Maintaining a warm kitchen this winter The clocks have gone back, and winter is officially here – the nights are getting darker and temperatures have dropped.
When designing a kitchen, heating systems might not be the top of your priorities – you’re probably too busy considering the type of bespoke cabinetry you want or worktops, splashback materials and the appliances you and your family will need to keep things running smoothly.
You might have even started to think about lighting and wall colours but the one thing that can often make or break the usability of a kitchen – particularly during the winter months – is often not given nearly enough thought.
Especially during winter months, how you heat your kitchen, whether it’s radiators, a cast-iron range that runs the central heating, or underfloor heating, will have a huge impact not just on how you use your kitchen when it’s complete but how you design the room from its inception.
Starting from scratch They key to heating a home efficiently is a working, reliable, good boiler. In the design stages of your new kitchen, whether it’s going to be traditional, modern or a contemporary kitchen, it might be worth factoring in a new boiler rather than repairing it if yours is more than 15 years old as they’re not nearly as energy efficient as new models. Updating an old system to an A-rated condensing boiler could reward you with a 90% increase in efficiency. Also, replacing a boiler could free up room for more cupboards or worktops and you’ll benefit from instant hot water if you opt for a condensing combi-boiler.
How will you heat your kitchen? Radiators Radiators are a common choice across many homes to keep them warm, especially during the winter months. Central heating systems which are usually already in place can run radiators throughout the home. Updating them from dated 1970s flat panel models to one of the many stunning styles on offer from specialists such as Bisque or Aestus can completely change the look of a room. For contemporary schemes look at ladder-style vertical radiators in sleek white and steel finishes and for classic kitchens pick something a little more period in its look like Bisque’s Classic range, which echoes Edwardian shapes.
Aluminium models are a more energy efficient option as they heat up and cool down much faster than traditional radiators, which will save both time and energy.
You should also consider using an online calculator to help make sure you have just the right amount to heat the room. All you need to do is just pop in the room’s dimensions, the number of windows and the calculator will give you the BTUs or wattage required.
Underfloor heating An option many people consider as a little luxury. When you are designing your kitchen from the floor up, underfloor heating is a great option as it gives comfortable radiant heat and can deliver great savings too.
There are two options available, and depending on what type of heating you opt for, it can be used under most types of flooring, including: stone, tile, wood and vinyl. It’s best to check your floor is a suitable match before you go ahead and invest, but a large kitchen with porcelain or ceramic tiles are almost always a perfect fit with underfloor heating.
Electric flooring is one of your options, and it’s the easier one out of the two to fit with it being a network of wire elements on a mesh that is placed below the flooring or wet systems, which use water pipes below the floor. An electric system is easier to lay and can be retro-fitted fairly easily if you’re laying a new floor, just check with your builder first. Wet systems are your second option, and they require more work and are better suited to renovations such as new extensions or completely new builds.
The beauty of underfloor heating is that it takes up no room – you don’t have to give up valuable wall space for radiators, so you can squeeze in extra cupboards or bespoke storage solutions. It is also vital to have your kitchen design finalised before the pipes or matts are laid for the flooring, as it would be an absolute waste to heat built-in cupboards, or under appliances. A floor plan from your expert designer will help any heating engineer advise not only the best pattern to lay the floor in but also where to place the controls on the walls. Using a timed thermostat means that you can set the heating on to warm the room just enough so it’s a little easier to step into your kitchen on a frosty winter morning.
Cast-iron ranges An ‘always-on’ Aga is simply perfect for those traditionally designed kitchens, and it will provide a radiant heat to warm your kitchen on a winter’s morning, but it can’t run a central heating system. If you want your heat-store range to do that, then opt for models from Stanley or Rayburn, which can often run up to 20 radiators.
Go mobile Some heating providers have now developed mobile apps to control home heating systems. They can save you time and money, so, consider investing in an app-controlled heating system such as Hive or Nest so you can switch on your heating, using your phone, wherever and whenever you feel the need with great ease.