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It can be a daunting task trying to pick your way through all the information currently available on stoves and chimneys, even more so if this is your first stove!
Our advice is always to come down to one of our showrooms to discuss everything face to face, it truly is the best way!
However, we ourselves are modern day consumers and understand the great tool that is the ‘internet’, so if you are browsing our site out of hours, or simply just can’t make it in to see us at the moment, we have brought together the best of our knowledge and experience to provide you with a helpful step by step guide to focus the mind and make this process easier to grasp.
Please make sure you are sitting down, have a cup of something warm in hand, and are comfortable using a measuring tape!
This may be a rather obvious question, especially if you are currently using your fireplace. Still unsure, please read on…
If your property was built pre the early 1900’s, your fireplace and chimney can be a
lot harder to find. The walls tended to be thick, and the fireplace and chimney was incorporated into the wall space, therefore identifying old fireplaces in properties repairs and renovations have taken place may require a little detective work.
The best bet is to get outside and look for the chimney heads and pots. By simply counting each pot, you should be able to understand how many fireplaces there are within the rooms and floors below. 2 pots = 2 fireplaces, 2 storey house = more likely 1 fireplace each floor, or possibly two on the ground floor.
Houses built in the 1930’s and up to more recent times, are simpler in construction terms, and with thinner walls, the chimney and fireplace is often contained within a ‘chimney-breast’. This will very often project into the room, making its presence much more obvious.
In essence, yes. The construction of most existing fireplaces will allow for the installation of different types and sizes of stoves, but they do have their limitations.
Older properties do tend to have larger constructed fireplaces and bigger flue passages within the chimney. The construction can be harder to modify, but because of the preference for larger fireplaces back in the day, the recess, into which to install a stove should require less structural alteration to open it up into a useable space to install a stove.
Typically a stove requires at least 150mm either side, 300mm above and 75mm behind to allow for the free movement of air. Once cleared out, older fireplaces can average 910mm x 910mm height and width, with average depth of around 350mm, most 4KW to 8KW stoves will fit within an opening of this size.
An existing fireplace, certainly one that is still in use, is likely to have a ‘working’ chimney. Nearly all ‘existing’ chimneys built in Scotland prior to the millennium, were built to suit an open fire. Even those built more recently and lined with clay liners, may not get the best out of your stove.
As stoves have become more efficient, it has become more and more important, even critical, that the chimney is designed and built to a suitable high standard.
You are going to keep hearing this from us, but “your stove is only ever as good as your flue”.
This is not necessarily a problem. To have a stove, you will of course need to build a chimney or install a ‘twin wall’ flue system. If you are building a new house or an extension, come and talk to us as early as possible. Bring your plans and drawings and let us help you ensure the stove and flue are in a suitable position. A poorly sited chimney can ruin even the best stove.
A flue system or chimney will always have the best chance of working properly where it terminates above the ‘highest point of your highest’ roof. It needs to achieve this by taking the simplest vertical route, avoiding bends or offsets, unless absolutely necessary. Any such bend can be of no greater angle than 45° off the vertical, and as a ‘rule of thumb’ the flue can only travel at that angle for no more than 20% of the total height of the flue. With this in mind, you will appreciate it can be more difficult to install a flue system or chimney in an existing property.
There is always a relatively simple alternative to consider. We now have a great range of gas-fired stoves. These look great and the balanced flue options allow installation in a number of locations that wood or multi-fuel stoves would not suit.
It is also important to bear in mind some practical issues when choosing your ‘style’. For example, a design feature of most contemporary stoves is that they heat by convection, moving the warmed air away from the stove and creating a more even spread of heat throughout a room. This can suit modern, well-insulated buildings where there is little natural air movement. But another benefit this offers is that these contemporary stoves have lower surface temperatures, in particular the side and rear panels, thus allowing the stove to be located closer to combustible materials. This makes installation easier and can often save space.
Many of you will want to burn wood and only wood. This will give you a good choice of both
traditional and contemporary stoves. If you wish to burn smokeless coal, ‘house hold’ coal and
peat, then you will need a multi-fuel stove. The ‘truest’ multi-fuel stoves are built by the quality British manufacturers who understand the ‘culture’ of burning coal, which is somewhat
unique to our ‘island’ home.
Virtually all-contemporary stoves are wood burning only. The majority are designed and built in Scandinavia and parts of mainland Europe, where wood is the only fuel available
Those of you who live in our larger cities will need to buy a DEFRA accredited stove, allowing you to burn wood and in the case of multi-fuel models, smokeless coal.
Wood is the cleanest and most rewarding fuel to burn. It will provide a superb flame picture when burnt correctly, on a quality stove and it is of course a renewable fuel source, that will, if properly manages, provide us with warmth for as long as we want it to. It does however need to be ‘dry’ (see FUEL in ‘our products’) and therefore stored in the correct manor. It is a bulky fuel and handling it is somewhat labour intensive. For many this is seen as a ‘labour of love’ and a great source of exercise.
If you are short of storage space in your garden or don’t have a garden, kiln dried firewood is now readily available from our showrooms (again see FUEL in ‘our products’). It is also worth mentioning gas again at this point. Gas stoves are now very efficient, extremely controllable and offer an economical alternative to a wood stove for a number of practical reasons.
At the risk of repeating ourselves, there are few things as important as the quality of your fuel. Firewood must be correctly cut and dry (no higher than 20% moisture). This is crucial to getting the best out of your wood burning stove. How you store your firewood will be key to this, it needs to be split and stored in the open with a roof or top cover, for at least one spring and summer period, and we would recommend twice that long or even longer. So, buy your firewood at least a year or two ahead. We are always happy to offer advice and to recommend local suppliers. To facilitate
those times that your log pile is depleted or for those of you with no storage, we hold stocks of kiln-dried firewood and wood briquettes, available in single bags or packs.
It is very important to size your stove to the room you wish to heat. This will allow your stove to operate efficiently and give you many years of pleasure. Tape measures at the ready…!
Measure the length, width and height of your room.
It is extremely important not to get carried away here, and only measure the room where you wish to site the stove. Too often the misconception around stoves is that they will heat your whole home, while in reality they have been designed solely for single room heating purposes.
It isn’t unheard of that a stove will ‘heat the whole house’ but refrain from expecting too much
from the little guy!
Open plan rooms or larger rooms with a multitude of functions can be a lot harder to measure, and our advice again is not to get carried away when taking down the room dimensions! It may be better to take all the dimensions you can, produce a small drawing and bring it into one of the showrooms – we really do love little drawings!
But if you want to give it a go in the meantime, what you need to concentrate on is the main area where you hope to site the stove, in essence, the area you intend to sit around the stove, and not be over generous with your measurements outside of this area, especially if the stove is sited down one end of a very large room!
Using the measurements you have collected, use the output tool below to work out what
approximate output you require from your stove, and which output range would best suit you and your room.
Room Length (meters)*
Room Width (meters)*
Room Height (meters)*
Size of stove required (kW)0kW
Please be aware, this tool is a guide only and we would always recommend speaking to us first, especially if your measuring skills may not be up to scratch!
The output tool above has been configured to take account of a house with average insulation, basic double-glazing and at least background central heating of some sort or another.
If the above does not relate to your home, do not despair, but consider how your home differs and let us know when you are in the showroom and we can make an adjustment to the required output. If it is not stating the obvious, if your home falls within a ‘less’ than average condition as described above, the output of your stove may need to be higher, while if you’re lucky enough to be above the average, the reverse may be true.
It is also worth bearing in mind that whilst the room volume plays a big role in the overall output of the stove, rooms that have higher than average ceiling heights, particularly those with vaulted ceilings can end up with an imbalance of hot air at high level.
Some of our customers love to use their stoves all day every day through the summer and the winter in a snug cosy TV room, while others only use it on special occasions in a room that only the adults are allowed in! Either way, how you use the room now or how you imagine using the room after the stove is installed, may affect the size and type of stove you go for.
We offer a range of stoves that vary in style from tradition, modern to contemporary. We have
never been believers in matching styles of rooms to the styles of stoves and some of our favourite installations are when traditional room settings are enhanced by an ultra-modern stove, and vice versa. Equally, modern stoves tend to sit best across a larger range of room designs, as they can be softer on the eye, with less quaint features or sharp contemporary lines.
Hopefully we’ve answered all your questions, but if there is anything else please don’t hesitate to get in touch!