Keep Your Family Safe, Healthy and Happy with a fireplace or wood stove

The health benefits of being warm

The World Health Organization recommends a minimum indoor temperature of 18°C, and ideally 21°C if babies or elderly people live in the house.
Problems and diseases linked to being cold over a 3-day period range from the common cold, blood pressure increases, to heart attacks and pneumonia. Besides poor health, cold-related illness causes absence from work, social isolation, and sleep deprivation. It may lead to mental or stress related illness, with negative knock on effects for family and friends.
The average daily indoor temperature in the winter for most South African houses is just 16°C.
If house temperatures are at or below 16°C, the risk of respiratory illness increases. This is because cold houses are also usually damp, which can lead to respiratory symptoms. As well as dampness being a health risk in itself, it can lead to mould growth, which may also contribute to respiratory problems. Living in a cold environment is also physiologically and emotionally stressful.
The three major reasons our homes are difficult to heat:

  1. Poor insulation
  2. Inefficient heating systems.
  3. Our heating practices are also a problem. Most households do not heat the whole house during winter.

Solutions include:

  1. Installing insulation in walls and ceilings or as double-glazing on windows.
  2. Improving heating systems to make them effective, consistent and efficient

A Great Solution….

Obviously we are a bit biased when it comes to heating solutions for the home but this bias is based off widely published evidence, our own experiments and our own experience. We look at some of the pro’s and con’s of heating solutions.

Underfloor heating

  • Expensive to run
  • Expensive to install (usually done when building or refurbishing)
  • Usually installed in limited areas of the home
  • Problematic when we have load shedding

Electrical heaters

  • Inexpensive to buy
  • Fire hazard
  • Problematic when we have load shedding
  • Expensive to run
  • Inefficient
  • Only heat a small area 

Gas Heaters

  • Can be inefficient
  • Must be used in a ventilated area
  • Can produce nitrogen dioxide, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide.

Gas Fireplaces

  • Upfront expense but reasonable for the benefits and convenience
  • Vent free units must be used in a ventilated area
  • Vent free units produce nitrogen dioxide, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide.

 Closed Combustion Wood burners

  • Upfront expense but reasonable for the benefits (less expensive than insulation, underfloor heating, glazing)
  • Safe to use (burn for extended periods with one load)
  • Heats a large area of the home consistently, effectively, efficiently
  • Predictable and consistent budget
  • Low maintenance and fuel costs (much less than electricity or gas)
  • Real fires bring people together

Rand for Rand the best value money can buy.

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