Heating your kitchen: what are the options?
Now the clocks have gone back, the nights are drawing in and temperatures have definitely dropped here in North Wales. I sound like an elderly lady!
I actually quite like that time of year when there is a chill in the air. I enjoy getting wrapped up all warm and getting all the hats and gloves out for everyone.
What I also like though, is coming in from the cold to a cosy house, and given how much time we spend in the kitchen, having a cosy kitchen is top of my list.
If you are planning a new kitchen, getting the heating right to start out with can be key, these things are harder to fix later on.
If you’re already planning a kitchen, then you might well have spent a lot of time pondering 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.
How you heat your kitchen, whether it’s radiators, a cast-iron range that runs the central heating, or underfloor heating, your choice will have a huge impact not just on how you use your kitchen when it’s complete but how you design the room from the outset. If you are in need of some glorious kitchen design inspiration check out these stunning contemporary kitchens.
Back to Basics
The key to a heating system that works efficiently is a good boiler. When you’re planning your kitchen design, 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 (which we always need more of) and you’ll benefit from instant hot water if you opt for a condensing combi-boiler.
Choosing your type
For many years, central heating systems running a series of radiators have been the heating of choice. Usually already in place, 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 it’s look like Bisque’s Classic range, which echoes Edwardian shapes.
If you’re particularly eco-minded then aluminium models are a good option, as they heat up and cool down much faster than traditional radiators, which will save both time and energy, I also think these can look great too.
One thing you should do if considering radiators is ensure you have just the right amount to heat the room. There are aplenty of online calculators to help you do this – just pop in the room’s dimensions, the number of windows and the calculator will give you the BTUs or wattage required.
This is my absolute favourite. I love nothing more than walking into a room with a heated floor. This is a great option if your kitchen is being designed from the floor up; underfloor heating gives comfortable radiant heat and can deliver great savings too, which is a real bonus.
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.
There are two options, electric and wet systems. Electric flooring is easier to fit, 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 require more work and are better suited to renovations such as new extensions or completely new builds.
One of the biggest benefits of underfloor heating is that you don’t have to give over valuable wall space to radiators, meaning you can often include more cabinets for additional space and bespoke storage solutions. Let’s face it, more space is always a bonus.
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.
I love an Aga! There’s just something about them. While an ‘always-on’ Aga is often the traditional choice in farmhouse designs, and it will provide a radiant heat to warm your kitchen on a winter’s morning, sadly 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.
Finally, 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, I’ve not done this yet but love the idea of it.
How do you currently heat your kitchen? How would you change it?