But for a cheaper quick-fix you need look no further than a wood-burning stove – and summer is the time to have it installed.
During this quiet period staff are likely to have more time to help you choose the right model and answer your questions. And there are a lot to ask.
First is whether you want a stove that will heat just one room or several and the answer is that unless you are at the early stages of a new-build it is difficult to have a multi-room system installed because they need special systems to move the heat around.
But if you are planning on refurbishing your home then you could be in luck: “Eighty per cent of what we do is during refurbishments,” says Nick Chesney of fireplace maker Chesney’s, based in South-west London’s Battersea (020 7627 1410; chesneys.co.uk).
If you want a stove to heat just one room, though, it’s much easier and surprisingly effective: “An open fire loses 70 to 80 per cent of its heat through the chimney but a wood-burning stove sends 70 per cent of its heat into a room,” explains Chesney.
“With an open fire you get an hour’s worth of heat for the same amount of logs that would give you three hours’ heat in a stove,” he adds.
Deciding on a traditional style or Scandi modern model is the easy bit. Choosing the right size involves some maths: “You have to measure the room to work out the volume and what size stove you need. You don’t want anything too powerful for the room.”
The average living room will probably need a 4kw or 5kw stove while an open plan kitchen and family room might need 6kw or 8kw.
The type you choose depends on whether you have an open fire. If so, it’s relatively easy to take out the grate and knock out the cement behind the fireplace to reveal the original hole where a smaller stove can easily fit.
More powerful stoves are bigger and sometimes a freestanding model with a flue that feeds through to the chimney is the best solution.
That’s when you’ll need real expert advice: “Based on a photograph of a room and some measurements we can give a pretty accurate quote but if not we pop out to see customers.”
The bottom line is that it is probably going to cost at least £3,000 for a small stove and professional fitting – an absolute must for safety reasons – and there could be extra costs if scaffolding is needed to get to the chimney.
Getting a stove should add value to your home and will help keep it cosy in winter. But if you’re in the market to move it’s worth…