Heating your home in winter: The South African dilemma

Infiniti Fires has added new model wood stoves to its existing range, with several of these being economy models. (Image: Supplied)

Did you know a 300m² house with reasonably good insulation will require about 10 000 KwHrs of energy to maintain a comfortable 20 to 22°C temperature over a four-month Highveld winter period?

A comparison of energy costs for 10 000 KwHrs of energy

Open flued gas fireR100KHuge heat loss via perpetually open chimney
Underfloor electrical heatingR40KRequires electricity to operate
Electrical heatersR33KRequires electricity to operate
Flue-less gas firesR30KGreat heaters for use in open-plan living areas
Open wood firesR28KHuge heat loss via perpetually open chimney
Air conditionersR15KRequires electricity to operate
Closed-combustion wood stoveR4KEconomical, environmentally friendly heating

Apart from the financial costs of using electricity for home heating and the burden of loadshedding, using 10 000 KwHrs of electricity would entail Eskom burning four tons of coal and consuming 200 000 litres of water (roughly three swimming pools), creating significant air pollution and straining South Africa’s water supply.

The challenge many of us are grappling with is how to reduce our reliance on Eskom’s unreliable electrical supply, and keep our homes warm in winter.

Many homeowners have outdated home heating systems that were never designed to be highly efficient or generate enough heat to warm the home from one heat source. If you have an existing built-in open brick fireplace, or a Jetmaster, Home Fires, or similar open steel firebox, it is often a simple one-day job to convert that box to a high-efficiency wood stove without any damage to walls. Many existing inefficient flued gas fires can also be converted either to a high-efficiency flue-less gas fire or a wood stove in a day.

In 2024, Infiniti Fires added new model wood stoves to its existing range, with several of these being economy models designed to heat 80 to 120m² spaces, which is great to heat a good size living area or more in many smaller houses. Using the technology developed over the last 15 years in our older wood stove models, these newcomers to our range provide both good heating capacities and efficiencies, as well as stylish modern looks.

Visit the official COVID-19 government website to stay informed: sacoronavirus.co.za