FAQ

PRE INSTALLATION

 

•          Information, Advice & Education

•          What is involved in a site survey?

STOVE INSTALLATION

 

•          How quickly can you perform a stove installation after performing the site survey?

•          How many ways can you install a stove?

•          Gas fires, open fires & back boilers. How do you install with these?

•          What is included in an install?

•          Can I provide my own products for installation?

•          I’ve got some freebies from the internet company I bought my stove from – can you use them?

•          Do I need my chimney lined?

•          Flexible flue liner

•          Flue insulation – why, when and how is this done?

•          Remedial work

•          Do you do all the work yourself?

•          Do I have to employ you to do the remedial work?

•          What size hearth do I need?

•          How long does an install take?

•          How much mess will you make?

•          How much will it cost?

•          Do I need to do anything before an install?

SOLID FUEL APPLIANCES

 

•          Solid fuel appliances

•          Fit for purpose

•          SIA EcoDesign Ready

•          Determining the correct heat output (Kw output)

•          Do I need additional ventilation

•          How much air gap should I have around my stove?

•          Inset or freestanding stove?

•          Contemporary, modern or traditional stove?

•          Wood burner or multi fuel stove?

•          What are the other differences between a wood burner and multi fuel stove?

•          Cast iron or steel log burner?

•          Deciding on a manufacturer you like

•          What are your favourite stoves?

•          DEFRA approved stoves

•          Second hand stoves

•          How soon can I light the stove after it is installed?

•          How do I control my fire?

•          How do I light my fire?

•          Can you provide stoves?

WOOD, MULTIFUEL & ACCESSORIES

 

•          What can I burn?

•          Wood

•          Firewood Poem

•          Smokeless fuel

•          Types of smokeless fuel

•          How much fuel will I need?

•          How much will my fuel cost me?

•          How should I season and store my wood?

•          Can I legally forage for my wood?

•          What accessories should I buy for my stove?

CHIMNEY SWEEPING & STOVE SERVICING

 

•          Chimney sweeping & services – why we do it

•          How often should I have a service and sweep?

•          Chimney sweeping & services – how we do it

•          Chimney Fires and other problems

•          What to do in the event of a chimney fire?

•          Bird nest removal

HETAS & SAFETY

 

•          HETAS

•          HETAS registered installers

•          Certificate of compliance

•          Data plate

•          Permanent additional air supply

•          Public liability insurance and T&C’s

•          Carbon monoxide – poisoning & alarms

•          Manufacturers’ warranty

PRE INSTALLATION

 

If you are considering having a stove installation, and are not sure if it is possible or what is involved, the simple solution would be to get in touch call 07521647885.

We Advise, We design, we install….You Enjoy !!!

 

You can contact me at any time – although I prefer to receive emails before and after normal working hours.  I may not answer straight away (I may be up a chimney). I am reachable by phone and email. I aim to respond to any queries within 24 hours. I consider myself to be friendly and professional and I value customer service. I love to give out information as I believe that good knowledge is a great thing.

 

I may be able to ascertain what your installation involves over the phone/email and hence give you a ball park figure. If you are keen on an installation I will organise a free site survey. My diary changes from week to week and it may be that I perform the survey during an evening.

 

Other useful sources of independent information for any installation are HETAS and THE SOLID FUEL ASSOCIATION For independent stove reviews consider WHATSTOVE.COM.

 

What is involved in a site survey?

 

Firstly it’s free – so no money is involved! However, if I’m traveling over 40 minutes to your property, a small donation would be nice to help cover extra costs of time and travel…

 

It usually takes between 30-60 minutes. If you’re in a rush, I can possibly perform a survey within 10 minutes.

 

I like to listen to what you want and from there will inform you what is possible and feasible in relation to what you want, building regulations and your property. There may be several options for installations.

 

I will take measurements, look up your chimney (if you have one), go into your loft and look at your roof and chimney stack. I’ll also ask a few questions.

 

I will give out and take in lots of information – don’t worry if you miss anything, give me a call.

 

From the information I have gained we will be able to put together your free quote. The quote details all the information I have taken from the site survey so it is important that you read it and ask any questions that you may have regarding any issues detailed.

 

After the survey, you will also have a clear idea of what you want, what can be done and you’ll be able to get started making decisions on various choices you have. You’ll likely have some reading to do – or pictures to look at!

 

STOVE INSTALLATION

 

 Stove installations are what I do! I’ll take your enquiry, do the survey and perform the work. I’ll keep you updated regularly along the way. I’ll ensure that you’re left satisfied and if you have a problem, I’ll resolve it in an professional manner. I rely on repeat business and recommendations for the majority of my work.

 

If you have a chimney, I’ll can reline it with a flexible flue liner as it’s a safe and cost effective way of using your masonry flue.

 

If you don’t have a chimney I’ll put one in using twin wall insulated flue. You can get this flue powder any colour you want! It will either run up through your house and exit through your roof, or it will run up the side of your house fixed and supported correctly externally.

If your fireplace is currently an open fire or a gas fire and you want to give it a different appearance – I can do that too.

 

Need a hearth? Flue insulation? A new chimney pot? Ventilation? Let Stove and Chimney Solutions s install for you. I’m probably not the cheapest (because I do a good job) but I’m not the most expensive either (because I don’t have the overheads a big business has). I can use the best components or mid range to suit your budget and I take pride in what I do which means you’ll have a safe and good looking installation! Your home will be respected and it will be left clean and tidy.

 

I can help you pick the most suitable stove for your needs.

 

All of this and more information including estimates cost and expected time frames are covered in more detail below.

 

How quickly can you perform a stove installation after performing the site survey?

 

Obviously, this mostly depends on my lead times. My busiest time is pre-Christmas – everyone wants a stove for Christmas – so please don’t call a couple of weeks before Christmas and expect Santa to be coming down your new flue on the 25th!

 

Usually, the biggest hold up is the stove. This can take a month to arrive if you are ordering a stove with special features or a crazy paint job! If you have ordered it yourself from the internet and it states the delivery is next day you should call and speak to the company directly as they can be out of stock and haven’t updated their site. It has been known to happen! However when this happens, it usually frees up a day for us so there is normally a slot available every week or so.

 

That said, the two things that may delay your install are the wind and rain. If there is a big storm coming it will not be safe to get up the ladders. The rain only really affects a twin wall installation – we don’t want to put a hole in your living room or roof if it is pouring down with rain!

 

When I know a storm is coming in I will re-arrange my diary to do any inside work – remedial work, internal twin wall installations, so if you’re flexible your installation may occur faster than planned. I have been known to work Saturdays if possible.

 

How many ways can you install a stove?

 

We can install solid fuel appliances (wood- burners and multi fuel stoves). There are 3 types of installation I perform and are certified to do.

 

1.         A flexi installation: A stove is installed into an existing masonry chimney – normally using a stainless steel flexible flue liner. Typically takes 1 – 2 days.

2.         An external twin wall installation: A stove with a new rigid stainless steel cylindrical flue going outside your house and up the external wall. May take up to 3 days.

3.         An internal twin wall installation: A stove with a new rigid stainless steel cylindrical flue going inside your house and coming out of your roof. May take 2-4 days.

 

I don’t install “wet systems” which involve boilers – as I’m not qualified as a plumber.

 

I have a gas fire/open fire/back boiler: How do you install with these?

 

Gas fires: If you know that you are going with an install it is better for us if we can assess your flue on the site survey. This will mean that you will have to get a GasSafe engineer to disconnect your fire. You should also get the engineer to cap off the gas well away from the fire so that if remedial work is required this can be done safely without disturbing live gas pipes. We can arrange this for you to be done before we arrive.

 

Open fires: These have firebacks which in all cases – except some inset style burners – will need to be removed for the installation of a stove. Some inset style burners are designed to fit into the fire recess without disturbing the fireback. It’s not always the case though as the lintel may be creating an obstacle. Once the fireback has been removed the original builders opening is exposed. This is typically 16” x 22”. There are several stoves that are designed to fit into a builders opening but the majority require a larger air gap to allow for safe combustion. Therefore remedial work to enlarge this opening is normally required. Your stove will now have a minimum air gap of about 4-6” either side of it and about 14” above it.

 

What is included in an install?

 

I supply and install the entire flue system. Remedial work for fireplace renovations can also be included and detailed.

 

A carbon monoxide alarm, notice plate and certificate of compliance will also be included.

 

All of the labour costs are covered too.

 

Stove choices relevant to your needs and requirements will also be given and supplied if needed.

 

I will test, commission and look through manufacture instruction’s and explain the operation of your stove to you. I will also give you plenty of information about what fuel you should be using and will take time to answer all the questions you have.

 

I can also perform a chimney pre sweep before installing a liner as this is required by building regulations. Even if you have had the flue swept, I will still perform the sweep as I want to ensure the liner is free of any material and blockages.

 

Additional costs:

 

These are very seldom (for example 1 in 50 installs). As in most cases I am dealing with unforeseen circumstances and cannot predict the integrity of your building and typically – your flue – on the survey. Most commonly additional costs are accrued with a flexible liner installation. Very occasionally the liner will not fit due to a blockage. I will need to free up the blockage. If this takes more than an hour – this will be chargeable. Another example involves your chimney pot. If the pot is non existing or damaged, you will need a new one which is also chargeable. Again this is rare.

 

All additional costs are covered in detail in my terms and conditions.

 

Can I provide my own products for installation?

 

Only in exceptional circumstances.

 

I have very high standards and take my professionalism seriously. I like to know all my kit conforms to British Standards and CE Marked. I have experience in using a wide variety of installation materials and consequently know bad kit from good kit.

 

If you supply your own flue, there might not be enough of it for the installation. Even though I take many measurement’s to get the flue design right, I might need additional or alternative flue parts and components. I never know when that 900 adjustable bend, 150mm length or extra support is needed. I will try and have a spare so I don’t have to leave site.

 

I’ve got some freebies from the internet company I bought my stove from – can you use them?

 

Not likely. Mixing kit will cancel system warranty from manufacture. The stove pipe is different to the ones I use. Unless it’s an inglenook it’s rare that a 1m length will fit in a standard fireplace and I don’t like to cut pipes if I can help it. Even if it is the same diameter, it won’t fit my flue pipes. The colour will be slightly different too. I also carry a huge tub of our own great quality fire cement. In any case, I rarely use fire cement. I tend to seal my flue pipes with “envriograff” which is an expensive but quality, (resistant to) high temperature, flexible silicone. If you want to supply a CO alarm, I will only use it if it conforms to the relevant British Standards.

 

Do I need my chimney lined?

 

Your masonry chimney works to safely remove the products of combustion from the fireplace. If this is not working effectively you may need it lining. This basically means lining the inside of your chimney with another chimney – or flue.

 

Your chimney is typically made from brick or stone or it may already be lined with clay liners. Mortar (cement/sand/lime) will be used to keep these products together and prevent collapse.

 

Fires produce dangerous waste products, some which contain acid. The waste products can form condensates or tar such as creosote.

 

Hot air rises and the air from the stove carries these waste products. When hot air meets cold air (atmospheric air outside your house) the air cools and doesn’t rise as fast. Sometimes the hot air from your stove actually cools inside your chimney before it is expelled. This may be because the flue is too large and has a large volume of cold air already that needs to be heated in order for the air to rise. Consequently, the waste products won’t be dispelled. Acid will corrode the mortar and the flue will become damaged.

 

Typically chimneys fail toward the top of the flue as the waste products tend to gather there.

 

A chimney can actually contain several flues. For example, a single chimney between 2 houses that are 2 stories high may actually contain 8 flues – 4 from each house (2 fires downstairs and 2 fires upstairs). These flues are separated by dividers which are the bricks or stone. If the mortar fails then these dividers can also fail. Consequently, your flue may become defective and may need lining.

 

The integrity of your chimney may be ascertained by performing a visual inspection and a smoke test. This, in turn, will determine whether you need your chimney lined.

Having your chimney lined improves safety as the diameter of the liner is less than the diameter of the existing flue. Consequently, the volume of air in the liner is less than it was previously in the old flue hence the waste gasses will be expelled more efficiently.

 

Flexible flue liner

 

Lining your chimney with a stainless steel flexible flue liner is probably the most affordable and best way to line your chimney or you can use more expensive eldfast tecqnique.

 

The liners are cylindrical in shape and are typically 6” or 5” in diameter. They line the full length of the chimney in one continuous piece attaching to the stove pipe via an adapter. This makes sure your liner is sealed from the stove at the bottom to the pot at the top.

 

The quality of these liners can vary. They can be manufactured in different ways and some are more durable than others. If maintained correctly they will last a long time.

 

Chimney Lining

 

There are 2 different types of liner depending on the grade of stainless steel used – either 316L or 904L. 904L grade stainless steel has a higher nickel content which in turn offers a higher heat resistance. This liner is more expensive and has the longer warranty. It is recommended to use this liner when installing stoves that will smoulder overnight, and with multi-fuel burners as smokeless fuel combusts at a higher temperature  to wood.

 

Flue insulation – why, when and how is this done?

 

The flue is designed to expel the waste products of combustion safely. Heat is required in this process because hot air rises. If your flue is subject to cold temperatures this process will be affected. This will occur if your chimney is exposed externally or if it has large voids:

 

If your chimney stack is free standing and has 3 or more of its sides exposed the outside weather will help keep your flue cold. Similarly if a liner is used to line a large voided flue this will also be subject to staying cold.

 

Consequently, I would recommend that the liner is insulated. Insulating a liner will help keep gases hot until it leaves the chimney pot.

 

Liner wrapping method

 

The other method is where we would wrap your flue in an insulating blanket such as Chimwrap. We choose to use this wrap method if the liner is sitting in a large voided chimney as you would require a huge amount of backfill to insulate the flue.

 Chimwrap liner install.

 Flexi-liner insulation.

 

Remedial work

 

In most cases, your installation will require remedial work to firstly make your installation meet building regulations to be safe and secondly to make it look good.

 

I will always follow strict building regulations when performing any installations. This ensures your installation is as safe as it can be. This means that every aspect of your installation has been given guidelines. These guidelines will state everything from the dimensions of your hearth to the materials we can and cannot use in the proximity of your installation. The remedial work involved may include removing and knocking out the existing fireplace, inserting a new lintel, rendering, plastering and laying a hearth. Other work may also be required such as fitting supports or flaunching a new pot on top of the stack. When I perform the site survey, the remedial work will explained to you.

 

Fireplace knockout.

 

 

Do you do all the work yourself?

 

Yes – I perform the installation and do all the remedial work myself. The only thing I don’t do is plaster so I get a professional in to get the perfect finish.

 

The only occasions I would involve other contractors is Gas safe to cap off old gas fires or when I use scaffolding or a core drilling team.

 

A core drilling team is only used on the rare occasion that your wall is approximately 600mm thick, made of thick stone (granite) and I am performing an external twin wall installation. I can organise the contractors on your behalf if you wish. The cost for each service is approximately £400.00 which you will pay directly to the contractors.

 

Do you have insurance?

 

Yes – I have public liability insurance covering £2,000,000.

 

Do I have to employ you to do the remedial work?

 

You could either employ another tradesperson such as a builder or plasterer or if competent you could attempt the work yourself. I would give advice to ensure the remedial work is compliant with building regulations and the guidelines outlined by the stove manufacturer – or I will not be able to sign off the installation and give the certificate of compliance.

 

What size hearth do I need?

 

Building regulations or the stove manufacturer will dictate the type and dimensions of your hearth. You may actually need two hearths depending on your stove.

 

Your hearth could be over 5” thick, be over a metre wide and nearly a metre deep.

Thickness: A constructional hearth which has a minimum depth of 5” may have to be used. However a superficial hearth is the standard hearth that will be required. This has a minimum depth of 12mm.

 

Width: The distance from the sides of the stove that the hearth will protrude varies and is dictated by the manufacturer. This is typically around 450mm at each side. So your hearth could be around 1.2 metres wide.

 

Depth: The distance from the front of the stove could be 225mm but the manufacturer may state it needs to be more such as 300mm or even more. There will also be a gap behind the stove to allow for air to circulate and provide adequate combustion. This gap can be anything from 50mm to 150mm.

 

The hearths are made from non-combustible material. Slate is a popular choice as it is cost effective. The thicker and larger the slate, the more expensive it becomes. You could choose to have one piece of slate that is over 30mm thick and cut to fit your fireplace but this may be expensive. The alternative is to have about 3 pieces of slate that are approximately 20mm thick that will make up your hearth. Having your hearth in separate pieces also allows for the hearth to move as it is exposed to the heat. Therefore it will expand and contract without cracking.

 

How long does an install take?

 

Each installation varies in duration.

 

•          A flexi installation is normally one day. The duration may be increased if we come across unforeseen problems. Sometimes the liner will not go down the flue because it is poorly designed or blocked (bird nests, dividers or feathers – bricks/stone – collapsing, etc.).

•          Remedial work such as knocking out, inserting a lintel and making good can take a couple of days.

•          Hearths may take anything from a couple of hours up to a day to lay.

•          Twin wall flues typically take between 1-3 days. Mostly depending on high it has to go, the supports required and whether the flue needs to be boxed in/meshed in.

 

How much mess will you make?

 

I always use lots of clean dust sheets and cover everything up and keep things as clean as possible but this is a messy job.

 

The amount of mess depends on the install. Internal twin walls don’t cause much mess. External twin walls involve drilling a hole through your wall so this does create lots of dust. Flexi liners can be relatively mess-free; the messiest part is potentially the sweep but we control the soot fall with sheets; dropping the liner may also be messy but this is typically limited to the fireplace will be well covered.

 

The messiest part of an install is knocking out/ enlarging the fire recess. Copious dust is created. That’s why I try to cover everything.

 

AND I also take all my rubble, metal, rubbish away. Your drive/garden/path is kept clean as possible if we work outside.

 

How much will it cost?

 

Each installation varies in cost. This is because the amount and type of flue and other components are never the same.

 

Hearths

 

Guide price: £50.00 – £300.00.

Hearths can be supplied and fitted for as little as £50.00 or as much as you want to spend.

A 30mm, bull-nosed, polished slate large corner hearth can be £300.00+.

 

Flexible flue lining install

 

Guide price: £1,000.00 – £1,100.00.

A 2 story flexible liner (suitable for wood burning) is normally between £1000.00 – £1100.00.

 

Twin wall installations

 

Guide price: £1,300.00 – £2,500.00.

Twin wall installations can be from of £1300.00 – £2500.00+ depending on it it’s a bungalow or house and whether the flue needs boxing in, powder coated black (or pink!) or additional supports are required.

 

Fireplace renovations

 

Guide price: £100.00 – £1,500.00.

Fireplace renovations can be as much as £1500.00 or as little as £100.00 depending what is required and how long it will take.

 

Other remedial work

 

Ventilation: You may require to have permanent open air ventilation fitted. If a simple louvre can be fitted on your floorboards, this may cost £5.00. If you need a through wall vent, this can be from £65.00 upwards depending on the thickness of your wall.

 

Chimney pot: I can supply and fit a new pot for £100.00.

 

 

Each installation will be different depending on:

 

•          The amount and type of black vitreous enamel pipe

•          The amount and variety of flexible liner

•          The amount and type of twin wall flue and supporting components

•          The height of the twin wall flue is determined by building regulations and differs for each house.

•          Remedial work required

•          A hearth supplied and fitted

•          The duration (may take anything from 1-4 days)

 

I’ll be able to give you an estimate by talking to you and asking some questions (maybe with some picture requests).

 

For a free estimate or to arrange a free site survey please call  07521647885.

 

Do I need to do anything before an install?

 

I ask for a 50% deposit to help cover the cost of materials.

 

I’d expect you to have informed your neighbours and gained their consent. If you share a wall with your neighbour you should inform them we are coming.

 

I will cover the room with dustsheets but I’d want you to clear the room pre-install. Take all the pictures down, remove all ornaments and roll up the rug prior to your installation.

 

If possible remove the expensive electrical equipment such as TV top of range hi fi’s family heirloons etc.

 

You can choose to leave the sofas in if you want as we can cover these.

I’d need space for parking company vans close to the house as possible as I carry a lot of equipment.

 

I need space to work in. Please give me access to the room so that I can bring my tool-boxes in easily and make sure there is space around the fireplace for me and my guy, and all of our equipment. 

 
 

SOLID FUEL APPLIANCES – WOOD BURNERS AND MULTI FUEL STOVES.

 

 

A Hunter Parkray Aspect 5

 

Solid fuel appliances

 

This is the official term used for your stove, wood burner, log burner, multi–fuel burner or multifuel stove! You are only permitted to burn solid fuels on them. Some are designed specifically to heat up a boiler and provide hot water to your house. Others just provide heat and look good! It seems that you just can’t beat a real fire!

 

Fit for purpose

 

We need to know whether the wood burner or multi fuel stove is safe for installation.

 

Stoves get hot. They expand when hot. They subtlety twist, skew and warp. There are many stoves out there. Typically the stoves that are cheap are not well constructed. If you see a cheap stove, be aware that it is a cheap stove for a reason. The joints need to be strong and well made. A good stove will typically come with a good warranty.

 

If we are to install a stove it must be:

 

1.         CE marked. Being “Certified European” means that your stove is made whilst conforming to some basic standards. Most manufacturers’ can self-certify their stoves with a CE mark.

2.         Kite-marked with the standard BSEN 13240 (BS 13240/EN 13240). This British or European standard ensures that your stove has been tested in a recognised labatory and that the minimum gross efficiency of your stove is 65%. Net efficiencies are higher. Some really cheap stoves you can find on the internet may have a net efficiency of 70% but this equates to less than 65% gross efficiency. Naughty! Any stove that has been tested and the efficiency is under 65% will not be marked BSEN 13240. Most installers would not go near a stove without this registration as if anything untoward occurs the emphasis is on the installer. Even with this standard if we are dubious about a stove we will not install it.

 

A typical efficiency of a stove is in the high 70’s/early 80’s. An open fire burning wood has been tested to be 37% efficient. That means that 63% of the heat generated from that log is going up the chimney and NOT into your room!

 

If you cannot get any information from the manufacturer readily – such as the thickness, how it is constructed, if it is BSEN 13240 marked – leave well alone.

 

SIA EcoDesign Ready

 

New legislation is coming into effect in 2022 that requires all new stoves to be extremely efficient and environmentally friendly with low CO & particle emissions – the stoves will be eco design ready. This link will also direct you to all the stoves that are compliant to this standard.

 

Particle emissions have had bad press lately and rightly so. These are damaging to air quality and are released from burning wood that should not be burnt as it’s too wet or “green“. Older style stoves don’t have the technology for clean burning in that they aren’t that efficient so these also need to be phased out to make way for the stoves of tomorrow!

 

The SIA stands for the Stoves industry alliance the leading manufacturers in the stove industry.

 

Simply by choosing an “SIA ecodesign ready” stove and burning the correct fuel, you’ll help to improve the air quality.

 

Determining the correct heat output (kW output)

 

Stoves produce heat and the amount of heat a stove can generate is measured in Kilowatts (Kw). The stove can be tested to measure 2 heat outputs: its average heat output and its effective heat range. It is important to take these factors into consideration when determining the right stove for you.

 

During the site survey, i will find the desired kW output you would require for your particular needs. The cubic volume of your room, how much heat you like, the position of your house, its age and how well it is insulated are all taken into consideration to give you an accurate average heat output value. Each stove will have varying ranges of heat and this is also important as you don’t want a stove that isn’t going to give you adequate heat – you would end up overheating the stove to get the heat you need from it and over time this can damage the stove and flue. Having a stove that produces too much heat for your needs will be uncomfortable and you’ll likely use it incorrectly; producing heat at a lower Kw than it is designed for. This will cause other problems. For example the waste products and gasses won’t be dispelled from your flue which could result in Carbon Monoxide poisoning and tar deposits on the flue.

 

Consequently getting the right heat output of a stove is very important.

 

Do I need additional ventilation?

 

The basic rule of thumb is that if your stove:

 

  1. has a higher average Kw output above 5Kw (i.e. 5.1 Kw and above)

 

  1. is installed into a new build (built after 2008)

 

– then additional permanent air ventilation is required to be fitted. This is because the stove will likely require additional air supply to allow the fuel to combust correctly. Without this extra air supply the stove might struggle and you could notice smoke coming into the room from the stove/air vents.

 

Air bricks or air vents will need installing ideally in close proximity to the stove. Some stoves can be fitted with a direct external air supply feed into them. These are ideal for new builds whereby the property will be pressure tested.

 

Some air vents are designed to reduce the sound of air but without reducing the amount of air. There is a calculation we use that determines the size of the vent but is typically no bigger than the size of a saucer – only square.

 

How much air gap should I have around my stove?

 

If a stove is installed into a fireplace, it must have an air gap surrounding it to allow for air to circulate around it and provide adequate air for combustion. The minimum amount of air is dictated by the manufacturer. Generally speaking the larger the air gap the better it will perform. We don’t like to squash a stove into a fireplace. The air gap is referred to as the distance to “non-combustible material”. Typically it may be as little as 50mm as the rear of the stove and 100mm to each side of it. If we can we like to increase these distances. The only exception to this rule is when an “inset” stove is installed which is designed to fit snuggly into the fireplace.

 

 

Inset or free-standing stove?

 

Inset stoves are designed to fit into your existing fireplace with minimum disturbance. They go inwards at the back so that they fit into your existing fireback of your open fire. Sometimes the throat is angled so that the flue can be attached more easily. This type of stove is sometimes bolted into the fireplace and at other times not as they are weighted at the back to prevent movement. We tend to backfill the stoves with insulation so that heat transfer is directed into the room and not up the chimney.

 

One benefit of installing an inset is that it is one way of installing a stove with minimal disturbance and without the additional expense of remedial work.

 

Free-standing stoves can be installed within fireplaces or on a separate hearth. These stoves can be used for both flexible liner and rigid twin wall flue systems. They require air gaps surrounding them to allow for adequate combustion. Some have an option of legs and log stores fitted under them.

 

 An inset stove

 

 A free-standing stove within a fireplace recess

                                                 

 

 

  

A free-standing stove with a twin wall internal flue

 

 A twin wall external chimney system.

 

 

Contemporary, modern or traditional stove?

 

You will need to decide what style of stove you like. An old worldly traditional stove with a double door or a contemporary tall stove or a modern simple clean cut stove? The choices and combinations are all out there…

 

 Aga Ellesmere 4 – A 4.5Kw Wood burning/ multi-fuel Burner

 

We love this nice simple décor stove in recess

 

Aga Shawbury 7.1 Kw Wood burner for smoke exempt areas.

 

Wood burner or multi-fuel stove?

 

It’s all about personal preference – but wood burner only is a lot better for our planet.

The simple difference is that as the name implies wood burners are solely for burning wood on. With a multi fuel stove you can burn both wood and smokeless fuels – although it is not recommended burning both products at the same time. Smokeless fuel releases sulphuric acid and wood releases water. Combine these fuels and the resulting product can corrode your liner very quickly so be aware.

 

What are the other differences between a wood burner and multi-fuel stove?

 

Other differences between the 2 stoves include:

 

•          An additional ventilation control: Did you know that wood burns from above and coal and smokeless fuel will always burn from below so will need additional kit. Because wood burns from above, both types of stove will have an air vent that introduces air from above the fuel. However multi-fuel stoves will have an additional air vent. This is used to direct airflow underneath the fuel.

•          You may need to clean your stove more frequently: If you are lighting your fire with smokeless fuel you will need to spend more time prepping your fire. As stated above, smokeless fuel burns from underneath, therefore, you will need to ensure that the fuel bed is free from ash and other remnants of previous fires so that it does not interfere with the air flow. This means that your stove may have 2 extra features: A riddling mechanism and an ash pan.

 

The riddling mechanism incorporates a riddling arm/lever that controls the riddling plate. The arm moves the grated riddling plate back and forth disturbing the ash so that it can drop into the ash pan below. That’s the idea anyway! Most likely you’ll have to get involved and remove the extra debris yourself.

 

The ash pan is sometimes incorporated into a wood burner. Usually it’s not. Wood likes to burn on a bed of ash – anything from 1cm to 1 inch is recommended. So on firing up your stove, you can just place your kindling and logs on the ash and burn away without having to prep and clean your stove.

 

•          Multi-fuel stoves are normally more expensive to install: Primarily because they have the additional multi-fuel kit – i.e. the extra air vent, riddling mechanism and ash pan. This price can vary between models from manufacturer to manufacturer but is typically in the region of £50-£100. However sometimes this can around £200 more! It’s not always the case though as some manufacturers simply don’t give an option and sell both wood burners and multi-fuel burners as the same model.

 

It is also recommended that your flexible flue liner be upgraded. Smokeless fuel burns/combusts at a higher temperature to wood – it gives off more heat. This is good for your room but not good for your flue. The extra temperature generated by smokeless fuels simply means that we recommend you upgrade your liner to the type that can withstand the higher temperatures. There’s a lot more information on this in the flexible flue liner section but it means that you could spend another £50 – £150 extra on the recommended upgraded liner.

 

Cast iron or steel log burner?

 

Your multi-fuel stove or log burner will either be made of cast iron or stainless steel or a combination of both materials. Typically the fittings will be made from stainless steel for durability and the belly will be made from cast iron.

Cast iron takes longer to heat but retains the heat for longer. Stainless steel will heat up more quickly – but then it loses heat fast once the fire has gone out.

 

Some manufacturers state that cast iron transfers heat slowly which makes it well suited to changing temperatures. It also distributes the heat better – which is more noticeable when you are closer to it than a steel version as it will be a more comfortable heat.

 

We would personally recommend a cast iron stove if you are going to use it fairly frequently. My thoughts are that it will take longer to heat up but once heated it will remain hot for longer. Therefore you won’t be using as much fuel to keep the temperature up and it will better withstand the prolonged period of high temperatures it is exposed to when burning for long periods of time.

 

Incorrect use with either steel or cast iron stoves can also do varying damage to these materials. For example, having your wood burning fire too hot can cause the steel to warp excessively and the cast iron to crack. That is another reason for ensuring the right heat output of woodburner or multifuel appliance which we can advise on.

 

Deciding on a manufacturer you like

 

There are many manufacturers producing many stoves. Each manufacturer typically produces a range of stoves that cover contemporary, traditional and modern stoves. Within each range there will be stoves produced that varies in Kw output

 

What are your favourite stoves?

 

We have our favourites based on their appearance, originality, ease of installation, value for money and performance.

 

We like Aga ellesmere 4 and 5 These stoves are well made, perform amazingly and for the money you pay you’re getting a mid-top end stove for a mid range price. Hunter Parkray aspect range. We think the best of the budget stoves include Saltfire stoves for traditional and modern (ST1 & ST2 Saltfire and Firebelly.

 

 

DEFRA approved stoves

 

The great thing about most of the stoves listed above are that they are DEFRA approved and the manufacturer allows us to drop a 5” liner down your chimney which is our “get out of jail card”. Without the manufacturers approval on their DEFRA approved stoves we can only use liners that are a minimum of 6” in diameter. This can result in us aborting a job as the liner simply won’t fit in your chimney – although we’ve only had to do this once. The size of the flue may be sufficient but it may have a couple of nasty snots that the liner will struggle to get past or be partially blocked with stonework that the brushes can’t shift. In rare occasions we’ve had to open up the chimney to gain access to the blocked flue in order to allow the liner to pass.

 

A DEFRA approved stove is considered a “smokeless” appliance. This means that it has been modified so that as the stove combusts the fuel it will “smoke less” than an ordinary non DEFRA approved version. Typically the air vent can never be completely closed off thereby increasing the air flow and preventing the fuel from slumbering. This is proven to be far better for the environment.

 

DEFRA approved appliances will always and have be installed in smoke controlled areas which are typically big cities or areas prone to over pollution of the air.

Following on from London’s Great Smog of 1952, the Clean Air Act was passed in 1956 in order to reduce air pollution. From this, smoke controlled areas were introduced. Your local authority will be able to inform you whether you live in a smoke controlled area.

 

 

Second-hand stoves

 

As with any stove we install it needs to be CE marked and comply with BSEN 13240 which can be found by contacting the manufacturer. More importantly with second-hand stoves they need to be in good working order, have an installation manual and a user guide. You should also note that the older versions won’t be that efficient so quite simply in the space of one winter, you might end up spending over £100.00 on extra logs and fuel.

 

One thing to bear in mind with a second-hand stove is that it is very likely to have surpassed its sell by date and as such will be in need of some TLC.

 

Although a second-hand stove might seem a good money-saving option, it may cost more in the long run; it will need to be thoroughly cleaned and “de-creosoted” and any rust removed; the seals need to be secure might need replacing; the fittings working as they should do; the baffle plate and firebricks may need replacing if warped and cracked. Additionally an older stove may cost you more in the long run as some new burners have an amazing efficiency rate – just like new cars can save you fuel costs, so can new burners!

 

Before we install your second-hand stove we will seal it and light a smoke pellet to see if there are any leaks. If we aren’t happy with it, we won’t install it.

 

Unless agreed we would expect your second-hand stove to be in good working order and fit for purpose prior to installing it.

 

If you’re not sure what you are doing we can offer a maintenance service to your second hand stove. Prices will vary depending on what is required to make it useable. Call us on Stove and chimney solutions on 07521647885  If you need help with this.

 

 

How soon can I light the stove after it is installed?

 

You will have to wait 24 hours before you first light the stove. This is because we have used various products to seal and fix your flue and these need to time to cure before the first lighting. For example, the heatproof silicone may liquefy if not allowed time to dry out and set.

 

You should also be aware that heatproof paint cures once the fire reaches a certain high temperature. This applies to a new stove and on some products that we use. This means that you are likely to experience smoke in your room which will come from the paint as it dries. This is very normal for the first firing and in some cases the first few firings depending on how hot you get your stove. The amount of smoke produced varies from one stove to another but can be a substantial amount to cause concern if you are not aware of this. The CO alarm will not trigger but other smoke alarms will be activated. You should close the door and open the windows to air the room. Once cured this process is complete.

 

How do I control my fire?

 

Air vents are predominantly used to control your fire. There are usually two. One is referred to as the primary vent and the other is the secondary vent. Some burners top range will have a tertiary control/vent to produce ultimate efficiency and complete combustion.

 

The primary vent is the main air ventilation that feeds the fire. It may come from above the fire in a wood burner or from underneath the fire in a multi-fuel stove. This is because wood burns best when fed air from above and coal from underneath (that’s why its best to leave ash on the fire bed when lighting your fire with wood and to clean the fire bed when using smokeless fuels). The secondary vent is typically used for “clean-burning”. This means that the gasses produced from combustion are burnt – releasing more heat and providing a safer burn ensuring the amount of gasses released into the atmosphere are kept to a minimum. The secondary vent is typically directed over the glass from inside the stove thereby helping to maintain a clean and clear view of the glass. Very clever!

 

Some stoves even have ventilation systems whereby they introduce hot air over the fuel so that it creates an even more efficient burn and releasing more heat. This is referred to as tertiary air ventilation. Almost as clever as sitting back in on your sofa with the ones with remote controls.

 

 Re-light my fire !!!!!

 

 

 

How do I light my log-fire?

 

If you’re burning logs, then it’s a good idea to start on a bed of ash from your previous fire which should be around 1cm to 1” thick. Tightly roll several pieces of newspaper and put these down to cover the bottom of your stove. Alternatively break a firelighter up. Now place dry kindling on top of the paper/firelighters; use lots and place them jenga style over the paper or firelighters. This will allow air to move through it for combustion.

 

Before lighting it up – make sure your vents are all open. Now set fire to all the firelighters/the newspaper in several places.

 

You should be able to add a small log or two on top of the kindling depending on how big your firebox is.

 

You need to take care that you don’t ever push or squeeze the wood into the stove as you may damage the delicate fire bricks inside that are there to protect the body of the stove from being exposed to the heat and warping.

 

You may want to slightly open the door to get more air into the stove fuelling the fire at the beginning. Once the kindling is well alight close the door.

 

You are attempting to get the logs alight with a glowing flame at the edges. If you keep your vents open this will quickly occur. Once you have achieved this, you should start decreasing the vents and limiting the amount of air into the fire. You are aiming to have several small lazy flames coming from the logs. Once your kindling is reduced to glowing embers your wood will bed down onto them allowing the logs to burn in several places.

 

If you think the flames are becoming too lazy and are getting small, then you will need to introduce more air. Air is key here. Contrary if you feel that the flames are going crazy and there is a good draft to be heard from the vents/fire, then you are over-firing the stove and you need to reduce the airflow in order to subside your fire.

 

The goal with a wood stove is to maintain a relatively low-medium sized lazy flame whilst burning the logs. You do not want to let the flame go out as this will lead to poor combustion as the volatile gasses released from wood will not be combusted and increase likely hood of co spillage. Always maintain a hard burn flame.

 

There may be two vents on a wood burner. The primary vent is the one you should close first whilst the secondary vent is used to control the fire and keep your glass clean, keep this one open and don’t slumber your wood.

 

Ideally, you need to end up with a bed of glowing red embers before you add more wood. You should consult your stove manufacturers’ handbook for the wood reloading rate: This is the rate at which you add your wood so that your stove can burn at its most efficient rate – saving you cash and ensuring your flue and stove are working correctly. Before adding new logs, open the vents and then open the door slightly – just for a few seconds. This creates a draught that takes the poisonous gasses up the flue – instead of into your room! From the start to getting to the reloading stage takes about 30-40 minutes.

 

How do I light my multifuel fire?

 

Unlike logs, you need to ensure that the firebox is clear of ash and debris from your previous fire as you want to allow as much air as possible to feed up between your multifuel briquettes.

 

You can choose to use firelighters or newspaper as with log fires. However, you’re likely going to need more firelighters. Once again place small pieces of dry kindling on top of the paper/firelighters; use lots and place them crisscrossed over the paper or firelighters to allow air to move through it for combustion. Gently place individual briquettes over the kindling taking care not to over crowd the firebox. The aim is get air moving up and between the briquettes.

 

Before lighting it up – make sure your vents are all open. Now set fire to all the firelighters/the newspaper in several places.

 

You may want to slightly open the door to get more air into the stove fuelling the fire. Once the kindling is well alight close the door.

 

You are attempting to get the briquettes alight with a glowing flame at the edges. If you keep your vents open this will quickly occur. Once you have achieved this, you should start decreasing the vents and limiting the amount of air into the fire. You are aiming to have several small lazy flames coming from the briquettes. Once your kindling is reduced to glowing embers your briquettes will bed down onto them.

 

If you think the flames are becoming too lazy and are getting small, then you will need to introduce more air. Contrary if you feel that the flames are going crazy and there is a good draft to be heard from the vents/fire, then you are over-firing the stove and you need to reduce the airflow in order to subside your fire.

 

The goal with multifuel is similar to burning wood – to maintain a relatively low-medium sized lazy flame.

 

There maybe up to three vents on a multifuel burner. The primary vent is the one you should close last as this controls the amount of air being introduced from under the fuel.

 

Ideally you need to end up with a bed of glowing red embers before you add more multifuel. You should consult your stove manufacturers’ handbook for the reloading rate: This is the rate at which you add your fuel so that your stove can burn at its most efficient rate – saving you cash and ensuring your flue and stove are working correctly. Before adding new fuel, open the vents and then open the door slightly – just for a few seconds. This creates a draught that takes the poisonous gasses up the flue – instead of into your room! From the start to getting to the reloading stage takes about 30-40 minutes.

 

You should never burn wood and multifuel together at the same time as the acid produced from the multifuel mixes with the water from the wood and together produce creosote which can damage the flue. Great tip as this WILL cost you more in the long run.

 

Can you provide stoves?

Yes, we can and try and price match where possible but sometimes it just can’t be done. We’ll also take responsibility for the delivery and turn up on the day with the stove. If you supply it, you must ensure that you have checked it over before the installation so that it is ready to install and we don’t have to charge for time lost in labour.

 

WOOD SMOKELESS FUEL & ACCESSORIES

 

Providing your stove with the correct type of fuel is paramount to its function. Approved smokeless fuel & wood (seasoned & kiln dried) are pre-requisities for a healthy stove and flue system. Understanding your fuel, appreciating how much you need, what it will cost, where to buy it from, how to store it and knowing what items you really need are important factors in the effective running of your heating system.

 

What can I burn?

 

Your stove should not be treated like a furnace whereby you throw everything on it.

 

The manufacturer of your stove and flue will recommend specific fuels that you should be using. If you have a wood burner then you should only be burning either “seasoned” and/or kiln dried wood. If you have a multi-fuel stove then you should only be burning smokeless fuels and seasoned and/or kiln dried wood.

 

Top Tips:

 

•          If you are using smokeless fuel and wood together, start the fire with logs, get a solid base of charcoal embers, riddle the ash away, then introduce the smokeless fuel. This saves you from clearing out the ash before starting your fire.

 

•          Never add smokeless fuel and wood together as the extra amount of ash produced from the smokeless fuel will mix with the water and produce a thick tar that will occlude your flue.

 

 

Wood

 

What a product! Made from the sun and providing humans with heat since we learnt how to rub two sticks together. An environmentally friendly and abundant resource if managed correctly. When burnt it is considered carbon neutral. This means that the same amount of carbon is released whether you burn it or leave it to rot in the ground. However, if it’s burnt prematurely before it’s allowed to dry out or “season” – it is a bad choice for fuel and is causing a negative environmental impact.

 

 

 

Wood & Water

Wood has water running through its “veins” allowing it to grow. When you cut a tree down, the water remains inside it and over a long time will eventually seep out leaving the wood to dry out. This moisture content can be measured.

 

Seasoned firewood refers to how dry the logs are. “Green” wood refers to how “wet” a log is. The greenest logs are those that have just been cut therefore are considered to have the most moisture content – between 60-80% water content! However depending on the type of wood, the moisture content will change. For example ash has less moisture content than pine when first cut. Consequently, it dries out faster. The longer wood is left to dry the less moisture content it has and the easier it will be to burn.

 

According to one European Standard, an “Oven Ready” log should have less than 25% moisture content. A seasoned log is less than 20% and a kiln dried log has moisture content below 15%.

 

Most appliance manufacturers recommend moisture levels of less than 20% for best performance. When your log is put on your fire, the first part of combustion is to dry out the log until it has 0% moisture content.

 

If your wood is considered “green”, a lot of energy is spent in the fire drying the wood out until it is ready for burning and actually producing heat. Consequently burning green wood is false economy as it is not producing heat but using additional heat in order to dry it out.

 

In the process of drying out logs during combustion, an adverse effect occurs and a sticky tar like substance called creosote is produced. This substance tends to stick to your flue decreasing its diameter and preventing effective passage of the fires’ waste products as they are expelled into the atmosphere. Thus you are more susceptible to CO poisoning. Creosote is also flammable so the risk of a chimney fire is considerably increased. This is another reason why you should only burn seasoned and kiln dried logs. Coincidentally, it is also harder to light a fire with a green log – and it will hiss, crack and pop a lot scaring the bejeezers out of Rover and Sylvester trying to sleep peacefully in front of your fire!

 

More importantly, by burning this wet wood, particulate matter is released which contribute to air pollution. This can cause damaging effects on our health.

 

In a nutshell, you’re polluting the air, destroying your expensive stove and flue system, and throwing money away by burning wet wood. Just don’t do it! you might as well throw water on your stove.

 

However, if the log is “relatively” dry and good to use on a fire, once it has completely dried out, volatile gasses are released from the wood that produce heat when combusted.

 

Here’s some more facts for you to get your head around:

 

•          If you burn a log with a 40% moisture content and then burn one with a moisture content of 20%, you’ll produce nearly twice as much heat from the log with the lesser moisture!

•          In order to produce 4Kw of heat, an open fire will need 16 logs, an old stove (about 10 years) will need 6 logs and a new sia stove will need 5.

•          To “season” or dry a log out, it will completely depend on the species of the tree and how it is stored; Ash in the right conditions can take 12 months whereas Oak can take more than 36 months! – that’s 3 times as long!

•          You should also avoid burning treated or glued wood (such as MDF, ply and chipboard) as these produce pollutants and poisonous gasses. Driftwood releases salt which damages the components of your stove and flue.

 

Smokeless fuel

 

Wood is not a smokeless fuel. Smokeless fuels are usually solid fossil fuels – anthracite being the most common. They are similar in appearance to what you know as coal but are harder and shinier. They are typically smaller in size. They have high carbon content and have little impurities which mean that they give off more heat and produce hardly any smoke when burned.

 

Coal can typically come from about 8,500 to 20,000 feet below the earths’ crust whereas anthracite between 20,000 to 25,000 feet.

 

The majority of manufacturers will only permit you to burn smokeless fuels on their stoves. Household/bituminous coal/lump coal coal is not allowed as this type of fuel gives off too much smoke and soot which can cause blockages. The flames are long which pass the baffle plate and damage the body of the stove. It also tends to burn at too high a temperature which causes damage to your stove and flue.

 

In any case smokeless fuels are better than coal as they have heating efficiency levels (more than twice that of coal), they burn for 40% longer periods and produce 20% less CO2. This is better for the environment and better for your pocket as you don’t have to refuel as often.

 

Using smokeless fuels can be messy due to the coal dust and lighting a fire can be time-consuming as the firebox needs cleaning first to allow good passage of air underneath the fuel.

 

Types of smokeless fuel

 

Anthracite is a naturally occurring smokeless fuel. There are many other manufactured fuels that are usually sold by a brand name. The manufactured brands are typically anthracite that has been ground down and then reformed into briquettes using binding agents such as molasses and starch. Some companies mix anthracite with other materials to form smokeless fuels. A material some non-approved companies use is petroleum coke. “Pet coke” is very bad for a multi-fuel stove, as it burns at such a high temperature. Consequently as mentioned above, it tends to damage the body of the stove and flue components. HETAS have tested and approved many solid mineral fuels. Any questions please call us.

When buying smokeless fuel you should be buying from a supplier that is a member of the Approved Coal Merchants Scheme.

 

 

They will be able to guide you about how much you want to spend and what you should be expecting from each type of smokeless fuel; its efficiency, ash production and duration; All very important factors.

 

Brands may include: Ancit, Briteflame, Coalite, Cosycoke, Homefire, Maxibrite, Newflame, Pureheat, Therma – amongst many others.

 

We personally think that maxibrite is one of the best of the smokeless fuels.

 

Where can I buy my fuel from?

 

 The solid fuel association (SFA) are the official body that represents the solid fuel industry in the UK.

 

We recommend Kiln Dried Logs as your source of wood fuel and briquettes which burn so efficient and great for stove liner and the air and require less cleaning of your stove as leaves behind less ash etc. We can organise deliveries of these to your door call us for more information on this.

 

How much fuel will I need?

 

Quick answer:

 

•          Wood: Buy it by the cubic meter. Expect to burn between 1-2 cubic meters for a 5Kw stove throughout winter depending on what type of wood you buy.

•          Smokeless fuel: Buy in bulk also and from an approved coal merchant.

Long answer:

 

This all depends on how you use your stove, how often you use it, what type of wood and multifuel you use and what the suggested refuelling rate of your stove is.

 

We will be able to give you an accurate measurement if you wish based on the these factors.

 

However for a 5Kw stove, people typically tend to burn about 7 logs per night, consisting of a mixture of hard and soft wood and re-fuel every ¾ hour.

 

Multifuel typically comes in 25kg or 50kg bags and usually ordered in bulk of about 20 x 25kg bags. Each 25kg bag should last you about 3-5 nights of good burning.

 

You can buy wood by the bag/net or for better value for money, buy it by the cubic metre. The minimum purchase is typically 2 cubic meters. This will fill the back of a pick-up and will contain approximately 500 logs – obviously depending on the size of the logs. Kiln dried logs can be delivered in nets or bags and are much easier to store. You don’t have to shift all the logs (by wheelbarrow is the easiest) individually to your storage area.

 

You would typically burn 4 softwood logs to every 3 hardwood logs as hardwood lasts longer. Consequently softwood logs are cheaper than hardwood logs as softwood burns faster and doesn’t last as long.

 

Calorific Value

 

All fuel has a calorific value. This is basically the amount of heat it can produce. Typically the denser the fuel, the higher the calorific value. Hence hardwood produces more heat than softwood, and is therefore more expensive. Certain breeds of wood will have a higher calorific value than others. The same applies to smokeless fuel. Kiln dried logs will have a higher calorific value than “seasoned” logs, as the water content will be less. This means that you’ll get more heat from the log as the fires purpose is not to dry it out for as long. The longer it takes to dry, the less heat you get.

 

Try putting a freshly cut log onto a fire. It will hiss and spit and give off hardly any heat. Now put a kiln dried log on. The difference will be amazing. You’ll immediately feel the heat from the log. You might as well pour a pint of water onto your stove if you use a wet “green log”.

 

I always recommend using a moisture meter to test the water content of your logs (probe the split part of the wood, not the end or the bark). You want them to be about 20% moisture content. 25% maximum. Any more, leave them alone or send them back!

 

Calorific values are also given to different types of wood; some woods have a higher calorific value than others. For example oak, beech, birch and ash are considered to be the best with calorific values of between 4.1 and 4.5 Kw per Kg whilst poplar and pine are some of the worst having a calorific value of 2.6 Kw/Kg. Incidentally, poplar is considered a hardwood so you don’t want to be paying more for hardwood when you’re getting poplar.

 

The calorific value should be taken into consideration when purchasing wood and smokeless fuel.

 

 

How much will my fuel cost me?

 

This is going to vary in price from one region to another. Buying in bulk is going to be economical in the long run – so buying about 20 bags of 25kg smokeless fuel and 2 cubic metres of logs is going to work out better than nipping out to the local garage and buying a bag or net at a time. The quality of the wood may also be affected, although this may not always the case.

 

Smokeless fuels that have high efficiencies and low amounts of ash are going to be more expensive than other types of smokeless fuels but you should expect to pay about £8.00 – £10.00 for a 25kg bag.

Hardwood is more expensive than softwood and kiln dried logs are more expensive than seasoned logs. Consequently kiln dried hardwood is one of the most expensive types of wood to buy.

 

Softwood seasoned logs can be about £70.00 per cubic metre compared to hardwood seasoned logs at about £90.00. Expect to pay about £120.00 per cubic metre on kiln dried logs.

 

Delivery is usually included if it’s within 5-10 miles but thereafter will be charged per mile. Remember the closer the wood is sourced to where it is grown makes this an even more environmentally friendly product.

 

Summary of estimated costs:

 

•          Softwood – £70 per cubic meter

•          Hardwood – £100 per cubic meter

•          Mixed – £80 per cubic meter

•          Kiln dried – £120 per cubic meter

•          Maxibrite – approximately £8-£10 per 25Kg bag – You’ll probably use in the region of 4-8 bags per month. Less if you use wood too.

 

How should I season and store my wood?

 

If you’ve got a freshly cut tree, it first needs to be split. It then needs to be stacked and stored off the ground in a ventilated area under a waterproof cover – if you are prone to rain blowing horizontally then the sides exposed should have temporary rain covers too.

 

The air/wind will help in the drying process – just as clothes on a washing line on a windy day dry out faster. Even if you have kiln dried wood, it still pays to store these in a ventilated dry area so that the moisture content can be further reduced.

 

Depending on the type of wood, the seasoning process is altered. It typically takes between 1-2 years to season logs to get them under 20% moisture content. In the right conditions, beech can season twice as fast as ash.

 

The simplest way to make a wood store would be to use a pallet on the base and other pallets on the back and sides with a gradual sloping waterproofed roof to keep the logs dry.

 

But log store is very important and we can arrange to have one installed to suit your quantity of logs if needed.

 

Wood Storage

 

If you’ve been abroad in the mountains, you’ll notice that all the homes in the towns have copious amounts of storage for logs. They have an organised storage method that is rotated yearly. Fresh wood is cut, brought into town, chopped and stored in well vented, sunny areas. In the UK, we haven’t got our heads around this yet although many of my clients have a wood rota system.

 

Chop the logs, stack them in a vented log store and check the moisture content (probe the split part not the bark or end bits). If the moisture is above 25%, let them rest. Even if you’ve bought seasoned logs from your supplier, I’d recommend putting them into proper storage so that they can dry out even more whilst you’re waiting to use them! Rain water will hardly affect the moisture content of the log.

 

Can I legally forage for my wood?

 

The answer as I know is no sorry guy’s.

 

What accessories should I buy for my stove?

 

There are many gadgets that you can get but the list below is what we believe is all that you need. Some of the products may not be feasible but if they “fit” then you should definitely consider them.

 

•          Stove glove(s) – You’ll likely get one of these with the stove and are “handy” for opening the door as the handle can get very hot. I’d suggest buying a cheap oven glove too to use as a “feeder” for your fuel when the fire is lit.

 

•          Moisture meter – use one of these to assess the moisture content of the log. They are typically 2 or 4 pronged devices that you stab into the wood – specifically on the inside split part of the wood to gain a true digital instant reading.

 

•          4 bladed stove fan – these are designed to sit on top of the stove and are powered by the heat of your stove. They start spinning about 1000c and work away quietly moving the air around the room distributing it evenly so that all the hot air is not static above head height. There are typically 2 varieties of stove fan – 2 bladed and 4 bladed versions. The 4 bladed versions are more expensive but more efficient.

 

•          Stove glass cleaner – this is an amazing product that you use with minimal elbow grease to clean your glass. It’s similar to a sponge scourer that you’d use to clean dishes with but this product is designed for stove glass and cleans without scratching the glass. As with the scourers there are 2 sides to the product – one being for stubborn stains.

 

•          Metal bucket – important to use when cleaning out your stove as the ash may be hot and would normally burn through other containers.

 

•          Stove vacuum – cleaning your stove involves removing ash. If you have a multifuel stove and are using smokeless fuel, then the cleaning process will be more frequent. You will need to empty the ash pan regularly and if you don’t want to disturb the ash, then it’s worth investing in a small stove vacuum that can be used solely for the stove without stinking out your normal vacuum.

 

•          Fireside fuel stores:

 

o          Iron log stand – made from non-combustible material. Some designs incorporate a kindling holder

o          Multifuel scuttle or hod – used to store and feed multifuel into the stove.

 

CHIMNEY SWEEPING AND STOVE SERVICING

 

Chimney sweeping and stove servicing are integral to maintaining an effective stove and flue system. It is essential that your flue is swept and your stove cleaned thoroughly and checked at least once a year.

 

Servicing and sweeping a stove

 

Pricing guide:

 

Chimney sweeping: £45.00 – approx. 30-40 mins

 

Chimney sweeping and stove clean (service): £60.00 – approx. 50-60 mins

 

Bird nest removal: £15.00 per additional 30 mins

 

Consumable parts: Varies depending on parts

 

 

Chimney sweeping & services – why do it?

 

Just like a car, your flue and stove needs to be maintained. The main reason for “chimney sweeping” is to prevent the build-up of soot and tar like substances that are waste products from combustion. Chimney sweeping also prevents and removes blockages such as bird nests. Your stove should be cleaned and serviced to improve and maintain its longevity ensuring that it is working as well as it should be.

 

If you don’t have your stove and flue maintained correctly you are putting yourself in danger. For example you are prone to chimney fires and CO poisoning.

 

Prior to a flexible flue liner installation, the flue is also swept to ensure that the liner is free from any debris or flammable materials.

 

How often should I have a chimney sweep & service?

 

Your stove should be serviced once a year.

 

Your flue should be swept at least once a year.

 

For example, if you have a fire over 5 times a week, every week for a 3 month period – get it swept.

 

Stove manufacturers and liner manufacturers recommend chimney sweeping at least twice a year.

 

Furthermore; if you have a fire and haven’t used it for over a year – get it swept; if you’ve recently moved into a house and are unsure if the flue has been swept – get it swept.

 

The best time to have your stove serviced and flue swept for the first time are between the months of May and August. If you have a bird guard cowl and you know that birds haven’t nested during May and June then it is a good idea to have a small fire the night before your sweep is due as this tends to loosen the waste products in your flue leading to a more efficient sweep.

 

Chimney sweeping – how I do it

 

There are many ways to sweep a chimney.

 

I use a traditional method of masonry chimney sweeping and power sweeping of flexi liners. I use dustsheets, floor runners and plastic sheets. I will use a hoover with HEPA filter to trap soot particles.

I’ll also check the moisture content of your wood to ensure it is fit for burning. It needs to be under 25%, and ideally under 20% or your chimney will end up clogged up fast. DO NOT BURN WET WOOD.

 

Stove service – how I do it

 

In addition to chimney sweeping, the service involves safety checks to all components of the system including your cowl, CO alarm, and other supporting and integral parts of the installation such as guy wires, supports and closure plates where applicable. Furthermore your stove will be thoroughly cleaned. This means that I will dismantle your stove: I will remove and clean the firebricks, baffle plate and ash pan so that we can access the body of your stove to clean it ensuring that there are no waste products such as creosote building up and damaging your stove. I will check all the seals and parts to ensure everything is working correctly. If anything does need replacing, then this will be charged accordingly. Additional service costs may include: repainting the stove, replacing rope seals, fire-bricks, stove glass and other parts – considered consumable.

 

 

Chimney fires and other problems

 

Depending on what you burn, how the flue is terminated and how tall and straight the flue is, your flue is susceptible to problems such as blockages, creosote build-up, chimney fires and poor draw which could lead to CO poisoning.

 

Sounds scary right? However don’t be too put off having a stove installed as these problems are easy to avoid if you follow some simple rules.

 

One rule you should follow involves what and how you burn your fuel. Not abiding by this rule will lead to a build-up of a thick treacle-like tar substance known as creosote.

 

Creosote is bad. It is sticky and highly flammable. It loves sticking to your flue and can cause blockages, poor draw and chimney fires.

 

The basic principles taken from these sections are not to burn “green” wood and not to burn wood and multifuel at the same time as both combustion methods will form creosote.

 

As creosote is flammable it can catch alight within your flue and form a chimney fire. This will undoubtedly destroy your lining at the very least. Because creosote sticks to your flue, it will also narrow the diameter of your flue. This can cause issues such as poor draw.

Consequences of this would be seen as smoke entering your room from the stove. Other more dire consequences involve CO poisoning (see below – Carbon Monoxide – poisoning & alarms).

 

Other reasons for blockages and fires involve bird nests which are covered in more detail below. The sure fire way of preventing bird nests is to install an appropriate bird guard cowl. We do this as standard.

 

What to do in the event of a chimney fire?

 

You basically want to close off the air supply to the stove, get out and call the fire brigade.

You close off the air supply by closing down the air vents, closing the windows and closing the doors of the room.

 

By reducing the air supply you are depriving the fire of oxygen, so eventually it will go out. Oxygen is one of three components that form the Fire Triangle. Fire needs each component. Take one away and the fire will not survive. The other components are fuel and heat/fire.

 

Bird nest removal

 

Bird nests may take a few hours to clear and the cost to remove these varies – it is typically a call out fee and then an hourly charge after that.

 

HETAS & SAFETY

 

HETAS are the official body recognised by Government to approve your installation.

 

Stove and Chimney Solutions are HETAS registered therefore once we have performed your installation in accordance to Government building regulations as determined in Approved Document J (2010), we are then able to self certify your installation.

 

If you were to perform the installation yourself, you would have to contact your local building control and get them to certify your installation which is a complicated process, involves other parties, and is time-consuming and expensive.

 

 

Dorsets HETAS registered installers

 

StoveandChimneySolutions are HETAS certified (H003 & H006) and regulated thus ensuring that the above building regulations have been adhered to.

 

Certificate of compliance

 

Once your wood burner or multi-fuel stove install is complete, you will receive your certificate of compliance.

 

This demonstrates that the installation was carried out by a competent HETAS installer and complies with the relevant Building Regulations. The information on the certificate is used to record your installation and is used to notify your Local Authority Building Control Department (LABC) of the work that was undertaken. The certificate takes the place of a Local Authority Building Notice which could take considerable time and cost you a significant amount of money. The information is required to validate household insurance and will be required by solicitors in any home selling process.

 

Without a HETAS Certificate of Compliance, you could face difficulties when selling a property and potentially void a household insurance policy.

 

Notice plate

 

A notice 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 – we typically it in your consumer unit.

 

 

Permanent additional air supply

 

As a rule of thumb, if your house is a new build (built after 2008) or if your wood or multi fuel stove exceeds 5Kw in output, then you will require additional ventilation. This is Government policy as referenced in Approved Document J (ADJ) 2010. This will allow for efficient combustion and thus protect individuals from the hazardous effects of burning substances – in particular carbon monoxide.

 

The amount of additional air supply required mostly depends upon the output of your stove. The best type of additional ventilation we like to install are Ryton air vents.

 

Public liability insurance

 

We have public liability insurance cover for up to £2 million. So please be safe in the thought that if anything does go wrong you’re adequately covered.

 

T&C’s

 

When we send through your quote we’ll attach our T&C’s. These areader-friendlydly and we ask you to go over these and come back to us with any questions you may have before the install. We’re patient, flexible, understanding, approachable and friendly but if we’re turning up to do your install and your DIY hearth isn’t laid, you’ve left us a 5” gap for a 6” liner on your knockout and the stove you’re supplying isn’t there you should expect a fee.

 

Carbon monoxide – poisoning & alarms

 

In the process of combustion – a gas called Carbon Monoxide (CO) is released. This is a poisonous gas and in abundance is detrimental to your health. However, the amount of CO released in this process is so small that it is not harmful. Your log burner and chimney system come with warranties and should be serviced yearly to maintain these warranties and prevent the efficiency of your stove and system being compromised. However an additional precaution MUST be undertaken which is in the form of a CO alarm. Blazing Burners will supply and correctly fit (according to specific guidance) a CO alarm in accordance with British Standards.

 

Your CO alarm should be tested weekly – simply by pressing a button – to ensure it is working correctly. This will ensure that you are notified in the unlikely event of excessive CO leakage. Symptoms of CO poisoning include headaches, weakness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, confusion, blurred vision and loss of consciousness.

 

Manufacturers’ warranty

 

Your new appliance and flue liner will be under conditional warranties. The stoves warranty will vary in length depending on the stove. The flexible liner will either be warranted for 15 or 30 years depending on the grade of the stainless steel. The twin wall rigid flue will be warranted for 10 years.

 

The conditions of these warranties stipulate that the stove and liner have to be installed following guidelines that we would adhere to. On completion of the install, the other conditions are now your responsibility. They typically include having your stove serviced once a year; your flue swept twice a year and burning correct fuels for your stove – seasoned logs and certain multifuels.

 

The warranty normally covers the body of the stove and not “consumable” parts such as firebricks and seals. The liner warranty covers a replacement but not the removal or re-fitting of the existing liner.

 

Stove&ChimneySolutions will be happy to service your stove and you should expect a call 12 months after installation or during the summer, unless you have contacted us prior to this.

Stove & Chimney Solutions
Telephone 01202032665
Mobile 07521647885
 
Stoveandchimneysolutions@gmail.com
Opening Hours 
Monday   7:30 - 20:00
Tuesday   7:30 - 20:00
Wednesday   7:30 - 20:00
Thursday   7:30 - 20:00
Friday  7:30 - 20:00
Saturday  7:30 -  20:00
Sunday  Closed
Location 
Stove & Chimney Solutions

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