Some points to think about when planning to keep warm this Winter

I’m very lucky, I got off the gas grid fourteen years ago when natural gas prices started to shoot up. My house has quite a large living room / dining room (knocked through into one). It’s a lot of space to heat and I used to have two gas fires and central heating. It was never warm and I installed a large 14KW multifuel stove which cost me £1,500. So, something like that might be worth considering… but… if you’re going to keep warm this Winter, you will need to find a supply of fuel. Do you have access to dry, cheap, burnable wood? Do you have a coal merchant who’ll deliver to your home? Can you get cheap propane gas? Have you considered heating oil? Have you considered installing a more efficient gas fire and maybe turning the central heating off?

Living with a wood burner is hard work. Obviously, you need to keep throwing wood in to keep warm, so, if you have a good supply of cheap firewood, get a big woodburner which can be damped down. That way you can throw in a load of wood, get it roaring and then cut down the oxygen to get a longer burn. If you get a multifuel stove, you can burn wood and / or smokeless fuel. You’ll need to get a good supplier for the smokeless fuel, preferably one that can deliver. You’ll also need to have a place to store the smokeless fuel, but it’ll come in watertight plastic bags (20kg or 25kg). The Ray Max 21kw Wood Burning Multi fuel, Stove is on ebay at £645 plus £30 delivery, it weighs 107kg and you’ll need to check out the cost of installation which won’t be cheap.

What about a natural gas fire? You can still buy bigger gas fires like the Flavel Strata Convector Gas Fire (check it out on ebay £442), it has a maximum heat output of 5.2 KW, so will cost around £142 a month (at 15p per KWh) if you leave it on 6 hours a day. 5.2 KW is a reasonable amount of heat for a large room. If you don’t have natural gas, you could buy a propane heater designed to run off a 15kg gas bottle. The heaters cost around £100 off ebay and they’ll run on full power (4.2KW) for around 40 hours, so you’d need a new bottle every week if you run it six hours a day. Check if you have a bottled gas supplier in your area who’ll deliver. You can also buy free standing propane heaters like the Sealey LP13 Bottle Mounting Propane Gas Space Heater, which you can hook up to the largest propane bottle (47Kg). On full power, a free standing propane heater on the largest bottle will last 142 hours, or 5 hours a day for a month. A 47Kg bottle in Bolton, where I live will cost £75. So, that’s a few ideas for people trying to keep warm this Winter, but another thing I do which is very effective, is to keep the warm air circulating. You can use an electric freestanding fan, or a ceiling fan to push the warm air down and around, and it can make a lot of difference to comfort levels.

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