Tasteful heating solutions for the kitchen

flames in a kitchen range

Modern kitchens can often feel cold and draughty. As the kitchen is the heart of the home, it’s fundamental to make it a place where all the family will enjoy spending time. A number of heating solutions for individual styles are now available to create a warming and welcoming environment.

Whether you prefer traditional rustic stoves or the contemporary minimalism offered from underfloor heating, there are numerous possibilities for any kitchen. These six alternatives are hand-picked to exude optimal style whilst also producing a cosy atmosphere.

Kitchen with vertical wall radiator

Column radiators

Radiators are by far the most common means to heat the home. The great variety in column radiators allows you to choose a style to fit into any space in the house. This is particularly important in the kitchen.

Column radiators exude style and classic charm. Highly versatile as either a beautiful period feature for traditional décor or a more contemporary interpretation with tall vertical columns. The robust structure creates a characteristic focal feature for the home and is a great decorative alternative to the standard panel radiator.

Available in a variety of sizes and heights, the column radiator can act as a focal point for any room as they’re highly attractive in design. These elegant radiators are also designed to be as high-performing as they are attractive.

Kitchen with plinth heater

Plinth heaters

A plinth heater is a perfect option for home-owners seeking a minimal and uncluttered kitchen. Not only are these heaters economical on space, they also save your feet from a chilly floor. They fit into the base of a kitchen unit and produce instant heat once switched on. Plinth heaters are most effective when placed in areas where you often stand. These heaters are great for heating your floor and are a cheaper alternative to underfloor heating.

Underfloor heatingcredit

Underfloor heating

Underfloor heating is often considered a luxurious item that costs a great deal to power. However, through innovative developments it is now achievable to heat efficiently with a modern system. The general overall heat emission from the floor creates an even temperature making it a highly efficient alternative. As it warms the entire area from the ground up, underfloor heating eradicates that unpleasant experience of stepping onto a cold floor during winter. The almost invisible feature of heated floors makes it ideal for kitchens with limited space or for those wanting minimalist design.

There are two types of underfloor heating; wet system which uses pipes to circulate hot water from your central heating, and electric which uses heating mats placed onto the sub-floor.

Range cooker in a kitchen

Traditional cookers

Aga or Rayburn stoves are iconic features of the country kitchen but in recent years they’ve been slowly making their way into suburban households. This style of cooker is an investment piece for your home that creates a real design statement. Whether you want to bake meringues in the warming draw or cook some chips in the oven, a stove provides you with the means to do so.

Once lit, these stoves generally need to be kept on at all times during winter to prevent damage from constant temperature changes. Some people chose to have them off during the course of the summer so you would need a separate cooker during this time.

Multi-fuel stove

Stoves

Get toasty with a hearty fire from your wood burner or electric stove in your kitchen. These popular burners are a great way to efficiently heat your home and create a beautiful design feature for any room. Available in traditional wood burning or multi fuel stoves as well as electric, stoves have become an accessible accessory for any home.

You may assume that multi fuel stoves are only found in large houses in the country. However, modern developments such as clean burn technology mean these contemporary stoves are now easier than ever to use and maintain. The multi fuel stove offers a choice of fuels so you have the options of wood, coal and paper, giving you more control over your heat output.

Electric stoves provide a similar cosy atmosphere with an understated fireside ambiance ideal for those with kitchens that have limited space. A stove will definitely add the wow factor to your home.

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5 things you should know BEFORE installing underfloor heating

Aerial view of a sofa on a wooden floor

Wave goodbye to radiators and hello to more space and a warm home for less! Underfloor heating is a great choice and if you’re thinking of taking the leap to luxurious warm floors, these are the five things you need to know…

#1 It provides a constant temperature across the home or in individual rooms

Feet in orange & blue spotted socks on a wooden floor

The great thing about underfloor heating is its flexibility. Therefore, it sometimes pays to spend the extra money to get a professional supplier and installation company to not only fit the system but design it for you in the first place.

With central heating, the boiler fires up and sends heat through to all the radiators on the system, unless you switch the radiators off in certain rooms (if you can) or lower the temperature of the radiator with its thermostatic valve.

This gives you some flexibility, but not a lot. Underfloor heating is completely different. You can create single zone underfloor heating areas so that the important rooms in the house are heated when you need them to be but other rooms can enjoy a lower level of heat.

The ability to control your heating at every point of day and night means you save money as well as having a more comfortably heated home.

#2 It’s best fitted with high thermal conductivity flooring

Child playing with a toy digger on a wooden floor

Sounds a mouthful, doesn’t it?! But what does it mean?

It means to get the best from your underfloor heating system, you need a top layer of flooring that’s incredibly efficient in grabbing hold of the heat and keeping hold of it.

This means the system doesn’t need to work as hard. There are many flooring options – wood, laminate, ceramic tile, polished concrete and carpet – that work well with underfloor heating.

It’s true to say that some options work better than others. Polished concrete floors are a great conductor and retainer of heat. Ceramic tiles also work well and some wood flooring solutions are also a great fit.

It’s possible to use carpet but it must be of a low TOG rating to allow heat through it and into the room. However, even then, it’s not so great at hanging on to the heat.

#3 A smart thermostat adds more flexibility & sophistication

Nest smart thermostat

Although we think of underfloor heating as a modern invention, it’s been around for some time. The Romans used ‘fire under the floor’ to heat their bath houses.

Modern day underfloor heating is more sophisticated and flexible but to get even more out of the system, a smart thermostat is a must.

If you have a multi-zone system, you can set different temperatures in different rooms with a few taps of your smart phone – and alter it throughout the day.

Underfloor heating response time is slower than the boiler and radiator approach but that doesn’t mean it’s at a disadvantage. It just means that you plan your heating to fit with your activities from day to day. For that, you need the tools to set the heat of the system as and when.

#4 Correct installation is key

High-gloss kitchen floor
That’s why getting a professional and expert in all thing underfloor heating should install your system, even if they don’t design it.

Wet or water underfloor heating works by a series of pipe loops being laid in the sub floor and hot water circulating through them to heat the floor.

It’s an incredibly simple, yet effective system. But, this doesn’t mean that things can’t go wrong when it’s being installed. Discovering that you have a leaking pipe when you’ve already laid the floor isn’t the opportune time to try and repair it.

All wet underfloor heating systems should be pressure tested BEFORE you start pouring high conductivity screed or laying insulation boards to protect the pipes. Once laid, the system will function without a hitch for years to come.

#5 Underfloor heating is a system that you’ll love!

Kitchen diner with wooden floorboard floor

Underfloor heating isn’t for everyone. If you like dry, hot heat that leaves your house stuffy, then underfloor heating isn’t for you.

If you prefer an ambient, constant temperature, as well as a luxuriously warm floor underfoot, then underfloor heating is for you.

However, you’ll need to have some patience. With some installation processes, the screed must dry thoroughly before the heat can be switched on because if you dry out liquid concrete too quickly it cracks. That means the floor isn’t as structurally sound as it should be, leading to problems further down the line. In other words, you may have to wait a week or two before the big switch on.

Underfloor heating suits any property and isn’t as expensive to fit as you’d think either. A proven technology, more and more people are realising the benefits of underfloor heating – why not you?

Underfloor Heating Trade Supplies understands the simplicity of underfloor heating but the amazing benefits it brings to any space, from a single room in a home to multi-zone systems in commercial premises.

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How do cast iron radiators work?

Modern bathroom with pair of cast iron radiators beneath windowscredit

***Article supplied by AEL Heating Limited***

If you’re considering installing cast iron radiators in your home, and deliberating the pros and cons of old and new systems, then you may be interested to get the low down on how cast iron radiators work.

If they’re installed and functioning properly, cast iron radiators can be incredibly effective for heating areas, even large rooms. The downside is that they can be bigger in size than their modern radiator counterparts, so you should always bear this in mind. However, that doesn’t negate from the fact that they’re stylish, efficient and affordable too.

Industrial loft apartment with wall of under-window radiatorscredit

The power of steam

Having been around since the mid-1800s, cast iron radiators have played a vital role in heating homes and businesses throughout the world and come in a variety of different styles and designs. But despite their shape, size or style, the principles behind the way they work are the same – steam power.

By converting water into steam, cast iron radiators will then transfer this heat into the atmosphere through radiation and convection. Although, despite the name ‘radiator’, more of the heat is transferred through convection – where warm air rises and cold air sinks – than through radiation.

The steam system requires a hot water boiler that will be the heart of your heating system; continuously heating the water to convert it into steam. The water boiler uses a heating element inside that brings the water to boiling point to generate steam. This steam is then forced up through the pipes into the radiators by sheer pressure, to transmit heat without the need of a pump.

As the steam passes through the radiators and pipes, it will naturally cool down and turn back into water condensation. But this is all put to good use, as the condensation from the cooled steam travels back down to the water boiler, where it is reheated to create more steam to recirculate through the pipes and radiators.

Small cast iron radiator under circular windowcredit

The technical side

Of course, the steam process sounds relatively simple, particularly when you consider the modern day radiator designs, with their water filled radiators that heat the water, and use a pump to circulate it through the system. However, underneath the exterior of these sturdy cast iron radiators are a series of individual sections that are connected by valves and seals that allow the steam to pass into the radiators, pressurise to retain the heat so it can be emitted into the air in the room, and then allow the cooled condensation to flow back down to the central water boiler.

These valves play a vital role in ensuring the cast iron radiator heating system functions efficiently, as small holes in the seals, or cracks in the metalwork can cause leaks and loss of pressure. This results in steam will escaping into the atmosphere, rather than heating the system.

Detail of gold coloured cast iron radiatorcredit

The reality of cast iron radiators

Having been used in homes and businesses for well over 150 years, there is a lot to be said for the effectiveness and efficiency of using cast iron radiators to heat areas. Although, you should be aware that these steam systems takes longer to heat than a more modern water baseboard system as they need to reach boiling point to create steam, rather than just reaching an optimal water temperature. Thus they may consume more energy in the water heating process, but that being said, the amount of heat that is passed through convection into the atmosphere is often much greater and lasts much longer too.

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Is an air source heat pump a good option for your home heating?

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Air source heat pump diagramcredit

An air source heat pump (ASHP) works by absorbing heat from the air outside your home. This heat can then be used to heat water, radiators, under-floor heating systems or warm air convectors.

The pump works in the same way as a fridge removes heat from the air inside it and it can extract heat at temperatures as low as minus 15ºC! These pumps do use electricity, so they do have a carbon footprint, but the heat they collect is being constantly renewed.

air source heat pump installed on outdoor deckingcredit

The upsides of air source heat pumps

• Lower fuel bills, particularly if you are replacing electric heating

• You can earn some income though the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)

• Smaller carbon footprint

• No fuel deliveries and storage

• Low maintenance

• You can heat your water, or your home, or both

Heat pumps work at lower temperatures over longer periods of time, so you’ll need to keep them on all the time over winter. Your radiators won’t feel hot, like they do with a gas boiler.

How do these pumps work?

Heat from the air is absorbed into a fluid, which is then compressed, raising its temperature. This increased heat is transferred to the house’s hot water or heating circuits.

Semi-detached house heated by an air source heat pumpcredit

I’m interested, but is an ASHP for me?

Ask yourself:

Is there space for it? It needs to be placed outside your house with plenty of clearance for air to circulate around it. A sunny wall is the best place.

Are you well-insulated? ASHPs work best when producing less heat than traditional boilers, so any heat you get needs to be retained.

What’s your current fuel? If it’s gas central heating, your ASHP won’t pay for itself as quickly as if you’re replacing coal central heating or electrical heating.

What heating system will you use? ASHPs work best with under-floor heating systems and warm air systems rather than radiators because of the lower temperatures.

Are you buying a new build or having extensive work done? If so, the pump and new system can be installed alongside the other work, saving money.

House heated by an air source heat pumpcredit

What does it cost to install?

ASHPs cost between £7,000 and £11,000, while running costs vary with house size, how warm you want to be and how well-insulated your home is.

How much will I save?

This depends on what you’re replacing and what you’re replacing it with.

If possible, under-floor heating is better than radiators as it needs lower temperatures. If you can’t do this, then large radiators work well.

You’ll pay for the electricity used to run the pump, but you won’t pay for fuel any longer.

If your old heating system is inefficient, then a new pump will make a difference.

If you’re heating water too, then your heating system will be less efficient and you may need a solar water heating system.

This annual savings table is for a four-bedroomed detached house in England, Scotland or Wales with an average-sized air source heat pump.

•Gas older (non-condensing) – £295-£425

• Electric (old storage heaters) – £715-£1,295

• Oil older (non-condensing) – £360-£555

• LPG older (non-condensing) – £1,200-£1,805

• Coal – £525-£875

You could receive £905-£1,365 in payments from the Renewable Heat Initiative.

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Gimme Five! Radiators

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Selection of 5 radiators

Sometimes product design really bugs me. There are certain things that you just think not enough effort has been put into designing them. Most camper vans fall into this category; we’ve been researching what’s on offer over the last couple of years whilst we’ve been saving for one – and there are certainly a lot of great big, ugly, white boxes on wheels to be found!

For many years, computers were the same – until the gloriously fun, boiled sweet-coloured Apple iMac G3.

There’s a similar problem with the vast majority of modern radiators; great big, ugly, white boxes that you attach to the wall. They occupy so much space in every room of the house – they should be made to be more attractive.

I’d love to replace all the ones in our house with original, reconditioned Victorian or Edwardian cast iron ones. We have 11 radiators in our house, so we’d have to upgrade them one by one… cash flow dependant!

You can, if you scour the ‘net, find brand new ones that are better looking and more stylish than the norm. Here are a few that we found – both new and true vintage – that we’d love to put to work keeping us warm in the chilly months ahead.

  1. Various cast iron radiators: from £11, eBay
  2. iBathUK | 600 x 1200 mm anthracite column designer radiator horizontal double oval panel: £169.99, Amazon
  3. Duett vertical tube horizontal designer radiator (anthracite): from £287.99, Agadon Designer Radiators
  4. Victorian ‘Slim’ cast iron radiators: from £130, Trade Radiators
  5. Sterling Edessa – traditional black 2-column horizontal designer radiator 400mm x 1055mm: £179.99 BestHeating

How to choose the perfect fire for your Connecticut home

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Traditional Connecticut salt housecredit

A good fire should do much more than simply provide warmth for you and your family. It can bring a room to life with its cosy glow or flickering flames. It instantly adds a unique character to the space in which it sits. When choosing the best fire to install in your Connecticut home, it’s important to be aware of all the various options. We’ve put together a list of the different types of fires available in order to help you choose.

Long narrow gas fire in an open-plan sitting roomcredit

Gas fires

If you’re thinking of saving money on your energy bills, gas fireplaces can be excellent choice. You can warm the room you’re sitting in without having to heat the whole house. Gas fireplaces need ventilation, but don’t require a masonry built chimney, so if your property in Connecticut doesn’t have a chimney this may be the best option to go for. There are many different sizes and styles to choose from, and gas fires tend to have the best energy efficiency ratings.

Wall-mounted electric fire with blue backlightingcredit

Electric fires

One of the most convenient factors of an electric fire is that they come ready assembled and simply need plugging in and switching on. They’re very flexible in terms of positioning within the home and because the manufacturer has already selected materials and dimensions, there’s one less thing to worry about. However, if your home in Connecticut is quite large, an electric fire may not be the best option as they only tend to work well in smaller rooms, meaning that using one in a large space usually results in unsatisfactory results and energy inefficiency.

Pair of wooden rocking chairs in front of a traditional open fireplacecredit

Wood fires & stoves

Open fireplaces & wood-burning stoves are traditional and have been used for many years. As well as saving hundreds of dollars on your energy bill, they’re particularly good for adding some character and authenticity to your Connecticut home. You’ll need firewood of course. You could chop your own if you have suitable resources – or firewood can be bought from suppliers and delivered to your door for ease and convenience.

Open fireplace with wood mantelpiece in a kitchen-loungecredit

Themes & styles

When selecting a fire for your Connecticut home, you’ll find that no matter what type you go for, there are a vast array of different styles available – materials too of course. Brick, stone, tile, marble and wood are just some of the different choices available. Select a combination that suits the feel & décor of the room. Many people want a fire that will last a lifetime or many years at least. Therefore, it’s not unusual for homeowners to select a fireplace that has a neutral theme in order to keep it in line with any interior decoration changes or adjustments that may be made in the future. Mantles are also an excellent addition that can add to the character and styling of the room.

Do you live in Connecticut? What kind of fireplace do you have, and why did you make that choice? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.

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