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How much hassle is a woodburning stove?

(114 Posts)
TunipTheHollowVegemalLantern Wed 31-Oct-12 14:31:32

We have a damp problem in one end wall, centred around the chimney breast. There original fireplace has been replaced by a stove which was originally woodburning, then converted to gas, and for the last few years has been out of commission. Since having dcs we haven't wanted to use it because of safety.

The damp problem has got worse and worse, we've had damp experts look at it and advise various things which we have tried to no avail. We now have a big slug problem which I am sick to death of.

I reckon that if we used the stove, it would keep the damp problem in the chimney under control. I'm sure it's got worse as a result of not using the stove.

So we want to get it back into commission. The question is, assuming both are possible (someone is coming next week to look at it), do we go with gas or woodburning?
I grew up with a coal fire and would love to have 'proper' fire, but remember it being a fair bit of work to lay and clean out. Is a stove a similar amount of hassle, or more, or less?

Thanks.

Caerlaverock Wed 31-Oct-12 14:34:28

Woodburner is hardly any hassle. There is much less ash than from an open fire and it is neatly collected in a tray. Our biggest hassle is bringing in wood but tbh it is worth it.

jennycrofter Wed 31-Oct-12 14:34:31

I've no idea if it will help with your damp problem, but get a woodburner. They are no hassle at all, give off a much much nicer heat than a traditional fire, and are just all round brilliant.

You don't even need to clean them out every time you use it, because it will have a tray underneath for ash, and apparently they work most efficiently with about 1" of ash in the top too.

If/when we ever move, I'd do anything I needed to to make sure we could have one again. smile

TunipTheHollowVegemalLantern Wed 31-Oct-12 14:38:51

Oh how exciting! Thank you!
I was expecting it to be much more trouble.

AlfalfaMum Wed 31-Oct-12 14:40:56

Get a wood burner!
My friend has one which I covet, and her place is so lovely and cosy when it's lit.

Sagelyhaunting Wed 31-Oct-12 14:49:16

I loved mine, and would have one again in a flash if I could!

They look great, smell heavenly, and give out wonderful heat (feels different to an electric heater anyway smile )

Far less trouble than an open fire, but you need somewhere to stock the wood, and someone has to get it even when it is cold and wet...

TunipTheHollowVegemalLantern Wed 31-Oct-12 15:07:54

Woodsmoke is a wonderful smell. I love it when I'm walking through the village at night and I can smell someone else's wood fire.
I don't mind going out to fetch wood - I'm always going to out to check on the chickens anyway.

I'm sold grin
Now fingers crossed they can convert it back.

WineGoggles Wed 31-Oct-12 16:50:26

I love my Clearview wood burning stove! grin It's so easy and efficient, and although expensive to buy, it compares well with cheaper models friends have had (so they said). Gets going within a minute, creates a lovely cosy warmth and is easy to clean out. Do it!

GupX Wed 31-Oct-12 16:53:39

LOVE our woodburner.

Clean, warm, gorgeous.

Get one!!!

bureni Wed 31-Oct-12 21:18:24

Get one right away but do check that the model you buy has a good spares backup not that they need a load of spares but just incase, avoid the trendy stainless models they are all show but no go. I use my woodburner to heat all my rads plus all my warm water in the winter and have not had a heating bill for over 3 years, it paid for itself in 8 months.

TunipTheHollowVegemalLantern Wed 31-Oct-12 22:04:11

It's a Villager stove. The man who's coming to look at it is going to tell us if we can turn it into a woodburner again. If we can't we will put up with gas - I don't want to spend the money on a new one.

bureni Wed 31-Oct-12 22:09:42

To hell with the gas, the woodburner will pay for itself very quickly, do you have a good reliable and cheap supply of wood? I get all my wood from industrial sites usually in the form of disposable pallets which cost nothing and do not need to be matured like fresh cut timber, honestly these woodburners are the dogs balls and are hassle free plus you can control your expenses unlike, gas, oil or coal which the suppliers do increase the price when it suits them. Wood is free if you take the time to find it.

SleeveOfWizard Wed 31-Oct-12 22:26:58

We have one, I personally am scared of it! Not keen on loading it up, so DP does that but I'm the same with bbq's so don't let that put you off. I think we were sold the wrong sort, and should have shopped around, but we only had a certain amount of money to spend. This one we bought from an independent seller, who seemed to know everything and anything about them. It's a Bernard Davis, which I thought when I bought it was made on the premises. Turns out they are shipped in from china! We visited a town shop some months later and I commented to the assistant there that our burner didn't seem as warm (nothing like) as theirs. They asked what make, and said that was why. You pay for what you get I suppose. We have a large open plan living area with stairs going up to 1st floor from the lounge, and to be honest, we do need rads on as well, so somethings not quite right. It takes ages to get going temperature wise.

We have been told that you have to sweep the chimney every 12 months, but I am not sure if that's the case if you don't use it in the summer - anyone?

VerySmallSqueak Wed 31-Oct-12 22:35:36

If it's your only source of heat it's a bit of a hassle,but very efficient and better than being cold.

I think they draw the damp from a room.

I would definitely go with woodburning particularly if you can source some fuel free.

TunipTheHollowVegemalLantern Wed 31-Oct-12 22:38:55

It won't be a large proportion of the heat for our house - our central heating is fine. But the end wall, that has the chimney in it, has no radiators on it so it does get damp.
I haven't looked into wood sources but we're in a rural area and lots of people have signs up selling firewood, so I don't think it will be hard to get.

VerySmallSqueak Wed 31-Oct-12 22:43:07

If you've got central heating as well it'll be a doddle.
Go for it!

somewheresomehow Wed 31-Oct-12 22:46:50

we have a wood burner they are brill, we use old pallets and logs.
be warned though dont touch it with ur bare hands when lit cuz they get bloody hot grin

Cheddars Wed 31-Oct-12 22:52:43

I love ours when it's cold outside and it's all set up burning nicely but tbh if i had the choice again I'd probably go for a gas fire. blush

Gas is just so convenient and there when you want it. DH has spent about 15mins every day this weekend sawing wood for the day's burning. During the week we rarely light it because it can be a pain if it needs clearing out and wood sawing/chopping. We just can't be arsed after work.

We also still have slug trails in the morning despite the woodburner being on all night so I wouldn't rely on it to get rid of slugs.

It's like having a pet. You have to put a lot of effort in to get a nice reward. smile

SleeveOfWizard Wed 31-Oct-12 22:59:28

I meant to say, we have damp in our lounge, woodburner has a door next to it then it's the damp wall. It hasn't really helped to be honest, if anything the damp looks like it's getting worse. Your damp may be caused by something different to ours though.

VerySmallSqueak Wed 31-Oct-12 23:07:44

I'd agree with Sleeve in that it might be worth investigating if there's a cause for the damp that can be rectified.
Even if a woodburner does draw damp,as per my theory,if damp keeps being created you'll be no better off!

mycatlikestwiglets Thu 01-Nov-12 09:21:57

If the damp is coming from the chimney you might find you need to have it lined and/or repointed before you can have your stove converted to a woodburner. It would be well worth it though, woodburners are lovely and v easy to use. Agree with comments above that you really need to get the damp issue sorted separately, a woodburner isn't going to solve the problem for you. It sounds as though it could be a problem with the pointing or the flashing on the chimney stack - you might need a builder/roofer to have a look rather than a damp specialist.

TunipTheHollowVegemalLantern Thu 01-Nov-12 10:01:28

Chimney/roof have been looked at by builders and nothing found wrong. The damp is in the chimney breast and spreading out from there so it seems likely that heating the chimney up will help - it's worth a try, anyway. I totally take the point that we should get the damp investigated as a separate issue but we have already done that, more than once, over a period of 10 years, and tried various things and it has only got worse. The one thing that seems to have changed since dh bought the house (apart from the weather being awful in the last few years) is that the previous people used the stove a lot, dh started off using it a little and over the last few years it hasn't been used at all.

When we last had the chimney swept the sweep said the chimney lining was fine and the stove could be easily converted back so fingers crossed he was right!

Sagelyhaunting Thu 01-Nov-12 19:31:24

Be v careful about burning pallets btw-full of nasty chemicals and they make very toxic smoke.

(According to a tv programme I saw)

Pudden Thu 01-Nov-12 19:38:40

Pallets are fine...very few are full of chemicals now as they are mainly heat treated (look for HT stamped on the pallet) We use them all the time for kindling and the big chunks of wood on them make a good fire. These do NOT make toxic smoke as they are merely soft wood and nowt else

bookbird Thu 01-Nov-12 19:39:12

I love my stove. Less messy than an open fire, but my hearth is still covered in wood chips and bits of ash. Worth it for the lovely cosy feel though.

I agree with what others have said about damp though. My stove is in a recess and the damp has now moved off the back wall and round both sides, to the extent that the paint is peeling off sad

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