Wood burners…yes, I know…

Home Forum Chat Forum Wood burners…yes, I know…

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 65 total)
  • Wood burners…yes, I know…
  • ashfanman
    Member

    I know this is a bit of a STW cliche, but I just bought my first house and I’m thinking of getting a wood/multifuel burner fitted, but I don’t know anything about them, so naturally thought I’d ask on here.

    So, what do I need to know? What should I be looking for? Are there certain questions that I should be asking any companies that I go to for this? Any options that I should be going for or ones that I should avoid? I see there is an option to have a liner – what is that, and do I need it? Brands that you’d recommend or ones that I should be steering clear of?

    The room is quite large, and currently has what I believe is a working chimney (though I don’t think it has been swept for over 12 months), and a bricked area that is obviously designed to be a fireplace, but doesn’t currently have one fitted. Would it just be as simple as plonking a wood burner in this area, or is there more to it than that?

    Finally, I’m based in London/Surrey – don’t suppose anyone has any recommendations for good suppliers in this area? I’d ideally be looking to buy from someone that can also fit it.

    Thanks!

    jonah tonto
    Member

    i spend probably 2 working weeks a year collecting, cutting, chopping, and stacking my wood (a year in advance)
    when i get home from work i have to go out in the rain to fill a basket with logs, empty the ash and clean the grate, then wait an hr for the house to warm up. there is always ash and dust around, and god help you if you spend too long cooking your dinner and it goes out. generally its a pain in the arse, dirty and takes up lots of storage space.
    however i would not heat my house any other way 🙂

    google hetas installers in your area. it wont be cheap though

    Rockhopper
    Member

    Don’t be tempted to go too big – next door hardly ever use theirs and if they do they usually have the windows open to vent the excess heat!,

    Premier Icon franksinatra
    Subscriber

    i spend probably 2 working weeks a year collecting, cutting, chopping, and stacking my wood (a year in advance)
    when i get home from work i have to go out in the rain to fill a basket with logs, empty the ash and clean the grate, then wait an hr for the house to warm up. there is always ash and dust around, and god help you if you spend too long cooking your dinner and it goes out. generally its a pain in the arse, dirty and takes up lots of storage space.
    however i would not heat my house any other way

    I pay £100 a a guy delivers my split and seasoned logs which I then spend 30mins stacking into my woodshed. I bring logs in twice a week and do this when it is not raining. I empty the stove of ash about once a month, it takes 5 mins and easy, clean operation. Ash and dust is contained within the stove, at worst a small sprinkling around the hearth but what the hell, it is a fire FFS. It is hassle free clean compared to an open fire and as I don’t season my own wood, required very little storage. I wouldn’t heat my house any other way (apart from central heating which does a wonderful job in the morning and all other times that the fire is not lit)

    globalti
    Member

    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.

    Premier Icon darrenspink
    Subscriber

    I pretty much just use smokeless coal now. Wood is nice but it is expensive, burns quickly and takes loads of space up.

    globalti
    Member

    STW regulars are sick of me harping on about it but DO NOT burn proper coal in your stove; it can get white hot, hot enough to melt the cast iron internals of your stove. This was my neighbour’s baffle plate after a chimney fire (she hadn’t had it swept for two years) caused the stove to overheat:

    Stick to smokeless or wood.

    wrightyson
    Member

    Building control
    Building control
    Building control

    SD-253
    Member

    A wood burner is for life unlike a dog. Buy a good brand no Chinese cheapos of the Internet. I have a scan excellent but they are very slow to send parts. You probably need to replace ceramic plates in the top of the burne sometime in the future especially if only a small burner. You are more likely to jam wood in and damage them. So buy British if possible. Go and look at them in a shop where they have a good choice. Although they are called multi fuel they tend to favour one over the other. The inside should be as square as possible for wood. Went to look at them with my first choice being a Aga and a Scan my last. Once I had seen them I completely reversed my choice. If you are going to use the top for kettles and the odd stew think about surface area.

    SD-253
    Member

    .globalti – Member
    STW regulars are sick of me harping on about it but DO NOT burn proper coal in your stove; it can get white hot, hot enough to melt the cast iron internals of your stove. This was my neighbour’s baffle plate after a chimney fire (she hadn’t had it swept for two years) caused the stove to overheat:

    It shouldn’t although occasionally I burn the egg shaped coal so can’t say for certain. Was it a cheapo? Were you burning Anthracite? The latter burns to hot.

    trail_rat
    Member

    So was it the coal or the chimney fire gti

    Chimney fires are a sub optimal development with wood or coal really

    Fwiw my parents have done similar to their baffle in their 6kw cassette stove with wood…..

    SD-253
    Member

    ps mine (Scan) will stay in for at least 10 hours. Once it stayed in for 16 hours. Small burner only 4.5 KWh

    trail_rat
    Member

    I have an aga sd-253 it came with the house

    Its ok but lacks controlability i get a great draw off the chimney ifthe wind blows accertain way and thefire roars the hell. – could do with a top air baffle

    trail_rat
    Member

    That will be when you burn coal though ?

    SD-253
    Member

    .trail_rat – Member
    I have an aga sd-253 it came with the house

    Its ok but lacks controlability i get a great draw off the chimney ifthe wind blows accertain way and thefire roars the hell. – could do with a top air baffle No top baffle. Are you talking about something that’s in the pipe coming directly out of the fire?

    SD-253
    Member

    trail_rat – Member
    That will be when you burn coal though.

    No wood. Egg shaped coal 36 hours obviously closed down.

    trail_rat
    Member

    Baffles the wrong word no controlable air vent is what i mean ( like every other decent stove ive used )im going to put one in the flue pipe eventually 🙂 just one i havent got round to it.

    Aye i cant close mine down so i get 3 hrs out of it when its on…..

    slowoldgit
    Member

    Back to the OP.

    He’s out of your area but have a look here for info on wood and drying…

    http://www.ed-knights-logs.co.uk/index.php/about-us

    What global says, especially about TRVs. Plus I find leaving doors open seems to keep the house dryer, there’s convection airflow up and down the stairway. The dehumidifier agrees with this.

    SD-253
    Member

    Mine has a top and bottom air vent on the stove.

    .Aye i cant close mine down so i get 3 hrs out of it when its on…..

    . That is very short. What do you burn? All wood with a few exceptions burn at the same temperature. Surface area of the wood is what increases/decrease temperature. The difference is how long they burn and that is based on density. The simple way to measure this is by weight. Therefore Blackthorn and Hawthorne are bees knees! I am of course ignoring that constant topping up dams down the fire ie using softwood.
    One of the exception is Greenheart I have a load, it is considered fire retardant (a little overstated) so not as hot but very dense slow burning. Haven’t used much, loads on the drive to cut but have to be very careful as it has the odd bolt hidden it. It is not this wood that burnt for 16 hours. Check if your burner has 2 plates at the top. It makes the smoke go down and then up to the chimney. This causes a secondary burn and a clean wash for the glass. Much more efficient. If it doesn’t I would go for new burner and save money long run.

    SD-253
    Member

    .slowoldgit – Member
    Plus I find leaving doors open seems to keep the house dryer, there’s convection airflow up and down the stairway. The dehumidifier agrees with this.

    I would go for a slightly bigger wood burner to take advantage of this and maybe go for a few fans which are designed to put heat into other rooms. Must go straight through walls, controlled by thermostat and very low noise. Norwegian company sells them in UK. Clos ******. Can’t remember name.

    trail_rat
    Member

    It has secondry burn and airwash – its not all the old , previous owners bodged it in to an open fire place.

    We found half a coal scuttle instead of a register plate and a kerb stone for a lintel.

    Worth making sure what ever you fit you leave room above for an eco fan or similar – valliant do a cheaper copy

    This really moves the air about the house

    SD-253
    Member

    The plates angle down towards the back and are normally ceramic

    SD-253
    Member

    That lack of a second air control is big problem for you a real bugger!

    teasel
    Member

    she hadn’t had it swept for two years

    I was demolishing a place a few years back. The guy had a small stove which he used to burn coal and wood but, as above, had failed to keep the chimney swept. The five inch flue had been reduced to a mere two inches, rising as high as about a foot from the stove collar. How he got away without having a chimney fire, I don’t know.

    Scary stuff but I can’t help but think of this…

    teasel
    Member

    Sorry. This, obviously…

    SD-253
    Member

    .We found half a coal scuttle instead of a register plate

    previous owners sound insane.

    . kerb stone for a lintel.

    A kerb stone? They must have pinched it as can’t see a proper lintel being much more expensive.

    SD-253
    Member
    slowoldgit
    Member

    SD – you know greenheart is toxic, don’t breathe any dust or get splinters.

    Premier Icon pedropete
    Subscriber

    Useful link, not just for woodburners – talk to Building Control
    http://www.labc.uk.com/technical-guides

    Premier Icon bigad40
    Subscriber

    Ashfanman
    I installed a wood burner for friends in epsom. It’s awesome.
    Heating and hot water means they won’t be spending any money on gas ever!!!!
    New build insulation everywhere.
    I’m in Epsom.

    Happy to talk on the phone.
    Got chimney sweep/installer in book ham.

    Not sure you want a couple of mountain bikers working on your house.

    Get in touch.

    Big Ad

    ashfanman
    Member

    Thanks everyone – I thought this might get a lot of replies! 😀

    Right, so the consensus suggests I should be looking for a small (about 4.5-5kW?) multifuel burner. Unfortunately, I’m guessing I will need a liner, as the house was built in 1930.

    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.

    A few of the places that I’ve seen online for the stoves also offer an installation service. Would you say I should definitely get the sweep to install it instead, or should I at least see what the difference in price would be? I just thought I might be able to get a better deal if I’m buying the stove from and getting it installed by the same people?

    Buy a good brand no Chinese cheapos of the Internet.

    These are some of the brands I’ve seen: Morso, Esse, Dru, Franco Belge, AGA, Hunter, Tiger, Stovax, Dovre, Villager, Charnwood, ACR.

    Any of those that people would particularly recommend, or any that you wouldn’t?

    Most of the stoves I’ve seen online that I like the look of are about £500-700. I know this is hard to say with any degree of accuracy, but what sort of price do you think I should be budgeting for, all in?

    Thanks again.

    EDIT:

    Got chimney sweep/installer in book ham.

    Ham as in Richmond?

    5thElefant
    Member

    It’s already been said but you don’t need anything huge. I have to leave all the doors open in our drafty old farm house to keep our living room bearable with a 5kw stove.

    But… I wouldn’t rule out a Chinese cheapy. I’ve got a ludicrously expensive Jotul and two Chinese stoves. The Chinese ones are every bit as good but were 1/12 the cost of the Jotul.

    Any tips for putting a small wood burner in a conservatory-ish extension? Want something that burns hot and clean so I can use old pallets etc.

    spchantler
    Member

    get a liner. there are at least 2 types, you want the one for burning multi fuel as well as wood, its twin wall. work out how many metres you need allowing for bends and the stack, and floor space and order it online, should cost about £25 a metre. allow an extra metre.
    also get the space between the liner and the chimney filled with vermiculite. this insulates the liner and stops the gasses condensing in the liner and keeps most of the heat in the stove and the room.
    shopping list
    stove, stove pipe with some allowance for cleaning, liner, connector, register plate, vermiculite, i used 4 bags in an 8 m chimney. top plate, sand and cement. and someone to fit it. email in profile if you need anymore, i’ve done a few.

    swdan
    Member

    Sorry,may have aready said but whereabouts are you based? I’m Epsom way used a heatas registered fitter called Costertons. We didn’t need a liner but think he said it was about £500 for a liner and similar to fit the stove. Stove is on top of this.
    We bought a firefox 5, one of the “cheap Chinese” ones. Had it just over a year and are very happy with it and it fitted our budget

    thegreatape
    Member

    There seems to be regular mention of people who have to turn the stove down because the heat is excessive. I don’t know if I’m misunderstanding or missing something altogether, but my stove gives out the greatest heat when the flames are turned down?

    We let it burn for 15-20 minutes or so with all the vents open, and then once all the wood is charred/blackened close them down (not right down) until the flames are just flickering, and watch the thermometer go up and up – far more heat coming off then when the flames are roaring, that’s just going straight up the chimney.

    No soot build up this way either, the sweep got about a cup full of soot after one winters use when he swept it last.

    At bed time we open everything up again so it burns out quickly.

    globalti
    Member

    It takes an experienced eye to know when a stove is ready to be turned down; I would say that 20 minutes is too soon with ours. I usually wait until the bed of embers is well aglow so that any log thrown on will burst straight into flame and flare up readily. If you have one of those magnetic flue thermometers it will be well into the “optimum” temperature range by then. After a few minutes the logs should be well alight with the glow beginning to spread and no dirty yellow flames visible; any flames should be burning vigorously and heading towards white hot. At that point I will close the bottom vent and close the airwash to the point where only the smallest amount of fresh air is coming in.

    thegreatape
    Member

    Points taken. 20 minutes is a rough guess – it’s certainly not until after all the wood is well charred, and a low flame from the bottom or ends of the wood can be maintained on closing the bottom vents and turning the top one down. This process (except opening the bottom vents) gets repeated once the heat from that lot starts to tail off.

    soops
    Member

    A liner is classed as a temporary repair and usually fitted when the chimney is in poor condition. Hetas states the chimney must be in sound condition before lining as if/when the liner brakes down the gases will then be in the chimney and could possibly enter the property.

    If you do not want to fit a liner then you need to have your chimney pressure tested. If it passes then no liner is needed so a register plate flue pipe and stove. Always make sure the register plater has access for sweeping.

    As for stove sizing, do not fit too big a stove as stoves work better when not in slumber.

    Also fuels such as homefire, taybrite and excel are not very good for liners as there will always be condensation in a liner and the products of combustion and water creates sulphuric acid which will brake the liner down. Anthracite is good but slow burning. If using wood always make sure it has a moisture content of less than 20%. The drier the wood the more heat you will get out of it with less air.

    Premier Icon ononeorange
    Subscriber

    Our second winter with ours and now getting it right. Our first 2 loads of logs weren’t seasoned properly, we didn’t realise, although the hissing should have told us. Now got properly seasoned logs. Also finally worked out what is stated above, ie turn off bottom vent when properly lit and also I’ve been chopping small bits of wood. It is now fantastic and we love it.

    It’s a small Morso and is well made. The only thing to think of if it’s small is that the logs need to be cut small as well, but that’s just an excuse for an axe if not!

    Enjoy.

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 65 total)

The topic ‘Wood burners…yes, I know…’ is closed to new replies.