Installing a wood burner

(15 Posts)
lalalonglegs Thu 11-Apr-13 19:36:19

I am meant to be starting work on a flat soon. It has no gas connection and no viable way of getting one so I am working out the best way of heating it - I'm planning to improve the (probably non-existent) insulation and put in a wood burner in the living room. I have no idea how much the installation will cost though - it's a top floor flat, has a shallow chimney breast (which i very much doubt has been lined or cemented or whatever it needs), it's partly built in the eaves so the top of the stack is pretty close. Can anyone offer any ideas?

Also, apart from the stove itself and a flue pipe, what exactly is needed? I keep hearing about register plates and things that mean nothing to me.

Ours cost £2500 to install - that was rippingb out the fire place, putting the stove and new hearth in, lining the flue, anything else that needed doing and all the safety certificates.

poshme Thu 11-Apr-13 21:56:56

You could use the woodburner to run the central heating and do the hot water as well- we have one that does that- it has a back boiler type thing attached. Obviously would be more expensive to install, but covers everything. The downside is the amount of logs that you need. (We do have a 4 bed detached though)
If you're top floor- are you having to carry the logs upstairs?

narmada Thu 11-Apr-13 21:59:48

Wouldn't wet or dry underfloor heating be a better option? Woodburner good but I think best as an ancilliary heating source. Wood is £££. Coal less so. Also you DO NOT want to be lugging it up the stairs. And you need somewhere to store and season fuel.

lalalonglegs Thu 11-Apr-13 23:09:29

OMG £2500 <faints>

I think it is quite expensive to run electric UFH except in very small areas. I thought a small wood burner, that would only burn a couple of logs a night would be fine (in London, they sell the wood already seasoned in little bags) - the flat is quite small, I was thinking of the sort of size that are advertised for houseboats etc. I will admit I am completely ignorant about them though.

specialsubject Fri 12-Apr-13 10:15:32

for a flat, I agree with narmada that the issue is 'where do you keep the wood? Do you mind lugging it upstairs?'

buying the wood in those little bags is an incredibly expensive way of doing it. I buy a ton and a half of wood for £90 (and could probably get cheaper), compare with the little bags.

BTW if you install a logburner you must have it checked and certified by someone with a HETAS certificate (similar to gas safe, only for solid fuel). Do otherwise and you invalidate insurance, and obviously in a shared building it would be bad.

narmada Fri 12-Apr-13 10:29:23

£2,700 is what we paid, and that is with an existing chimney, in good condition. The stove itself was included in that and cost about £700 retail.

You would get through more than two logs a night - think more like 4, split hardwood pieces, if you got it going about 7pm and kept it going until 11. And that's conservative. Solid fuel might work out cheaper. What would you do on cold winter mornings? Would you be happy to be cleaning out a grate and laying a fire at 7am grin? there are some you can get that burn overnight, but IIRC these tend to have larger outputs.

You can have wood delivered, but you need to find a good source and it needs to be well seasoned. Tis far cheaper to buy it in large quantities and so you will need to have storage space. Around here (London outskirts), 1 cubic meter of good seasoned wood costs about £120. Kiln-dried wood is more, but you don't necessarily need that and it burns really quickly I find.

We have a small burner (about 4-5 kw) and this heats living room, dining, and hallway.I absolutely love it, have to say.

You will need to have the chimney swept every year at least, but that's probably not a substantial cost.

I am not sure that UFH costs a lot to run - especially the wet underfloor type. But this would possibly only work if you were considering replacing all the flooring. There might also be considerations given the fact it's a top floor flat. I'm not sure how it works if there are people below you.... I don't really know much about it TBH but a good plumber should be able to advise.

lalalonglegs Fri 12-Apr-13 12:29:45

We will be replacing all the flooring with engineered wood (it's a refurb to sell on - I won't be living there) which I Think works well with UFH but I think the running costs are high if you can't connect to gas but I will investigate. The flat has a large shared garden where a woodstore could conceivably be kept but I take your point about lighting up in the morning. I thought it would be a practical solution to having no gas and look good as well.

upinthehills Fri 12-Apr-13 12:34:31

If it is to sell on then I think that people would not want the only source of heating to be a fire. Can you research efficient electric wall heaters.

impty Fri 12-Apr-13 12:35:09

Look into eco fires. Lots if different styles. You can simply attach to a wall fill the tank with some bioethanal and light. Real flame and lots if heat! No need for a flue or anything. Although if you have an existing fireplace you could put it in there.
We put one in our living room. Its marvellous!

lalalonglegs Fri 12-Apr-13 12:41:51

I'm a bit skeptical about the claims made for efficient electric wall heaters (perhaps unfairly) but eco fires sound interesting, I'll definitely have a look - I'm a GCH girl and feel a bit at sea without it.

Lucyellensmum95 Fri 12-Apr-13 12:58:14

I think it a lot of expense if it is an investment property. My DP installs these and we would charge about £1800 to install a 5kw stove that cost around £600.

You will not be able to heat the flat on a couple of logs a night though - we get through a bag a night when its cold. It is much cheaper to buy in bulk.

Lining the chimney would not be a problem, the liners are a flexible aluminium (i think) tube that is inserted into the chimney and connected to the fire. There are lots of other factors tht you will have to consider as the burners have to comply with the building regulations, as do the chimneys and hearths - they have to be minimum sizes etc, you will also, depending on the size of the fire (although if you keep it small you wont have to) have a permanently open vent in the room too.

The best thing to do is see if you can find a company that will do a free survey of the chimney - they usually want the chimney to have been swept first, but then many chimney sweep companies are now registered to do this. It is impossible to say without an inspection if it is viable.

A company should be registered with HETAS, but they don't have to be, my DP isn't so any burners he installs has to be passed by building inspector - we do it this way because it is not our "bread and butter" work so we don't install enough to warrant the cost of HETAS registration, but if a company is not registered you will have to have the installation certified by building control, the cost varies according to your local council - we incorporate the cost into our quotes and can still be competitive. You get the same peace of mind that the job has been carried out by a competent person and it is actually inspected by an independant body as well. If someone is not HETAS registered and does not mention the need for building control, don't use them.

not touting for work - DP is too busy just now before anyone gets on their high horse! Just pointing out the various factors etc.

Bear in mind that wood burners also need to be a certain distance out from walls, and then have a hearth a certain distance out from them, so its not just a question of tucking them into an old fireplace.

Lovely as they are, I don't think its a good solution to your problem - if I was going to buy or rent a flat, and that was the main source of heating, I'd be working out how much it was going to cost me to put in some other form of more reliable, less-fuss heating. I like things that run on a timer, and have a thermostat for my main heat source, the woodburner is cheerful and wonderful in power cuts, but I'd hate to live without a warm radiator in the mornings.

Lucyellensmum95 Fri 12-Apr-13 13:18:53

Amuminscotland is exactly right - i love my log burner and we use it far more than the GCH BUT i have the heating come on in the morning, i don't have time to faff about with the fire.

IIRC it is 150mm from the wall either side, i THINK it can be less at the back, the walls have to be of a non combustable material though. Also, there has to be 300mm non-combustable hearth in front of the burner, 500mm if the burner is designed to function with the door open (most aren't). So it will encroach into the room somewhat.

I can honestly say that our log burner was absolutely the best purchase we have ever made, but i would not want one as my soul source of heating.

lalalonglegs Fri 12-Apr-13 13:20:13

I can see it is not the right solution - I think I was being a bit desperate because I have this wretched chimney breast which I don't want to remove and this seemed a good way of using it and getting a good heat source. Since the flat is quite small, I might look into getting electric UFH to keep the worst of the cold out and have a bioethanol burner as a top up in the living room (thanks impty they look great).

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