Luxury Home Design
Issue 15.4/August 2012
Words Tatyana Leonov
It’s chilly outside, so warm up in style with our guide to heating your home.
Stylish and unique, the bio ethanol EcoSmart Fire Bulb combines the raw element of fire with organic inspired design, brought to life within a contemporary steel wire frame. Fully portable, its curvaceous design complements modern landscaped garden environments, while the fire bulb creates a clean dancing flame for more than eight hours.
Heating your home will always be a priority, especially in the cooler months, and this issue we explore outdoor heating as well as air-conditioning/heating systems.
A warm and friendly fire can feel like an extended part of the family during the winter months (whether inside or out), while a chic fireplace can really jazz up the feel of a room or alfresco area. When it comes to heating and cooling systems for your home, the options are endless, and choosing the right system that meets all your needs is of key importance.
Read on to view a vast range of cutting-edge heating products and start thinking about which one (or a few) will make its mark on your home.
Outdoor heating special
The Australian lifestyle calls for outdoor living, so this issue we bring you the outdoor heating special. There’s no excuse not to fire up a barbie or enjoy an evening meal in your alfresco area if the space is efficiently heated. We spend so much time working on our gorgeous patios that it wouldn’t make sense to only use them in the warmer months. The addition of suitable outdoor heating options means you can enjoy outdoor spaces all year around.
Compared to those living in Europe or America, we’ve got it good. Our winters are relatively mild, and in the major cities we rarely see snow. That being said, it still gets cold and even as we start thinking about spring, heaters are still very necessary. With these outdoor heating ideas, you can extend your entertaining space outside and do so in style.
Demi Brown, general manager of the Australian Home Heating Association, suggests: “As outdoor living areas become more popular, why not add a beautiful fireplace to the area and bathe in the warmth of a log fire? For minimal outlay you can transform your outdoors into an inviting and warm environment, which is great for a family get-together or for entertaining friends. Units can be used for both cooking and heating in many instances.
“Not only will you increase the ambiance of your outdoor area, but also add value, as an outdoor heater gives your home that extra something special. With some simple preparation, your outdoor area will be an inviting place to be.”
When choosing an outdoor heater, the four key elements are size, mobility, cost and quality. Choosing a heater that is appropriately sized for the area it is required to heat up is pivotal. Mobility comes into play if you want a heater that you’ll move around a lot (for example, from the verandah to back patio). Cost varies greatly, but you get what you pay for, so choose a high-quality heater that will do the job. There are myriad options out there — the trick is finding the right heater for your outdoor area.
Demi’s quick tips for outdoor wood fires
- Burn only dry, seasoned wood.
- Never use petrol, kerosene or oil to get the fire started.
- Use kindling wood and firelighters to start the fire.
Q What kind of outdoor heating options are there?
A Some of the commonest outdoor heating options include:
- Radiant ceiling/wall-mounted heaters, infra-red strip heaters (eg heatstrip)
- Gas-bottled patio heaters
- Fire pits (most commonly using wood as the fuel)
- Biofuel fireplaces
- Gas fireplaces (mains gas connected)
A Ambience plays a big role when it comes to outdoor heating, and given that you can’t contain the heat as well in an outdoor environment (when compared to an indoor room), convenience, design and portability play a role in the choice of the best outdoor fireplace for your space. - Stephane Thomas, director of The Fire Company.
Q What are the best options?
A Personally, I think an open heat circulating wood fire, such as a Jetmaster fire, is a fantastic option because of the radiant heat it offers from the pre-fabricated metal firebox and ease of installation. This also becomes a feature that is styled for an outdoor area (eg stone could be used to surround the fireplace). Also, nothing beats the ambience of an open wood fire. In an open setting, any convection heat is generally lost, so effective radiant heaters are really the best options. - Daniel Belnick, Jetmaster
A Our recommended option for outdoor heating is a heater that produces radiant heat. Radiant heat is similar to the sun’s rays — it heats objects in its path, not the air. Convective heating (heats the air) is extremely inefficient in an outdoor area, as the hot air simply blows away. With this in mind, we believe that radiant strip heaters are very effective — these can be mounted either on a ceiling or high on a wall and angled downwards. In this case, the heat is directed to where it is needed exactly, which is most commonly an outdoor table, lounge area or barbecue. Mounting a heater off the floor also allows the floor space to be maximised and is safer, which is especially important if children will be using the area.
If you’re looking to add the ambience of a real flame fireplace, an ethanol heater is a very good option. This will not produce the same amount of heat as other options and if you’re using it primarily as a heat source in an outdoor area you will need to be very close to it; however, it creates ambience, which is exactly what some people may be looking for. - Greg Trezise, National Sales Manager, Thermofilm Australia
Greg Trezise, National Sales Manager, Thermofilm Australia, shares his handy hints for outdoor heating
- Focus on “spot heating” in the main area (eg over an outdoor table) rather than trying to heat the entire outdoor space. This will be more efficient and help reduce both the initial purchase cost and ongoing running costs.
- Where possible, look at ceiling-mounting the heaters directly over the area to be heated. Radiant heaters rely on a direct line of sight to heat people or objects underneath — they can’t be located around corners etc.
- Try to ensure the heaters are not mounted too high — a 2.3–2.7m mounting height is usually ideal.
- Where possible, try to minimise the effect of wind by installing protection such as café blinds, wind breaks etc. While radiant heaters are not affected directly by wind, the chilling effect of the wind on the skin will minimise the warming effect.
- Try to plan ahead — if you’re building or renovating, bring the connections to the outdoor area. Even if you don’t install outdoor heating immediately, it will be much cheaper to install the units later if the utility connections are already there.
- Look for heaters that look good and contribute to the aesthetic appeal of the area, rather than being purely utilitarian and “wheeled out” only when needed.
- Bear in mind that many of the new heaters on the market are for permanent installation — they will actually contribute to an increase in the value of your house price, so buy a good-quality product. Any money spent on an outdoor entertainment area is a good investment.
- Ensure all mounting clearances meet the manufacturer’s requirements and remember that all outdoor heaters and fireplaces get hot, so caution is required.
- If you’re looking for a fireplace to heat an outdoor space, it must be located reasonably close to the area you want heated; otherwise, the fireplace will be decorative only.
America’s leading Kamado ceramic barbecue is distributed in Australia by Keverton Outdoor. The three-in-one barbecue, smoker and pizza oven will keep you warm while you cook up a storm. kevertonoutdoor.com.au
If you like open wood fires and cooking, the EW5000 Escea outdoor cooking fire is for you. The fire box is constructed from high-quality thick steel, is coated with heat-resistant paint and can be installed with or without the stainless-steel Ferro fascia. glendimplex.com.au
Ideal for indoor and outdoor use, the fully portable OZF-240 by Thermofilm is a nifty piece of work. The flame provides the ambience and relaxation that only a real flame can, and at the same time produces approximately 3.5kw of heat output. With no setup costs, it’s a viable and stunning option. thermofilm.com.au
Acclaimed Barcelona-based designer Hiroshi Tsunoda has created a fireplace with a contemporary twist on the traditional campfire. Hiroshi is known for exploring the possibilities of geometric figures and the unique EcoSmart Fire is both visually striking and practical, particularly in an outdoor environment. Consisting of varying-sized tubular stainless-steel “sticks” that are secured around an efficient three-litre burner, the fire is powered by clean-burning, environmentally friendly bioethanol. No smoke, no soot, no ash — Stix is a stylishly elegant hearth for lovers of outdoor living, available in brushed stainless steel, black steel or bead-blasted stainless steel. ecosmartfire.com
With its authentic rust finish, stylish contours and portable construction, the EcoSmart Fire Dish is the perfect drawcard for entertaining outdoors. Available in rust finish, black or white, and specifically designed to use on your balcony deck, patio, courtyard or pool pavers, Dish captures the warmth and ambience of a campfire without dangerous sparks and messy soot. Constructed of durable, all-weather black steel, the circular design revives the long-forgotten tradition of sitting around an open fire on a starry night. ecosmartfire.com
The Heatmaster A Series Open Wood Fire has brought the once traditional open fire into the world of efficiency and design. Awarded for outstanding design by the formerly known Industrial Design Council of Australia, the A Series is similar to the more classic open fire; however, it is encased by a steel frame box delivering approximately eight times more efficiency — perfect for the outdoors (though it can also be used indoors, too). heatmaster.com.au
Designed and manufactured in Australia, the Thermofilm Heatstrip Classic is a stylish electric radiant heater that provides an even and comfortable heat. With a distinctive slim profile and black face, the Heatstrip Classic blends elegantly into any décor. It is one of the most energy-efficient heaters available in Australia (with running costs starting from 30 cents per hour) and has no internal moving parts, which ensures silent and maintenance-free operation. thermofilm.com.au
The new energy-efficient and high-temperature unique low-glow Heatstrip Max by Thermofilm uses less energy than high-glow heaters that waste electricity by producing the distracting glow. Built to commercial-grade quality, Heatstrip Max is designed for hard-to-heat locations and sites permanently exposed to the weather. thermofilm.com.au
All Designer Fire fireplaces are exquisite works of art in their own right, even when unlit. Couple their innovative designs with the beauty of the natural flames when lit and the result is a breathtaking feature that will elevate the ambience of any outdoor space. The Santa Cruz fireplace features a large 3L burner, so it can burn for eight hours on the highest heat setting, providing ambient warmth for even the longest of social gatherings. designerfire.com.au
Designer Fire’s outdoor range of bioethanol fireplaces are perfect for outdoor entertaining and alfresco dining and they embody both functionality and aesthetic appeal. Bioethanol is clean burning and so produces no smoke or ash, meaning it is odourless. The Geneva fireplace is pure and timeless, capturing the essence of enduring style. The slimline contemporary glass panels provide a pleasant aesthetic and, like all the Designer Fire models, the Geneva has no fixed parts of pipes so can simply be moved around for ease of use. designerfire.com.au
Jetmaster’s 700 Universal original two-way heating system, with radiant and convective heat, warms any space quickly and efficiently, while the flames and embers make a natural and attractive focal draw. The heat is directed both as radiant heat and gently circulating convective heat around an area, making it ideal for both indoor and outdoor use. jetmaster.com.au
The clean and contemporary bioethanol Amsterdam fire by Designer Fire encompasses simplicity and class through its minimalist yet elegant design. Available in both black and white, the chic fireplace will be sure to add an element of suave style to your alfresco area, while offering environmentally friendly warmth. desigerfire.com.au
Trying to find the right cooling system for your home can be an arduous task. From ducted units to wall-mounted systems, the options are endless.
Both a heater and a fan, the Dyson Hot + Cool is the best of both worlds. The heater on the Hot + Cool can be set anywhere between 1°C to 37°C and can detect if a room’s temperature has dropped below the desired temperature. As with Dyson’s previous Air Multiplier range, the Hot + Cool doubles as a cooling fan. It took a team of 22 engineers — including experts in thermo dynamics and fluid mechanics — more than three years researching, developing and testing Dyson’s patented Air Multiplier technology for its application in a heater. dyson.com.au
An all-in-one system, ActronAir’s ESP Ultima allows you to control the climate in every room of your home. Able to accommodate eight different temperature zones, the ESP Ultima temperature control can be set for up to seven days in advance. With a sound reduction system and variable fan technology inbuilt, the ESP Ultima will make sure your home stays comfortable all year round. actronair.com.au
Recipient of the Good Design Award 2011, Fujitsu’s Luca Designer range is inbuilt with a newly designed large-diameter fan barrel and human sensor control, allowing a much larger intake that improves the air circulation in the room. If you leave the room for longer than 20 minutes and do not turn off the air conditioner, the human sensor will switch the unit to energy-saving mode. fujitsugeneral.com.au
With a simple yet stylish design, Mitsubishi Electric’s MSZ-GE split air conditioning series uses advanced inverter technology. Gently increasing or decreasing power to reach your desired temperature quicker and more efficiently, the MSZ-GE’s i-save Mode can reset preferred temperatures at the press on a button. mitsubishielectric.com.au
H2O Heating offers a wide range of refrigerated air conditioning systems available from world-renowned manufacturers Mitsubishi, Daikin and LG.
Single split systems: A single split system will air-condition a single area of your home or room. H2O Heating uses the latest inverter units, which not only utilise the latest technologies, but boast new stylish and compact designs. Split systems are available in reverse-cycle (providing cooling in summer and heating in winter) and cool-only models. They have easy-to-operate remote-control and programmed settings as well as a host of innovative features.
Multi-split system: For greater versatility, their multi-split system models feature an innovative design that allows several indoor units to be connected to a single outdoor unit; ideal for airconditioning multiple areas of your home. By reducing the number of required outdoor units, this type of system helps to improve exterior aesthetics and lets you install additional indoor units at a later time more economically (subject to the load of the outdoor condenser). Installation is simplified because these models do not require auxiliary charges of refrigerant and feature a self-diagnostic function that facilitates troubleshooting.
Ducted airconditioning: It’s critical that you select a ducted refrigeration system designed around your home’s construction, layout and room sizes to achieve the ultimate in climate control throughout your home. A ducted system provides airconditioned comfort to new and existing homes. The indoor unit is usually located in the ceiling or under the floor with flexible ductwork distributing conditioned air through vents located throughout the house; the compressor is installed outside the home.
Ducted systems can be designed to operate in multiple zones, which can provide individual control of areas, making them more efficient.
For more information go to h2oheating.com.au