How to buy a wood-burning stove

Choose a stylish, environmentally-friendly stove that will bring a warm glow to any home

Choosing a stove

One of the first considerations is the type of fuel you want to burn. Wood-burners use just wood, while a multi-fuel stove can burn wood, smokeless fuel and coal. The difference lies in the grate. Wood will burn on a bed of ash but coals need air entering from beneath, so a multi-fuel stove has a grate that adjusts to suit the fuel. Some stoves burn eco-friendly wood pellets. Also consider boiler stoves that can heat water too.

Which size and where?

All wood-burning stoves require a chimney to produce emissions from the room. They usually sit within or in front of a fireplace opening, but free-standing stoves are gaining popularity, especially for open-plan areas, although they still need a flue.  To burn solid fuel you need a fireproof hearth, usually made of concrete, to comply with building regulations, but you can cover this with stone, slate, terracotta tiles or glass.


Cleaner burning

Clean burn technology improves stove efficiency and ensures that the glass stays clean. Pre-heated air introduced into the firebox burns off gases that would otherwise escape up the chimney, reducing particulate emissions. Airwash uses air vents at the top of the stove window to blow air over the inside of the window, reducing tarring.

Costs and installation

Stove prices vary considerably, starting at around £500, but installation adds to the cost significantly. The fitting must either be carried out by a heating engineer registered as a Competent Person by HETAS, or approved by the local council’s building control office.  A chimney with a good draw is essential and getting this right can cost as much, if not more, than the stove. This can be achieved with a flexible steel liner backfilled with insulation (ideal if the chimney bends) or with a more substantial liner, such as a pumice block, which will last a lifetime

 

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