homes, or in preparation for winter, most Home Owners will look at how best to heat their home. Increasingly Home Owners are looking at systems that don’t rely on scarce /rapidly increasing in price electricity/gas, are economical to run and environmentally sound.
There is still a desire to have a Space Heating system that looks good and provides visual appeal. In short: a fireplace.
In a typical South African home, a heater producing 1 Kw of heat will heat 40 cubic metres of space.
This assumes some insulation in the roof, reasonable well fitting doors and windows giving a fair seal, and some of the house carpeted or wood floors.
Depending on the above, you could typically change this figure of 40 cubic metres to anywhere between 20 to 60 cubic metres.
It often pays to enhance the insulating properties of a home prior to fireplace installation or in conjunction with the fireplace installation. You can put in the most powerful heating unit available, but in the wrong set up, it can run flat out and still be ineffective.
Having a 100 mm plus layer of insulation in your roof, will substantially increase the heating effect of your fireplace, thereby reducing your running costs and carbon footprint, as well as keeping your home cooler in summer. In most homes it is not that expensive to install.
If you have badly fitting doors/windows with larger air gaps to the outside. You can buy from your local hardware store self-adhesive sealing tapes and /or brush draft sealers and in a couple of hours substantially decrease the airflow into or out of a room.
These typically older fires are hugely inefficient at providing heat. Typically they operate at about 5% efficient, can heat one room only, and when the fire is not lit the open chimney sucks the warm air out of the room.
Typical running cost per KwHr R 5.60
These steel fireboxes have been installed for decades and are in many tens of thousands of SA homes. They are an improvement over the open brick fire with efficiencies running up to about 20%, but they still have the issue of heating one room only and substantial heat losses up the chimney when not in use.
Typical running cost per KwHr R 1.40
These fires are made out of steel or cast iron and have a pane of glass closing off the front of the fire. The combustion air is drawn in through adjustable vents, which allow the rate of burn of the fire to be controlled.
Because the front of the fire is closed off by the glass, the chimney flue can be made much smaller in area than that of an open fire. With the lower amount of air going through the fire, coupled with the insulation material installed inside many of these units the combustion temperature of the fire is increased.
At higher temperature the fire burns cleaner with lower emissions and greater heat output. Efficiencies on good CCWS peak between 60 to 80%, giving large amounts of heat for small amounts of wood burnt. Great for heating big volumes.
Typical running cost per KwHr R 0.35-0.45
In the days of cheaper gas many thousands of these grates were installed in SA homes.
The grates had artificial coals or logs on them that when hot glow red to resemble the look of a real fire burning. However, in the combustion process these grates produce large amounts of Carbon Monoxide and Carbon Dioxide that needs to be vented up a chimney for the grate to work safely. In the process the chimney wastes some 65% of the potential heat from the fire. These grates consequently have efficiencies around 35% and heat one room of a house at a high gas bill.
Typical running cost per KwHr R 5.00 on bottle gas and R 3.00 on piped Natural Gas.
These gas fires are designed to burn the gas as cleanly as possible to remove the need for a chimney. They minimise the amount of fuel effect material in the flame path which minimises the production of CO and CO2.
They are rated safe for use in open plan living areas.
Typical running cost per KwHr R 1.50
Looking at the above running costs a good Close Combustion Wood Stove is clearly the most cost effective way of space heating a home.
Designed for cold Scandinavian winters, Scan & Jotul wood stoves are designed to operate with low emissions and high efficiencies/heat outputs, whilst adding a beautiful piece of heating furniture to your room.
Have a look at our Scan and Jotul wood stoves and contact a dealer to see how you can warm your home this winter and decrease your fuel bill.
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The products offered by Lifestyle Fires are available through an extensive dealer network throughout South Africa. These dealers are at your service and have been specially trained to serve the needs of our clients in most areas of the country.
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We are expanding our Dealer Network and are currently looking to introduce our product range to fireplace retailers throughout Southern Africa. Please contact us if you would like more information of how to add our impressive range to your offering.