How To Choose A Wood Burning Stove

How To Choose A Wood Burning Stove
There’s a lot to consider when you want to buy a wood burning stove for your home and while they are growing in popularity, they can also boost your home’s selling price!

It’s hard to believe that by simply adding a wood burning stove, you will not only reduce your heating bills but according to Towergate Insurance, you could push up your home’s value by 5%.

The firm says that with the average wood stove costing £3,500 to buy and install, it could return an estimated profit of £6,865.

Considering that a new bathroom could cost you £4,500 and delivers the same 5% boost to your home’s value, then the average purchase price of £2,000 for a stove makes good financial sense.

And if you choose one of the new generation of self-lighting stoves, you will also be able to deliver the maximum ‘WOW’ factor.

Big trend currently for people to unbrick their fireplaces

It helps that one of the big trends currently is for people to unbrick their fireplaces – this is after the trend in the 70s and 80s to brick them up as central heating installation grew in popularity.

And like many fashion fads, we’ve come full circle with the hearth’s exposed space being a great way to install and show-off a wood burning stove.

Also, did you know that around 200,000 wood-burning stoves are being sold in the UK every year? There are currently more than 1 million wood burners in our homes – so says HETAS (the Heating Equipment Testing and Approval Scheme).

As of 2019, there are more than 1 million wood burners in the UK.

However, there are some issues that you’ll need to consider before going out and investing in one – particularly with tighter laws clamping down on emissions coming in from 2022. Here we will tackle some of the burning questions you may have about buying and installing a stove.

I live in a smoke control area – can I have a wood burning stove?

Most towns and cities in the UK will be in smoke control areas which means you are not allowed to release smoke through your home’s chimney.

However, you can install a wood burner but you’ll need to stick by the rules, which include:

  • You need an approved wood burning stove for unauthorised substances such as wood and these are highlighted by DEFRA – the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
  • You could also opt to use smokeless fuels, which are readily available for use in your stove.

Issues over a wood burner’s environmental impact

If you have concerns about the potential environmental impact of your wood burning stove, then you need to appreciate that burning wood is considered to be carbon neutral.

That is to say that the carbon that is released when the wood is burnt is subsequently absorbed by trees which then makes them an environmentally friendly option for sourcing heat.

A checklist for choosing a wood burning stove

As mentioned, there are various issues to consider when choosing a wood burning stove and before you head down to your nearest showroom, you need to understand:

  • The type of fuel for the stove
You should consider the type of fuel before purchasing your new wood burner.

If you simply want to just burn wood then a wood burning stove will be the best option but you could consider a multi-fuel stove if you want to burn other fuel types, such as smokeless coal in a smoke control area.

You should also look for eco-design stoves that meet the latest standards in stove regulations and these are more environmentally friendly. That’s because the manufacturer must meet a strict emissions limit so the stove will burn cleaner than an older stove will and its emissions will be kept to a minimum.

  • The wood burner’s wattage output

All stoves have a wattage output expressed in kilowatts and these are typically between 3 kW and 15 kW. This does not necessarily mean you simply buy the highest wattage you can afford because you need to consider the room size that your stove will be placed in. You’ll need to calculate the correct kilowatt output for your home – a showroom or supplier will be able to explain this to you. Essentially, choosing a wattage that is too high for the room will mean you will be too hot, and if it’s too low, then the room will be too cool for you.

  • Consider the areas that need heating

You can use a wood burning stove in just one room or several rooms and you could even replace your home’s gas central heating system. For those who are looking to use a wood burner as their main source of heating and also for hot water, then you should be looking at boiler stoves.

  • Who can install my stove?

For those who feel this is an installation they can carry out successfully, then there’s no law that says you must hire a professional for the work so you could install a wood-burning stove yourself.

However, you’ll also need to consider whether it will be subject of building control rules and if so, it’s probably a better idea to hire a HETAS-registered installer who will then make sure that the installation work complies with current regulations. The installer will also be able to give more information about what would be the best type of wood burning stove to install.

Click here to search Amazon’s range of wood burning stoves

Questions about the type of wood burning stoves

There are many questions when it comes to choosing the perfect wood burner.

You may have specific questions about the type of wood burning stoves that are available and these FAQs may help.

What are the best wood burning stoves?

Some wood burning stoves are more popular than others with one survey revealing that Clearview, Stovax, Morso and Charnwood stoves returned the best levels of customer appreciation.

You should research what type of fuel you want to use, consider the room size and whether you need a boiler attached to your stove. There’s a wide selection available and visiting a wood burning stove store will mean you physically see a stove and someone will explain why it’s a good buy for meeting your needs.

How much does it cost to put in a wood burning stove?

The first thing to appreciate is there’s no one size fits all price when it comes to installation costs since each project will be unique. If you have an inset model, then you may be needing structural work, so a freestanding stove may be a better choice. The installation may cost between £700 and £1,000.

Along with the cost of the stove, the installation costs may require work to the chimney and for the flue. If there’s no suitable outlet, then you could be looking at a bill of £1,700 on average for fitting a prefabricated channel or a metal flue.

If you have an existing chimney, then the flue may need to be lined and this could be another £1,000. You could opt for a flueless stove to avoid this expense.

You will also need a hearth to protect the floor as well as the surrounding area from the stove’s heat. Usually, this is supplied but in some cases it could be an extra cost of between £100-£500 depending on the size and type of materials being used.

How do I choose a log burner?

Make sure you can sustain a regular supply of wood to feed your burner.

The criteria for choosing a log burner is the same as if you are choosing a multi-fuel stove. For logs, you’ll need to be confident of a regular supply and somewhere to store the wood. You should also opt to find a log burner that does not need to be cleaned before it is used and have it installed by a professional.

Best wood burning stove brands

These are the best known brands for wood burning stoves:

  • Contura
  • Woodwarm
  • Esse
  • Jotul
  • Hunter
  • Stovax
  • Morso
  • Yeoman

Many of these brands are available on Amazon.

Tips for buying a wood burning stove

When it comes to tips for buying a wood burning stove, then a good quality 4 kW model will cost around £500. However, depending on the power output, features and style these prices can vary.

If you are looking for the most efficient wood burner, then the most modern stoves that are DEFRA-compliant will be around 90% efficient, compared with an open fireplace that is just 10% efficient.

However, within the wood burning stove designs, ceramic stoves burn cleanly and in Finland 90% of homes have this type of chimney-like stove.

One thing to bear in mind is that a wood burning stove that has a heat output of at least 5 kW must have an additional flue in the room in which it is installed.

Boost the stove’s heating efficiency

Make sure you understand the power of the flue.

This flue enables a fresh flow of air to be brought in from outside the building rather than through a vent to the room. There will be no drafts and it will boost the stove’s heating efficiency – these flues will also be the choice for an installation in a new home with high insulation.

Also, if your building was erected after 2008, or has been renovated with better levels of insulation and double glazing, then you will need an additional air supply, regardless of the stove’s heat output.

Remember too that you’ll need to have your stove serviced regularly to maintain its heating efficiencies and be wary about burning unseasoned wood as well as waste and salvaged wood as these will create smoke from the flue.

There’s no doubt that wood burning stoves have become hugely popular and with the opportunity of reducing your home’s heating costs and boosting its value, they are also a stylish and trendy addition to impress.

More information

If you are confused by the smokeless zones rules and want to know if you live in one, then this .Gov website tells you all you need to know.

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