With the winter months getting closer many of us think fondly of cosying up by the fire. But could this traditional focal point so beloved by many be a thing of the past? Changes to the building regulations that were introduced in 2014, mean that all new builds must meet a far higher level of eco-efficiency.
The problem with open fireplaces is that they are simply not energy efficient in any way, so if you have one, you would need to offset its poor rating with other more expensive measures to achieve a high energy rating standard for your home. Because of this many developers are choosing not to put fires in new homes.
An open fireplace is effectively a hole in your roof where heat can escape. Open fires lose 70% of the heat generated, up the chimney. The only type of fire that will comply is one with a door. These tend to be expensive so in many cases developers are choosing to move away from having a fire altogether.
If you live in a new house and find you are missing this traditional focal point there are a couple of good options that will create atmosphere without the need for a chimney. Electric fires have come a long way from the versions of the past and are quite realistic now. Another good alternative is a flueless fire. These are commonly used in apartments and work by burning a bio-ethanol gel.
If you live in a second hand home and are concerned that you are losing heat through your open fire you can install a closed unit. You will need to have your chimney inspected and surveyed so that you can select the right fire for the chimney opening that you have.
You will need to factor in the cost of the flue as well as the fire itself, and there will also be an installation charge.
If you want to increase the size of your fire to fit a larger more contemporary version it will mean some structural alterations to the opening. The existing lintel will need to be removed and replaced with a wider one to support the wall above the opening. It is essential that this work is carried out by an experienced professional as a poor job will undermine the structural integrity of the chimney.
The most popular choice of fire by far is a stove. They come in a huge variety of styles, not just the more traditional versions most people are familiar with – they can now actually resemble contemporary gas fires.
They give out an incredible amount of heat so it’s important you select the right model for the size of your room. They can also be linked to a back boiler to heat your water, making them a really energy efficient choice.