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We no longer blog under “The Stove Man”, please follow our more recent posts over on our website.

 

http://corinium-stoves.co.uk/blog/

Central Heating Boiler Stoves

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What are boiler stoves?

Boiler stoves are woodburning or multifuel stoves that have the addition of a boiler, which can supply your domestic hot water and run your central heating system. They can also be linked up with a new or existing central heating system, so that multiple sources of heat can supply your heating requirements and therefore reduce your reliance on using gas or oil. Boiler stoves can even be linked with underfloor heating and solar panels. The stove itself will need to be fitted in the same manner as a non-boiler stove i.e. connected to a flue liner.

 

Output

Boiler stoves generally provide a higher output to the boiler than to the actual stove. Each stove will have its own output rating to the boiler and a separate output rating to the stove, and often an indication of its heating capability e.g. number of radiators it can heat. Always use the nominal output rather than the maximum output when finding the right size stove, as this is the output at which the stove would normally be run.

 

Types of Boilers

The types of boilers available are:

 

  • Integral (also referred to as wraparound) boilers that are factory fitted and form part of the stove body.
  • Clip in boilers that are provided as an option with the stove and are fitted as an add-on to the stove on request.

 

As clip in boilers are removable, they are smaller and so do not have as high an output as integral boilers.

 

Installation

We highly recommend gaining advice on the right size boiler stove for your property and heating requirements from a qualified heating engineer. The stove and flue lining will need to be fitted by a HETAS engineer. If the engineer is registered to install wet appliances, as well as dry, they will also be able to connect the boiler to the water/heating system. If not you will need to use a qualified plumber to complete this part of the installation.

DEFRA Approved Stoves

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What is DEFRA?

DEFRA stands for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and is a government department in the UK.

“Defra was formed in June 2001 when the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) was merged with part of the Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) and with a small part of the Home Office. In October 2008, the climate team at Defra was merged with the energy team from the Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) to create the Department of Energy and Climate Change.” (Source: http://www.defra.gov.uk)

Smoke Control Areas

As part of the Clean Air Act smoke control areas were introduced to deal with air pollution in 1950s and 60s – caused by coal fires in homes and industrial buildings. Local authorities decide whether to make all of a district or just part of a district a smoke control area.

If you are in a smoke control area you are not allowed to burn fuels in a fireplace, stove, furnace or boiler that may cause smoke. If you are in a smoke controlled area and found to be burning fuels that create smoke, you could be fined £1000 each time you do this.

By law you are not allowed to sell fuels that create smoke, to anyone within a smoke control area – who doesn’t have an exempt appliance.

DEFRA Approved Stoves

In a smoke control area, a solid fuel heating appliance must be a DEFRA approved, exempt appliance, using only fuel specified in the appliance instructions.

Exempt appliances are tested by DEFRA to show that they meet the smoke control standards for emissions when burning non-authorised smokeless fuels, such as wood.

If you live in a smoke control area but do not have a DEFRA approved appliance you must only burn authorised fuels – anthracite being a popular choice, it is high in carbon and low in volatile matter. A full list of exempt fuels is available on the DEFRA website.

For a list of DEFRA approved stoves, please visit the DEFRA website.

DEFRA Installations

If you live in a smoke control area and wish to install a woodburning stove, the stove installed must adhere to the rules above. If you do not live in a smoke control area then you are not affected at all by this law, but if you do purchase a stove that happens to be DEFRA approved, you can be assured of a clean burning, high efficiency stove.

Before 1st October 2010, building regulations stated that all stoves (wood or multifuel) must be fitted with a minimum 6″ diameter flue system. However as of 1st October 2010 you can install a 5″ diameter flue system ONLY if the connecting stove is DEFRA approved and has a 5″ flue outlet.

To clarify, if you are installing a non DEFRA approved stove with a 6″ diameter flue system, it is perfectly normal for the stove to have a 5″ flue outlet. In this case the piece of flue pipe that connects to the stove with be 5″ and then you must use a 5″-6″ adaptor that will connect the 5″ flue pipe to the 6″ system. This still complies with building regulations.
 

What to burn in Smoke Control Areas 

Wood is not a smokeless fuel, therefore in a smoke controlled zone can only be burnt on a DEFRA approved appliance. However unseasoned or wet wood will burn inefficiently with a lot of smoke. Look for HETAS approved wood or wood that has a moisture content of lower than 25% to be sure you are not failing to adhere to rules.

If you live in a smoke control area but do not have a DEFRA approved appliance you must only burn authorised fuels – anthracite being a popular choice, it is high in carbon and low in volatile matter. A full list of exempt fuels is available on the DEFRA website.

You are legally only allowed to use certain types of fuel in a smoke control area, on a non DEFRA approved appliance – these are:

  • anthracite
  • semi-anthracite
  • gas
  • low volatile steam coals

You can find details of fuels that are approved within smoke control areas on the DEFRA website.

 

Do I Live in a Smoke Controlled Area?

To find out if you live in a smoke control area, DEFRA recommend contacting the Environmental Health or Protection department of your Local Authority.

 

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Why is the glass in my woodburning stove door dirty?

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Dirty Glass

There can be three types of deposit causing dirty stove glass.

Dirt – Usually white smears. This is just deposits of wood ash and needs to be cleaned to improve the appearance of the fire.

Tar – An oily type of film – when minor, becoming brown treacle colour and even as black as road tar and impenetrable to light. This is as a result of the fire not being hot enough to cause complete combustion. Deposits can build up in the chimney and a chimney fire can easily result. This can be avoided by adopting two approaches; using dry fuel (<20% moisture content) and changing how the fire is operated. It is important to avoid over fuelling the fire for example letting the fire run very low and filling the firebox. Operating the stove at minimum output, with the top control closed will also cause this. A good rule of thumb is to refuel with no more than twice the weight of fuel which is left in the firebox. So if the fire is nearly out then add only a little fuel then let this burn properly before adding more fuel. This prevents the new fuel from overcooling the fire and causing it to burn in a sooty manner.

Sooting – A dusty, powder-like residue. This again is as a result of the fire burning incorrectly. The temperature of the fire is too low for the fuel to be properly burnt. Often this is accompanied by tar – but not always. If you are to use waste wood such as planks or MDF then the fuel will often produce too much flame in the early stages of operation after refuelling. This would then overwhelm the ability of the fire to burn the carbon in the flames, even if the fire is hot. There will then be sooting of the fire in the cold regions of the stove, usually the glass and around the door frame.

Cleaning the glass – There are two products available from Corinium Stoves that will clean the glass in your stove door effectively. These are the Stovax Glass Cleaning Gel and the Vitcas Stove Glass Cleaner spray (available from our showroom).

Other than these two products, you can clean the glass using a damp cloth dipped into the bed of ash at the bottom of your stove. The acid in the ash helps to clean any dirty smears.

The Difference Between Single Wall and Twin Wall Flue

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The Difference Between Single Wall and Twin Wall Flue

Single wall flue pipe may also be referred to as single skin, vitreous enamel or connecting flue pipe.

Twin wall flue pipe may also be referred to as prefabricated flue pipe, factory made metal chimneys and double skin flue pipe.

Material

Single wall flue pipe is generally manufactured from steel and coated with enamel to provide a smooth internal and external finish. However it can also be manufactured using stainless steel with no enamel coating. The term “single wall” refers to the fact that there is only one layer of steel and no insulation.

Twin wall flue pipe is manufactured from stainless steel, usually of 316 grade quality. It is made up of two steel walls, which are kept separate by a layer of high grade insulation.

Finish

Single wall flue pipe is usually provided in either a matt black or gloss black finish, but can be sprayed to suit using high temperature paint.

Twin wall flue pipe is usually provided in a stainless steel finish, but can be powder coated in black or ivory to suit your preference. Powder coating is used rather than spray paint as it is more durable; twin wall flue achieves higher temperatures due to the layer of insulation.

Usage

Generally both single and twin wall flue can be used with gas, solid fuel and oil – but do check the specific product you intend to purchase.

Installation

Single wall flue pipe is designed to connect to the top or rear outlet of a stove and essentially act as the connecting piece between the stove and the main flue system. This flue system may be flexible flue liner that is installed into a masonry chimney, or it may be a twin wall flue system.

A twin wall flue system is used when a stove is fitted into a property where no masonry chimney exists. It can run internally or externally and therefore doesn’t just comprise of lengths of flue pipe that we have been discussing in this article.

You cannot use single wall flue pipe in place of twin wall flue pipe. Single wall flue pipe is not insulated and therefore loses a lot of heat. The layer of insulation in twin wall flue keeps the flue gases warmer, allowing the flue to perform correctly and efficiently, whilst also reducing the build up of condensates within the flue system.  Single wall flue pipe is also not designed to be fitted through walls, ceilings and roofs as with twin wall flue pipe. The insulation in twin wall flue allows a clearance of only 50-65mm (depending on the specific flue system) to combustible materials, whereas single wall flue needs to be three times the diameter of the pipe away from combustible materials.

Rivers of Treacle

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Rivers of Treacle

 

An odd title to head up this blog about lining your chimney if you have a woodburning stove, but very descriptive.

 

Pam Ayres in her book “Surgically Enhanced” talks about an old builder who on being asked his advice on installing a woodburning stove ordered her

 

“to be sure to line the chimney, cause if you don’t, arter a time, runnin’ all down the inside of the brickwork, you’ll get rivers of treacle”

 

 

If only it was only treacle that was the result of a) not lining your chimney, and also b) burning wet wood.  The liquid that is produced as a result of both of these is sticky.  But that is the only characteristic it shares with treacle.  It is thick, smelly, very difficult to clean, and worst of all inflammable.

 

The “treacle” is actually tar, It comes out of the wood you are burning.  In a masonry chimney these deposits will stick to the sides of the chimney and after time will build up creating at a minimum a smaller draught for your woodburning stove to operate efficiently, and at worst a small river of thick, smelly gunge running down the chimney, into your fireplace, which is unsightly, smelly and a fire hazard.

 

Lining your chimney will minimise the likelihood of getting “rivers of treacle” down your chimney.  As will also burning dry wood.  Avoid the temptation to buy your logs of the garage forecourt.  Although they may look dry, they may well not be seasoned.  Buy your logs from a reputable log supplier, and look for logs that have been “kiln dried”.  Although they may be more expensive the amount of heat they generate will be far more than unseasoned logs.

 

To be certain on the moisture content of the logs you are burning, why not consider investing in a moisture meter. A moisture meter will help to confirm that your logs are indeed well seasoned.  Typically a moisture meter has two hardened steel pins which are pushed into the wood to be measured to obtain a reading of moisture content on an LCD screen.  The pins are protected by a cover when not in use.  Wood with a moisture content of 15% or less is ready to use.

 

Avoid those “rivers of treacle”!!!

When Santa Got Stuck Up The Chimney!

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When Santa Got Stuck Up The Chimney

When Santa got stuck up the Chimney

He began to shout

You girls and boys won’t get any toys until you get me out

My hair is black, there’s soot in my sack

Any my nose is tickly too

When Santa got stuck up the Chimney

Achoo, Achoo, Achoo!!

With today’s modern pre-fabricated chimney and flue systems, there is certainly plenty of scope for Santa getting stuck up the chimney,  With internal diameters ranging from 150mm – ideal for the typical woodburning stove, up to only 200 to 250mm for other more open appliances, Santa would not have to have eaten too many mince pies to get stuck!!

Why are modern flues so slim?  Well, they give the perfect diameter for the heating appliance to work.  They make use of modern materials and technology.  The modern pre-fabricated flue system allows the householder to have a versatile and flexible solution to created a wonderful and warming focal point within a room.

Traditional methods of building chimneys (and chimneys have been with us since Roman times!) are inefficient, require foundations and are very labour intensive.  Pre-fabricated flue systems are quick to install, the space required is minimal, allowing the building to maximise its living space.

Pre-fabricated chimney systems have been rigorously tested under European legislation gaining CE approvals along with HETAS approvals (the UK’s leading body in Solid Fuel awareness).

So what do you to say in answer to the question “how can Santa get down our chimney?”  You can of course pass it off as magic.  Just as reindeers fly through the sky, and Santa manages to deliver presents all around the world in a single night, the magic of Christmas asks us to suspend disbelief.

Or you could do what an enterprising six year old boy called Leo did.  When his family purchased a new house Leo was worried that the chimney would not be big enough to to accommodate both a large Father Christmas, and a large sack of toys.  Leo wrote a letter to the builder which said “I am worried that my mummy’s house does n’t have a big enough chimney.  I think Santa will get stuck.  Please can you help.”

The builder responded by commissioning an architect and a mathematician to design the perfect Santa-friendly chimney, on the Lower Mill Estate near Cirencester in Gloucestershire.

A crane lifted a large Father Christmas up to the roof and lowered him into the Cotswold stone chimney which goes all the way down to the sitting room.  “A perfect fit” announced Santa. “I wish they were all like this!”

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