A country home is the ideal for some – a relaxing retreat far from the traffic (and crowding) of the city. Perhaps in a tidy little village where you can raise a family. However, some 15% of UK homes are not connected to gas mains. As more of these are found in rural areas than in the city, you might be looking at either much more traditional – or much more modern – ways to stay warm over the winter months.
Hearths, coal fires and wood-burning stoves
Nothing is quite so cheery as a fire, and these older methods are still the heating system of choice for some rural homes. A roaring wood fire is the essence of ‘northern homeliness’, and a good old fashioned coal fire puts out a tremendous amount of heat – but only for one room at a time.
Wood- and coal-fired stoves offer an effective alternative, without the smoke, ash and soot issues that open fires present. However they will still struggle to keep an entire home warm, and it is still unsafe to leave them burning unattended or while you sleep.
In the end, fires are not a perfect primary heating solution – even if they make winter nights in the lounge extremely cosy.
The less said about storage heaters the better. Nonetheless, there are plenty of effective ways to heat a rural home using electricity. One northern favourite is underfloor heating. This provides a gentle, constant warmth throughout the entire property, and as a bonus, you needn’t put slippers on just to make your morning cup of tea.
An electric boiler is also an option, as are fancy new devices like infrared heating panels. All of these systems work, and if installed properly work quite well. However, you’ll pay for the luxury, as these systems can be expensive to fit. Another issue is that they don’t come anywhere near the cost efficiency of the gas boilers they substitute for.
Central heating boilers fired by oil or LPG
These are certainly an option. They work essentially the same way as a gas boiler, only with a different fuel supply. In fact, a visitor to your home would never know it wasn’t a gas system.
The real drawback here is cost. Even a modern, efficient LPG or oil boiler will cost substantially more to run than a gas boiler. But then again, no one said retiring to the countryside with all the comforts of the city was cheap.
You can also explore heat pumps, biomass boilers, and solar options. In the end, though, most of these are simply water radiators or electric heating with an alternate fuel source.
To conclude, there are plenty of ways to stay warm in a rural home. You just have to decide upon the balance of comfort vs. expense you prefer, and choose options as appropriate.