The burn­ing is­sue

Phil Wood, from wood-burn­ing stove man­u­fac­turer Con­tura, shares his ex­pert ad­vice on choos­ing, in­stalling and us­ing a wood burner in your home

Rutherglen Reformer - - House & Home - Phil Wood

Wood- burn­ing stoves are around 60% more ef­fi­cient than open fires.

With a wood burner, around 80% of the heat gen­er­ated is ra­di­ated and con­vected into the room, com­pared to only around 20% with open fires, as most of the heat es­capes up the chim­ney. If you’d like a wood burner, look for one that suits your home aes­thet­i­cally, but also con­sider size and heat out­put (mea­sured in kilo­watts or kW).

A smaller square- shaped or cas­sette-style wood burner can be in­serted into an ex­ist­ing fire­place or chim­ney- breast open­ing and gen­er­ally pro­duces up to 5kW of heat. Large and open-plan rooms may re­quire a higher kW wood burner to suf­fi­ciently heat the space.

Cast-iron wood burn­ers are very ro­bust and most suited to ru­ral or pe­riod prop­er­ties where there’s a fire­place.

The more mod­ern soap­stone, sand­stone, tiled, alu­minium and glass-fronted free­stand­ing wood burn­ers are more suited to con­tem­po­rary prop­er­ties. Sand­stone and soap­stone mod­els work well in larger spa­ces be­cause they re­tain heat over a long pe­riod, even af­ter the fire has been ex­tin­guished.

In­stall­ers for wood burn­ers should be reg­is­tered with HETAS (www.hetas.co.uk/con­sumer/) to en­sure the in­stal­la­tion com­plies with build­ing reg­u­la­tions.

Ask po­ten­tial in­stall­ers for pho­tos of pre­vi­ous in­stal­la­tions and ask fam­ily, friends and neigh­bours if they can rec­om­mend an in­staller.

When choos­ing wood to burn, it’s gen­er­ally the case that the more you spend, the drier the wood, mean­ing it’ll burn bet­ter.

Cheap wood of­ten has quite a high mois­ture con­tent, so try to buy from an ac­cred­ited Bri­tish sup­plier to be sure of the wood’s ori­gin. Kiln- dried wood ( and species such as ash, beech and birch), burns par­tic­u­larly well and is avail­able in bags, mak­ing it con­ve­nient to store. This is the more ex­pen­sive op­tion though.

If you have stor­age space, con­sider cut­ting and stor­ing your own logs – use a wood shed that al­lows air to circulate. This ‘sea­son­ing’ process can take at least 12 months, de­pend­ing on the species, so plan ahead.

A cou­ple of logs can burn for around an hour on a wood burner, com­pared to (of­ten) min­utes on an open fire, mean­ing you use fewer logs and get the op­ti­mum en­ergy out of each log with a wood burner.

Switch­ing from an open fire to a wood burner with a flue will also elim­i­nate the draughts caused by the open fire draw­ing air from the room.

ROAR­ING Wood burn­ers are be­com­ing more pop­u­lar in UK homes

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