- CAN I HAVE A STOVE?
- Can any property have a stove?
Any home is suitable, or can be made suitable but you need to check if there are any planning restrictions or lease terms which restrict your options. If a house has a chimney, it is usually possible to fit a stove. If no chimney is present, a rigid flue system can be built, either straight up and through the roof, or out through the wall and up the side of the building.
- Can I burn wood in a smoke control zone?
Yes but you will need to make sure your stove has been Defra approved for burning in a smoke control area. Fortunately there is a growing supply of these from various manufacturers.
- Can I connect my stove to a central heating system?
Many stoves have the option of a back boiler, this can provide hot water or link into a central heating circuit to distribute the heat around the house. You must take care as there are safety implications. However a good plumber or heating engineer will install a safe and very effective system that will give you years of cheap heat.
- Can I fit the stove myself?
Yes. You must get it signed off to current building regulations though. Please note – most solid fuel installation problems arise due to poorly installed DIY installations – it’s not just dropping a tube down a chimney!
- Can I install a stove in my conservatory?
Yes you can. However occasionally you will have to seek planning permission. This is particularly relevant if you are in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The answer is to install a Twin Wall system. This is a chimney system which has an inner skin, a densely packed layer of insulation and an outer skin. If you have a brick glazed conservatory you may be able to go straight through the bottom brick section of the conservatory and up the outside (dependent upon how many courses of bricks there are in the bricked section) or you can go through the roof of the conservatory. If this is glazed you will need a glazier to cut a hole in one the glazed roof panels to accommodate the flue. You will still need a flashing to protect the edges of the glass which will be siliconed in position and may not look that pretty from below. Some customers choose to replace the panel which the flue goes through to solid to avoid this.
- Can you supply a stove that I find elsewhere online?
We are pretty sure we can, just ask. We also offer price matching… ask about that too!
- Carbon Monoxide poisoning only happens with gas doesn’t?
No!! Carbon monoxide is produced when ANY fuel is burned including wood and coal. Carbon monoxide is silent, invisible, tasteless and odourless and it kills people. This is one of the reasons why lining your chimney is so important. In an unlined chimney, hairline cracks can appear anywhere the whole length of the chimney, so a property may have CO leaking into it in the room where the appliance is, in a bedroom above or even in the loft. You can’t see it, smell it, taste it or hear it, and the potential consequences of it leaking into your home don’t bear thinking about.
On 1st October 2010 it became a legal requirement per Document J, Building Regulations that where a new or replacement fixed solid fuel appliance is installed in a dwelling that a carbon monoxide detector much be provided for use in the room where the appliance is.
As well as having one of these detectors, it’s important your stove or woodburner is fitted by a HETAS registered installer, you have your chimney swept regularly, your stove serviced annually and any ventilation fitted kept clear.
For details of Carbon Monoxide poisoning symptoms please see:
Pets may be the first to show signs of carbon monoxide poisoning, the smaller an animal or a person is, the faster CO gas will affect them. If your pet suddenly becomes ill or dies unexpectedly, and death is not related to old age or an existing health condition, you should investigate the possibility of a CO leak.
- Do I have to have a DEFRA Approved stove?
If you live in a smoke controlled area and wish to burn wood then yes you do, otherwise you will be breaking the law.
- Do I need to buy and store wood in advance?
If you have a local friendly merchant then you can use them for regular deliveries. Most folk will buy wood and store it in a wood store. This has the advantage of ensuring the wood is dry and conditioned. It is also there when you need it. If you have room, build a wood store, or use space in the shed. Ideally, try to stay one year ahead. That way you will ensure you are only burning well seasoned wood.
- Do I need to line my chimney?
This will depend on the current construction of your chimney. We assess each job individually. In many cases it is unnecessary to line the chimney. For example if you have a 1970's house you will more than likely have a concrete block liner that if in good condition, should be adequate for your stove. If you have a large brick chimney, it is often advisable to line it. This increases the draught, which in turn makes your stove work better and lowers the risk of tar and soot build up (which can cause chimney fires).
Having your chimney lined guarantees safety and increases the efficiency of your wood burning or multi fuel stove – which in the long run costs you less. Your chimney can be lined in a variety of forms but the most cost efficient and common form is a stainless steel continuous flue liner.
There are 2 different grades or type of liner, depending on the grade of stainless steel used – either 316L or 904L. The higher number has a higher nickel content which in turn offers a higher heat resistance. This liner is more expensive and has a significantly longer warranty. It must be used when installing multi-fuel burners and is recommended on stoves that smoulder overnight.
- Do I need to perform regular maintenance?
Regular chimney cleaning will maintain the performance of your woodburner stove, and ensure that you do not have a build-up of soot and tar. Where possible, look down from the top and up from the bottom of the chimney for creosote deposits. A depth that exceeds 1/8 inch should be cleaned. We recommend that every homeowner have their chimney inspected, and swept if necessary, when they move into a home before using the chimney.
All woodburning stoves should be serviced and their flues swept at least once a year. The service would include the replacement of broken or damaged, rope seals, gaskets, firebricks, glass and fire cement seals. All moving parts should be checked in order that they are able to move freely when in operation. Annual servicing and cleaning (as necessary) swill ensure safety, optimum efficiency and to validate your insurance cover. It should not be difficult to access the chimney via the access plate and sweep the chimney with a stiff chimney brush.
If you can't do it yourself The Woodburner Showroom can provide a complete maintenance service for you if you are in the local area of the showroom. If you are not local to the showroom area then please seek the help of a local service through www.hetas.co.uk.
Most wood stoves burn on the ash and should only need cleaning out when the build-up of ash interferes with the burning. We will advise you the best way to tune up your new woodburning stove.
- Do I need ventilation?
If you need a stove over 5KW in output then it will be necessary to have a permanent vent in the building to assist with flue draught and to make sure the fire has enough oxygen to burn safely. Anything under 5KW may be able to be installed without need for ventilation but sometimes a vent is required even if it is below 5kW because modern houses are being built to be air tight.
- Do you do a free survey?
We do, our affiliated installer covers up to a 45 mile radius from the showroom, but if you are outside this area please refer to our <finding a local installer>(opens in new page) page for help. You will know whether having a stove is possible, exactly how many kilowatts you need to achieve your objectives in having a stove, what restrictions your recess size places upon you, any building works which are needed to achieve the look you want or indeed, to comply with building regs and, importantly the exact cost. We know what the access onto the roof is like, what your expectations are, what you want to achieve, what work is needed and what difficulties might be faced. We can then narrow down the enormous choice of stoves to a few which we feel best meets all of your needs.
- How can I clean the glass in my stove?
A traditional way of doing this is to mix some ash and water into a paste and rub that onto the glass using a piece of cloth or kitchen towel. Alternatively use dry ash bedded into newspaper. Either way should remove all the blackness on your glass. Rinse any last remnants of ash or paste off with water.
- How do I know if the wood I burn on my stove is dry?
If the wood is dry it will have cracks which reach to the core of the wood often big enough to fit a coin in. The bark will usually be able to be peeled like an orange, either easy or reluctantly. If the wood is dry then the flames will burn translucent with some blue flames and leave a large quantity of embers which will burn with tiny charcoal flames whilst the stove is hot.
- How do I know which stove to choose?
Download our free “Stove Selection Guide” and then call the Showroom with any questions – we would love to be able to help you.
- How dry does my wood need to be?
One of the most critical factors in wood burning is the moisture content of the wood. This is where wood seasoning comes into play. Freshly cut wood will contain moisture content of around 65-90%. This wood should never be used. Apart from producing very low outputs this wet wood will also generate large amounts of soot and tar, which can potentially lead to chimney fires (as these particles will coat your chimney and will fuel a chimney fire). For best results wood should have a moisture content of less than 20%. The process of removing the excess moisture is called seasoning. Seasoning is air drying the wood and can take up to two years. Wood should be stored in a well ventilated (but covered) structure, outdoors. Your stored wood should have good ventilation above, below and through it. You can buy kiln dried wood but this is not as environmentally friendly as air dried wood.
You can test wood by using a moisture meter. We sell digital moisture meters – see our accessories page.
These will give you a moisture content reading in % good enough for you to reject a load if it turns up wet. There are some obvious signs if you are burning wet wood:
- The fire will be difficult to light and even more difficult to keep going
- There won’t be much heat. All you are doing when burning wet wood is essentially boiling water!
- The fire will be very smoky
- Your stove glass will turn black
- You will find your flue will become restricted or blocked with creosote (tar). This is highly dangerous as it is exceedingly flammable and the prime cause of chimney fires.
- How long does it take to install a stove or woodburner?
Normally about a day - refer to our finding a local installer page for help.
- How much wood will I need?
That is a “how long is a piece of string” question as it varies with many factors. How often you light the stove, how long you keep it going, the setting you burn on, the size of the stove, the type of wood being burnt… etc. However, we find most people ask this question tying to predict cost of fuel consumption. It has been our experience that most people will save money on fuel when burning a woodburner. We have several reports of savings of £40 - £48 per month because of the savings that come about from using a wood burning stove over other forms of fuel burning heating.
- How should I insulate my flue?
Insulation is done in two ways – with either vermiculite granules poured down to fill the gap between your liner and your chamber walls, or insulated padded ‘jackets’ wrapped around your liner. A warm flue will always draw much better. Insulation will always make some difference to the draw on your liner, but it will be particularly noticeable on cold chimneys for example those on an outside wall of your property.
- I don’t have a chimney – can I still have a stove?
Yes you can! However occasionally you will have to seek planning permission. This is particularly relevant if you are in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The answer is to install a Twin Wall system. This is a chimney system which has an inner skin, a densely packed layer of insulation and an outer skin. This can either go out of an outside wall behind your stove and up the outside of your property or you can go through the ceiling, any rooms above and eventually straight out of your roof.
- I have a wood floor - can I stand my woodburner on it?
Some woodburners have a ‘low hearth temperature’ which enables them to be stood on a much thinner hearth than others, and that hearth can even be glass. It is not possible to stand a woodburner or multifuel stove directly on a wooden or any other combustible surface.
- I have taken out a gas fire, can I connect a woodburner or solid fuel stove to the gas liner?
No, unfortunately you can’t. The steel a gas liner is made from just won’t withstand the temperatures a flue coming from a woodburner or solid fuel stove will reach. The gas liner will need to be removed and replaced with a solid fuel liner.
- I only have a 16” opening in my fireplace. Can I still have a woodburning stove?
If you have an opening that is constructed to the British Standard of 16” wide x 22” high opening, then you can have a small stove which has been designed to suit this size of opening, such as the Stockton 3. Alternatively, many people either enlarge the opening to allow for a larger appliance, or opt for an inset woodburning appliance.
- If I don’t have a traditional opening or chimney stack, can I still have a solid fuel fire?
Yes. A solid fuel stove can be fitted, providing that either a pre-fabricated (steel insulated flue) is installed, or a new precast sectional flue is built on the outside or through the building. It is normally best to have a woodburning stove, as a flue or chimney for an open fire will have greater cost and the installation is less efficient.
- If I have a back boiler will it reduce the output from the stove?
Yes, you may notice lower temperatures from the stove, or that you need to use more wood.
- Should I buy a cast iron stove or a steel stove?
A cast iron stove will take longer to heat up, but will retain residual heat longer even after the fire has been extinguished. A steel stove will heat up more quickly, but lose its heat more quickly. Advocates of cast iron will tell you that steel stoves will warp and advocates of steel will tell you that cast iron cracks. In our opinion neither has ever been a significant problem. The emphasis has got to be on buying the best quality stove, whether it is cast or steel, that your budget can accommodate.
- What are the benefits of a solid fuel stove over a traditional open fireplace?
Most solid fuel stoves are approximately 40-50% more efficient than an open fire and allow the user to have control over the rate of burn and heat output to the room. Often a large percentage of the heat generated by central heating is lost from a room where an open fire is present (even when not in use). The installation of a stove will mean that the room is much warmer as the air flow is greatly reduced due to the installation of a register plate and the ability to close the air controls fitted on the appliance.
- What does DEFRA Approved mean?
This approval allows you to use the stove with dry wood only, or approved smokeless coal, in a smoke controlled area. These restrictions are usually placed in heavily populated urban areas, normally larger towns or cities.
- What does HETAS mean?
HETAS is the official body for certification of solid fuel appliances. In short, if the company that installs your stove is HETAS registered they should know what they are doing.
- What does Stove Efficiency mean?
The amount of heat energy produced by the fire that ends up as heat in the room.
- What fuel can I burn on my multifuel stove?
A multifuel stove can burn wood, coal, smokeless fuels and also peat. Before purchasing a fuel it is important to check the manufacturer’s instructions which will inform you which fuels are prohibited for use within your particular appliance.
- What happens to the installation certificate?
A copy of the certificate is sent to HETAS, who will notify your Local Authority Building Control Department (LABC) of the work carried out. This saves you the time and money (sometimes up to £300) of seeking a Building Notice yourself and having an inspector from your LABC sign off the installation. A copy of the certificate is also required to be sent to you and the installer will also retain a copy. If you sell your home then the Solicitor acting for the buyer will require a copy. It may also be required to be presented to your insurance company. Should there be a problem and HETAS do not have a record of a HETAS certificate at the property then it is likely that you may not be insured.
- What is a clean burn system?
Clean burn is a new term and really is a concept to describe the fact that some new designs of stoves are able to burn all the fuel with very low emissions. Also referred to as “secondary burn”, the most common type is where warm air is fired into the stoves firebox just above the normal height of the fire. This allows unburned products of combustion in the smoke to combust. This creates a cleaner burn as less soot is going up the chimney and into the atmosphere, meaning that the stove is more efficient as you get more heat from your fuel.
- What is a data plate and why do I need one?
A data plate is provided upon completion of your installation. It provides information essential to the correct application and use of the facilities we have installed and is a requirement by law that it should be permanently posted in the building – typically in your electrical cupboard.
- What is an airwash system?
Airwash is the movement of air across the doors to create a barrier between the burning fire and the glass. In some stove models this air is drawn through the stove to pre-heat it to a higher temperature to give a cleaner glass when the fire is used at a medium or lower temperature.
- What is an Ecofan?
The surface heat of your stove is converted into electricity by the Ecofan which powers a fan to move and circulate warm air throughout your room. The Woodburner Showroom stocks a range of Ecofans – see the Accessories Page.
- What is DIN plus?
DIN is the German Standards Authority which is responsible for developing new higher European standards for wood stoves. This is the highest standard in Europe and requires the best efficiency.
- What should I expect the first time a light my new stove?
When firing a new stove gradually acclimatise the cast iron to the demands of the fire. Too much heat too quickly can harm your stove.
- What Size Hearth Do I Need?
There are regulations that must be abided by concerning the dimensions of your hearth that your multi fuel stove or wood burning stove will sit on. There are actually 2 hearths that are used in the installation process but the common one that most people are aware of is the superimposed hearth. Regulations can vary between the manufacturer and building regulations. The hearth must be a minimum of 12 mm thick. For more details refer to document “J” which you can get via our Building Regulations Page. This is the same link as for the existing footer link for “Building Regulations”
- What size stove will I need?
There is a need to consider both the physical size of the stove and where it will fit as well as the heat output of the stove. The required heat output will of course depend on the age of your home, the size of your room, the number of windows in the room, number of external walls, it’s insulation, how open plan it is, whether there are any stairs coming off it etc. Most stove manufacturers will measure stove size in kilowatts (kw). With regard to output, first decide what you want the appliance to do. Is it the main heat source for the room, or secondary backup, or purely aesthetic?
A rough guide is to measure your room in metres then use the formula below – or use our calculator page.
Formula: length of room (m) x width of room (m) x height of room (m) / 14
This will give you the KW output required.
It is important to have a stove that is the right size for the room it is going into. Too big can be just as bad as too small. It is often better to have a smaller stove working hard than to have a larger one that is run 'shut down' which can cause glass blackening, tarring up of the chimney (a fire risk) and an uneconomical use of fuel. Never try to fill the opening with a stove – work out what size you need, then find a selection of burners that you like, then pick one of them that most appropriately fits the opening you have available. Some models have a large frontal area but are narrow front to back, keeping the output down but looking large at the same time, whilst others may be high, narrow but deep.
- What sort of hearth do I need?
Different stoves require different hearth requirements. Before you do anything to your fireplace get us to advise. All too often customers renovate a fireplace and then find they have to alter it again to enable a correct stove installation.
- Where do I find a reliable wood merchant?
We have been tried many supplies for our own woodburners and have found that supplies can vary greatly. However, we have found one supplier that stands out above the rest, and have secured this for you via our Logs for Life programme, which gets wood delivered to your door. Plus you get a free bag, just for giving Logs for Life a try!
- Who are HETAS?
HETAS originated as the “Heating Equipment Testing & Approval Scheme“. They are the governing body of solid fuel domestic heating appliances, fuels and services and are responsible for the registration of competent installers and businesses. For more information please visit www.hetas.co.uk.
- Why do I need a carbon monoxide detector?
The new Building Regulations which were introduced in October 2010 require that a Carbon Monoxide detector be fitted in a room whenever a solid fuel appliance is installed. Alfred Poppins will install one for you on completion of fitting.
- Why do I need a HETAS certificate?
To comply with building regulations and demonstrate that your installation has been carried out by a fully trained, competent installer.
- Why is it important that the stove is airtight?
There is a huge array of stoves available and an enormous difference in cost. The essential thing you are after in choosing a stove is getting an ‘airtight box’ so that it is you who is controlling the amount of air into the stove. You should be able to ‘open up’ and ‘shut down’ your stove by using the air inlet controls. This will ensure that you have the most efficient and effective stove you can for your budget.
- Why is the glass on my stove going black?
If you have a modern clean burning stove with airwash then the appliance may be designed to burn with clear glass: confirm this with the supplier or manufacturer. If the stove is supposed to be clean burning but the glass gets heavy deposits of tar or soot when burning wood then the problem is usually due to wet wood. The moisture from the fuel is adhering to the glass surface. Test the wood to measure its moisture content; it should be less than 20%, as anything above this means you will not be able to achieve a hot, clean fire.
- Will it affect my house insurance if I don’t line my chimney?
No. If you do not have the installation certified it may be an issue. Most HETAS registered companies will insist on lining the chimney to ensure a safe installation.
- Woodburner or Multifuel stove?
This is largely down to personal choice. The main differences are:
- Wood needs a top down draught and coal needs a bottom up draught.
- A woodburner, therefore does not have a grate, the fuel is burnt on a solid floor and the stove will only have top air controls. When you want to ‘do the grate’ the ash needs to be scooped out of the firebox manually, leaving a layer in the bottom as wood likes to sit in an ashbed.
- A multifuel stove will have a grate and a separate ashpan and sometimes an external riddler. It will also have its own control.
Even if you only ever intend to burn wood you may choose to opt for multifuel stoves for the sheer convenience of having the separate ashpan.
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