The first thing you need to do is find a local chimney sweep and get him to come and assess your flue. The quality of the flue is vital for the creation of a rising column of hot gases, which creates a low pressure and sucks the air through your stove. He might recommend that you get your flue lined with an expensive stainless steel liner; you will need to question him about this because the liner, at over £60 a metre, can be half your stove cost, which is a nice earner for him. If you're lucky enough to live in a modern house, which has a chimney, the flue might be made from a stack of concentric clay rings and in good condition. Older houses will have a square section flue built out of brick and it's likely that the mortar might be in poor condition allowing gases to escape and necessitating a liner. A liner is good in any case because it's smooth inside and will be packed in insulating material, meaning it will warm up fast (cold brick takes longer) and encourage the gases to rise in a nice thin column. A warmer flue means less condensation and less nasty acidic liquid attacking the brickwork or the liner. Get him to quote you for a chimney cowl (must be stainless) and check the flaunching around your pot.
Once you've sorted the flue, start thinking about the stove. Here is my view on the pros and cons:
Wood burner: You are limited to wood only but wood burners usually have spacious grates and big windows giving a lovely effect. However it takes a bit of practice and plenty of small pieces of fuel to create the all-important bed of embers on which to burn your logs. Logs alone in an empty grate don't burn very well.
Multi-fuel: more choice of fuels and easier to create the bed of embers with some smokeless nuggets, which will glow all evening and on which you can burn logs if you wish. Will easily stay in all night. Usually a smaller grate. We have two Dovre 250s, which we think are about perfect.
The best advice I was ever given was to err on the side of a smaller stove, which you will be burning harder and therefore hotter and cleaner - nothing looks worse than an oversize wood burner, shut down and smoking up the glass.
Once you've decided on the stove the next thing is to think about your log store. You need somewhere well ventilated where you can stack the logs and air will pass through them to dry them. Most wood merchants or tree surgeons will deliver big builders' bags of logs, which will have been heaped in a barn and so will be semi dry and not really ready for burning. A full summer is usually enough to get those logs dry enough - you can tell they're ready by the radial shrinkage splits in the ends and the ringing sound when you bang two together.
Get the stove installed by the chimney sweep; this will make you a good customer who he'll be happy to come back and sweep for at shortish notice or attend to any problems. He will fit a sweeping port in the flue for future convenience.
Next go and buy your coal scuttle, log basket, tools, some spare door seal rope and glue, some glass cleaner gel, a tipper box for the ashes and your multi-fuel nuggets and kindling and a huge box of fire lighters.
Then fit a TRV to the radiator in the lounge to prevent you from overheating when 'er indoors has got everything on full whack and is still sitting moaning about feeling cold. Finally, start to enjoy your stove.