Where to start with real fires?(9 Posts)
We have moved in to a house with a log burner. Never had one before - I am so excited and have visions of lying on cosy rugs in front of a roaring fire... I've found lots of useful threads about how to build a fire but I have several burning (ha!) questions which remain unanswered. Fire owners, can you help me?
Firstly - the chimney is not 'lined'. What are the implications of that? Should we do anything (other than get it lined) like burn specific stuff or not burn specific stuff?
I've been googling fire wood but can't get my head around the quantities. How is it sold (as in, by the bag? By the cubic something?), how do you buy yours? What's a good price per unit?
What kind of wood would you recommend and why? I know it must be seasoned. The words kiln and solid have come up in my Googling.
Is there anything else that might be useful to know? TIA
first thing - building regs. Hopefully your solicitor checked this, but the logburner should have been installed by a HETAS contractor. This person should have checked the state of the chimney. I thought they all had to be lined but this needs someone more expert.
yes, you do need to burn dry wood that has been 'seasoned' i.e dried for at least a year. You cannot burn new wood.
wood is sold by volume. It is a while since I bought some since we now grow our own (good healthy work chopping, slicing, stacking, bringing in)
but I recall about £80 for a cubic metre, which is a bag big enough to stand in. However that was a couple of years back and I'm not in the south east.
remember to get the chimney swept annually at least.
As said above, you must get it checked out by a HETAS engineer.
We bought a house with a well used wood burner only to find it was wrongly installed and condemned by the Engineer checking it out!
I specifically asked the owners about it and while they didn't lie, they evaded the truth!
We have now put in a multi fuel so it burns smokeless fuel and wood. We only burn kiln dried wood. If we burn the smokeless fuel we can keep it in all night.
You don't need a lined chimney, but you do need it checked to make sure no smoke seeps out. Our builder friend said his wasn't lined but we didn't trust ours in our new house. It cost £1300 to have a liner installed.
Our new one is a multi fuel burner- it has a raised grate so burns coal as well which is cheaper and more efficient than logs. Smokeless fuel is cleaner and doesn't clog your flue so quickly. We use a mixture- coal during the day then chuck logs on occasionally for some flames. Coal burns from below whereas logs burn from all around so it affects how you open/close the vents. Get your sweep to give you a tutorial!
One tip- scrunch some newspaper and light it to heat the chimney and get the draft pulling before you light the fire. The fire will get going so much more effectively.
Also if you haven't already, get a cowl fitted to the top. We had a jackdaws nest in ours in our new house that filled a coal bag when the sweep removed it- could have been very nasty if we had actually used our new fire.
We didn't have building regs passed to us with our new house, seller refused.
Building regs info is obtainable from the council.
also - you need to clean burner glass. An old pan scrubber (so not too rough) dampened and dipped in wood ash does it. Two minute job. NEVER when glass is hot.
and you must have a CO alarm.
We've just had a wood burner installed and I'm a bit of a nerd when it comes to researching and 'trying' to do things / look after things right.
Found this website which I've found very helpful!
We buy kiln dried at the moment. Will be buying some seasoned and then seasoning for longer over the summer ready for next winter. Ash seams to be wildly sold as kiln dried and gives good heat and burns for a good while. We only reload ours every couple of hours, once it's burnt down to glowing coals. If you reload before you will get through loads of wood (as we found 😂😉) Remember, stove will still be giving out heat even though the wood has burnt. Whilst the wood is burning always have a gentle flame (once flue temp at right temp), don't let it smoulder as this will put creosote in your chimney. Buy your self a Flue Thermostat to help you gauge when you can turn the vent down - I've found it very helpful as a novice.
Back to the wood, we buy 1cm3 stacked - more wood then builders bag, but more expensive obviously.
We have two wood burners, one lined and one unlined. The unlined one theoretically poses a risk of chimney fire but since its in an inglenook that is vast this isn't a serious risk. You can get a liner installed, if needed.
Wood we get delivered by a local chap. £100 per pick up load. We supplement with heat logs from Tesco for £5 a packet of about 12. These make the large logs easier to light. We occasionally use smokeless fuel to build a heart but only in lined burner.
Around here wood is sold by "the load". That means some proportion of transit vehicle delivery. It's hard to get any measurements what that means (how many cubic metres). We actually measure by wheel-barrow loads, and calc cost accordingly.
Old fence panels make the best kindling, btw.
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