Are you considering buying a wood burning stove? A stove can be a stunning addition to your property – watching logs burning makes for a very cosy winter night. But it is important to understand the type of stove that is right for you home, as well as the regulations surrounding your options.
With that in mind, we present our ultimate guide to wood burning stoves, complete with details on how to use wood burners, the best fuels to use, and a guide to choosing the right size of stove for your property.
Why buy a wood burning stove?
Wood burning stoves are a fantastic choice for your home – many customers select them as a handsome piece to add character to their property; but they are so much more. As well as adding warmth, charm, and a cosy feeling to any room, stoves are energy efficient and can help you save money on your energy bills.
Wood burning stove cost
The cost of wood burning stoves varies enormously depending on a range of factors, including the size of the stove, the type of fuel, and the needs of your property. Small simple models can be purchased for between £500-£1,000 – while more elaborate options are available for considerably more.
It’s a great idea to talk through your needs with our experts – they can help you to understand which type of stove is right for you.
How to use a wood burner
To use a wood burning stove effectively, there are a number of steps that you need to follow. It is important that you use your stove in a safe and efficient manner – these steps will allow you to do that.
- Prepare your stove – ensure that the fire has had a previous air supply. Some models may have an indicator to let you know
- Make a fire bed – you should place your firelighters or paper and dry kindling wood on your fire bed. You will need to have plenty of kindling in order to create a successful fire – don’t assume you can do without it
- Lighting your fire – you should wait for the kindling to catch fire and then allow it to begin to burn. It’s important to have a log guard, as this will keep all of the burning fuel inside and away from the glass
- Leave the door slightly open – a small detail but can be a crucial one – leaving the door slightly open helps the flue pull and actually helps you to light the fire. It also avoids the build up of condensation on the front of the glass. In some cases, however, it is better to shut the door as this reduces the amount of air flow so speeds up the air that does come through and this can help get the fire going.
- Add larger pieces gradually – as soon as the kindling is burning well you should add larger pieces of split wood. However, do not add full logs immediately – you need to build up the fire gradually, and ensure that you do not smother it
- Monitor Air Flow – Most wood burners have multiple ways to adjust the air flow. Once the fire is burning well you can reduce the amount of air flow. This will prevent the wood from burning too fast. But only slow the air flow once the fire is burning well. As the fire gets hotter and more established you can slow the air right down which will mean the wood burns slowly and efficiently. if you slow the air too soon it could kill the fire so monitor it carefully.
How to clean wood burner glass
It is a common concern that a wood burning stove will get very dirty and be difficult to clean – this probably comes from the fact that people may be used to seeing older models that weren’t always designed with practicality in mind. Modern wood burning stoves are generally very easy to clean, often built with self-cleaning glass, meaning there’s no need to scrub them to remove dirt.
Even those without this technology are quick and easy to clean meaning that it doesn’t take much to keep them in excellent condition. One great tip for cleaning the glass is to use ash from the stove – use a moist cloth and pick up fresh ash to clean soot from the glass.
On the outside, however, you should never you a wet or damp cloth, as this can cause the metal to rust. Instead you can use a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment.
Are wood burning stoves bad for your health?
When they are maintained and used correctly, wood burning stoves do not pose a serious danger to your health. It is true that smoke from a stove is a pollutant and breathing in the fumes can cause coughing and shortness of breath. However, when they are used with a well-maintained chimney or flue, this should never be a problem.
Modern stoves are much more efficient and safer to use than older models. If you have any concerns it is always best to replace an old model with an efficient modern wood burner.
Wood burning stove regulations
All wood burning stoves must meet UK building regulations. There are specifics regarding how the flue is fitted, the size of the hearth, and the distance of the stove from combustibles. These can all affect the type of stove that is suitable for your property – that is why it is vital that you should speak to our professional stove installers before purchasing.
A stove must stand on a non-combustible hearth which extending at least 225mm in front and at least 150mm at the sides. If the hearth is on a floor that is combustible, it should be at least 250mm thick. Additionally, any stove which has an output of 5kws or higher requires a permanently open vent.
The regulations for having your stove installed can be more complex if your property is a listed building.
What size wood burning stove do I need?
Having a stove in your home is about so much more than the way it looks. And the most vital aspect of choosing a stove, is to select one that is the right size for your property. Too small, and the stove won’t be able to heat the space properly. But it is actually more common for buyers to overestimate their warming needs, and buy a stove that is too big for the needs of their property.
In this case the stove will pump out too much heat, which is inefficient and the room that the stove is in is overpowered with heat. Once again, the most important step here is to take advice from experienced professionals.
Can you burn coal in a wood burning stove?
Wood burning stoves are designed to be used with wood – not coal. The issue is in the design: stoves for burning wood have a flat plate. This is because wood only requires air from above in order to burn. Coal needs to be burned on a raised grate as it requires air from above, as well as an escape route, especially to stop the ash accumulating.
Any kind of wood can be burned on your stove, but it is really important to only burn seasoned wood. This is wood that is at least a year old and has been allowed to dry out.
You can, or course buy multi-fuel stoves that are able to burn coal and wood. These can be a very popular choice and give you flexibility when thinking about fuel. Coal can burn for a long time and produce a lot of heat and it can also be stored in a small space. A bag of coal can be kept in a garage and can produce a lot of heat. Wood is less efficient and obviously needs to be stored correctly. The flip side of this is that some people are unhappy about the way coal is mined and burnt.
Will a wood burning stove heat the whole house?
In some cases, this may well be possible. Once again, it is important to recognise that the type of wood burner you have will affect its performance. However, with a back boiler it is very possible for a wood burning stove to heat a property in its entirety and do so efficiently. A back boiler is a system where the heat from the fire is used to heat water which can then be used in a central heating system. There are a number of ways this can work including just hot water for a water tank to fully integrated heating systems that work alongside a traditional boiler. Stoves are able to spread the heat far further around the house than you might expect from an open fire.
Can you have a wood burning stove with no chimney?
Whilst it is possible to have a wood burning stove installed if you do not have a chimney, it will require some extra work to carry it out safely. You can have a flue installed ( called a twin wall flue system)in your property in order to use your wood burning stove. These system are not a great deal of money and can be installed through the roof or on the outside of the building depending on a number of factors. This does mean you can still have a wood burner even if you do not have a chimney.
If you would like any advice on the type of stove best suited to your home, fuels, installation, brands and more then get in touch with us today.