Saturday 31 March 2012

Manufacturer Focus: Bemodern

Founded in 1964 Be Modern is a group of companies dedicated to the manufacture of high quality fire surrounds, fires and heating equipment to a wide and diverse range of industries across the public and private sector.
Excellence in innovation, service and product quality has been constantly recognised by theirr customers and are tried, tested and trusted by major organisations.
With over 500,000 square foot of manufacturing and warehousing space, Bemodern employ the same meticulous eye for detail and the highest standards of manufacture throughout.

In December 2008 Be Modern was awarded with ‘Eco Product of the Year’ for its flueless gas range of fires – further demonstrating its commitment to the environment.

Continually building on 40 years of experience, Be Modern Group is one of the leading manufacturers of fires and fireplaces and Bathroom furniture in the UK. Our market share, product range and quality of service set the standards that others follow.
1963 – Business started as Modern Trends manufacturing Fire Surrounds in Hendon, Sunderland from a 5000sq.ft factory.
1964 – Business incorporated as Be Modern Limited and moves to larger premises in Nile Street, South Shields.
1970 – Continued expansion leads to purpose built premises in Western Approach, South Shields (the current Group Office).
1974 - Be Modern starts to manufacture kitchen furniture from additional premises in Jarrow (later extended to include bathroom vanity and fitted bedroom furniture).
1982 – Be Modern moves into retail sector with acquisition of Academy Crafts selling Kitchen furniture
1996 – Be Modern acquires Period Surrounds in Glasgow manufacturing Marble & Stone fireplaces.
2000 – Assembly of electric and gas fires commences to compliment its Surrounds business as manufacture of kitchen furniture ceases
2001 – Company acquires current Shaftsbury Avenue Site and commences manufacture of Marble Surrounds (later extended in 2004)
2006 – Design and product rights of Elgin & Hall acquired by Be Modern – manufacturing hand painted, individually crafted Fire Surrounds.

With over 500,000 square feet of manufacturing and warehousing space, Be Modern continues to deliver high quality product to meet the needs of an extremely diverse range of customers. Offering incredibly popular fires such as the Bemodern Orlando in Flat or Curved.


Thursday 29 March 2012

Gas Vs Multifuel

If you are thinking about installing a stove or fire as a secondary source of heat, but don't know whether to opt for a woodburning/multifuel appliance or a gas appliance, read our article for information and advice.

First of all, you need to check whether your property will restrict you in terms of the fuel you can use.

Existing Chimney or Flue
If you have a conventional brick chimney, you can choose between a woodburning or gas stove to sit in your fireplace opening - the difference in the installation will be the type of flue liner and terminating cowl.
A pre-fabricated flue, which is an interlocking metal flue system, is identifiable by a metal flue and metal terminal on the roof and a metal flue box behind the fire. This type of flue is only suitable for gas appliances. The property will tend to have a flat wall rather than a fireplace opening, and therefore will be suitable for a shallow, inset type gas appliance.
New houses with no chimney may have been built with a pre-cast flue, usually identifiable by a ridge vent on the roof. This type of flue is built from concrete or clay blocks, inside a cavity wall. This type of flue is only suitable for gas appliances. Again the property will tend to have a flat wall rather than a fireplace opening, and therefore will be suitable for a shallow, inset type gas appliance.
No Chimney or Flue
It is possible to have a wood or gas appliance where no chimney or flue exists.
Woodburning appliance - can be installed with a twin wall flue system, which can run through the inside of the property to exit at the roof or can exit the stove through the wall and run up the exterior of the property.
Gas appliance - can be installed with a balanced flue (supplied with the chosen fire), which is a horizontal pipe that vents directly outside, therefore the appliance has to be installed on an outside wall. Not all gas appliances are suitable for balanced flue installations.
Gas Supply
If you do not have an existing natural gas supply, you can fit a number of gas appliances using LPG (liquid propane gas). Again the appliance must be installed on an outside wall, as you will require gas bottles to be fitted on the outside of the property.

If you want to fit a woodburning appliance instead, an existing gas supply can be safely capped off by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

If you are lucky enough to have the option of choosing between wood and gas as a fuel, here are some points to consider, which may help you in your decision.

Other Points to Consider
Gas appliances are more restrictive in terms of heat output, so if you have a particularly large, open plan space to heat or want to rely on it as your main source of heat, gas may not be for you.
Gas appliances require less attention as you do not have to keep re-fuelling the fire every few hours as with a wood stove. Many gas appliances are also available with a remote control for ease of use.
Although the flame effects on gas appliances are generally very realistic, for some there is nothing like the look and feel of a real log fire.
A woodburning appliance is more environmentally friendly than gas.
Both types of appliance will require ongoing maintenance in terms of replacement parts and annual servicing.
The cost of using gas versus purchasing logs.

Tuesday 27 March 2012

Add A Touch Of Spring To Your Fireplace

Daffodils in crystal or glass vases on each end of your mantel bespeak the coming of Spring. Tie a wired chiffon ribbon in a soft spring hue in a bow around each vase for a nice touch.
March a line of fluffy chicks across your mantel. Five or more chicks, whether stuffed toys, porcelain hens, or craft store chickens, make a cute display.
And speaking of stuffed toys, now is a great time to find those old stuffed bunnies and ducks and turn them into mantel ornaments. Add Easter grass, and scatter decorated eggs along the mantel to keep them company.

Tie wired gingham-checked ribbons into bows, and attach them to the edge of your mantel. Let the ends of each bow hang down various lengths from one to three feet. At the end of each ribbon, open a plastic egg, tape the ribbon’s end inside
Bring out your glass, crystal, white, and pastel candle holders of different heights for your mantel. Select a trio of springtime colors such as lavender, pink and eggshell or aqua, pale green, and soft yellow. Use pastel candles in some of the candle holders. In others, perch decorated Easter eggs (real, plastic, wooden, or glass).

The ideas above are great for your fireplace’s mantel, but what’s a terrific way to decorate your fireplace itself? Fireplace candelabra are the perfect accessories. And using candles in the shape of decorated Easter eggs in your fireplace candelabra is a super-simple, but visually dramatic way to decorate for the season. (Just don’t be too surprised if the Easter Bunny replaces one of the candles for a chocolate one!)

Sunday 25 March 2012

DEFRA, What Does It Mean?

DEFRA stands for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and is a government department in the UK.
“Defra was formed in June 2001 when the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) was merged with part of the Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) and with a small part of the Home Office. In October 2008, the climate team at Defra was merged with the energy team from the Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) to create the Department of Energy and Climate Change.” (Source:
Smoke Control Areas
As part of the Clean Air Act smoke control areas were introduced to deal with air pollution in 1950s and 60s – caused by coal fires in homes and industrial buildings. Local authorities decide whether to make all of a district or just part of a district a smoke control area.
If you are in a smoke control area you are not allowed to burn fuels in a fireplace, stove, furnace or boiler that may cause smoke. If you are in a smoke controlled area and found to be burning fuels that create smoke, you could be fined £1000 each time you do this.
By law you are not allowed to sell fuels that create smoke, to anyone within a smoke control area – who doesn’t have an exempt appliance.
DEFRA Approved Stoves
In a smoke control area, a solid fuel heating appliance must be a DEFRA approved, exempt appliance, using only fuel specified in the appliance instructions.
Exempt appliances are tested by DEFRA to show that they meet the smoke control standards for emissions when burning non-authorised smokeless fuels, such as wood.
If you live in a smoke control area but do not have a DEFRA approved appliance you must only burn authorised fuels – anthracite being a popular choice, it is high in carbon and low in volatile matter. A full list of exempt fuels is available on the DEFRA website.
For a list of DEFRA approved stoves, please visit the DEFRA website.
DEFRA Installations
If you live in a smoke control area and wish to install a woodburning stove, the stove installed must adhere to the rules above. If you do not live in a smoke control area then you are not affected at all by this law, but if you do purchase a stove that happens to be DEFRA approved, you can be assured of a clean burning, high efficiency stove.
Before 1st October 2010, building regulations stated that all stoves (wood or multifuel) must be fitted with a minimum 6″ diameter flue system. However as of 1st October 2010 you can install a 5″ diameter flue system ONLY if the connecting stove is DEFRA approved and has a 5″ flue outlet.
To clarify, if you are installing a non DEFRA approved stove with a 6″ diameter flue system, it is perfectly normal for the stove to have a 5″ flue outlet. In this case the piece of flue pipe that connects to the stove with be 5″ and then you must use a 5″-6″ adaptor that will connect the 5″ flue pipe to the 6″ system. This still complies with building regulations.

What to burn in Smoke Control Areas
Wood is not a smokeless fuel, therefore in a smoke controlled zone can only be burnt on a DEFRA approved appliance. However unseasoned or wet wood will burn inefficiently with a lot of smoke. Look for HETAS approved wood or wood that has a moisture content of lower than 25% to be sure you are not failing to adhere to rules.
If you live in a smoke control area but do not have a DEFRA approved appliance you must only burn authorised fuels – anthracite being a popular choice, it is high in carbon and low in volatile matter. A full list of exempt fuels is available on the DEFRA website.
You are legally only allowed to use certain types of fuel in a smoke control area, on a non DEFRA approved appliance – these are:
  • anthracite
  • semi-anthracite
  • gas
  • low volatile steam coals
You can find details of fuels that are approved within smoke control areas on the DEFRA website.

Do I Live in a Smoke Controlled Area?
To find out if you live in a smoke control area, DEFRA recommend contacting the Environmental Health or Protection department of your Local Authority.

Friday 23 March 2012

Anatomy Of The Perfect BBQ

With the first day of possible BBQ weather behind us (it didnt rain and was quite warm) we have a look at the perfect outdoor cooking machine and break down some of the features that sets it head and shoulders above the rest.

The high-quality stainless steel body of the Barbeque ensures your barbeque looks it's best for years to come, we all know the feeling of bringing the traditional stove black barbeque out of the shed looking less than appetising with the odd rust patch and dust collecting on the textured finish. The Lift-Ease roll top lid saves space with the lid rolling behind the barbeque rather than being balanced at the back, with a built in ACCU-PROBE to allow you to accurately control cooking, even with the lid down. Premium stainless steel side shelves with integrated beverage holders and ice bucket with cutting board,
polished chrome towel bars and tool hooks mean you shouldnt be short of prep space ready to 'throw the meat on the barby', while also keeping beverages cool and providing storage for tools.

Unlike many low-end gas barbecues that are difficult to contol with either high-heat or practically nothing with very little in between. With Napoleon Grills you can enjoy the same precision control that is often taken for granted on your gas hob, precision brass valves mean and 16 gauge steel burners combine to create a controllable, even heat, making it even easier to create those culinary delights outdoors!

Charcoal is the traditional way of infrared cooking that we are all familiar with. The glowing briquettes emit infrared energy to the food being cooked, with very little drying effect. The Napoleon® infrared burner cooks in the same way. In each burner, 10,000 ports each with its own tiny flame cause the surface of the ceramic to glow red. This glow emits the same type of infrared heat to the food, without the hassle or mess of charcoal. It also provides a more consistent heated area that is far easier to regulate than a charcoal fi re. For instantaneous searing, the burners can be set to high, yet they can also be turned down for slower cooking. The bottom line is that Napoleon’s SIZZLE ZONE™ infrared burners produce searing heat for juicier, tastier steaks, hamburgers and other meats.Still want the convenience of gas, but long for that charcoal flavour? No problem! Napoleon’s charcoal tray lights easily with your gas burner.

Wednesday 21 March 2012

Where Does Your Firewood Come From: Kielder Forest

The development of the British timber industry, using wood from Britain's forests to supply wood for sawmilling, chipboard, pulp as well as wood fuel customers has been a major success story.  As a result of major investments in processing capacity during the last 20 years, the industry has been independently estimated to provide over £7 billion annually to UK GDP, and directly employs some 167,000 people in growing, harvesting and processing trees across the UK.

Today we look at one of the country's main suppliers of wood, Kielder Forest, which annually supplies more than 475,000 cubic metres of timber for the wood industries.
The forest is owned and managed by the United Kingdom Forestry Commission, which initiated the first plantings in the 1920s. During the 1930s, the Ministry of Labour supplied men from among the ranks of the unemployed. Many came from the mining communities and shipyards of North East England. They were housed in one of a number of instructional centres created by the Ministry, most of them on Forestry Commission property; by 1938, the Ministry had 38 Instructional Centres across Britain. The hutted camp in Kielder is now under Kielder Water. Numerous purpose-built villages were also constructed for workers' families, including Stonehaugh.
Prior to the 1920s, the land was predominantly open moorland, managed for grouse shooting and sheep grazing with remnants of native upland woodland existing along stream sides and in isolated craggy areas. The Forestry Commission, funded from the public purse, purchased land across the country with the brief of establishing a strategic reserve of timber for the nation. This single objective held sway until the 1960s. Since that time, management principles have changed in order to reflect rising awareness of environmental needs and to provide recreational facilities whilst seeking to maintain a sustainable supply of timber. Kielder today remains state-owned and its development from a single-objective plantation to a multi-purpose forest mirrors the development of plantation forestry across the United Kingdom.
 Most of this volume comes from clearfelling areas (shown above right); an increasing percentage however is sourced from selective felling. Clear felled areas are replanted with a mix of coniferous and broadleaf tree species, opportunities are also taken to increase the proportion of open space and to improved the habitat. As with all Forestry Commission woodlands timber is independently certified under the Forest Stewardship Council scheme.
This responsible forest management ensures that your woodburning stove will always be topped up with wood and ensuring that there is a reduced impact on the environment.

Monday 19 March 2012

Chimeneas: The Outdoor Fireplace

With the worst of the winter weather now behind us, most of us will be turning out attention to the garden and the summer holidays. We Brits love what sunshine we get during the summer, what better way to spend the evenings as the sun goes down that outside in the garden with a refreshing drink in your hand.
But as we all know as the sun goes down the temperature drops, what better way to keep warm as the sun goes down that with a chimenea. As the story goes, chimeneas originated hundreds if not thousands of years ago by Mexican tribesmen who developed the chimeneas as a means of providing heat for their family as well as a vessel for cooking and baking. The original chimenea was designed to keep the rain off the fire and the family warm using merely a couple of sticks, but how times have changed with Chimeneas becoming a must-have garden accessory for keeping you warm once the sun has gone down. These stunning multi-fuel burners can either burn wood with Fires starting very quickly in chimineas after ignition with (news)papers and small pieces of wood. When in full burn after just 15 minutes, they give off tremendous heat due to their design which allows much more air to be drawn in than, for example, a fire basket.Or, for a more laid-back and controllable option most Gardeco Chimeneas are available with a removable bio-ethanol burner for a easier to manage fire.

Available in a number of styles ranging from the rustic brick effect Gardeco Cantera Clay Chimenea shown right to some more extravagent designs such as the Gardeco Amigos Clay Chimenea, which features highlighted clay figure detailing around the flue and firebox opening. Both of these quality clay chimeneas come with a matching clay lid and as they are built from a single piece of clay, not including the lid then there is not assembly required, simply place on the supplied stand or upgrade to the powder coated stand with two shelves, ideal for placing drinks or light snacks after having a barbecue.

For those looking for a more understated chimenea then why not have a look at the Gardeco Elements Air Clay Chimenea, simple and flowing lines and natural terracota finish mean that this chimenea is simple, yet functional.

Saturday 17 March 2012

The Do's & Don't Of BBQ Cooking

As summer approaches and the days get longer, sunnier and hotter, most of us will turn off the central heating, so today we're turning to our good friends at Napoleon® Grills for some great BBQ tips.

You don’t spend over thirty-five years designing grills without discovering all of the tricks of the trade to make cooking on a barbecue foolproof. Here are some of Napoleon® Grills hot tips for grilling great food time and time again:

  • Use the correct method to cook. There are two ways to barbecue – directly or indirectly. ‘Direct cooking’ is where small cuts of meat such as chops or burgers are placed directly over the heat source and turned once to cook both sides. ‘Indirect cooking’ can only be done on barbecues with a lid. The food is placed away from the coals or the lit burner.  Once the lid is on, the heat circulates, creating an oven – you can now roast or bake.
  • Keep uncooked food chilled. Refrigerate food until it is ready to be cooked.
  • Trim excess fats. Keep food healthy and reduce flare-ups, minimise fats and oils in marinades.
  • Make use of grilling videos and troubleshooting guides. If you want guidance, check out the internet for more advice.
  • Prod, poke and play with food. Piercing meats releases the juices and results in dry and chewy food.
  • Keep lifting the lid. If your barbecue has a lid it is there for a reason – to help food cook properly.  Food can be left to cook on its own while you enjoy the company of your guests.  Lifting the lid increases the cooking time and can cause flare-ups.
  • Scorch and Torch. Cooking foods at very high temperatures for short periods of time produces meat that can be charred on the outside and pink on the inside. Great if you want to sear meat (at which point Napoleon’s infrared SIZZLE ZONE™ comes into its own), but be sure then to continue to grill chicken or pork through thoroughly. Control the cooking temperature and time by checking the thermometer and using the vents on the charcoal grill and the adjustable burners on a gas grill.
  • Spray water to reduce a flame. Pouring or spraying water produces steam vapours that can scald and it ruins the finish of your barbecue. This does not apply to plank grilling. If your plank catches fire, it is alright to spray it with water.
  • Block air vents on charcoal barbecues. A fire needs oxygen, keep vents open to light your barbecue and leave them open throughout the cooking. Close the vents to extinguish the flame and save briquettes.
  • Use petrol or lighter fuel on charcoal grills. Only use non-toxic firelighters – taste the food and not the fuel.
  • Mix cooked and uncooked foods. Keep foods apart and do not re-use plates and dishes that have had uncooked foods on them.

Thursday 15 March 2012

Crystal Fires Unveil New Additions To The Range

2012 brings some exciting new addtions to the Crystal Range of Gas Fires. Adding more high-quality gas fires, both hole in the wall and inset to the already impressive Crystal Fires portfolio.
Moving on from the success of the Hole In The Wall Style Crystal Miami and Crystal Manhattan gas fires Crystal have unveiled a new High Efficiency model for those that are looking to enjoy the realistic Crystal Log fuel effect, quality  and Crystal 5 year guarantee, but perhaps not able to accomodate the larger trims of the Crystal Miami or Manhattan.
To fill this gap in the market Crystal fires have unveiled the Boston, a high efficiency gas fire with a maximum heat output of 4.9kW the Boston offers a heat output similar to it's larger counterparts. Available in five different finishes, Chrome, Brushed Steel, Black, Graphite and Copper with the choice of log or pebble for that more contemporary finish. The light brick interior is a new feature not seen on other Crystal fires before and helps add a touch of realism with the log fuel effect.

The already popular Royal 3 and 4-sided gas fires have just been improved with a glass fascia to increase and improve efficiency. The Royale gives an efficiency of up to 80% and a maximum heat output of 4.2kw and is available in all the Crystal colours, Black, Brushed Steel, Graphite Chrome and Copper with 3 sided trim for inset fitting or 4 sided for that contemporary hole in the wall finish.

Both these high-quality fires come with the Crystal 5 year warranty and are manufactured in Britian, supporting British manufacturing in the North West

Monday 12 March 2012

Portway Multi Fuel and Wood Burning Stoves

The Founding Father of Energy Efficiency
Portway multi fuel and wood burning stoves began in the early 1800’s when the owner of an ironmongery store took inspiration from the very first enclosed metal stoves which first appeared in North America at the end of the 1700’s and custom built his own stove to heat his Halstead based store.

Charles Portway’s design proved to be so successful that a neighbouring shopkeeper asked Portway to build a stove to heat his store also. Soon afterwards Portway set up a small foundry manufacturing solid fuel stoves that were so successful they lasted up to the 1980’s almost without any change.

The beauty behind the success of Portway’s stove was in their efficiency. The stoves burned so slowly that they extracted the maximum amount of heat from the fuel. The stoves were named ‘Tortoise’ stoves and proudly produced with the motto ‘Slow but Sure’ displayed on the front. It was the first heating appliance to offer fuel efficiency as a major selling point making its role in the development of our industry of great significance today. Robert Higgs, the chief executive of the Heating and Ventilating contractors association argues the Portway was the “founding father of energy efficiency”.

Portway’s stoves were used to heat churches and halls as well as homes and 19th Century stoves displaying the iconic ‘Tortoise’ trademark can still be found today, making it one of the oldest, most resilient products in the history of heating.
Even today, at 80% efficiency, Portway stoves are amongst the most efficient multifuel stoves on the market. This means that you need to burn less fuel to get more heat compared to similar products on the market.
Portway multifuel stoves are capable of burning a wide range of natural and manufactured fuels. Wood is a renewable and carbon-neutral energy source since a tree will use up more carbon during the course of its lifetime than is produced when it is burned. Thus, making the use of wood the most environmentally friendly energy source available today. Both hard woods and soft woods can be used on our stoves. 
Our stoves will also burn a number of other such as, peat, straw, sawdust briquettes, anthracite, lignite and most natural and manufactured mineral fuels.
Each stove is made from 96% easily recyclable material and all cast parts, such as; doors and grates, are manufactured from 70% recycled iron.
Every Portway stove carries independently tested CE Approval to standard EN13240 and approved for use in smoke free zones when burning anthracite or any other authorized smokeless fuel. They can also be used in smoke free zones in the Republic of Ireland when burning wood or peat briquettes.

Saturday 10 March 2012

OFGEM tells electricity suppliers to cut prices or face fuel bill cap

Fuel bills could be slashed after energy watchdog Ofgem told Britain's six largest suppliers to overhaul their tariffs or face a mandatory cap.
The 'big six' energy suppliers – British Gas, EDF, e.on, npower, Southern and Scottish Power – were told to drop their prices following concerns that customers are being ripped off.
Some 5.5 million households are believed to be in fuel poverty, spending 10% or more of their monthly income on utility bills to heat and light their homes.
"Parliament has given us the task of trying to create an effective market where competition is the downward pressure on prices," said an OFGEM spokesperson.
The OFGEM decision came after EDF announced a huge surge in profits at a time when families are struggling to pay their bills.
EDF announced that its operating profits rose by 8.5% last year to almost £1.6 billion – equivalent to £427 for each of the 3.7 million UK households to which the French-owned company supplies gas and electricity.

Thursday 8 March 2012

Get The Most From Your Woodburning Stove!

The weather outside is freezing, and the best place to be on days like today is indoors, curled up with a good book besides the warm glow of your woodburning stove, or lovely and cosy in your home, looking out upon all the snowy and frosty scenery while you bask in the glorious heat of your stove. So make sure you get a really good fire going in your wood burner, sit back, relax and enjoy the heat in your home.
At this time of year, it’s essential to make the most of your wood stove, to ensure it’s working at maximum capacity and emitting the most heat possible. There are several things you can do to keep your stove running at optimum capacity.
The first action you should take is to select the right stove for you – both in terms of the size of the room you intend to install it and the purpose of buying it in the first place. For example, whether the burner is to simply provide some warmth for your living room or for heating your entire home plus for use with some cooking tasks too, makes a big difference to the type of stove you should invest in.
Once your woodburning stove has been installed, you need to naturally source some wood. Wood type has a big impact on efficiency, influencing the extent that the logs burn cleanly and the amount of heat emitted during burning. Always use seasoned logs because wood with greatly reduced water content will release far less smoke during the combustion process which means less heat is wasted on burning off the moisture. It’s up to you whether you buy seasoned logs or season the wood yourself for a minimum of one year.
The amount of heat the wood in your stove generates varies according to water content. As an example, a tonne of seasoned wood with approx 25% water content creates 4000kW of heat, compared to the same amount of unseasoned logs with approx 60% water content which releases half the amount of heat (2000kW).
Density matters too, so try to burn hardwoods like oak and ash rather than softwoods to create bright-burning fires. And don’t forget to take your time when starting a fire in your stove, including cleaning the firebox first. Be sure to build the fire using rolled or scrunched up newspaper, kindling, firelighter (personal choice), and a couple of small logs, adding more logs to it gradually as the heat and flames increase.
You should also make sure you have a regular maintenance routine, so your stove continues to operate at its best. Things to check often include the rope seal that runs around the inside of the glass and door, as if this is damaged air gets in and dampens the flames and the stove’s efficiency.
With a few simple steps, you can be sure your woodburning stove is working at maximum capacity – so you can really enjoy its warmth and beautiful flames during these long, chilly evenings.

Tuesday 6 March 2012

How To Size A Woodburning Stove

 When it comes to sizing a woodburning stove for your home, there are numerous factors to consider – but with a few simple steps, you can be sure you account for these and buy the right burner for your heating needs. The physical size of your stove is key, but its heat capacity matters also. Make sure the machine you want will work in your house, and more specifically in the room you’ve designated for it. This spans its shape and bulk as well its power and efficiency.
Stove size
Firstly, decide where in your home you want to install the woodburning stove. Normally this is the kitchen or living room, but any suitable room is an option. Then think about the space in this room, how large it is and what it’s like in terms of warmth – whether it is well insulated, open, cosy, prone to drafts, or easy to heat and keep warm.
You need to also consider the specific spot you want to place the stove, and whether there’s enough space to do this safely, sensibly and to meet any necessary building regulations. It will depend how you intend to install your burner, but you’ll need to leave room at the sides and surrounding area too.
If you plan to use an existing chimney or fireplace, then a good size guide to remember is you’ll need space for the hearth, where the stove will rest on, and the relevant gaps. As a rule, the hearth should be at least 25cm in depth and there will need to be a gap of at least 5cm between the back of the burner and the hearth. Plus, the hearth needs to extend from the stove by a minimum of 15cm at the sides and front.
If it’s a freestanding stove you plan to install, then as a guide you’ll need a hearth that is at least approximately 85cm by 85cm in size. And don’t forget the flue – ideally, this should be as straight as possible so make sure there is enough space above the stove or behind it to install this.
You will also need to install ventilation in the room if you select a stove with a heat output of 5kWh (Kilowatt) or above.
In addition to these practical considerations is the design of your stove. There are so many different designs to choose from nowadays, spanning contemporary and traditional, that you’ll need to decide if you want square, rectangular, tall, short, etc.
Heat size
The heat capacity of a stove is measured in kWh (Kilowatts). It is easy to calculate the kWh needed to heat your chosen room, once you’ve established the physical area and have the measurements to hand.
Other factors to consider in addition to heat output of your woodburning stove include its efficiency rating, type of wood you’ll use, and what you want the stove for. Modern stoves come with high efficiency ratings, with many exceeding 80%, and when you compare this to an average open fire which has a maximum efficiency of 25% you can see how much more heat you get from the same amount of fuel. When it comes to fuel, be sure to use seasoned hardwoods where possible, as these have a better burn rate and provide greater efficiency than unseasoned logs or softwoods.
Many people invest in a woodburning stove as a source of heat for their home. But you can buy stoves that let you cook on them too and even heat your radiators. The more you want your stove to do, the more powerful it will need to be – and it will of course be a different type and shape, so bear in mind all these different factors when sizing a burner.
Finally, remember that your stove will perform most efficiently when it’s run at maximum capacity, so opt for a stove size just below your heating requirements, rather than buying a masssive woodburner that just smoulders away, this will offer very little heat and could cause a build-up of creosote

Sunday 4 March 2012

How to decorate your mantel: The Three plus one rule

You’ve found the perfect mirror, painting, quilt, or element to center above your fireplace mantel. But how will you decorate the fireplace mantel itself to get that “decorator look”?
One trick decorators use on fireplace mantels is “Three Plus One.” Here’s how it works: For the “Three” part of the “Three Plus One” scheme, select three related, similar objects and place them on one side of your fireplace mantel. The three objects should not be of identical height, but, then again, they shouldn’t vary too much in size.
You might choose three objects to decorate your fireplace mantel that reflect your interests or things you collect. Keep in mind the colors and style of the room the fireplace mantel is in.
For a living room, perhaps three candles or three framed pictures or three decorative plates would be just the thing. For a den you might try three different beer steins or three pottery pots or three antique clocks. A dining room mantel might contain three decorative teapots or three glass sculptures or three different lanterns.
When you group your three selected object on one side of the fireplace mantel, don’t line them up like soldiers. Think in terms of layering. Experiment with bringing one forward, one visually overlapping another, or tucking one a bit behind another.

Instead of having the three objects face straight into the room, experiment with having them face a bit toward the center of the fireplace mantle. Don’t cram the three objects all the way to the left or right end of the fireplace mantel. Leave a bit of space after the last object so the end of the fireplace mantel serves as an edging for your grouping.
For the “One” part of the “Three Plus One” trick, select a large object and place it on the other end of your fireplace mantel. As a rule of thumb, this singular object should be either about twice as tall as the threesome of objects or have the “visual mass” of the three objects. If you go with a tall object, it should not be as tall as the top of your mirror or painting. Again, don’t push the object all the way to the very end of the mantel.

The one large object may have something in common with the three objects on the other end of the fireplace mantel. Maybe it echoes a color or a texture or a shape or a theme found in one or more of the objects at the other end of the mantel.
The “Three Plus One” fireplace mantel decorating trick works with almost all decorating styles. Experiment and have fun with it, trying different “Three Plus One” mantel arrangements throughout the year, even for seasonal displays.

Friday 2 March 2012

DRU Art Heaters Installed in Famous UK ballet School

DRU heaters in Dorothy Stevens ballet school
The Dorothy Stevens Ballet and Theatre School in Lightcliffe, Near Halifax, West Yorkshire is one of the UK’s most famous dance academies. Run continuously for over 50 years by the indefatigable Dorothy Stevens, it has trained thousands of aspiring dancers and theatre performers, many of whom have gone on to great success with ballet, modern dance and theatre productions all over the world.

The school building was recently in need of a new heating system. After consultation with DRU, Miss Stevens and her team selected Art series gas wall heaters for the dance studio. Art heaters have a balanced flue system, which allows them to be run independently or as part of a thermostatically-controlled heating network. They draw air for combustion from outside the building and provide quiet, efficient and comfortable heating, using natural gas or LPG.

The DRU Art heating system provides greater flexibility to churches, schools, offices and other public buildings. They only need to be turned on when the building is in use, unlike a more expensive central heating system. They also require no electrical supply, making them ideally suited to portable, temporary or rural locations.
DRU supplies commercial and domestic heating solutions in all parts of the UK, using a national network of DRU approved, Gas Safe registered installers