Which stove is right for you?

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Points to Consider When Choosing a Stove

 

Woodburning or Multifuel?

Choose a multifuel stove if you intend to burn smokeless fuels as well as wood. Multifuel stoves are fitted with a grate for the fuel to burn on with an ashpan located underneath. These grates often have a riddling mechanism that allows you to transfer the ash through to the ashpan with a push-pull handle.

Woodburning stoves do not tend to have a grate or even an ashpan – the fuel burns on the bottom of the firebox. This is because wood does not burn as hot as coal and doesn’t produce as much ash. In this instance the ash will need to be brushed/shovelled out instead.

However it is important to note that wood burns better in its own ash, so always keep a small layer of ash on the base of the firebox. Whereas if coal is sat on too much ash the fire will be hard to light and maintain, as the ash restricts the air flow to the coal for it to burn.

 

Steel or Cast Iron?  

There should be no difference in quality between steel and cast iron due to the high quality of the material and strict manufacturing and testing procedures.

The main difference is that steel will heat up a lot quicker than cast iron, but cast iron will retain that heat for longer. Cast iron is also easier to cast, so if you want a more detailed and decorative stove, cast iron is the material to choose.

 

Heat Output

An approximate calculation to find out the heat output required for your room is as follows;

 

Height x Width x Depth (metres) / 14 = kW output

 

Remember though that this calculation does not take into account how well insulated your house is, the number of external walls, windows and doors and whether you have stairs in the same room and would like to heat some of the first floor. Consider these factors and get advice from a HETAS registered engineer if you can – you may be limited by the size of your fireplace.

 

DEFRA Approval

DEFRA is the UK Government Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and regulates smoke emissions under the Clean Air Act 1993. If you live in a smoke control area the stove you choose must be DEFRA approved. To find out if you live in a smoke control area visit: http://smokecontrol.defra.gov.uk/locations.php

 

Cleanburn

Cleanburn refers to the burning of wood only. If a stove has cleanburn, this means it will burn off excess hydrocarbons in the smoke by feeding extra air into the stove. This is also referred to as secondary combustion. These excess hydrocarbons would normally be drawn up the flue and be released into the atmosphere. Therefore cleanburn results in increased heating efficiency and fewer harmful emissions into the atmosphere.

 

Airwash

All good quality stoves come with an airwash system. Air is flushed against the inside of the glass window, which helps reduce soot and tar deposits on the glass. However, you will still need to clean the glass from time to time. If the stove glass blackens badly and regularly it could be due to burning damp or wet wood.

 

Design

Some stoves come with a huge range of design options, which are generally an aesthetic choice to make. Here are some examples:

  • Coloured enamel stoves such as ivory, red, green and blue.
  • Canopies to sit on top of the stove.
  • Decorative glass doors.
  • Some freestanding contemporary stoves can come on a plinth or sit on an integrated log store, instead of the traditional four legs.

 

Need more advice? Contact us on 01285 659887 or via sales@corinium-stoves.co.uk.

Heating your Home – Choose the right fuel for you!

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Choosing Fuel for your Stove/Fire – Wood or Gas?

First of all, you need to check whether your property will restrict you in terms of the fuel you can use.

Existing Chimney/Flue

  • If you have a conventional brick chimney, you can choose between a wood or gas stove to sit in your fireplace opening – the difference in the installation will be the type of flue liner and terminating cowl.
  • A pre-fabricated flue, which is an interlocking metal flue system, is identifiable by a metal flue and terminal on the roof and a metal flue box behind the fire. This type of flue is only suitable for gas appliances. The property will tend to have a flat wall rather than a fireplace opening, and therefore will be more suitable for a shallow, inset type gas appliance.
  • New houses with no chimney may have been built with a pre-cast flue, identifiable by a ridge vent or metal terminal on the roof. This type of flue is built from concrete or clay blocks in a cavity wall. This type of flue is only suitable for gas appliances.  Again the property will tend to have a flat wall and will be more suitable for a shallow, inset type gas appliance.

No Chimney

  • It is possible to have a wood or gas appliance where no chimney exists.
  • Wood appliance – can be installed with a twin wall flue system, which can run through the inside of the property to exit at the roof or can exit the stove through the wall and run up the exterior of the property.
  • Gas appliance – can be installed with a balanced flue, which is a horizontal pipe that vents directly outside, therefore the appliance has to be installed on an outside wall. Not all gas appliances are suitable for balanced flue installations.

Gas Supply

  • If you do not have an existing natural gas supply, you can fit a number of gas appliances using LPG (liquid propane gas). Again the appliance must be installed on an outside wall, as you will require gas bottles to be fitted on the outside of the property.
  • If you want to fit a woodburning appliance instead, an existing gas supply can be safely capped off by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

If you are lucky enough to have the option of choosing between wood and gas, here are some points to consider, which may help you in your decision.

Other Points to Consider

  • Gas appliances are more restrictive in terms of heat output, so if you have a particularly large, open plan space to heat or want to rely on it as your main source of heat, gas may not be for you.
  • Gas appliances require less attention as you do not have to keep re-fuelling the fire every few hours as with a wood appliance. Many gas appliances are also available with a remote control for ease of use.
  • Although the flame effects on gas appliances are generally very realistic, for some there is nothing like the look and feel of a real log fire.
  • A woodburning appliance is more environmentally friendly than gas.
  • Both types of appliance will require ongoing maintenance in terms of replacement parts and annual servicing.
  • The cost of using gas versus purchasing logs.

The Importance of a Chimney Liner!

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Do I need a flue liner?

If you have a standard masonry chimney and wish to install a woodburning or multifuel stove, it is highly advisable to fit a stainless steel flexible flue liner with the stove.

Corinium Flue Systems recommends fitting a flue liner for the following reasons;

  1. Masonry chimneys, particularly in older properties, are likely to have cracks. Without a liner, any fumes from the stove and creosote formed will leak through cracks in the masonry, possibly exiting in other rooms in your house or in your neighbours’.
  2. Creosote is a tar like substance that is formed when fumes emitted from the stove cool down as they rise. When these gaseous fumes cool down, any substances contained within the fumes condense and are deposited on the inside of the flue or chimney. A flue liner has a smooth inner skin with less surface area for creosote to be deposited onto, whereas in a masonry chimney it is likely to build up in cracks or crevices. Creosote is highly flammable and is often the cause of chimney fires.
  3. A flue liner is much narrower than a chimney and is the same diameter from top to bottom. This continuous, consistent pathway will allow the flue gases to exit the chimney much quicker, with less chance of deposits. A flue liner’s narrow, consistent diameter also means that it will warm up much quicker than a chimney. This results in an improved draw, making it easier to get a fire burning without lots of smoke back into the stove. A flue liner will also retain the heat for longer than a chimney, which means it will be easier to start a new fire the morning after the night before.
  4. A flue liner is generally easier to sweep. Creosote deposits formed will be harder to remove from a large chimney, especially build ups in cracks or crevices.

A question frequently asked is whether the flue should be insulated – this is done by backfilling the chimney around the flue liner. This is not necessary, but can be beneficial if you have a particularly cold chimney i.e. external, very exposed and very large. Normally the warming of the air in the chimney surrounding the liner during burning is sufficient for insulation.

We are also frequently asked whether a flue liner is necessary to comply with building regulations. It does not state in the building regulations that a flue liner has to be fitted with a stove. However, you must be sure that the chimney is in good working condition and has been sufficiently maintained. The majority of installers and retailers will recommend fitting a flue liner; particularly in older properties, as it is safer and more efficient.

We do not advise asking your installer not to fit a flue liner purely on the basis of cost. Once you have made the one-off investment, your stove and flue liner, if properly maintained, will last for years. Most stove and flue manufacturers offer a warranty on their products – for example, we offer a ten-year warranty on our flue liner, subject to conditions of use.

Is there anything else you would like to know about flue? What article topic would you like us to write about next? Email us at sales@corinium-stoves.co.uk with the subject “Stove Man blog query/suggestion”.

Gas Safety Week 2011 (Gas Safe Register)

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Gas Safety

Gas Safety Week 12-18 September 2011

 The first ever Gas Safety Week has been launched by Gas Safe Register to raise awareness of gas safety in the home.

 

What is Gas Safe Register?

Gas Safe Register is the official list of gas engineers who are registered to work safely and legally on gas appliances. It replaced CORGI in April 2009.

 

Why is it important to use a Gas Safe registered engineer?

A Gas Safe registered engineer will have been through comprehensive training and will have been certified to be able to install, service or fix your gas appliance safely and to comply with regulations. If you use an engineer who isn’t registered, you are at risk of having a poorly fitted or serviced appliance, which can cause gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide poisoning.

A Gas Safe engineer will also notify Gas Safe Register of the gas work carried out. Gas Safe Register will then notify your local building control department.

 

How will I know if my engineer is Gas Safe registered?

There are a number of ways you can check:

  • Visit www.gassaferegister.co.uk where you can find and check an engineer or business in your area.
  • Call 0800 408 5500 to speak to an advisor.
  • Ask to see your engineer’s Gas Safe Register ID card. The card will list the work the engineer is registered to do, the start and expiry dates of registration plus a security hologram and the engineer’s unique licence number.

 

If you find that your engineer is claiming to be Gas Safe registered but isn’t, and is therefore carrying out illegal gas work, you can report him or her via the website or telephone number detailed above.

 

Take care, be Gas Safe

  • Always use a Gas Safe registered engineer.
  • Have your appliance serviced annually to ensure safety and efficiency.
  • Fit an audible carbon monoxide alarm.

Choosing the right fuel…

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The Right Fuel for Your Woodburning Stove

With the autumn and winter seasons creeping ever closer, woodburning stoves will soon be up and running again; an efficient heat source for thousands of homes all over the country. With gas and oil prices on the increase, burning wood is not only cheaper but is more environmentally friendly as it is sustainable. However, for better fuel economy and more heat from your stove, it is important to burn the right wood.

Which Wood?

Many people in the stove industry often refer to the following poem as a general guideline:

“Beech wood fires are bright and clear
If the logs are kept a year.
Chestnut only good they say,
If for long ’tis laid away.
 
Birch and fir logs burn too fast,
Blaze up bright and do not last.
It is by the Irish said
Hawthorn bakes the sweetest bread.
Elm wood burns like churchyard mould,
E’en the very flames are cold.
 
Poplar gives a bitter smoke,
Fills your eyes and makes you choke.
Apple wood will scent your room,
With an incense like perfume.
Oak and maple, if dry and old,
Keep away the winter’s cold.
But ash wood wet or ash wood dry,
A King shall warm his slippers by. ”
 
 Anon
 

Whatever type of wood you choose to burn, it is important that it is dry and seasoned with a moisture content of under 20%. Kiln dried wood, which has a typical moisture content of 15-20%, does not need storing and can be burnt straight away. For wood that has not been dried or seasoned, it ideally needs to be stacked off the ground in such a way that air is able to circulate around the logs. Exposure to the sun and wind will evaporate moisture in the logs, as long as they are protected from rain and snow. To test the moisture content of your logs, we recommend using the Morso Moisture Meter; wood may often seem dry on the outside, but this is not necessarily the case on the inside.

Hotties Heatlogs

Why not try Hotties heatlogs, a new eco friendly product for use on a woodburning stove. They are made from compressed, 100% recycled, clean wood offcuts and sawdust, and contain just 4% moisture. This means they are easy to light, burn with a steady flame and give off a constant heat. Hotties heatlogs have a low ash residue and are a low smoke fuel, as well as being clean to handle and store. Please click here to view the product.

Signs You Are Burning Wet Wood

  • Difficulty in lighting and maintaining a fire.
  • Less heat from the fire – if the wood is wet the fire will use all its energy trying to dry out the wood.
  • Blackening of the stove’s glass window.
  • Smoky fires.
  • Excessive build up of creosote, a tar-like substance, in the flue or chimney that causes blockages and restricts air flow. This is dangerous as creosote is a highly flammable material and is often the cause of chimney fires. 

Ann Widdecombe on Woodburning Fires

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Famous woodburning stove fan!

I recently stumbled across an extract from Ann Widdecombe’s book “Simple Pleasures: Little Things That Make Life Worth Living” (via www.dailymail.co.uk) as she has shown a particular interest in woodburning, I thought I’d share part of the extract with you.

“There is nothing so good for the soul, the nerves or the overactive mind as the log fire. No long walk on Dartmoor is complete without a collapse in front of the cheerfully crackling logs to round it off.

A roaring fire brings a room alive – more so, of course, if there is a cat purring before it or crumpets toasting on long forks or Father Christmas consuming his sherry and mince pies. But even on its own it proclaims the very existence of home. What is the point of reading a book if you cannot look into the flames and meditate between chapters? Or watching some soothing old film without the rustle of burning wood in the background?

Forget coal. Coal is boring. It hisseth not, it crackleth not and it flameth but little. It serves only to keep the fire going but it has no beauty of its own. Logs make a fire and without them there is no fire worthy of the name.

It was when I had a fireplace put into my Fulham flat that I knew my first experiment in home ownership really did involve a home rather than just a property. I had virtually no money but fallen wood is free and I collected twigs on long walks, sometimes rejoicing in a stout branch. I did not have a shawl or a basket and I did not meet the big bad wolf, but in every other way it felt like a fairy story.

A log fire proclaims the very existence of home. What is the point of reading a book or watching an old film without the rustle of burning wood?

I was saddened when my next move, onwards and upwards, meant a flat with no fire, but very soon came a rural constituency complete with cottage and two log fires…”
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/you/article-1340827/Ann-Widdecombe-comforts-log-fire.html#ixzz1Sdb3mgt0

Detecting Carbon Monoxide (CO2)

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It is important that you are aware of the legal requirements regarding stove installations…

As of 1st October 2010 it became a legal requirement as per Document J of the Building Regulations that where a new or replacement fixed solid fuel appliance is installed in a dwelling, a carbon monoxide alarm should be provided in the room that the appliance is located.

Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless, tasteless, poisonous gas. As well as having a CO2 alarm fitted, it is important that your solid fuel appliance is installed by a HETAS registered installer, you have your chimney/flue swept regularly and any ventilation fitted is kept clear. For more information and advice, including how to spot warning signs of a carbon monoxide leak, please visit www.becarbonmonoxideaware.com.

Corinium Flue Systems and Corinium Stoves sell the SF450EN Carbon Monoxide Alarm from Honeywell Analytics; a self contained alarm designed for use in all domestic environments including caravans and boats – with a guaranteed life of up to 6 and a half years. To view the product and find out more please click here

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