Patio Heaters: What are they, How do they work, and Where are they used

Patio Heaters: What are they, How do they work, and Where are they used? See the White and Black BN Thermic Patio Heaters at SparksPatio heaters. We all have seen them and enjoyed the warmth they give out. Recently I was walking by a small restaurant in Central London when a “heat of wave” hit me. It was so pleasant to have warm air come my way, since it can be quite chilly these days.

As autumn comes in and we’re getting closer to the end of the year, the weather becomes colder and colder.

It’s time for both businesses, restaurants, cafes, night clubs, and also the home owners to consider some kind of outdoor patio heating.

At Sparks we have a great range of heating solutions, and when it comes to patio heaters we rely on BN Thermic with their HWP2 patio heaters (in white or black) to give us the warm comfort we need when we sit or do things outside on the patio.

Patio Heating from BN Thermic for both Domestic and Commercial Applications

The HWP2 range of patio heaters from BN Thermic are a stylish means of providing comfort heat in both indoor and outdoor locations. You can have a professional quality patio heater at home or in a commercial application including pub gardens, pavement cafes, golf driving ranges, and restaurants. And what’s best about this is that they are completely safe to install and to leave outdoor all year round! Here are some top reasons to use a patio heater:

  • Provide safe, instant comfort heat in outdoor locations.
  • Ensure the maximum use of outdoor facilities even during a cold weather.
  • Minimal maintenance: especially when compared to gas systems!
  • Low running costs by selecting from a range of control options.
  • Smart modern design to complement the external decor.

Typical Applications of a Patio Heater

Here are some of the most typical applications of a patio heater – both in pictures and in words.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

  • Patios – both commercial and domestic; whether at home, at the restaurant, at the shops, or at the cafe, we need to stay warm!
  • Pub gardens – why let your customers freeze while eating their lovely dinner at the pub when you can provide a warm environment for them to enjoy their meal?
  • Pavement cafes – the hot tea or coffee is not enough to make your customers warm; try a patio heater!
  • Golf driving ranges – you know where the golf players stand when they practice – why not make sure they are warm when they use the golf driving range?
  • Nightclub queuing areas – having customers complain when queuing up to get into the nightclub or club is awful!
  • Smoking areas – Maybe not all the smoking areas need heating (we need less smoking!) but at least the most popular areas need to be heated up!
  • Tube stations – see the picture above: why not heat up the tube stations or platforms with a patio heater?

How does a Patio Heater work?

According to BN Thermic, the manufacturer of the popular HWP2 patio heaters, here’s how these heaters work:

HWP patio heaters use quartz heat lamps to produce shortwave energy. This energy is directed at the required target area by a precision designed parabolic reflector. Shortwave energy moves in straight lines from the reflector to the target area without heating the air in between. However once the energy is absorbed by solid bodies, which could be objects or people, it is experienced as heat. Shortwave energy cannot be blown off course by breezes and draughts making it ideally suited to outdoor use.

As HWP patio heaters are 100% effective the instant they are switched on, there is no need to pre-warm an area. For this reason it is a good idea to use control devices that ensure that an occupied area is not heated. Typically these would be time delay switches or movement sensors. See the ‘controls’ tab for full details of the BN Thermic range of patio heater controls.

Patio Heaters – Features and Benefits

  • Ideal for outdoors: the IP55 rating allows the heater to be installed and left outdoors throughout the year.
  • Solid and safe: the construction is of aluminium with stainless steel safety grille.
  • Long life lamp: High quality halogen lamp with 7000 hours average operating life.
  • Replacing the lamp: the halogen lamp is easily replaceable.
  • Finishes: choice of black, white or silver finish.
  • Wall or Parasol mounting: Wall mounting bracket and parasol clamp supplied as standard.
  • Heat Efficient: the open fronted design provides a 25% increase in heating efficiency when compared with glass-fronted heaters.
  • Suspension: the convenient rear mounted lugs facilitate suspension.
  • Easy to control: you can simply use the patio heaters with an existing switch, or you can purchase a push button timer (2mins to 2h setting), a movement sensor (yes, they work with a PIR), or even a dimmer (0-100% heater output – how great is that!).

You can safely and securely (and warmly) purchase the HWP2 range of Patio Heaters at Sparks – see the Heating Solutions section.

Introducing MK and Hager Amendment 3 Compliant Consumer Units at Sparks

After speaking of the 3rd Amendment to the 17th Edition Regs (which comes into full application in the beginning of 2016), we need to pay attention to what kind of consumer units we install in new built properties, HMOs, or when we replace a consumer unit.

The main considerations with these new boards is the protection against thermal effects (protection against fire) for a longer period of time and the protection against electrical shock (via an RCD).

It used to be that the consumer units could use a plastic enclosure, but starting from the 1st of January 2016 ALL the consumer units installed have to be of metal and need to have an RCD protection. Most of the consumer units manufacturers came out with a range of Metal Consumer Units (RCD protected, fire proof), and in this article we would like to introduce some of the most popular ones from MK and Hager.

MK 10 Way Metal Consumer Unit (Amendment 3 Compliant) – Best Value for Money!

MK 10 Way Metal Consumer Unit (Amendment 3 Compliant) - Best Value for Money!The MK Sentry K7666sMET consumer unit is a 17th Edition Amendment 3 compliant metal board, a 16 way enclosure with 10 useable ways. It comes fully populated with 10 MCBs (3 x 6A, 2 x 16A, 4 x 32A, 1 x 40A) and it has a 100A switch disconnector. This metal consumer unit has a stylish design, curved, and it makes full use of the floating bus bar system, offering you an ample wiring space.

This unit comes in a white coloured metal and comes pre-fitted with a switch disconnector and RCD together with all the necessary split-load cabling. The flexible design allows you to position the RCD to suit the required configuration. At Sparks this MK board is now at a reduced price – it is the best Amendment 3 consumer unit value for money!

Hager Design 10 Consumer Units – Reliable and Supportive

Hager Design 10 Consumer Units - Reliable and Supportive

Hager came out with quite a few ranges of consumer units to comply with the third amendment to the 17th edition regulations, one of which is Hager Design 10. This range is designed for safety, installation, and aesthetics, and it reliable and supportive. Here are some of the key points concerning these amendment 3 compliant boards:

  1. Cable Space – Maximum cable space is available even with RCBO’s fitted to make installation easier.
  2. Terminal bar – The top mounted terminal rail makes the wiring of the neutral and earth connections neat and simple.
  3. Fixings – Multiple points allow the use of No.8 or No.10 fixings giving a range of fixing options.
  4. Full metal DIN rail – Minimised distortion to ensure the devices sit square and are not easily displaced.
  5. Snap-able busbar – Provides quick and easy configuration of circuits.

Enjoy a video presentation of this great range from Hager below:

See the entire range of Hager Design 10 – from 2 way to 20 way boards (all of them Amendment 3 Compliant and with 63A/100A switch disconnector incomer) at Sparks.

NEW: USB Sockets from Heritage Brass in Flat, Stepped, and Raised Plate!

NEW: USB Sockets from Heritage Brass in Flat, Stepped, and Raised Plate!It’s about time that Heritage Brass would get in on this, and so they did – there’s now a brand new range of USB socket wiring accessories available in the popular flat plate, stepped plate, and raised plate ranges!

More and more what is needed is not only a regular double socket in a polished chrome flat plate or a twin socket with a stepped plate finish but a USB socket (or two USB sockets if possible) on a 2 gang regular 13A socket plate.

They are becoming commonly used and installed in both public places such as universities, schools, trains, train stations, restaurants, etc and in more domestic environments, and with the rising of the number of gadgets we buy, use, and own, we can’t keep carrying the charger with us – a simple USB cable will do the trick!

Heritage Brass USB Sockets – Engraved USB Socket

The Heritage Brass USB Sockets (also called, Engraved USB Sockets) compliment the popular Elite Flat Plate, Elite Stepped Plate, and Victorian Elite (raised plate) ranges of sockets. They come in all the well-known finishes such as Polished Brass, Polished Chrome, Satin Chrome, Satin Brass, and Satin Nickel.

Besides the 2 x 13A switched sockets (with white or black insert) on the plate there’s a clear engraving: on the left it says TABLET and on the right it says PHONE. The TABLET USB socket is 2A rated and is ideal for any tablet battery charging (such as iPad, Samsung Tablet, Nexus, Sony tablets, etc).

The PHONE USB socket is on the right and is 1A rated, being ideal for most smart phone charging (be it an iPhone or an Android phone). The clear engraving on the socket makes sure you won’t mistake which USB socket to use when charging your Samsung Galaxy tab or iPad (for example) or your iPhone (or Samsung Galaxy S6 for that matter, with that fast charging).

USB Socket in the Elite Flat Plate range

USB Socket in the Elite Flat Plate rangeThe Heritage Brass Elite Flat Plate range is famous for its choice of luxurious finishes designed to complement all types of installations and interior designs, combining style with elegance in one of the most extensive ranges of high quality flat plate electrical wiring accessories available.

The USB sockets in the Elite flat plate range come with White or Black plastic inserts and use a regular 35mm back box. These USB engraved sockets complement the Elite flat plate range, coming in all the regular brass, chrome, and nickel finishes.

USB Sockets in Stepped Elite range

USB Socket in the Elite Flat Plate rangeThe Heritage Brass Elite Stepped plate is an elegant range featuring full plates with an attractive stepped edge and contemporary square profile. They are ultra-slim and are preferred sometimes to the flat plate range.

The Stepped Plate USB sockets use a 35mm back-box and come in all the popular finishes (polished / satin chrome, brass, and nickel), with a choice of black or white plastic inserts. They fully comply with the relevant standards.

USB Sockets in the Victorian Elite raised plate range

USB Sockets in Stepped Elite rangeIf you prefer neither the stepped plate nor the flat plate, the 8mm projection “raised plate” in the Victorian Elite will definitely catch your attention. This is a most attractive range of plain raised plate wiring accessories designed by M-Marcus to complement the popular Elite Flat Plate ranges.

The USB sockets in the Victorian Elite range feature a choice of elegant finishes like the polished brass, polished chrome, satin chrome, and satin nickel, and they can be used with 25mm shallow back boxes.

Where can you find the Heritage Brass USB Sockets? Just search for Heritage USB or simply USB sockets on our website and you will be presented with a wide choice of flat plate, raised plate, or stepped plate USB engraved sockets from M-Marcus.

The Colorful Turbo Ceiling Fan that makes Both Children and Adults Happy

The Colorful Turbo Ceiling Fan that makes Both Children and Adults HappySummer is here; no matter the rainy days in-between, we all have to admit that at this time summer is on. If you’re not on holiday yet but you’re at the office or have to spend time at home you know what summer means: it’s hot inside!

A desk fan or a floor fan is very much welcomed in the office (and in our showroom in Archway, North London), but sometimes you have to go the extra mile and just get a ceiling fan installed. When we speak of ceiling fans we don’t refer to a ceiling extractor fan (like the Airflow, Manrose, Vent-Axia, Envirovent, or other extract fans) but a ceiling ventilation fans.

When considering what ceiling fan to order, here’s a minimal checklist:

  • You have to use the fan all year round, not just in the summer.
  • A light bulb on the fan would be nice (with a separate switch even nicer).
  • The fan has to look good, otherwise you just won’t like it up there on the ceiling.
  • There have to be more than one speed to the fan.
  • The fan has to be big enough to ventilate the air yet small enough not to look like a helicopter on the ceiling.

The Colorful Turbo II Ceiling Fan from Westinghouse

Westinghouse Turbo II Ceiling Fan - ceiling ventilation fan with maple, white, or colorful blades

Today we would like to recommend you a fan that will make both you and your family happy – the Westinghouse Turbo II ceiling ventilation fan. It comes with a high quality and virtually silent AC motor made of cold-rolled steel to ensure comfort throughout the year, and it has some really amazing features such as:

  • This fan makes both children and adults happy, since it comes with two sets of 6 blades in “Colors of Young Generation” and “Colors of Youth” and white and maple. If you want a more colorful ceiling fan, all you have to do is install the appropriate blades; if you want it a bit more classy, install the maple or white blades. The white frosted glass light in the center harmoniously mixes with the maple, white, or colorful blades to highlight any modern interior or give a more discreet aspect to the ceiling fan.
  • Summer and winter switch: you can switch between a comfortable cool climate in the summer and the optimum heat distribution during winter.
  • Three speed levels: you can choose the speed of the air ventilation in a very convenient way between 250 rpm, 190 rpm, or 130 rpm.
  • This 76cm ceiling fan is recommended for rooms up to 12 sqm, which should be OK for most living rooms in the UK.
  • Turn the light on: this fan comes with an E14 lamp (which needs to be ordered separately) with a diffuser in case you need a discreet ceiling light during the operation of the fan (or when the fan is not ON).
  • 10 year warranty: The motor has a 10 year extended manufacturer’s warranty.
  • Convenient switching: the fan comes with an integrated pull cord switch, but you can also wire it to the wall switch or you can use the Westinghouse remote control.
  • Great for DIY: the fan comes “in pieces”, you have to assemble it according to instructions (great for the DIY enthusiasts), but it needs to be installed by a registered electrician.

Enough talk about this ceiling fan: now let us see some pictures! Here’s how the Westinghouse Turbo II ceiling fan looks like – in both the colorful and the white and maple blades. You can purchase this fan via Sparks at the Ceiling Fans section, where you can also see more kinds of ceiling fans and more pictures.

Westinghouse Turbo II Ceiling Fan - Colorful and cheerful ceiling ventilation fan

Westinghouse Turbo II Ceiling Fan – Colorful and cheerful ceiling ventilation fan

Westinghouse Turbo II White Ceiling Fan - three speeds and summer/winter switch ventilation

Westinghouse Turbo II White Ceiling Fan – three speeds and summer/winter switch ventilation

Westinghouse Turbo II Ceiling Fan - three speeds and summer/winter switch ventilation with maple blades

Westinghouse Turbo II Ceiling Fan – three speeds and summer/winter switch ventilation with maple blades

The Intelligent LED Dimmer just got Smarter, Brighter, and Better!

One of the most common questions our customers ask us when it comes to light fittings is, Can this lamp take LED lights? and the next question immediately follows, Can I dim this LED? Using an LED lamp in a light fitting seems to not be enough – now we need to make sure we dim the LEDs!

The LED technology is in a continual development and improving, and there are better and higher output LED lamps in all the available lamp caps (including ES/E27, GU10, MR16, BC, etc) being put out at least once every two months. Many of the LED lamps are dimmable (though they are a bit more expensive than the non-dimmable ones), and here’s where problems come in: what dimmer works with this LED lamp?

Not every LED dimmer works with every LED lamp, but there are some who are tested and recommended by most LED lighting manufacturers. Part of these are the Varilight V-Pro range (earlier introduced here, with the video for setting up and customizing the LED dimmer), and today we would like to introduce another LED dimmer module: the Hamilton Litestat LEDstat.

Intelligent LED Dimmer from Hamilton Litestat

Hamilton’s new intelligent LED dimming device monitors and programs itself for best performance depending on the LED lamp used, making it compatible with a wide variety of branded lamp types. The LEDstat dimmer is available in a wide selection of Hamilton’s range of styles and finishes.

Hamilton’s new intelligent LED dimming device monitors and programs itself for best performance depending on the LED lamp used, making it compatible with a wide variety of branded lamp types. The LEDstat dimmer is available in a wide selection of Hamilton’s range of styles and finishes.

The LEDstat from Hamilton Litestat is a 5-100W electronic On/OFF auto detect intelligent LED dimmer module, a “Universal Grid LED Dimmer” that can easily replace the existing dimmer switch or regular switch. This LED dimmer resolves the compatibility issues between LEDs and dimmers – it is an intelligent LED dimming device which monitors and programmes itself for the best performance (depending on the LED light bulb used).

It is compatible with a wide variety of LED lamp types, and it has already made its mark while undergoing independent testing. Here is what some of testers had to say about the LEDstat from Hamilton,

  • This new dimmer has been developed in response to a common industry problem of operational performance compatibility issues between the LED lamps used and a conventional dimmer. The last thing a contractor needs is to be called back to a recently installed job to resolve these, costing him both time and money! Our research and development process has ensured that LEDstat’s design and performance delivery is second to none. We are confident that this is a truly revolutionary piece of technology – one we are proud to bring to market.” (Ian Hamilton, managing director of Hamilton Litestat)
  • This dimmer is truly the first product we have seen that provides constant results with all branded lamps tested.” (Jeremy Turner, FAB Controls Ltd)
  • LEDstat from Hamilton – Resolving compatibility issues between LEDs and dimmers (via, The Electrical Portal)
  • “This new innovation by Hamilton has already made its mark while undergoing independent testing” (via, Connecting Industry)
  • “LEDstat delivers optimum dimming performance when the same brand of LED lamp is used” (via, Lighting News)
  • LED-STAT nominated for the awards in 2014 (via, Luckins Live)
  • LEDstat from Hamilton makes the finals of the Electrical Industry Awards in 2014! (via, Total Lighting Magazine)

LEDstat from Hamilton makes the finals of the Electrical Industry Awards in 2014

Ian Hamilton, LEDstat Interview

What is so special about this LED dimmer? Here are some of its smart features:

  1. This LED dimmer is “phase adaptive”, which means that it thinks before it acts. It comes with an integrated sophisticated microprocessor which analyses the connected LEDs and tetermines the best dimming curve necessary to achieve a maximum performance. No need to set it up to obtain the best performance: the LED dimmer sets itself up! When this LED dimmer is installed and is first powered up, the LEDstat begins its analysis and emits a short series of audible beeps to confirm when the process is complete.
  2. Similar size and design to a standard dimmer / switch module, allowing you to easily replace your existing dimmer with the highly performant LEDstat. It can be mounted onto the same wide choice of faceplate designs and finishes, and with the help of a little kit (which needs to be ordered separately, see GRIDKITW), you can safely fit this LED module into most Hamilton, MK, BG, Crabtree, Schneider, DETA, Hager, Wandsworth grid ranges.
  3. Soft Start: the soft start of this LED dimmer extends the LED lamp life and comes with a min/max level setting, an auto manual dimmer model, a multiway dimming operation, and in 1-4 gang options.
  4. Compatible with multiple kinds of light sources like incandescent lamps, mains halogen, mains dimmable LED lamps, dimmable LV electronic transformers, and dimmable LED lamps.
  5. Intelligent LED dimmer module: besides being a “universal grid LED module”, this LEDstat dimmer allows you to dim from 5-100W load of LED lights, and can work both with leading edge and with trailing edge LED lamps.
  6. When replacing a LED lamp, don’t worry about it: LEDstat will automatically determine the best dimming curve necessary to achieve maximum performance to suit the new brand mix. And what’s best, you experience smooth dimming yet without any mains noise or acoustic noise when in operation!

Did we mention that this LED dimmer sells like “hot bread” in our showroom via the counter? You can also purchase the LEDstat dimmer module from Sparks here; watch the LED start up guide video via youtube below.

« Older Entries