Guide to Buying a New Stove
Thinking about buying a wood burning stove? Has the thought of a soul warming, cosy home fire crossed your mind? Nothing beats the satisfaction of sitting in front of a warm fire on a cold winter evening. At Surefire Wood, we have worked with many Stove Stockists and Fitters for nearly 20 years, long before Stoves became fashionable. We have put that information into a useful guide for anyone contemplating buying a stove.
Cost of Installing a Stove
The cost of a stove will vary depending on size, make and model of the stove you purchase. You will also have to think of Installation costs. You can buy a Stove for as little as £400/ £500 or as much as £2500, which makes the average installation around £1500, which should include sweeping and lining your chimney. We recommend going to a local, well known Stove stockist who will recommend the right stove for your needs. Many retailers have jumped on the bandwagon, with no experience of stove installation. This will only cause you problems down the line with no help or guidance once your stove is installed.
Once the stove is in place, the next thing you need to think about is the wood. The price of wood can vary greatly, depending on whether you buy cheap green wood or kiln-dried wood. Green wood will need to be seasoned for 2 years in a dry store to ensure the moisture has been reduced considerably and avoid destroying your stove and flue, while kiln dried wood is ready to burn. Kiln Dried Firewood is approx. £90 per metre cube delivered, while wet wood will be half the cost. Again you need to be careful, there are many people selling logs who will happily tell you it is dry and well-seasoned when in reality if it is correctly moisture tested, is still above 35%. Properly Kiln Dried Wood should be below 20% moisture content.
New eco-friendly government regulations for refurbishment projects and new-build homes make installing a multi-fuel or wood stove an efficient choice.
Hetas is the organisation recognised by the Government to approve multi fuel stoves and wood burners, fuels and services including the registration of competent installers. They established the Hetas Approved Retailer certification in 2011 so that anyone wishing to purchase a stove could be directed to retailers who meet high standards for service quality – including expert safety advice.
Also, make sure you buy a stove with the CE marking. This tells you that it meets the right EU safety, health and environmental standards.
What size of Stove do I need?
Stove sizes are measured by how much heat they produce in terms of kilowatts (kW) and range from 3kW to over 25kW.
To get a rough idea of what size stove you’ll need, Which? suggests multiplying the room’s height, width and length in metres, then dividing it by 14. However, the best person to ask is your Stove Installer who will be able to tell you exactly what you’ll need depending on:
- Preferred Fuel type & consumption
- The size of the room into which the stove will be installed (sq. m.)?
- Inspecting your existing fireplace and flue condition and advise accordingly (if relevant)
- The total number of radiators in your home
- Establish the correct size stove and kW rating to meet your requirements
- For inset stoves, assess the height, width and depth of your fireplace.
- Offer alternatives in situations where there is no existing fireplace or flue.
- Recommend suitable stove or cooker options that best match your needs and home
Will a Stove save me money?
There are certainly cheaper ways to heat your house than wood, although 60% of people surveyed by Which? said their wood-burning stove, which they use alongside their central heating system, had saved them money.
The most cost effective way to use a stove is heating the room you are mostly in rather than for central heating although connecting your stove to an existing back boiler is a good idea. In terms of comparison to other types of stoves, the Stove Industry Alliance (SIA) says that a wood burning stove is 77% cheaper per kilowatt hour (kWh) to run than an electric fire, 29% cheaper than a gas fire, and around 43% and 50% cheaper than an oil and LPG fire.
What wood should I buy?
Wood from trees that have just been cut down could contain between 60% - 80% water. The best wood will always be kiln dried logs or wood seasoned for 2 years. These will be 20% moisture content, and ready to burn.
You should also always look for wood with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) logo, as it guarantees that your logs have come from responsibly managed woodland.
Do Stoves require a Chimney?
If you are building a new house or live in a house with a traditional chimney it is much easier and cheaper to install. However, many homes now get a special insulated stainless steel pipe fitted, which will run through the roof or wall of your home to let the smoke out.
A service should be carried out annually and the chimney should be swept at least once a year. This is best done in the summer or autumn. This is also the time to check the glass seals and internal fire linings.
In wet weather, leave the air supply open to prevent corrosion from rainwater coming down the chimney.
If the glass of the chamber appears milky, it is because the stove is running too hot and needs some attention.