Wood Burning stove FAQ
How much does a typical installation cost?
Assuming a full installation from demolition & laying of hearth to burner install, most jobs cost somewhere around £1600 (excluding VAT but not including burner). If your fireplace is already prepared then an installation will cost from £1150 (excluding VAT) or £599 if your chimney is concrete lined. For more information please refer to the Pricing page.
How much does a wood burning stove cost to run?
It depends entirely on use. A cubic metre of seasoned hardwood at around £120 should last throughout the winter with average evening use.
Will a wood burning stove be warmer than my open fire?
Yes. Open fire efficiency ranges from 10-25% with as much as 80% of the produced heat escaping up the chimney. Wood burners, on the other hand, have a MINIMUM net efficiency of 66.6% and can get as high as 91%. Modern wood burners are designed in such a way that the majority of the heat is harvested to the room.
What does the kW rating of a stove mean?
In essence it is the heat output of the stove. Manufacturers delcare the nominal kW output of their stove upon testing. Most rooms will suit a 4-5kW stove but some larger rooms may be able to take up to 12kW. As trained HETAS installers we will be able to judge the required kW output needed for your house.
How safe are wood burning stoves?
With proper installation and yearly maintenance a woodburning stove is a safe appliance to have in your household. Due to the nature of modern building regulations, woodburning stove are much safer than an open fire if replacing one.
What is the difference between multifuel and wood only?
Multifuel stoves allow you to burn more than wood. These fuel types include: coal, smokeless fuels, anthracite, peat/turf briquettes etc. Ultimately it depends on preference, wood only stoves tend to have higher single efficiencies whereas multifuel stoves will have specific efficiencies for each fuel type. Burn time is also another factor to consider. Most stoves will have a burntime of up to 45 minutes on wood whereas multifuel stoves can last considerably longer on coal (up to 3 hours). Both of us at Cinder & Smoke have multifuel stoves mainly due to the refuelling period.
Does my chimney need sweeping before an install?
Yes. If your chimney hasn’t been used and its clear of soot and creosote it may be possible to pass on sweeping but it will still need a visual inspection. Once a liner is installed the flue itself can no longer be swept so it should be done for peace of mind. We include a free chimney sweep as part of our installation.
Do I need a liner?
In a perfect world? No. But in most cases your flue will need to be lined to meet building regulations. Building regulations (specifically ADJ) do not require a flue to be lined if it can meet all of the criteria laid out in the Approved Document. If a chimney can be proven not to leak (using smoke test procedures in ADJ Appendix E), and be of a constant diameter suitable for your chosen stove, and be shown to have a flue draft reading within stove manufacturers’ specific ranges, and meet the minimum separation distances for combustion materials along the full length of the flue (ADJ Diagram 21), and ample room can be provided for a sweep to access the flue through the registration plate, only then, your flue does not need lining.
You would be hard pushed to find an installer who has the capability of testing all of the above criteria, without causing you considerable delay and cost. After all of that, you cannot be assured that none of the conditions will change and your flue won’t start leaking a year down the line.
What size wood burner should I have for my room?
The calculation for stove output is as follows:
Appropriate kW = (room height m x room width m x room length m) / 14
However most rooms will usually be fine with a 5kW stove. We can help you make this decision when we come to quote.
I currently have a gas fire; can it be removed?
We can remove it but the gas has to be capped first by someone Gas Safe registered before we can proceed with the install.
Can I burn wood in a smoke control zone?
All wood burners in a smoke control zone have to be DEFRA Approved applances. Lucikly, there are many different manufacturers who provide high quality DEFRA Approved stoves. As much of low lying Brighton & Hove is smoke control, all of the stoves we sell are DEFRA Approved. To check if you are in a smoke control zone in Brighton & Hove you can visit the council’s website here or view our own map which can be found in the navigation bar at the top of the page.
My fireplace is very small, does this mean I need a small woodburner?
Not at all. When we first open up your fireplace we usually take it back to the original builders opening. If you are interested in a specific stove that is larger than the dimensions of your recess we can widen it for you.
Do I need ventilation for my woodburner?
Properties build before 2008 with no siginificant ugrades are considered to have high air permiability. This means you’re given the first 5kW free so if you are looking at a 5kW woodburner and you don’t live in a new build you would not need any extra ventilation.
Who are HETAS?
HETAS are the governing body recognised by the government to regulate the installation and maintenance of domestic solid fuel appliances, fuels, associated equipment and services.
Does my woodburning stove need to be passed through HETAS?
Anyone can install a woodburning stove as long as the installation conforms to building regulations. You can find the relevant building regulations here:
However, if the installer is not qualified under the HETAS competent persons scheme H 003 then building control will have to be called in (and the appropriate fee paid) to assess the installation before use.
Do I need a cowl?
You do not need a cowl for your wood burning stove to function correctly but we would advise you have one for other reasons. Bird and rain guards help increase the life of your install by protecting the top seal from water ingress, also it prevents any birds nesting or falling down your flue which can cause significant safety issues if your flue becomes blocked. Other types of cowls can improve the performance of a wood stove but mainly installed on underperforming flues.
Maintenance / Troubleshooting FAQ
How often should I clean out my woodburning stove?
Wood only stoves like a bed of ash and it improves their functioning, if you have a multifuel stove then as soon as your ashpan fills completely you should empty it. Most models draw their secondary air (for burning coal etc.) through the lower grate and a full ashpan can prevent adequate air flow.
What happens if my firebricks crack?
If your firebricks are cracked/fractured and are still standing, they are fine as they are. Firebricks protect the body of the stove from overheating and project the majority of the heat from your fire forward. They are considered perishable items and will most likely be the first thing to go as your installation ages. Do not worry, your sweep will be aware of these facts and if you do need a firebrick replacing you can contact us.
What happens if the seal to the pipe cracks?
Much like the firebricks cracking, the seal between the flue pipe and the stove outlet can sometimes deteriorate. This can be addressed in a maintenance check and takes 5 minutes to repair.
How often do I need to get my chimney or liner swept?
A minimum of once a year. It does somewhat depend on the quality and type of fuel you are using but if your wood is dry (20% moisture or less) then once a year is fine. Be smart! Try and get your chimney swept in the summer and not as it starts to turn cold and you will have no issue booking a sweep.
My stove is hard to light
The single biggest issue with performance of stoves we see is poor quality/high moisture wood. Wood with a moisture content higher than 20% will burn poorly in a woodburning stove as the heat generated firstly needs to boil out the moisture before it can start burning your fuel. You can buy moisture meters online cheaply to check the moisture content of your wood. Other issues can include the draw of your flue being affected by weather if you are in a particularly exposed area but as installers we will be aware of this and can take approriate measures.
The window of my wood burning stove doesn’t stay clean
Again, this can be due to poor fuel as mentioned in the previous answer. Also during lighting and as your fire is dying down stove glass will tend to soot up. Many manufatureres include an airwash system in their design to somewhat prevent this but it can still occur. Soot is produced by incomplete combustion and as your fire gets started a lot of soot is produced. When your wood burning stove is running at peak temperature your glass should remain clear.