ARTICLE Stephanie Matheson, PHOTOGRAPHY courtesy of The Fireplace, Bosca, Escea

Whether you aim to use the comforting flames of a fireplace as a heating system or a purely decorative feature, the warm glow of a soothing fire can turn your home into a cosy retreat.

No matter where you live or how small your home may be – there’s sure to be the right kind of fireplace out there for you. Models range from large-scale wood burning fireplaces through to portable ethanol-fuelled units. There is even a new range of electric fireplaces on the market – produced by Gazco, the Studio Electric Range features LED flame effects and a variety of heat settings.

A real flame that doesn’t require a lot of space is offered by the new generation of mobile ‘eco’ fireplaces. Burning ethanol in a small combustion chamber, they are smoke free and require no fuel. Cocoon Fires, for example, provide this kind of simple and practical solution. Their fireplaces come in stainless steel or black, and can be wall mounted, attached to a ceiling rod or perched on a tripod. Another option is an EcoSmart Fire, which operates on the same principle. The available range includes freestanding units such as the Cube as well as fireplace inserts and burners that can be installed just about anywhere.

If you are looking for a heating alternative and have the opportunity to install a fixed fireplace, then a gas fire is worth considering. It can be fuelled by LPG (propane) or natural gas, however, reticulated gas is predominantly available in the North Island.

“A gas fire provides the comfort of a real fire without the hassle of having to cut, stack or carry wood,” says Escea Gas Fireplaces’ CEO Nigel Bamford. “The fire starts conveniently with the push of a button. When the room is up to temperature, the thermostat turns the flame down so you don’t waste energy overheating the room. Gas is very clean burning; no matter where you are in the country there is no emission issue when installing a gas fire.”

In fact, gas fireplaces do not require a building consent. Another advantage is that flues for gas fires can run horizontally as well as vertically. This means that gas heaters don't need to be on an outside wall and can be installed elsewhere in the home.

Escea produces the ST900 range of compact, rectangular indoor gas fireplaces. You can also opt for a ‘portrait’ style design with the ST500 series. Rinnai’s new Symmetry 3611 gas fire, which is available in black or granite, has been designed to fit straight into your home without requiring a non-combustible wall. Ideal for smaller spaces, Rinnai’s Compact 2 can fit into most existing fireplaces. It runs on LPG or natural gas and has a heat output of 5.0kW. The Fireplace carries three ranges of gas fires: Jetmaster, Gazco and Heat N Glo. They also stock wood burning stoves and fires, amongst them the ultra wide Stovax Riva Studio 3 fireplace.

For many there is nothing better than a real wood fire with the sounds and smells of a dancing flame. Wood, of course, is a sustainable resource and if you can access firewood free this can be a really cost-effective way of bringing warmth and comfort to your home. Keep in mind though that open fires can be inefficient and can make the rest of the house feel colder as they draw cold air in. If you have an existing open fireplace, you may be able to install a retrofitted insert burner.

Modern wood burners are a very good option not only for creating a cosy atmosphere but also for heating your home in an economical and environmentally friendly way. Bosca wood fires, for example, combine a stylish look with functionality. Some burners, such as the Pyroclassic IV, can even heat hot water through a wetback system. All that’s left to do then is to simply relax and lean back as the fire crackles away on a cold winter’s eve.

Browse our project estimate articles to find out how much it costs to warm up your home.

 
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This article by Stephanie Matheson featured in Issue 003 of Renovate Magazine. Renovate Magazine is an easy to use resource providing fresh inspiration and motivation at every turn of the page.
 

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*All information is believed to be true at time of publishing and is subject to change.

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