Buying a wood burner can seem quite daunting at first. We are happy to provide advice and help for any queries you may have but we have compiled a list of questions we find are commonly asked by our customers:
This will depend on several factors. What you want to burn – just wood or other materials such as coal or smokeless fuel. What style you like – traditional or modern, inset or freestanding. What the space is like in and around your chimney. What size or kW stove you will need for your room. And of course, your budget.
There are so many wood burning stoves out there it can be difficult to know where to start. We have experience of fitting many different manufacturers and styles and we would advise speaking to us to point you in the right direction about what stoves might suit your purpose, style and home.
Wood burning stoves are far more efficient than many other forms of heating for your home. To run a stove efficiently you need to burn the right wood – dry seasoned hard wood is best and you should burn it at the most efficient temperature. We would recommend you use a flue thermometer so that you can be sure you are using your stove most efficiently. This indicates the range of temperature that it is best to keep your wood burner at when lit.
The Stove Industry Alliance (SIA) states that burning wood is the most environmentally friendly fuel you can use, as it is virtually carbon neutral. SIA statistics also state that on average an open fire is 32% efficient, a gas effect fire is in the region of 55% whilst most modern efficient wood burners have an efficiency of over 70% or more. This level of efficiency along with the low CO2 output makes wood burners an environmentally friendly, sustainable and highly efficient form of heating your home. It also means that it can be far cheaper to run a stove than another form of heating, by way of example, the SIA state that a wood burner is 77% cheaper to run (per kilowatt hour) than an electric fire, 29% cheaper than a gas fire and 43% cheaper than oil.
A wood burner generally means that you have a carbon neutral source of heat that is more eco friendly. Having a multi-fuel stove does however mean you can burn coal and smokeless fuels (if you are in a Smoke Control Area which most people in urban areas will be). Which stove to go for often comes down to personal preference but we are happy to discuss the benefits and disadvantages of both and advise on what type of stove we think will best meet your needs.
Freestanding stoves in fireplaces need a gap of a least 100mm to either side of the stove and 150mm above the stove. These are the minimum requirement and it is preferable that the gaps are larger.
We can often find solutions to this, for example, knocking fireplaces out to make them larger and doing the building work to make them good again. There are also other options such as inset stoves which we would be happy to advise you about.
If you do not have a chimney it is still possible to have a stove. It would mean installation of what is known as a twin wall insulated flue system. Some examples of these installations can be seen in our gallery. This will need to run on the outside wall of your property, or in the right circumstances it can run through your house and out of your roof. The materials and flue to carry out twin wall installations is more expensive than if you have an existing chimney.
We strongly recommend that a wood burning stove is installed with a flue liner. The flue liners we fit have a guarantee of 15 or y 30 years depending the grade of flue liner used, 316 grade or 906 grade.
Without a flue liner, to be able to HETAS approve your installation a smoke test must be carried out and if there are any leaks then the installation will not be HETAS approved and therefore not building regulation compliant. Often the most cost and time efficient way of dealing with this is by installing a flue in the first instance. We would say that almost all of installations require a flue liner.
Flue liners help prevent leaks of smoke and gases and prevent condensation in the flue/chimney. This means that you are sure that your stove can burn at its full potential providing you with a more environmentally and economically efficient stove.
The cost of each installation can vary, depending on building work that may be required and whether we supply your mantel and hearth. As a basic guideline price the installation (not including the cost of a stove) will cost between £900 and £1500. The cost of a twin wall installation (if you do not have a chimney) would be more than this.
All stoves must sit on a non-combustible hearth. We supply and make slate hearths which we often find suits all types of stoves and homes – contemporary or traditional. In general, a hearth must extend 300mm in front of the stove and 150mm either side. As part of any site visit we would discuss this with you and talk about the options for your hearth.
As we are HETAS approved we will certificate your installation and ensure that it meets building regulations. There is no need for you to obtain planning permission for the installation of a stove.
Generally, if a stove has an output of over 5kw then it is necessary to have a permanently open air vent – this is often done in an external wall. We would advise you further on this on a visit to your property having discussed stove options with you.
If we can we like to show our customers or explain how to light their stove at the end of the installation. We are also happy to email you or speak on the phone about using your stove following installation.
Firstly, you must start with all the air controls open on your stove. Place a firelighter or paper on the bed of the stove and then build up around this with dry kindling that will catch light easily. Then on top build up some larger dry logs. We would normally keep all primary air vents on open until the fire is lit. We would advise keeping the secondary air control fully open until you flue reaches optimum temperature of around 300 degrees Fahrenheit, a flue thermometer is the best thing to enable you to monitor the flue temperature. Controls tend to vary from stove to stove so we are happy to provide guidance on lighting your stove once installed.
If you are lighting your stove for the first time and it is brand new it may give off an odour or chemical smell. This is because the paint on your stove will go through a curing process the first time it is lit. Try not to burn the stove too hot and keep the fire small for these initial couple of burns.
This is called downdraught and often occurs when the air in the flue is cold. This can happen in very cold weather, if the weather is very still with no breeze or if you have not used the wood burner for some time. You can often feel the cold air.
We recommend trying to heat your flue, this means a small heater or hairdryer, burning a couple of firelighters or using a small gas camping stove with the door ajar for 5 minutes or so. Once the flue is warmer you should be able to light the stove without any downdraught.
It does also help to keep the air vent open on your stove, by pulling the right-hand lever on your stove fully out to keep some warm air passing through when the flue is not in use.
Sometimes, you can get down draft if there are high buildings or trees near to the flue which cause the wind blowing over the top to dip down. In this instance an anti-downdraught cowl would help.
The best way to monitor the temperature of your wood burning stove it to use a flue thermometer. This will help ensure you are burning your stove at the optimum and most efficient temperature. This is between around 280 and 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you have a wood burning stove it is important that the wood you burn is dry. If it is not dry, then energy is wasted in burning off water content before kicking out any heat. Using damp wood is also often the main culprit for leaving you with dirty glass on your stove – if you are burning dry wood at the optimum temperature your glass should stay clear!
Burning wood with a low moisture content can be up to 4 times more efficient according to the SIA. We recommend using a moisture.