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Please tell me everything you know about wood burning stoves...

(37 Posts)
Fillybuster Wed 04-Jan-17 00:14:54

...especially the stuff you never thought to ask before you got one...?

Open fire isn't an option sadly cos DH has ruled it out but he's up for a wood burning stove in the living room (currently midway through building work) We don't have an existing fire place to squish it into, so can be quite creative with size, style etc.

Any chance of recommendations for suppliers, or style, and any advice at all on just about anything stove related, please? Thank you!

lukasgrahamfan Wed 04-Jan-17 14:08:57

I've had one for the past 5years, installed in a bungalow, no chimney. I knew nothing so asked 3 installers which they would recommend and buy themselves. They all said Clearview so that is what I have and it's brilliant.

Its a Pioneer 5k multifuel burner which has space under it to store kindling, very useful. I didn't try and find a cheap installer but used an experienced, reputable company and it was worth it for the peace of mind.

Initially I burnt some seasoned wood which I stored in a woodstore outside and bought some unseasoned wood too which I kept for 2 years outside, also bought some kiln dried wood for immediate use.

Not impressed really with the seasoned wood or the wood I seasoned for 2 years but very impressed with the kiln dried which I kept in the garage. Ok a bit more expensive but worth it for easy lighting, warmth and less mess. I've got rid of the outside woodstore and keep kiln dried in the garage which is delivered by an internet company via a pallet. I buy it in the summer as it is cheaper and there are deals. I don't burn varnished or painted wood.

My chimney sweep is always impressed by how clean my flue is after a winter of burning the stove for 5-6 hours each evening. It has to be cleaned annually due to the requirements of the house buildings insurance policy.

Get smokeless fuel too which is suitable for multifuel stoves [unsuitable fuel will damage the flue] so you can bank the fire up when you go to bed and come down to a warm room in the morning.

Here I regulate the heat by opening the door in the main room so the heat goes around the bungalow to a greater or lesser extent as stoves are not that easy to regulate. But the result is I need no other heating most of the time and my heating bills therefore are low.

I'd say use a local established company who can give you advice and buy a stove [preferably a multiburner] through them - so you have come back and also future maintenance or parts. If you are not an expert on the world of wood burners you cannot really shop around for a cheaper installation and a cheaper stove and a cheaper flue because it is a science and safety needs to be taken into account too. A good installer will also provide a carbon monoxide alarm too.

Laquila Wed 04-Jan-17 14:14:24

We've had ours for a year, installed in an existing fireplace in a 1920s semi. We had the chimney lined by, and bought the stove from, a local dealer/installer - it came to about £1700 in total, I think, It's a Morso multifuel - smallish but feels pretty powerful (I think it's the Squirrel?) I think my husband wishes we'd gone for a slightly bigger one, but hey ho. We've only burned wood in it so far (he's a joiner) but we've got the hang of banking it up and can just about leave it going all night. I do love it, but there no denying it's a bit messy! Get a lined log basket, rather than one that's just wicker, so that the bits don't fall through, and you'll probably need a companion set of some kind, or at least maybe a gauntlet and a poker/tongs. We also keep a whistling kettle on ours, for free hot water smile

5000candlesinthewind Wed 04-Jan-17 14:17:33

I'd go for a multi fuel over a wood burner unless you have access to a lot of wood.

sippingginandlemon Wed 04-Jan-17 14:48:33

Buy a good one.

Buy bigger than you need (slightly), calculate the room and buy next size up.

Go for riddling/ duel fuel.

Have a decent slate laid to avoid floor burning issues.

Go for the widest one you can comfortably fit as getting smaller logs is a pain.

Get professional to fit a liner to chimney. I think this is current regulations now anyway. Duel burning stoves get very hot and old soot can catch fire in unlined chimney.

I wished that I had chosen one vented from the back to chimney rather than straight up into chimney. It's nice to have a pot of coffee/ tea on the stove in winter. Also easier to use it for emergency cooking when power is off.

I loved our burner. If you stoke it up before bedtime it will warm your whole house in winter.
Planning another one soon.

PhillipaFast Wed 04-Jan-17 14:54:35

If you are just using it to heat one room then DON'T get a bigger size up than you think you should have as you will boil alive, they really pump out the heat! We have a Charnwood one (had clear view at our last house) and we absolutely love it. Really easy to control the heat and the glass stays clear. There is nothing cosier on a cold evening than having it lit. One downside is ours is quite a small one and some of our logs are quite big but we're getting used to it now and let it get really hot before putting one big log on rather than several small ones. Worst part is having to wrestle with the cat for the spot in front of it!

JaniceBattersby Wed 04-Jan-17 14:59:15

Get a HETAS engineer to fit it. It's not worth the risk of getting someone unqualified to do it.

A builder can fit one and get it signed off by building control but unfortunately our building controllers around here seem to know absolutely bugger all about wood burning stoves. My husband is HETAS registered and has seen some shocking installs that have been signed off by building control.

Get a decent flue liner (if needed) and get your chimney swept at least once a year. Never think about using a stove without a Carbon Monoxide alarm. A HETAS engineer will not sign off a stove without one installed.

Florin Wed 04-Jan-17 15:18:58

We used to have an open fire and now have a log burner. We so much prefer the log burner as it is so much easier and cleaner. Find a local friendly person to buy wood from. Ours is brilliant and keeps an eye on our log store (it's in the front garden) and just fills it up when he sees we are low.
You can cook the best jacket potatoes in it. We also cook sausages in it and baked beans on top. Get one that is easy to adjust so you can easily open it up and close it down. This time of year we keep ours going 24/7 it is lovely.

Kr1stina Wed 04-Jan-17 15:25:08

I have two and I love them. We have access to free wood and save a lot on our heating bills. And they look and feel fab of course.

You should get a HETAS registsred fitter to install stove and chimney liner and make sure you comply with building regulations.

It you get someone who doesn't know what they are doing, it could cause a fire. If that happens, apart from the risk and damage , you will be in trouble with your house insurance because you used an unqualified person .

Not trying to scare you, just being practical .

PossumInAPearTree Wed 04-Jan-17 15:29:41

I have a Charnwood multifuel which I love. Would def recommend a multi over a wood only.

pklme Wed 04-Jan-17 15:39:10

If you don't have a chimney, it can be hard to find somewhere to put the flue. It can't be too close to public property or a window. The flue alone would cost me several thousand, so I haven't got one. sad

lukasgrahamfan Wed 04-Jan-17 17:28:46

I'd also recommend a fan which sits on top of the stove and distributes the heat around the room. Mine's an ecofan, it's efficient, costs around £100 but worth it.

specialsubject Wed 04-Jan-17 17:56:07

Open fire is under 20% efficient, wood burner over 80%. Unless you really hate the next generation you shouldn't have an open fire.

you need somewhere to store the wood and the energy to bring it in to the house. Five mins a day to empty the ashpan and clean the glass. You will get more dust than usual, I have had to modify my usual weekly vacuuming regime.

must be a HETAS installer, chimney must be swept annually at least.

lljkk Wed 04-Jan-17 18:22:27

Getting the window glass cut & replaced costs about £20 each time.
DH & I are running a 1:1 score on smashes.

When I looked into fans they weren't economical, can't sit one on top of my stove anyway.

Coal ash is well nasty (acidic) & shouldn't be composted. You'll need somewhere where it can cool down before it goes into a modern plastic bin.

Get a thermometer like this and read this MSE thread why it's a good thing to burn at the right temperature.

ispymincepie Wed 04-Jan-17 18:54:39

Sorry to hijack but we are thinking about getting one too but worried about small children around it. Would it be difficult to keep them safe?

Laquila Wed 04-Jan-17 19:36:14

Mincepie - look up the Babydan Configure/Flex system. It's like a stair gate for a fireplace (we have it in black and it actually seems to have made the fireplace look better, it's weird!)

I do have friends with a woodburner who've never had a guard - they've just brought up their kids to be cautious and conscious of the risk. They are clearly much more effective parents than me!

TeaBelle Wed 04-Jan-17 19:42:16

We have a pevex stove which we're very impressed with.

Definitely go smaller rather than bigger. In laws stove is too powerful and it's horribly uncomfortable in their house in the winter.

Group on have stove fans for sale at the moment which work soleley from the heat of the stove so no additional outlay.

Our local wickes and farm shops often have wood, kindling and coal for decent prices. Heat logs are great too. We also burn all of our confidential wastes.

We have a pretty basic fireguard which does the job. It can be sxrewed to the wall but we haven't. The top of the guard matches the curve of the fireplace.

You do have to clean it and hoover every day which is about a 10 minute job. Doesn't sound much but disposing of asg, getting new wood etc can sometimes be tricky if dd is particularly mischievous or clingy that day

Whisky2014 Wed 04-Jan-17 19:46:27

I want one too. I currently have a gas fire so will have to take it out and put a stove in. Is it a good thing ir a bad thing we have a gas fire in the place already?

tittysprinkles Wed 04-Jan-17 20:34:58

We've got a stove that looks like a woodburner but is actually a gas fire. It's great! 10 seconds to light and no faffing with logs and kindling.

We had a multifuel flue liner installed just in case we decide to get a multifuel stove in future, but with small children the ability to get the fire going quickly is really handy. Could this be an option for you?

JaniceBattersby Wed 04-Jan-17 21:29:24

We have two log burners, three children under 6 and no fire guards. We only have them on at teatime / night and don't leave the youngest in the room alone when they're lit (he's 2. The others at 4 and 6 won't go anywhere near)

You legally have to have a hearth with a change in height which goes out at least 250mm in front of the burner so there is always a natural break in the flooring which stops them getting too close.

ispymincepie Wed 04-Jan-17 21:43:49

Thanks guys!

Ruhrpott Wed 04-Jan-17 22:19:03

I got one that was the max size I could have without an air brick. Think it's 5kw and it is plenty powerful enough. We also had a double walled insulated external chimney/flue installed as we didn't have a chimney. Not cheap but we love it.

Debmeister4 Wed 04-Jan-17 22:53:26

Oooh titty I love the idea of the look of a stove without the faff! Do you mind me asking who makes those?

blackcountrygirl Wed 04-Jan-17 23:11:59

Lucasgrahamfan would you mind sharing which company you buy your kiln dried wood from? Need to stock up for next year!

PhillipaFast Thu 05-Jan-17 07:34:32

You do have to clean it and hoover every day which is about a 10 minute job

Urm. I don't do this. I clean out the ash every three fires or so. I don't clean the outside of the stove as it doesn't really get dirty. Also, I wouldn't recommend hoovering it out as the ash can kill your hoover although maybe you mean hoovering in front of it where ash can drop when you open the door?
Completely agree getting logs in can be a pain (as I never remember we need more from the outside woodstore until it's dark and raining outside!) Still worth it though, we LOVE our stove.

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