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Having a new stove fitted, whether it be a wood burning stove, or multi-fuel stove is an exciting time. You have a new focal point in your room and a new source of heating. We have provided some advice and tips to ensure you get the very best from your new purchase.
First of all, you need to ensure that you have a Certificate of Compliance that will be given to you by the HETAS Registered Installer who would have fitted the stove.
They will either hand you this after installation, or you would have been advised that it will arrive in the post soon after installation.
Selecting What to Burn:
To ensure the maximum performance of your stove, you should only burn the fuel that your stove was designed to burn – nothing else. A wood burning stove will have a flat bed, where you load fuel. A multi-fuel stove has grates where you can burn wood or coal. A wood burner stove, not surprisingly only burns wood.
Burning Wood – Getting It Right:
Oak and ash tend to be best suited to being used on a wood burning stove. These are hard woods and they generally take longer to burn than softer woods such as pine – so you will use less fuel. The wood you use should be seasoned – this means they should have been stored for around 12 months to dry out. You can test how dry wood is by using a moisture meter. Trying to burn wood, which is not fully dry and seasoned will not burn efficiently, and if damp will blacken the glass as the fire is effectively boiling the water still remaining in the logs.
More on Wood:
Here is a selection of five woods ideal for burning:
Ash – Produces a steady flame, and good heat output. Ash can also be burn when green but like with all woods, it burns most easily when fully dry.
Beech – Similar to ash but does not burn well when green.
Cherry – This is a slow burning wood, and produces an excellent heat output. However, it does need to be well seasoned before burning.
Cedar – This wood tends to snap, crackle and spit. The sap can cause deposits in the flue, so it is not recommended for long term use. It does however, produce a long and consistent heat output, albeit with a small flame.
Hawthorn – Has a slow burn with a good heat output.
These are woods ideal for burning – below are a few which should be avoided, as they are not ideal for burning:
Alder, Chestnut, Firs, Eucalyptus, Holly, Laburnum, Poplar, Spruce, Willow
You can read more about the wood to use on your stove here
Smoke Control Areas:
You will need to make contact with Environmental Health or your local authority to find out if you are in a Smoke Control Area. If you are, a solid fuel heating appliance must either be an exempt appliance using only fuel specified in the appliance instructions, or using authorised smokeless fuel.
Information on lighting your wood burning stove, and for more specific cleaning and maintenance can be found in an article here
You should sweep your chimney at least twice a year when you are burning wood or coal. If you are burning smokeless fuel then once a year is usually fine. You should have your chimney swept before any period of non-use (such as the start of the colder weather), and after a long period of use (such as at the end of winter). When looking for a reputable chimney sweep ensure they are a member of a professional body such as NACS (National Association of Chimney Sweeps) or APICS (Association of Professional Independent Chimney Sweeps), or the ICS (Institute of Chimney Sweeps) or similar.
A chimney sweep will charge anything from £30 to £50 a clean to single chimney. The cheapest is not always the best, ensure you take up references, or ask a friend you may know who has used a chimney sweep in the past.
Protecting Yourself From Carbon Monoxide:
Carbon Monoxide has no taste, smell or colour but can be present in the fumes from gas, oil, solid mineral fuel or biomass burning appliances. You should ensure a carbon monoxide alarm is is fitted prior to fitting your stove. Carbon monoxide poisoning is deadly as it reduced the amount of oxygen in your blood, causing your vital organs to shut down. You can help reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning by following these tips:
1. Fit a carbon monoxide detector in each floor of your home
2. Ensure you use a chimney sweep at the intervals advised above
3. Ensure your stove is installed by a qualified expert and is regularly cleaned and serviced
Below is a video about this important subject of carbon monoxide poisoning by The NHS: