Stoves that blaze a trail for wood fuel heating
Autumn is upon us and as, thoughts turn to staying warm, Sharon Dale reveals how to choose and install a wood burning stove.
RISING gas, oil and electricity prices have fuelled a revolution in the fireplace industry.
Wood burning and multifuel stoves are now the hottest products on the market, as we take a back-to-basics approach to heating our homes.
Sales of stoves have rocketed over the past five years as homeowners search for an alternative and independent source of warmth.
Stove technology has advanced in recent years. Now the heat output is more controllable, thanks to improved air vents, and they are up to 60 per cent more efficient than an open fire, with much of their heat being radiated back into the room, rather than up the chimney. They are also cleaner, as the fire blazes behind closed glass doors. Clean-burn technology can also ensure that the glass stays clean.
New innovations mean that those living in smoke-controlled areas can now have a woodburning stove. Morso has the Squirrel multi-fuel stove, which retails at just over £1,000, and burns wood, coal and smokeless fuel.
But wood is definitely the favoured fuel at the moment and demand is such that there is now a shortage.
Though most stoves are made from cast iron or steel and are traditional in design, there are some modern versions from Scandinavian companies such as Hase. Costs vary from about £500 upwards, but that will increase if you need a new flue or flue liner, which average at about £700.
Ben Freeman, from Leedsbased heating experts BMF, which has just become the first retailer in Yorkshire to receive the Approved Retailer certification from HETAS,has this advice for those thinking of installing a stove:
Regulations and requirements: There are rules relating to everything from flue pipes to ventilation and chimneys, which will need to be kept in mind when buying a stove. Do you have a flue/chimney and if you do, is it suitable? Chimneys can be too big, small, short, tall, cold or unsound which will mean either your stove will work inefficiently or can be unsafe. Generally, when an installation takes place, it will need to include lining any existing chimney, but take specialist advice on any further work which may be needed. If you don’t have a chimney – don’t worry, one can usually be built.
Safety: There is a common misconception you don’t have to worry about carbon monoxide (CO) when you use solid fuel. However, burning any fuel can produce deadly CO so it’s vital you follow standard safety tips, ensuring you have sufficient ventilation, your appliance is properly fitted, your chimney is suitable and clear, the stove is well-maintained and you have an audible alarm.
Maintenance: Many modern stoves now come with clean-burn technology, which blows super hot air down the glass, reducing the cleaning required, and also aids combustion efficiencies. Ashes do need removing, but usually once a fortnight rather than daily compared to open fires. Chimneys should be cleaned annually by a professional to make sure there’s no build-up. A retailer will be able to advise on what can and can’t be burnt on the stove and also help you source fuel, if you don’t already have a supply.
Smoke Control areas: Following the Clean Air Acts of the 1960s, many towns and cities are now deemed “Smoke Control Areas” in a bid to keep smog and air pollution to a minimum, including Leeds and some of the surrounding areas. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a solid fuel burning appliance, many modern stoves are so clean burning they have been approved for use even in smoke-free zones.
Choosing the right stove for you: Styles of stoves vary dramatically to suit differing tastes, from the traditional country cottage look of something like the Clearview 650, to modern masterpieces like the Harrie Leenders Pharos Interior, which hangs suspended from the ceiling. But it is always worth paying for quality. A good stove, treated correctly, should easily look as good and work as efficiently in 20 years as it does today. A cheap stove will quickly start to show wear and tear. The size of the stove will also depend on what heat output you require, for example, whether the stove is heating the whole house or just one room.
RURAL IDYLL: Cote Bottom has lots of rustic charm, but has been renovated. It also comes with planning permission to extend.
WARM THOUGHTS: Harrie Leenders Pharos Stove, from £5,220, BMF.