Warm Up In Style

Luxury Home Design

Issue 15.3/June 2012

Words Tatyana Leonov

 

As the months get cooler, heating becomes more pivotal. Here, Danni Tan from Designer Fire shares her expertise on what to consider when buying a fireplace.

Function

When looking at fireplaces, you first need to decide whether you want the fireplace primarily for heating or ambience as this will help determine the kind of fireplace model and the size of the fireplace you need. Smaller units (those with burner capacities of less than one litre) do not give off a lot of heat and are purchased mainly for aesthetics. Fireplaces with larger burners radiate more heat and will also last longer before needing to be refuelled.

Do you prefer something fixed to a wall or freestanding and portable so that you can move it from room to room? If you are planning to use the fireplace outdoors for an alfresco area, make sure the unit you purchase has been designed to withstand the elements. Weather- proofing the fireplace requires the use of a particular grade of stainless steel and some companies design their fireplaces for indoor use only; taking them outside will void your warranty and may cause damage.

Price

Consider your budget carefully and decide how much you want to spend. Fireplace pricing can vary from less than $100 to several thousands of dollars. When comparing prices, there are a number of factors to take into account including burner capacity, materials used, type of fireplace etc.

Some units may appear to be great value since they are large in size, but they may have small burners which do not emit much heat.

In terms of materials used, ensure any glass components have been tempered and that the steel used is either stainless steel or some form of treated or powder-coated steel.

While it’s true that more expensive products do not necessarily equal better products, you should only shop around for a cheaper product if it does not compromise on safety and quality.

Quality

There are currently no standards in Australia to specifically regulate fireplaces so you should always choose a model that has been produced by a manufacturer that complies with relevant international standards, namely ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems. Brownie points should also be awarded to companies whose products comply with the standards of other countries in the absence of Australian standards (such as the TUV standard in Germany).

Esthetics

It’s important to choose a fireplace that works in your surroundings. Have a look at the fireplaces that are available and choose one with the style, shape and colour that best complements your décor. There are many companies offering a variety of products so make sure you do your research first and have an idea of what you want. With such a wide range of traditional and contemporary designs available, there will undoubtedly be something that will offer many years of enjoyment.

Safety

Treat open flames and flammable liquids with care to avoid injury to yourself and your property. Once you’ve purchased your fireplace, make sure you read your user manual from cover to cover and ensure you adhere strictly to the instructions and that you exercise caution and common sense at all times.

 

Rug up

Warm up your living space with the addition of a chic rug. These Ziga rugs are designed in Sydney in collaboration with Thomas Waterman Design and hand-knotted in Nepal using the traditional Tibetan style of rug weaving. Tibetan wool, silk and natural fibres including hemp, nettle and cactus are used. zigarugs.com

 

With inspired colours drawn from the feathers of the Nepalese danphe bird, and patterns from the inner markings of a tree trunk, the Danphe rug is stylish and innovative. It is exceptionally soft and is hand-knotted in Tibetan wool, emanating a soft glow (from the lanolin present in Tibetan wool).

The Kamero rug takes a more contemporary art approach with its distressed mood and sombre colours. This design is made in fine hand-spun Tibetan wool, hemp, nettle and silk, making it a dynamic design in look and feel. The hemp and nettle feel hard against the wool, while the Chinese silk adds the unparalleled softness and shine only silk possesses.

Drawing on inspirations from the bush, Mato is hand-knotted in natural fibres (including hemp and nettle). The earthy tones of the fibres create a natural and organic feel, staying true to the theme. Hemp and nettle are resilient natural fibres widely used and time-tested in the Himalayan regions of Nepal.

 

Gas heating Wayne Millhouse, director of Lopi, answers some important questions about gas heating.

Q What is the latest technology when it comes to gas fires?

A Direct vent is the latest technology when it comes to flame-effect gas fires. They are some of the most realistic flame-effect fireplaces on the market. Traditionally they have been used as zone and room heaters. However, they now have the ability to heat larger areas and can be used to heat individual or multiple rooms.

Q What is a GreenSmart system and why is it beneficial?

A The GreenSmart system is one of the biggest advances in technology in relation to direct- vent gas fires. GreenSmartTM is an innovative collection of components, controls and technology which, when combined, provide an elegant, smarter and greener way to heat your home. The units have some of the biggest turn-down ratios which essentially allow you to maintain temperatures in the home while still having the visual of a fire burning. It is very important to maintain heat in the home and not let a chill set in. The larger the turn- down ratio, the longer the heater can stay on, allowing you to burn efficiently through the night and into the morning when it is the coldest outside.

Q Does it work anywhere?

A Its features allow for the unit to operate efficiently to its optimum, regardless of environment, and enable you to view your fireplace almost all year round.

Q What are maintenance levels like?

A Another big advantage of gas fires is that there is very little maintenance involved. It is recommended that you have your gas fireplace serviced once a year to ensure everything is operating correctly, otherwise there is no maintenance except for perhaps changing batteries from time to time.

Q How do I find a fire that suits my space?

A Recently, trends have changed in line with home décor looks. There are now choices in how gas fire units are finished, along with additional accessories such as liners inside the fireplace and various face options. Your fireplace can be modern and contemporary or classic and traditional. The choice is yours.

 

Electric panelheating

What is it and how does it work? Gregor Black, general manager of Noirot Australia, shares his knowledge.

Q What is electric panel heating?

A Convection and radiant panel heating is a slimline non-obtrusive form of heating.

Q How exactly does it work?

A Fan heaters rely on the force of the fan to distribute hot air into the room and this can often be noisy and uncomfortable — plus it forces the lighter hot air up to the ceiling. The Noirot heating system uses natural convection to ease the hot air into the room. Natural convection means the heavier cold air is attracted to the electric element heated inside the heater, and then becomes lighter hot air which is pushed out the top of the heater by more cold air from the bottom. This movement therefore creates a clean, silent, allergy-friendly cycle into the room.

Q What are some benefits or electric panel heating?

A This method allows for allergy-free heating as no dust particles are blown around the room, as with fan heaters. This form of heating is also extremely efficient.

Q What are the installation options?

A Noirot offers both wall-mountable bracket and castors.

 

Bathroom heating

Do you hate stepping out of a warm shower into freezing air or onto cold tiles — and grabbing a towel off an icy towel rack? Bathroom heating in the cooler months can make a world of difference.

Bathroom heating is especially important when it’s cold and there are numerous options available to make your bathroom a more comfortable place to be. There are many ways to heat your bathroom; we have listed some of the more common methods below:

- Underfloor heating is usually a hydronic or electric type of heating system that is laid beneath the bathroom flooring. In-slab heating, in-screed heating and thin film heating are some of the options that radiate heat through the floor into the bathroom.

- Known as either radiant bar heaters or strip heaters, wall-mounted electric heaters heat up the bathroom space quickly and efficiently.

- Heat lamps are mounted on the ceiling and combine with lights and an exhaust fan. You can choose to use just the heat lamps or a combination of the heat lamps, light and fan. Some models have temperature controls for improved efficiency.

- Heated towel rails are popular, easy to install and are designed to dry and warm your towels — a simple pleasure when it’s cold. Some models can also throw out heat into the bathroom, helping to warm the room.

 

Save energy with underfloor heating

“Sustainability is the word for current home design,” says Sandra Skelly from Comfort Heat. “Minimising our footprint on the planet can start at home and there are many ways we can reduce our waste too. One element of this is looking at the energy we consume and employing ways to make its use more efficient.

“Some homeowners try to eliminate their use of non-renewable energy, but the reality is that most of us will remain dependent on energy provided by powerplants, hoping that in the future more renewable energy sources will be used for its creation. The key is to ensure we do not waste the energy we use.

“Floor heating makes sense as an efficient heating option for major renovations and new builds, as heat naturally rises without additional mechanisms required to move it in any other direction. Rather than having one point of high heat, low heat is in the floor, evenly distributing a gentle warmth to the living areas of the spaces and making the great percentage of the energy used useful. The other benefits are that floor heating is totally invisible, does not create dust or fumes and can be controlled with thermostats for maximum efficiency.”

The Reece Auspex Radiant Underfloor Heating System allows families to indulge in the luxury of underfloor heating at a fraction of the cost. The heating system uses energy-efficient gas boilers and radiant heat transfer to achieve a comfortable natural heat, meaning greater efficiency and return on cost through the life of the unit.

The system has been designed specifically to fit in seamlessly with the design of any new home. Using a specially designed hot water heating system, Auspex Radiant provides even distribution of heat throughout your home — and it’s so quiet you won’t even know it’s there.

Not only does the Auspex Radiant provide an efficient way to stay warm, it’s much healthier than traditional systems. Rather than blowing dust that can irritate asthma or hayfever sufferers, Auspex Radiant creates a fresh and safe environment for families to enjoy.

 

Heated towel rails

Manufactured in Europe, these versatile towel rails are equally at home in the bathroom, ensuite, powder room, utility room, laundry, kitchen or wherever heating is required.

Hurlcon ThermoLine hydronic heated towel rails come in a variety of sizes to cater for most rooms. They are in a durable powder-coated finish in white (RAL9010) or elegant chrome, in both flat or curved styles. The tubular design makes cleaning simple and will complement any décor.

ThermoLine can be combined with radiators, convectors and fan convectors for a complete hydronic central-heating system.

Hydrotherm heated towel rails are proudly Australian owned and made. They are manufactured using only the finest copper and brass materials before being finished in a highly durable electroplated chrome finish. Copper is renowned for its high thermal conductivity, allowing heat to radiate into your towels and ensuring they dry faster and more evenly. All Hydrotherm heated towel rails are water-filled and heated via a replaceable, low-wattage electric element. The water element is thermostatically controlled to maintain the external temperature without the need to continually draw power. This makes Hydrotherm heated rails some of the most energy efficient on the market.