The storm is over and the cold is gone, at least for this year. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still use (or buy) a heater. Some nights are still pretty chilly, and a fireplace serves other functions besides heating up cold bones. Some heaters double as a cooktop, so as long as you need to eat (something that isn’t microwaved), your stove-top heater will remain in high rotation. The fireplace is something to gather around for bonding and conversation, and that’s healthier than communally zoning out in front of the TV.
Plus, modern fireplaces look a lot like the ‘black mirrors’ of our preferred technology, except these ones keep you present and focused on each other. You connect to the people sitting next to you rather than the ones on the web. And even if you’re warm enough, you can evoke the ambience of a fireplace by turning on the fire lights and visual flame effects. It’s an optional function in many gas fireplaces and electric furnaces. Let’s look back at some top sellers from last season. If you’re lucky, you can buy them at an off-peak discount.
Wall to wall
If you hate the fuss of fireplace maintenance and you’re not worried about electricity bills, you can invest in an electric heater. One popular model is the AL3600CLX2-AU. It’s 3m across, so depending on the size of your room, it could easily stretch from one side to the other. It’s an in-built linear fireplace, so you can either position it flush against the wall or lift it out slightly on a wall mount. You can install it on your own as a DIY project, because it comes with clear, simple DIY instructions. Inside the fireplace, there are faux burning coals.
The flames look quite realistic, and there are sound effects too. You can enjoy the sights and sounds without the heat, which is great when you want to set the mood or simply indulge in a sensual spectacle. The lights use energy-efficient LED bulbs, so they’ll lower your utility costs. The unit has a touchscreen panel and remote control. You can adjust the size of the flames and the amount of heat your furnace gives off. The dancing flames can ‘burn’ even while the heat is off and still be beautiful to watch, bathing the room in firelight.
King of the flames
For many home owners, gas burners are the most efficient option. You can light them in seconds, they’re cheaper than electrical units, and they can heat the whole house if you link them to your HVAC vents. That said, not everybody wants a centrepiece gas heater. Some prefer a portable unit they can carry around the house. It does the job, and it’s less dramatic than refurbishing an entire wall to install your linear gas heater. The Kingavon BB-PG150 is a good example of this, and it retails at less than $100.
The Kingavon comes in a pretty teal shade and you can connect it to your home gas pipes or buy a little gas bottle to go with it. If you opt for a bottle, get one with a regulator or gas strip to monitor your fuel usage. Since mobility is a major feature for its buyers, its cabinet is equipped with castors so you can roll it around. It also has anti-tilt mechanisms so it doesn’t tip over and cause accidents. The burner has triple heat settings enabled via ceramic heating plates. Its ignition is built in for instant lighting, and it gives of 42kW of heat.
Master your fire
Of course, if you’re attached to the old school approach, you can buy a wood heater. But to cut down the drama of sourcing firewood, you could get a fireplace that uses wood pellets. These pellets are made from compressed sawdust and lumberyard waste, so they’re kinder on the environment than traditional logs. How? Because the raw materials come from timber yards rather than chopping down fresh trees, so you’re re-using and re-purposing the by-products of harvested wood. With these you only empty your ash once or twice a week, not daily.
Firemaster has a good selection of pellet heaters. Their F201 is a beautiful in-built unit that offers the comfort of wood fires but expresses the modernity of contemporary design. Its charcoal-coloured casing has 21st century sensibility and its large viewing pane exhibits bay window styling. The F201 puts out 8kW and can heat a space 90m2. With its hopper capacity of 23kg, this pellet furnace is both powerful and pretty. So as you look for low-season heater deals, consider these three or any of their brand cousins.