Upgrading your kitchen?

If you are thinking about upgrading your kitchen what do you need to consider? Well firstly you’ll probably want to see what the trends are in terms of designs, what the fashionable colours are and then think about the appliances and the layout.

There is so much to choose from – country designs to the latest hi-tech modern minimalist designs. Then there are the colours to consider? Cream, wood or darker colours?

Probably the last thing you’ll think about is heating. There’s probably a radiator in the kitchen already so why not stick with it? Have a think about it. It takes up quite a lot of valuable wall-space and removing it could free up lots of additional space for extra storage, more appliances and worktops.

Alternatives to a radiator
There are a couple of alternatives to radiators as heating in kitchens. There is underfloor heating but unless you can easily lower the floor to accommodate hydronic (water based) underfloor heating by around 150-200mm or opt for electric underfloor heating, which is relatively inexpensive to install being about 3mm thick and can sit under normal floor tiles. However, the high operating cost for electric underfloor heating means it is really only suitable for small spaces such as bathrooms/shower rooms or very small kitchens. Even then the high cost means that it is rarely economical to heat for any length of time.

What is the solution?
There is an alternative to heating kitchens using a radiator and that is with a plinth heater. Theses are slim-line fan convectors that sit in the plinth under the kitchen cupboards. They connect to the central heating system so work in the same way as a radiator but gently blow warm air in the kitchen when the heating is on. Because they use the hot water in the heating system already used in the other radiators in the property, they are very economical to use. They automatically switch on when the water in the heating system heated by the boiler reaches 38°C so they don’t blow cool air into the kitchen before they warm up. However, in the summer they can be set to blow cool air if needed. Installation of a plinth heater, such as Smith’s Space Saver, is easily achieved because the existing pipework that served the old radiator just needs to be connected to the plinth heater. A very simple plumbing job.

Different sizes of plinth heaters are available with different heat outputs for different kitchen sizes. There are even plinth heaters to suit shallow plinth depths typical of Scandinavian kitchen designs. And to suit the different kitchen colours and designs there are different finishes for the grilles.

Plinth heaters really make sense as people realise they can maximise the limited space in their kitchens without investing in expensive to install, or expensive to run, underfloor heating systems.