Sales of wood burning stoves have soared over the past few years, but installation is a specialist undertaking and by no means a DIY project. A correctly installed wood burning or multi-fuel stove will be safe, efficient and give you years of heating pleasure.
Here are some of the key things to consider before buying your stove;
Decide on your budget
Stoves start from around the £600 but can cost more than £2,000 at the designer end. Also expect to pay £300 to £1,000 or more for installation, depending on how much building work is needed and if your chimney needs to be lined.
It is important to buy the right sized stove, with the right amount of heat output for the room it will be installed into. Too much kW of heat output and not only will the room become stiflingly hot but you may crack the plaster around the stove, too low a heat output and you won’t get enough warmth. As a very rough guide to the size of stove you need, 1kW of heat output will comfortably heat 14 cubic metres of space. Click here for a little more detail but the best advice is to ask your local Stovax retailer to undertake a site visit.
Do you live in a Smoke Control Area?Check with your local council to see if you are in a UK smoke control area, where burning wood is prohibited. If you are in one of these areas, you can either burn only smokeless solid fuels or will need a DEFRA-approved Cleanburn stove, if you want to burn logs. Stovax have the largest range of any manufacturer available in the UK and the full list can be seen here.
Have your chimney swept
If you are opening up an existing chimney, you will need to have it swept (expect to pay around £40-£60) to ensure it is free of obstructions or any other blockages. Depending on how much you end up using your stove, you may then need to get your chimney swept once or twice a year and this is best done over summer, when sweeps are less in demand.
Call in the experts
A site visit by a HETAS qualified heating engineer is highly recommended before buying your stove. They will be able to inspect the area where the stove is to be installed, or the opening and offer advice on the options for hearth, surround, frame and/or mantel. They will also be able to provide the best specialist advice, covering factors such as building regulations and flueing systems, and even local idiosyncrasies like prevailing winds, levels of insulation, double glazing and how the chimneys of period properties in the area were constructed.
Always buy from a local retailer
There is now a vast range of styles of wood burning stove from built-in to free standing that will suit any type of property, from the most traditional to the most contemporary. Your local retailer can demonstrate different types of stove in their showroom as well provide advice, installation and after-sales servicing. And remember, the latter can be more than difficult when an internet supplier is based miles away! Furthermore, summer is a good time to visit dealers, as many of them may have sales or special promotions and stock availability is better.