What are the new regulations about having a wood burner, can I still burn wood?
Why use a HETAS registered installer?
Registered installers are trained and approved to UKAS standards and can self certify that their work complies with the relevant Building Regulations. If you were to use a company that is not HETAS registered, you must apply to your Local Authority Building Control Department for a Building Notice.
You must then pay the appropriate fee (possibly up to £300.00). Should there be a problem and the worst happens and HETAS do not have a record of a HETAS Certificate at the property, then I’m afraid it can void your insurance. After your installation a copy of your Certificate is forwarded to HETAS who will notify your Local Authority on your behalf. Please note that just because a company is HETAS registered it does not always guarantee quality, safely installed work, be sure to see examples of installations and experience as the recent boom in wood burning stoves has also brought lots of new installers to the industry.
Can I use a non-DEFRA approved appliance in a smoke free zone?
What information do I need to supply?
Information that always helps us give you the best advise possible are:
• Room size? (length x width x height)
• Age of building?
• Is there an existing fireplace?
• Do you have a style in mind?
• What fuel are you looking to burn?
• Do you live in a smoke control area?
• Are you looking for a primary heat source or is this a secondary heat source (using it all day every day, or a few hours here and there)?
How much will it cost for installation and what is involved?
How easy is it to use a stove?
They’re not difficult to use at all and you’ll quickly get used to getting the best from your stove if you follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Compared to lighting an open fire, lighting a stove is quicker and easier, as well as being much more predictable because of the control you have over the combustion air. However, it would be wrong to say that the heat is instantaneous like a gas or electric fire. A stove has to operate for longer periods but the pay-off is that you get an abundance of cheap heat that hangs around long after the stove has gone out, unlike gas or electric fires.
Stoves produce a lot less ash than open fires and when you burn wood the fire-chamber can be left with up to 25mm (1?) of ash to help the wood burn better and to provide a heat-reflecting barrier to protect the grate. The ash pan shouldn’t need to be emptied every day either (this of course depends on the individual stove and how long you burn it for).
Multi fuel burning produces more ash than wood burning but still nothing like the ash that is produced by an open fire where some of the fuel can remain unburnt at the end of the fire cycle.
Why do I need a flue liner?
Although not a regulation, we always advise clients that are planning on having a stove fitted to also line the chimney’s existing 9″ brick flue with a stainless steel lining system. (these are either 5″ or 6″ to match the stoves pipe) This is because a stove lose’s much less heat up the flue than an open fire so creates a colder and slower draw giving hot gases meeting colder air time to condense and stick to the flues walls.
With the liner being a smaller diameter than the original brick flue, gases are expelled quicker as the steel liner conducts heat much better. This creates a faster draw and tackles the problem of gases having time to condense creating tar and creosote build up on the flue walls. Creosote can eventually leak through causing damp tar stains. It is also very flammable and the main cause of chimney fires
A liner also creates a much more efficient stove on fuel. The liner is dropped from the roof and connected directly to the stoves flue pipe. This creates a safe installation preventing smoke spillage escaping through damaged mid feather bricks into bedrooms above or neighbours if the stack is shared. This is a very common problem on houses built before the 1960s.
Another benefit of having the stove lined is it makes the sweeping process much cleaner, easier and quicker. This keeps your hearth and the walls of your chamber free from any soot as there is no need for sweeping hatches in the closure plate. The liner is swept through the stove as it is now all one connected system.
What Grade of Liner do I require?
How does my warranty work?
What size of stove do I need?
To produce a comfortable room temperature of around 21º/22º Celsius (70º Fahrenheit), when the outside temperature is 0º, you will need about 1kW of heat for every 14 cubic metres of space. 1kW is the equivalent of approximately 1 bar of an electric fire.
To establish the cubic capacity of the room, measure the length by the width by the height. For example, a room that is in the region of 6.5 metres. (21ft. 6?) x 4.5 metres. (15ft.) x 2.4 metres high (8ft.) will require a stove of about 5kW output to adequately heat its 70.2 cubic metre. You can also take into account insulation in the room, as this affects the size of stove you would need.
It is often the case that customers want to heat more than one room. This is possible, but we stress that all radiant stoves heat the area closest to its shell, much hotter than the area three rooms away. If your house is all open plan, this can be achieved using a convecting stove, or even an Eco fan.
The output of a stove that is being used for a few hours in the evening or on special occasions can be less important compared to a stove that is running all day every day.
Should I choose a multi fuel or a wood burning stove?
Most traditional, radiant multi fuel stoves such as multifuel stoves have been designed and tested to burn wood just as effectively and efficiently as other solid or mineral fuels.
For many years stoves produced in and for the UK have been configured for multi fuel burning because with our vast stocks of cheap coal we have always been a nation of coal burners. In the UK’s mining and former mining towns this is still very true – although much of the coal we burn is now imported and much of these areas are, as a consequence of our past coal burning excesses, now designated Smoke Control Areas where it is prohibited to burn coal (unless it’s an approved smokeless coal product) or wood (unless it’s in a DEFRA approved Smoke Exempt stove).
Conversely, Scandinavian and Danish stoves such as Rais aimed at UK customers tend to be pure wood burners because of their own home country’s plentiful supply of wood. Many of these stoves will tend to fall into the contemporary or ‘designer stove’ category and are also convection stoves.
We would always recommend that you burn wood whenever possible because wood fuel logs are virtually carbon neutral and also sustainable. They also work out much cheaper than the equivalent fuel load of coal or smokeless coal and because of this most people burn mostly wood in a multi fuel stove.
Some customers do still like the option of being able to burn an alternative to wood that they can get hold of quickly when they run out of their own seasoned wood or their wood supply is wet .
Can I burn wet wood?
The simple answer is NO. Wood naturally retains up to 90 per cent moisture but stove manufacturers recommend logs are seasoned (air drying logs to remove moisture) until the moisture level is down to 20 per cent. That is the level at which logs burn most efficiently and give maximum heat output. Burning wet logs only succeeds in giving you tarred stove windows and charred logs.
We can supply you with Kiln dried and Seasoned bags of wood or put you in touch with our suppliers should you prefer to buy in volume.
What’s the difference between multi fuel stoves and woodburners?
To burn efficiently multi fuels require combustion air from underneath the fuel load (known as primary air, with this air control generally being at the bottom of the stove) – hence the open grate feature to let the air through to the fuel.
Wood takes its combustion air from the top (secondary air, generally with the air control at the top of the stove) with the wood load burning from the top downwards. Wood fuel can therefore sit and burn effectively on a flat base so that stoves which are designated as woodburning stoves will either have a small grate or simply no grate at all, which easily allows the build-up of ash to create a heat-reflecting bed to help the wood burn better and protect the stove’s base.
Multi fuel stoves are designed to work well burning either wood or multi fuel. Their CE Tests (usually for wood and Ancit) show that there isn’t any real trade-off in efficiency between the two fuel types for this compromise
Which is better, a steel or cast iron stove?
If you’re talking about a good quality steel bodied stove versus a good quality cast iron stove then, providing the stove is used according to the manufacturer’s instructions, it really doesn’t matter.
Poor quality cast iron stoves have a reputation for cracking and poor quality steel bodied stoves have a reputation for warping. The practical difference between the two types are that steel stoves heat up quicker and deliver heat to the room much faster whereas cast iron, which is the traditional material for stove building, because it is much heavier and provides a greater mass of metal, tends to take longer to build up heat and distribute it to the room.
However cast iron stoves, such as our Jotul and Scan ranges which are generally heavier than steel bodied stoves, have the advantage that the mass of metal in the stove body will act like a storage radiator dispensing heat to the room a good few hours after the fire has gone out inside it. A steel bodied stove will still do this but it won’t retain its heat for quite as long.
So, essentially it’s a lifestyle choice – if you need fast heat then choose steel and if you want longer lasting heat, say overnight, then choose cast iron.
What’s the difference between a radiant stove and a convection stove?
Once a stove is up to temperature and the bodywork is hot then there are two ways the stove’s heat can be used to warm the room and there are therefore two types of stoves – radiant stoves and convection stoves, both of which have their own particular set of advantages and applications.
Radiant stoves such as Clearview, Parkray, eco-ideal and Cleanburn tend to be the traditional stove configuration. The radiated heat is intense at the front of the stove and less intense the further you move away from the stove. This can make using a large stove, which in theory will heat a large room, difficult to live with. It will heat the large space but it can be simply just too hot to comfortably sit in front of.
Radiant stoves are therefore fine where the stove output required is relatively small (say less than 8kW) with the equivalent room size to match. The most popular 5kw output radiant stove therefore is perfectly matched for typical UK living room sizes and generally doesn’t present a problem for traditional living styles.
There has been a shift in contemporary living spaces with them tending to be open plan and therefore much larger. New dwellings and extensions also tend to be exceptionally well insulated with a little heat going a long way consequently cutting the stove’s output requirements by half compared to the equivalent, only reasonably well insulated room. In these types of spaces a convection stove can truly come into it’s own.
Generally, convection stoves tend to be of Scandinavian or Danish design such as Rais and feature vertical channels placed between the exceptionally hot bodywork and the stove’s outer casing. Clearview also have a selection of convection stoves within their range.
As hot air produced by heat from the stove’s bodywork expands, it becomes lighter than the air outside the stove and rises up inside these channels eventually exiting the top. This is replaced by cooler heavier air drawn in at the bottom of the channel which is in turn heated. The warmer lighter air will fill the room with the colder heavier air being drawn in at the bottom of the stove to create a continuous heat cycle gently moving air around the living space.
Since the stove’s side panels are not in direct contact with the bodywork they tend not to get much hotter than a typical central heating radiator making the stove easier to live with. It’s the movement of warm air that does all the work on a convection stove and not the mass of metal in the bodywork, as on a radiant stove.
The relatively cooler bodywork of a convection stove also helps to considerably reduce the minimum distances to combustible materials compared to a traditional radiant stove, again making it easier to live around and to be used in a free-standing situation. The greater minimum distances to combustible materials for radiant stoves means that, in order to be safe, radiant stoves ideally should be fitted inside a chimney breast or fireplace and not free-standing.