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Cosy up with winter warmers

There’s something incredibly comforting about the thought of being curled up, warm and cosy, inside your home while cold, winter weather swirls outside.

“Winter can be summed up in one word — home,” says Fireplaces WA director Jocasta Bronwasser of fireplaces and the ambience they create.

With winter just around the corner, now is a great time to assess your heating options — wood, gas, electric or ethanol — what will work best for you and the latest trends and products to hit Perth.

Lopi 6615HO GS2 Premium Linear fire with driftwood and stone media and bronze glass supplied by Fireplaces WA to this Modern Home Improvers' project.
Camera IconLopi 6615HO GS2 Premium Linear fire with driftwood and stone media and bronze glass supplied by Fireplaces WA to this Modern Home Improvers’ project.Picture: Silvertone Photography.

WOOD

Potent and romantic — it’s an enviable duo for the wood-burning heater. Wood heaters have come a long way in both looks and efficiency than the open fireplaces of our grandparents. “There’s nothing quite like a wood fire, the crackle, the pop, the marshmallows,” says Subiaco Restoration’s heating sales manager Matt Kersey.

Wood shines when required to heat a huge area, even up to 310sqm points out Fireplace Corner director Leigh Bohmke. She adds wood heaters are now required to have a good efficiency rating under compulsory compliance to Clean Air Emissions.

You can also get creative with the way the fuel is stored, think beautiful log stacks. But the drawbacks? Storing, stacking, chopping and cleaning. “It’s for romantics, people who don’t mind the effort involved in keeping a wood fire,” Mr Kersey says.

The new Lopi ProBuilder 54 sold by Fireplaces WA accommodates a television close to the fireplace.
Camera IconThe new Lopi ProBuilder 54 sold by Fireplaces WA accommodates a television close to the fireplace.

GAS

There’s a reason gas fires are the most popular heating product in Perth. They are convenient, there is no chopping, just a button to press, they provide instant heat, require no chimney and are increasingly realistic looking, says Mrs Bohmke.

She says gas works well for renovations with either freestanding or inbuilt options and the opportunity to be designed into a stud wall.

Mr Kersey warns not to leave installation, especially when designing a new home, as an afterthought. He says gas fires come with a great choice of fuel beds — logs, pebbles and even crystals — which the flame can interact with. Most gas fires Subiaco Restoration see now are balanced flue sealed so the minimum six-star efficient home isn’t compromised.

Modern Flames Landscape Fullview 2m, RRP$5000, Subiaco Restoration. Stockist: subirest.com.au
Camera IconModern Flames Landscape Fullview 2m, RRP$5000, Subiaco Restoration. Stockist: subirest.com.au

ELECTRIC

Great for apartments or renovations where there is no gas or chimney, electric is a quick and easy option where no installer is required. Mr Kersey says while flame patterns for electric fireplaces are getting better, they are yet to reach the heights of a naked flame.

They also don’t necessarily match the heat output of gas or wood but Mr Kersey says it is brilliant for radiant heating in outdoor areas on a small budget.

Mrs Bohmke adds while being clean and low maintenance, electric heaters also have a good range of wall-mounted options and can be hung much like a television.

Heat and Glo SLR-X, from RRP$5320, Fireplace Corner. Stockist: fireplacecorner.com.au
Camera IconHeat and Glo SLR-X, from RRP$5320, Fireplace Corner. Stockist: fireplacecorner.com.au

ETHANOL

Under fire last year with an almost four-month national ban, decorative alcohol-fuelled devices (ethanol burners; ethanol fireplaces and bio-ethanol fireplaces) underwent a forced revamp with a mandatory standard introduced to prevent or reduce the risk of injury from uncontrolled fires.

Mr Kersey says the forced changes have been an excellent result and there remains plenty of benefits still offered by ethanol, which does not require power or gas.

He says it works well in multi-storey apartments, for custom requirements, can create a great visual and are easy to install. Those benefits have to be weighed with the downside of running costs and the manual requirements.

Kemlan Cube, RRP$2600 (including base), Fireplace Corner. Stockist: fireplacecorner.com.au
Camera IconKemlan Cube, RRP$2600 (including base), Fireplace Corner. Stockist: fireplacecorner.com.au

WHAT’S HOT

Two seemingly opposite trends mark Western Australian’s tastes in heating — those that want to create a focal point and those that want an inconspicuous slimline and minimalistic look.

“As the building industry has picked up, so many more people are choosing fireplaces for heating as this creates a beautiful focal point for the living space and also creates a cosy ambiance where family and friends gather,” says Mrs Bohmke. Those with large open-plan living areas lean towards a stand-out fireplace with a sleek landscape design, minimum trim, high efficiency and a powerful heating capacity.

A fireplace below the television is the most frequent request Fireplaces WA receives, with some brands now able to reduce clearances to as little as 200mm above the fire.

GET HOT

Try these tips from Fireplaces WA to get the most out of your heating

Minimise heat bleeds by closing doors to living areas and stairwells

Install a ceiling fan to assist in circulating the heat back down towards the floor

Rugs, curtains and blinds will help to conceal the heat within the areas you are trying to heat.

Take advantage of thermostat options

For wood fireplaces have a chimney sweep clean the flue/chimney every couple of years and always burn dry hardwood like jarrah.

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