Warm your heart with energy-saving fireplaces

It might not feel like winter’s on the way just yet, but the next electricity hike to be implemented by Eskom will undoubtedly give most homeowners a chill, so it’s definitely not too soon to think about putting in an energy-efficient fireplace for the cold months to come.
Last year, notes Harcourts Africa CEO Richard Gray, Eskom obtained approval from the National Electricity Regulator (Nersa) to impose a tariff increase of 25,1% this year – on top of the 24,8% hike last year and the 31% hike the year before.
“Consequently, homeowners need to take whatever measures they can to cut electricity consumption, and a modern, non-electric fireplace in your main living area is a good option.”
It also need not be too costly, he says, as there is a wide range available in the market, from a variety of suppliers.
“An old wood-burning fireplace is obviously not an option as they tend to lose more heat up the chimney than they generate in the house, but they can be converted to gas units relatively easily. There are also free-standing gas fireplaces available that are extremely efficient heat generators and, for the traditionalists, even look like real log fires.
“Alternatively, one might consider a closed, slow combustion wood burner specially designed to act as a heat source for whole households, which are very popular in cold countries as they can be used to heat water and some even have flat tops on which one can boil a kettle or cook.” 
There are also fireplaces that burn biofuel (that is, ethanol) which leaves no mess and requires no complicated connections. They are very environmentally-friendly and come in a wide range of designs to suit any décor.
However, says Gray, the current winner in the energy efficiency race must be pellet fireplaces, which burn wood pellets made from sawmill waste or fire “bricks” made from waste paper. These burn very efficiently and powerfully and
can quite easily heat a home for a whole day on just one hopper of fuel.”

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