Fire place

We live in a house built in the '80s (1987 apparently).

It has gas central heating, and a fireplace (with, obviously, a chimney).

This seems odd, as why would you need both, but really, do they build any houses with a fireplace any more. Why did they do so even in the '80s?

Over the years there have been changes. We have had the boiler replaced, and the hot water system (mains pressure hot water is great), and we have installed air-con units in many rooms now. In my "man cave" which is formerly the garage, the only heating is the air-con, which is very efficient and effective.

However, a few rooms in the house are still only heated by the gas central heating, such as hallway, landing, utility room, dining room, living room, kitchen, and one bedroom. They all have radiators that are still used.

This year, for the first time in like a decade, we are actually considering lighting the fire. Some years ago we had the chimney checked out and cleaned out, so should be OK, well, we'll see.

This is purely for decorative reasons as a Christmassy sort of thing. I can imagine the "fond memory" of a "real log fire" is a long way from the reality, somehow.

I am, of course, wary that this will be a problem. We do have a good fire guard, and have had for all these years, mainly to try and stop the cat climbing the chimney to chase the sound of birds sitting at the top. Does not work. I also have a fire extinguisher on standby...

But then it occurred to me, the thermostat (which I replaced with a digital one some time ago) is positioned in the living room, where the fireplace is located. This seems to be a design flaw.

Once the living room is nice and toasty from a real log fire, the central heating is going to shutdown, making several rooms in the house damn cold.

Thankfully not my "man cave" nor my bedroom as I have air-con, but still, rather a daft design.

P.S. It is December, in what the news says is a really cold winter, and I have just had to switch my air-con to cool in the man-cave as it up to 23C in here (no, we have not lit a fire). What the hell?


  1. There is nothing like a real fire. May I recommend the smokeless 'eggs'. They take a little lighting with sticks to get them going but then they burn for ages with no smoke and they don't cover the room with soot.


  2. I think in the 80s people buying houses probably grew up with a fireplace being used often and expected one, hence house builders still put one in. I guess mid 90s or after they stopped bothering after they figured the cost/space wasn't worth it.
    The chimney in my house was dropping bricks and runs through the middle of the house, so I decided to have the stack removed completely.

  3. check out honeywell evohome, digital TRVs on radiators which call for heat in each room as required

  4. We have gas heaters in our house, which we've kept as an emergency backup for the central heating (bit daft as that's gas too!). But the gas heaters need a flue to let the exhaust gases out, which means they need a working chimney. Could that be why chimneys hung on so long - for gas heating, rather than actual fires?

  5. I live in a new build, no fireplace, no chimney, nothing beyond a fused spur for an electric fire

  6. We had just a wood burner for heating for a few years - was interesting having the lounge at 28C to have the rest of the house at a reasonable temp! Finally got a gas boiler last week (totally agree about mains pressure hot water) and I put the thermostat in the hallway. Seems to work well - we can light the fire if we want but the rest of the house will either still be heating by the boiler or the heat from the fire will be getting to it. Best of both worlds...

  7. Easy - get a Nest thermostat and you can move it wherever you want!

    1. I would recommend tado rather than Nest. Having changed all the standard radiator TRVs for tado ones, I've found heating of each individual room works so much better now.

  8. The best intelligent home heating control is Honeywell EvoHome, lets you replace the radiator valve heads with tiny motorised heads with a nice LCD display and a wireless mesh network back to the wall thermostat. You can independently program any temperature you like, at any time, in any room - and access it from your phone via a nice app. I think the APIs are available, too....

  9. Your posts inspired me to get an ASHP in my front room, we went for a Daikin system with wifi connectivity and IFTTT integration. It works really well, both for heating and cooling. Hopefully we'll have it all over the house eventually and just scrap the gas.

  10. My house was built in 94, and the people who bought it new specified a chimney, so one was built. They liked a open log fire. When we bought it from them, we got rid of the grate and installed a log burner. It's lovely on cold evenings.

    However you do need to have the chimney checked annually if you're using the fire. CO2 is not a fun thing... if a bird has made a nest up there you could have a problem!


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