More people than ever before are turning to stoves for heating their homes amidst the energy price crisis. Wood-burning stoves are growing in popularity. An increasing number of UK homeowners choose them as an alternative to central heating or to complement a central heating system. Whether you are thinking about buying a stove as the primary source of heat for your home or want something to take the edge off those chilly winter evenings, it’s a popular choice.
However, before you choose the right stove for your home and place an order, there are a few things to consider. We’ve listed the top six things to remember before investing in a wood-burning stove.
Table of Contents
Does your house have a chimney?
A chimney is essential if you have a wood-burning stove installed. This is because the fire’s smoke needs somewhere to safely escape your home. Before buying a wood-burning stove, it’s essential to check that your chimney is suitable. If you last used your chimney long ago, as is common with many older houses, you’ll need to get it swept and cleaned, ready for your stove installation. If your home is a newer build and you don’t have a chimney, the good news is that it’s still possible to install a stove. To complete installation, you will need a twin wall flue system. This is an insulated flue that runs either through the house or up the outside of the property. Our guide to installing a stove without a chimney has more information.
Where will you fit the stove?
It’s important to consider where you will fit the stove, as it determines several things, including the stove size and flue type. An existing fireplace is the most likely place to fit a stove, as your chimney will typically be located here. You may need to adjust your fireplace by knocking out the opening if it has been bricked up or plastered. Once you’ve done this, you can determine what size of stove is best for your home. Ideally, your stove should leave a clearance of 150mm on either side, 50mm behind and 300mm at the top.
If you fit a stove in your home with a twin wall system rather than an existing chimney, you’ll need to consider the size of the stove. And think about how far it can safely be placed from combustible materials, such as your furniture or the internal walls. Clearance requirements can vary between different stoves. If you want to install a stove with a higher clearance than you can provide in your home, you can get around this by installing a heatproof material. Some good options are tiles, concrete board, or a Vlaze Heat Shield.
What heat output do you need?
There are countless stoves to choose from. So, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when picking the right one for your home. Knowing what heat output you need can help you narrow down a list of suitable options. A stove that heats an average-sized room will typically have a heat output of around 4-5kW. You can also get stoves with heat outputs of 8kW or even 12kW. These are generally designed for much larger spaces, such as huge rooms or open-plan living areas. The age of your property and any energy-saving measures, such as insulation, are also worth considering. A relatively new and well-insulated house may only require a small heat output from a stove compared to a larger, older building without insulation. Use our Stove Calculator to find the ideal heat output for your room.
What fuel do you want to use?
There are two main fuel options to consider: wood burning and multi-fuel.
Wood-burning stoves exclusively burn firewood. If you plan to burn logs, you will need to buy seasoned logs from a reputable firewood supplier who is part of the Ready to Burn Scheme. Choosing your firewood supplier carefully ensures that you’re only buying and using logs with a moisture level of no more than 20%.
Seasoning firewood yourself can be cheaper. But bear in mind that it could take up to two years for the logs to be ready for the fire, depending on the type of wood you use. The firewood should be stored and sheltered in a dry environment with plenty of air circulation.
A multi-fuel stove burns wood and solid fuels such as smokeless fuel. You can find out more from our guide to firewood alternatives. Only burn one type of fuel in your multi-fuel stove at a time. Burning different fuels together can cause fumes that lead to damage. You must know how to use your multi-fuel stove correctly to ensure that it stays in good condition for as long as possible.
The grate is the crucial difference between multi-fuel and wood-burning stoves. A multi-fuel stove generally has an adjustable grate. This ensures that the stove meets different requirements when burning various fuel types. Check out our guide to multi-fuel stoves to learn more about how they work.
How efficient is the stove?
Stove efficiency is measured based on how well it can extract the available heat from the fuel and deliver it to your living space. Many stoves today can achieve very high efficiencies, with values above 80% or even 90%. In the UK, there are minimum efficiency levels that all new heating appliances must meet.
What style do you want for your home?
Once you’ve got all the technical parts out of the way, it’s time for the fun part to begin. There are many makes, models, styles, and colours to choose from. It’s a wise idea to spend some time researching your options. Compare stoves and look at photographs to better understand how they might look in your home.
Aside from how you want the stove to look, it’s also worth considering any additional features you wish to have. For example, you can get stoves with a cooktop. These allow you to boil the kettle or make dinner on the stove. It’s not just a cool feature but also a great way to save money and energy.
We hope this guide has helped you better understand the main things you’ll need to consider before buying a wood-burning or multi-fuel stove for your home.
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