A wide range of accessories are used with fireplaces, which range between countries, regions, and historical periods. For the interior, common in recent Western cultures include grates, fireguards, log boxes, andirons, pellet baskets, and fire dogs, all of which cradle fuel and accelerate burning. A grate (or fire grate) is a frame, usually of iron bars, to retain fuel for a fire. Heavy metal firebacks are sometimes used to capture and re-radiate heat, to protect the back of the fireplace, and as decoration. Fenders are low metal frames set in front of the fireplace to contain embers, soot and ash. For fireplace tending, tools include pokers, bellows, tongs, shovels, brushes and tool stands. Other wider accessories can include log baskets, companion sets, coal buckets.
Both very comfortable and space-efficient, underfloor heating (UFH) is becoming an increasingly popular choice. Most systems have a boiler or sometimes a stove at their heart, although eco heating options , including solar thermal panels and ground or air-source heat pumps (see above), are increasingly common, and can be integrated sensitively into a period home as well as newer houses. If your central heating and hot-water system is more than 10 years old, then the boiler, radiators and even the pipework may not be performing to their full potential and might be unsuitable for the needs of both your lifestyle and the building.
It is most economical if your home has a very low heat requirement because it has high levels of insulation and airtightness, and is combined with low-temperature heat emitters such as underfloor heating. Thanks to specially designed kits, Edilkamin wood burning thermo-fireplaces can also produce domestic hot water for the bathrooms and kitchen; the hot water can be stored in appropriate boilers so that it is always available at the desired temperature. Underfloor heating is not necessarily a money saver, with the Energy Saving Trust noting that a water-based system will only save you £20 a year for the average home using a condensing boiler.
Electric underfloor heating systems can be installed yourself, cutting overall cost. Underfloor heating is often associated with luxury — think plush hotel rooms — and indeed there are few things more luxurious than the feeling of a warm, heated bathroom floor on a cold winter’s day. ^ Olesen, B.W., deCarli, M., Embedded Radiant Heating and Cooling Systems: Impact of New European Directive for Energy Performance of Buildings and Related CEN Standardization, Part 3 Calculated Energy Performance of Buildings with Embedded Systems (Draft), 2005, <
^ Fitzgerald, D. Does warm air heating use less energy than radiant heating? 69 Additionally, underfloor radiant systems are ideally suited to renewable energy sources including geothermal and solar thermal systems or any system where waste heat is recoverable. Illustrated is a simplified mechanical schematic of an underfloor heating and cooling system for thermal comfort quality 65 with a separate air handling system for indoor air quality 66 67 In high performance residential homes of moderate size (e.g. under 3000 ft2 (278 m2) total conditioned floor area), this system using manufactured hydronic control appliances would take up about the same space as a three or four piece bathroom.
When heated and cooled pipes or heating cables share the same spaces as other building components, parasitic heat transfer can occur between refrigeration appliances, cold storage areas, domestic cold water lines, air conditioning and ventilation ducts. Electric underfloor heating systems cause low frequency magnetic fields (in the 50-60 Hz range), old 1-wire systems much more so than modern 2-wire systems. There is a likelihood that underfloor heating may add to offgassing and sick building syndrome in an environment, particularly when carpet is used as a flooring.
In conjunction with moisture control, floor heating also establishes temperature conditions that are less favorable in supporting mold , bacteria , viruses and dust mites 27 28 By removing the sensible heating load from the total HVAC (Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning) load, ventilation , filtration and dehumidification of incoming air can be accomplished with dedicated outdoor air systems having less volumetric turnover to mitigate distribution of airborne contaminates.