Tuesday 31 July 2012

Europa San Diego Fireplace Surround

With the popularity of Wood-Burning Stoves ever increasing as people look to supplement their existing heating requirements and lessen their dependency on the energy suppliers, Europa Fireplaces have followed the likes of OER and their Belgravia and Caledonian Packages and released the Europa San Diego Fireplace Surround.

The simple, Californian styling of the solid natural solid wood finish, combined with the simple Ivory Glazed tiles of the back and hearth create a very soft fireplace surround, easily blending with a bold feature wall or complementing a more neutral interior. The Europa San Diego, unlike most of other Europa surrounds, is suitable for gas, electric and solid fuel with a standard fireplace opening. Shown with the Hamlet Solution 7 Wood Burning Stove that features a tertiary burn system allowing for up to 72% efficiency, up to 7kW Heat output and large viewing window, allowing for the best possible view of the fire inside.

Shown above complementing neutral colours in the room against a strong feature wall, the Europa San Diego Fireplace Surround and Hamlet Solution 7 Wood Burning Stove can create a stunning fixture in a contemporary or traditional living space

Sunday 29 July 2012

Broseley Lincoln Cast Iron Balanced Flue Gas Stove

Balanced flue gas products benefit from their ability to be installed into properties which do not have a conventional chimney.The Broseley Lincoln Balanced Flue Gas Stove follows on from the phenomenal success of the electric and conventional gas versions, meaning that houses without a chimney or if your budget does not stretch to having an external flue installed can enjoy a quality gas stove.

Today's housing interiors demand slim line appliances and the Lincoln balanced flue gas stove fits this requirement perfectly with its Slimline design that is is ideally suited to combine within a fireplace on a standard sized hearth, without the need for an inglenook or fireplace opening. Featuring the standard satefy features such as Oxygen depletion pilot system for safety, which will automatically shut off the appliance should any dangerous fumes be detected or flame supervision device that means if the flame goes out the gas supply is cut off so gas is not constantly flowing into the room.

Other features included the doible opening doors of the stove, adding to the illusion that the Broseley Lincoln Balanced Flue Gas Stove is a real log fire, allowing you to run the stove with both doors open to enjoy the maximum view of the flames or keep the doors closed for a more traditional view behind the lattice detailing of this stunning cast iron stove.

The beautiful traditional cast iron design, coupled with the latest balanced flue technology means that this stove can boast an efficiency rating of up to 80% and heat output of 3.8kW, with solid cast iron body that will retain heat and continue to give off residual heat, even after the gas fire inside has been turned off.

Friday 27 July 2012

Minister calls cash-in-hand payments to the trade 'morally wrong'

A Treasury Minister has said paying tradesmen in cash in order to receive a discount for work carried out was "morally wrong".
Exchequer Secretary David Gauke has prompted a debate across government and the construction industry after accusing homeowners who pay tradesmen in cash of helping them avoid paying tax.
Speaking to The Telegraph, he said: "Getting a discount with your plumber by paying cash in hand is a big cost to the Revenue and means others have to pay more in tax. I think it is morally wrong. It is illegal for the plumber but it is pretty implicit in those circumstances that there is a reason why there is a discount for cash. That is a large part of the hidden economy."
When questioned by Newsnight, Gauke said some government Ministers may have previously paid workers in cash, but said he had "never said to a tradesman, 'If I pay you cash, can I get a discount?'".
Responding to the debate Labour leader Ed Miliband said the government should be focusing on 'large-scale' tax avoidance, while a spokesperson from recommendation website Rated People questioned Gauke's implication that customers only pay cash in order to secure a discount, saying some alternative payment methods, such as cheques, were "not viable when, if the cheque bounces, the tradesmen could be dangerously out of pocket".
The Federation of Master Builders' director of external affairs, Brian Berry, supported the government's highlighting of the issue.
“We are pleased HMRC is becoming more vocal about the damaging effect cash in hand payments have on individual businesses and the economy at large," he said. "Businesses that avoid paying VAT have a 20% head start, but all too often this cheap deal comes without a proper written contract or any kind of paperwork meaning the enforcement of consumer rights is almost impossible if something goes wrong.”
Berry called on government to help combat this kind of cash-in-hand discounting by reducing VAT on all home repair, maintenance and improvement work to 5%.
“Not only are these guys breaking the law but they are part of an entirely unregulated trade, which inevitably leaves people out of pocket and with huge problems needing to be put right, but more worryingly, with potentially lethal consequences.
“There is nothing wrong with paying cash. What is wrong is people knowingly asking for a tax-free job and paying cash to keep things off the books. What they are doing is inciting someone, albeit a willing party, into committing tax fraud.
“What is far more important than even the Revenue's £2 billion estimated annual loss, is safety. The reason people like all my engineers train for a minimum of three years as an apprentice, plus a college a day a week at the same time is because mistakes made by unqualified tradesmen, who are typically the ones working in the black economy, cost lives.”

Thursday 26 July 2012

The Orlando Gets Even Better!

One of the most popular hang on the wall electric fires of the last couple of years has to be the Bemodern Orlando, available in either flat or curved black glass with either 36 or 42inch flat models available. The Bemodern Orlando was the top black glass electric fire on the market. An industry standard.

However, with more and more manufacturers producing black glass hang on the wall electric fires, the market was becoming saturated and with nothing to set it out from the crowd the Orlando was loosing it's popularity.

But Bemodern have unveiled some new additions to the Orlando range that are set to put the Orlando back on top, now available in three new finishes that certainly sets it apart from the rest:

Shown on this page in Odessa Oak (Top Left), Cappuccino (Right) and White Gloss (Below Left) These new Orlando fires feature the same high quality LED flame effect that has made the original Orlando so popular.

The same 2kW electric fan heater means that a cold edge is quickly taken off a room, while the subtle weave detailing either side of the flame effect offers a unique styling finish.

The Odessa Oak, Cappuccino and White Gloss finishes is ideal for those wanting a contemporary hang on the wall electric fire, but not wanting that "tv" look.

Monday 23 July 2012

The New Drugasar Excellence Range

The DRU Excellence gas-fired atmosphere fire is available in two sizes: M and L. A feature unique to the DRU Excellence product is the Dual Burner. This allows you to switch between two outputs, whilst maintaining a full flame picture. This means you can control  the amount of heat you receive.
The burner is concealed behind a robust log set that is placed in the stove to look like a camp fire. The fire can also be fitted with a special frame which further increases the illusion of a completely open fire.

With hearth placement special profile sets are included in the delivery for the stone-effect rear walls (natural stone and slate grey) that are placed on the front of the glass pane. This conceals all framing and creates the illusion of an open fire.

The Drugasar Excellence Series look set to become the benchmark for realistic flame patterns for gas fires for years to come. Get your hands on your own stunning Drugasar Gas fire through authorised Drugasar Dealers such as Fireplace Megastore, Fireplace Supermarket or Fireworld

Saturday 21 July 2012

Houses in 1921 'Emitted 2.5 Times More Carbon Emissions Than Today

A Building Research Establishment (BRE) report looking at key changes in the UK housing stock shows that carbon dioxide emissions from houses in 1921 were 2.5 times higher than they are today.
BRE has published a report looking at the key changes and improvements that have been made to the UK's housing stock since 1921. The report focuses particularly on changes that have had an effect on standards of living, energy use and carbon dioxide emissions.
"There have been many changes to the UK's housing over the last 90 years," said Janet Utley, one of the authors of the report. "The increase in amenities [is] one of the most obvious – we would not now expect to have a house without a bathroom or indoor toilet."
“While some of the changes are entirely what might have been expected, there are some surprising facts,” added co-author Les Shorrock. “In particular, the average home in 1921 consumed around double the energy of the average home now, and carbon dioxide emissions were almost 2.5 times as high. However, the number of households has also grown by a factor of about 2.5, so the carbon dioxide emissions of the entire housing stock are now in fact relatively similar to the emissions in 1921.”
Other key changes noted in the report include reduced household sizes, a greater proportion of people owning their own homes, and most homes being insulated and centrally heated. The increased availability of electricity has also led to huge growth in the availability and ownership of a wide range of household electrical appliances. Another reason could be the increased number of people moving away from inefficient and drafty open fires to gas fires or stoves to provide the additional heating, that are increasing in efficiency almost year on year.
The report considers what the housing stock will need to look like in 2050 to meet the UK government’s target to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 80% on 1990 levels, and the scale of the challenge that this presents.
“What has been achieved in the past is very substantial, but also provides an important reality check on the feasibility of achieving such large-scale changes over the next 40 years,” said Shorrock.

Thursday 19 July 2012

Elgin and Hall Fireplace Surrounds

Elgin & Hall are continuing their tradition of producing stunning fireplace surrounds. One of the latest is the Sophia Fireplace Surround, we take a closer a look at this showroom exclusive range of fireplaces from Elgin & Hall

Name the classic material associated with fireplaces. It's marble, naturally. Elgin & Hall marbles comes from time-honoured sources in Italy, Spain and Portugal. Small pieces of real marble are crushed and reconstituted to give the authentic finish, micro marble, This durable stone has a beautifully variegated surface which you can only fully appreciate first hand – looking, touching, admiring. While eliminating any natural defects you may find in a solid natural stone fireplace.

To make sure your fire surround and your room are in perfect agreement, you can choose from four finishes, each with its distinctive tone - Manila, Italica, Pearl Stone and sumptuous White. Many models including the Sophia give you a deeper recess to house Smartsense lighting and a choice of widths up to an expansive 53 inches, ideal for most living spaces. You can further ring the changes with the shape of the hearth – standard lipped, five-sided or bullnose.

Another unique feature is the Smartsense Lighting. Imagine brushing your hand across the surround and suddenly your fireplace and hearth is bathed in light.
Every natural detail of the marble is brought to life and your whole room gains soft background illumination. You've just triggered the sensor that turns on the Smartsense lighting concealed in the top recess.
This aesthetically pleasing yet energy efficient feature is an option on many models across the range. Why not pop into Fireplace Megastore, to browse a selection of the latest Elgin & Hall fireplace surrounds and get a feel for the quality only seeing the products give.

Sunday 15 July 2012

Europa Sante Fe

With 2012 seeming to fly past, Europa Fireplaces are certainly rolling out the new models ready for the cooler weather that no doubt will be on us before we know it (and before we have anymore sunshine by the looks of things). The latest addition to the Europa range is the Europa Sante Fe fireplace surround and it certainly stands out from the crowd.

Continuing their current focus of breaking away from the more traditional flat, single colour back panel and hearth that most other surrounds tend to feature, the Europa Sante Fe combines a Solid-Natural Pine surround for that warm finish with a very unique Green Oche and Green Slate tiled back panel and hearth.

At 55inches wide the Sante Fe is large enough to become a perfect focal point without dominating the entire wall of the average living room, and featuring the standard fireplace opening, making it perfect for most gas or electric fires, shown above with the Legend Vantage inset gas fire with polished chrome trim and log fuel effect that really helps create that authentic feel of a real fire.

 Overall the Europa Sante Fe is an excellent choice for a fireplace surround with a very rustic and traditional feel to complement existing decor, or combined with a more contemporary interior in an older house or barn conversion to really complement the building itself.

Friday 13 July 2012

OER Pippy Asquith Solid Oak Surround

Olde England Reproductions or OER as they are more commonly known All our fireplaces are designed and manufactured in-house by thier team of craftspeople, ensuring that everything they produce is high-quality. With over 33 years knowledge in the fireplace industry you can rest assured that you will invest in a fireplace, fire or stove that has been made with pride, ensuring the best quality, exclusivity and reliability.

The latest fireplace from OER is the Pippy Asquith Solid Oak Surround, featuring a traditionally designed solid Oak mantlepiece with strong vertical lines on the pillars and horizontal detailing across the header this fireplace has a strong traditional feel, while would be perfectly suited in a more modern household as a symbol of traditional design and would serve as a brilliant focal point.

Another strong visual feature of this fireplace surround is the glazed Cream Ivory tiles of the back panel and hearth, breaking away from the norm of standard micro marble flat back panels & hearths with styling mirroring the fireplace surround. Really tying the two parts together, and the standard fireplace opening means that this surround is suitable for most gas and electric fires, shown with the Dimplex Exbury fireplace that features a unique canopy free design.

Wednesday 11 July 2012

Meg Inset Stoves...

...slot straight into any standard fireplace...

... and really get hot !

Meg Inset Stoves are real convector fires - meaning, just like their high-efficiency glass fronted gas counterparts, they collect heat from behind, above and even underneath the fire and divert it by natural convection into the room. They are not mere decorative inset stoves like many of thier competitors.

And, just like like Meg Freestanding stoves, with their giant empty-once-a-month ash bins and self-clearing windows Meg multifuel stoves are uniquely clean to use, generating controllable heat at efficiencies up to 80%. 

The Contemporary range has an understated and modern design with a high quality finish. The large viewing window allows the beauty of the flames to shine through and when not in use a Meg Contemporary will fit beautifully in any domestic setting.
Using renewable biofuels like wood logs Meg stoves have CO emissions below an astonishing 0.2% - five times better than even the strict European Standard - and so little smoke that all Meg stoves are actually exempt from city Smokeless Zones thoughout the UK and Ireland.
All multifuel models can burn wood, coke, smokeless and all stove fuels, even difficult fuels like anthracite and have heat outputs of approximately 4.5 and 7.5kW. In many installations they do not even need an air vent into the room.

Why not pop into the Fireplace Megastore and get a first hand feel for the freestanding and inset stoves built just up the road

Monday 9 July 2012

How Do I Choose The Correct Fireplace Material For My Fire?


Portuguese Limestone
Portuguese limestone is a natural stone cut straight from the earth. The stone is a sedimentary limestone with characteristic darker veins and lighter background, intermingled with fossils and blooms. This limestone suite is pre-sealed and manufactured from 100% natural material.
Gallery limestone suites are constructed from Portuguese limestone, which is a natural material so each piece is unique and will contain veining, fossils and ‘blooms’ which are not defects.
If you want a more consistent look to your fireplace, choose from either one of our micro-grained marble fireplaces or a jurastone suite.
Aegean Limestone
Agean Limestone is manufactured from 100% natural material, as such the mantel you purchase will be unique due to variations in fossil formation, veining and colour. Agean limestone surrounds such as the Gallery Sienna tend to be pre-sealed.



Carrera Marble
Carrera Marble is highly polished marble with grey veining on a lighter back ground, being a natural product no two Carrara mantels are the same. Carrara marble mantels are made from a single block by a quarry and then cut into slabs and crafted into the surround. Manufacturer's such as Montpellier excel in creating high-quality natural marble fireplaces
Perla MarbleMicro Marble is an engineered stone, manufactured from crushed marble and specially developed resins. Micro marble is a fine grained man made marble which gives a smooth polished surface and a consistent colour. A large number of Bemodern fireplaces are made of micro-marble, giving you the choice of more than one colour.

Cast Iron Arch Finishes

Traditional Finish
Traditional or Antique Finish is a painted and buffed graphite finish that emulates the traditional black lead polish.

Black Finish
Black Finish is a painted matt black finish. Both the traditional and the black finishes are most appropriate for multi fuel applications as polished finishes can tarnish with high temperatures.

Highlighted Finish
Highlighted Finish is where certain elements of the casting are polished on a black painted background. Although suitable for use with multi fuel, highlight finish may tarnish with high temperatures.

Full Polished
Full Polished is, as the name suggests, where the entire product is polished. Although suitable for use with multi fuel, full polished finish may tarnish with high temperatures. Chrome finishes are not suitable for multi fuel fires.

Saturday 7 July 2012

Bemodern Penshaw Electric Suite

Be Modern manufactures a world class product. Whether the style is traditional or contemporary, they employ the same meticulous eye for detail and the highest standards of manufacture throughout. These same high standards have been applied to one of their latest products, The Bemodern Penshaw Electric Suite.

This new suite from Bemodern has been designed to be an affordable luxury fireplace suite, giving you the warm glow of a fire without heat, while offering up to 2kW of fan heat to provide a quick boost of heat if required.

The Key Features of the Bemodern Penshaw Include:
  • One box electric suite for easy handling
  • Latest flame technology - LED's for long life and low energy consumption, less than £2 per year based on 5 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Easy reach switches located on the top side of the fire
  • 1kW / 2kW heat settings & flame effect only setting
  • Thermostatically controlled
  • One piece coal bed - easy to remove and clean
  • Permanently attached fret & trim for safety and security
  • No bottom fan - reducing dust accumulation, cleaning and maintenance
  • No chimney or flue required - simple flat wall fix
Available in Natural Oak or Warm Oak with a choice of Black Granite or Marfil Stone Effect Back Panel & Hearth to complete the look of an authenticfireplace, while the flat wall installation requires no depth in the wall and can be placed against any flat wall in the house.

All BeModern products carry the CE mark and the majority of our electric fires are BEAB approved for extra peace of mind.

Thursday 5 July 2012

Costa Fires Shelton Electric Stove Range

With the incredible popularity of the Europa Scottsdale, so soon after it has been launched, Costa has released a new range of Showroom Exclusive electric stove packages, centred around the Costa Sheldon Electric Stove, shown left, this quality cast iron effect stove features a similar flame effect to the more expensive Broseley Electric Stoves and creates a very lifelike flame picture and log fuel effect. But two features make this stove stand out from the crowd, the controls are on the side of the stove, ideal to avoid having to get on your hands and knees just to turn the stove on. The other is a fan only setting, ideal for warm summer evenings when you need a bit of extra air circulation without any additional heat. This means your Costa Shelton Electric Stove can be useful for both atmosphere and heating/cooling all year round.

 The stove is available as part of four packages, designed to suit any style of decor, whether contemporary or traditional, The Shelton suites require absolutely no depth in the wall and can be installed on a flat wall with just a single standard plug socket required to plug the stove in for the warming glow of the flame effect inside.
The first of the range we will look at is the Costa Shelton Curved Electric Suite,shown right, this stone effect fireplace is centred around the Shelton stove and features a slabbed granite effect hearth with a ivory finish fireplace surround, completing the look is a ribbed back panel to the surround that really gives the impression of the electric suite going into the wall, rather than just sitting in front. This is great for those without depth, or without a chimney but want to create a similar effect to much much more expensive items such as the OER Belgravia Package.

My personal favourite of the range is the Shelton White Electric Suite, right, this white painted finish gives a simple and neutral finish, while the granite effect hearth and back panel remain the same. But what really tops it off for me is the real oak veneer detailing on the shelf, this is a lovely warm highlight to a white surround and gives the Shelton White a warm and almost coastal feel, ideal for coming in to warm up in front of after a day out on a windswept beach!

For a more contemporary  finish why not choose the Costa Fires Shelton Modern Oak suite, with a real oak veneer that even allows you to feel the grain of the wood for ultimate realism. This contemporary model would be more suited to a modern home with neutral colours, or on a feature wall as the main focal point of the room, which the Europa Shelton truly deserves to be. As with the rest of the range featuring a slabbed granite effect hearth and ribbed back panel and the high-level controls towards the rear of the stove, allowing for ease of control, without having to reach under the stove.

The Costa Fires Classic Oak Shelton Suite is strictly showroom exclusive so why not pop in to Fireplace Megastore and get a feel for the quality and standard of these electric suites and see one in action. However the rest of the Costa Shelton range are available online to purchase 24/7.

Tuesday 3 July 2012

Integra High Efficiency Options

Cast-Iron fires may look attractive, but if ou burn solid fuel or gas inside a traditional grate, the fire could be as little as 25% efficient. In other words 75% of the heat you are paying to produce is going up the chimney. A little disappointing considering these stunning fireplaces aren't the cheapest.

So how about a range of unique cast-iron fireplaces, similar to others in the market, but specifically designed and manufacturerd to integrate with some of the most efficient gas, solid fuel and electric fires on the market today? These unique fireplaces form part of the Integra Collection from Cast Tec.

The benefits of the Integra range include high-outputs, high-efficiency, easy installation and may not even require ventilation. This combined with an Integra option to suit almost any flue application. Have a look at the table below and you can see that where a standard Cast iron fire could be only 25% efficient, with an Intergra Cast Iron insert or combination the minimum efficiency is 55%, more than double that of the competition.

Gas Integra Options  (open fires unless stated)
Flue Type
Integra Engine
Precast & Class 2
Slimline Multiflue
HO (High Output)
Convector Plus
Traditional (Glass Front)
HE (High Efficiency)
No Chimney
Fan Flue
No Chimney (Glass Front)
Balanced Flue

But what about solid fuel? The Solid Fuel Integra is a glass fronted inset stove which slots into a choice of cast-iron fireplace producing an output of up to 5kW and an efficiency of up to 70%.
The electric Integra is an electric fire engine which slots into a choice of cast-iron firepalce which will fit against any flat wall (using a 76mm rebated mantel)

Sunday 1 July 2012

We All Love A Woodburning Stove

Woodburning stoves are one of the most popular means of heating our homes, but while you undoubtedly appreciate a stove’s design and energy efficiency, do you know how it actually works?
With a wide range of options available, designed to suit the interior design and heating demand of every home, wood burners are a great way to stay warm and save some money in the process. A great alternative to the open fireplace, wood stoves reduce heating bills and a home’s carbon footprint too, thanks their ability to burn logs more slowly.
Compared to the average open fireplace which has a maximum energy efficiency rating of 37% with the Aga Rembrandt, modern woodburning stoves start from around 70% and many exceed 80%. This means you’ll effectively get three-times more heat from using the same amount of logs.
We all love a roaring fire, and there’s nothing as cosy as gathering around the burning logs on a winter’s evening, keeping warm and entertained by the dancing flames. There is something mesmerising about log fires, and they’re great for toasting marshmallows and chestnuts too.
Today’s woodburning stoves have certainly come a long way since the pot belly stove of the eighteenth century, both in terms of aesthetics and energy efficiency. Provided stoves are professionally installed in the most sensible spot and correctly connected, you should be able to enjoy clean-burning fires and environmentally-friendly heating.
Heat rises so it makes sense to position your wood burner centrally so that as the wood burns, and the heat comes from the top and sides of the stove, this is radiated throughout the house.
Most stoves have a primary and secondary air supply, to enable you to control the flames and, in turn, the intensity of heat emitted. When you first light the wood logs inside the firebox primary air is drawn inside to aid combustion, normally controlled through vents at the front of the stoves that can be adjusted according to the desirable heat output. Once the fire is burning brightly, a wood burner tends to rely on secondary air instead.
Pre-heated, secondary air boosts combustion and helps ensure any unburned particles which may be in the smoke are burned cleanly (this is known as the clean burn system). This system keeps your chimney clear of too many unburned particles as well as ensuring the logs burn with bright flames.
Stoves with a heat output over 5kW may also have a provision for external air installed into the room they’re located. This facility enables air to come from outside your house rather than from within the room, boosting heating efficiency further.
The glass of a stove door is usually kept clean thanks to airwash technology, which uses a specially placed vent to draw in cool air from the room. This air is then heated and ducted to wash over the glass and clean away any particles – ensuring you keep a clear view of the fire inside.
There are other factors to keep in mind to help ensure the smooth running of your woodburning stove. These include wood type and size. You need to burn seasoned logs in your stove or you’ll reduce its heat efficiency, and by using hardwoods you’ll boost efficiency even more as these burn more slowly. It’s important to cut the wood to the right size for your stove, too. And of course, installing the right stove in the first place is essential if you are to maximise on the many benefits of the heating device.