Your guide to buying a wood burning stove
There’s nothing like the warmth of a real fire. A wood burning stove brings character and charm to any room. It’s also a practical and low maintenance way to reduce your heating bills.
However, there’s some confusion over the regulations surrounding wood burning stoves and what you need to take into consideration before you purchase one. As the price of wood burning stoves can vary greatly, here are a few tips to help you make the right choice when faced with a bewildering array of products.
Don’t buy cheap imports
First, you must ensure that the stove you buy has the CE mark, so you know it meets safety and efficiency standards for stoves in the UK.
The problem with buying imported stoves is that although they may seem like a good buy on the surface, problems tend to arise when it comes to installation. When your bargain wood stove burner arrives at your home, you could find that it doesn’t comply with British standards.
You may not think this is a problem until you try to get it installed. HETAS is the official body recognised by the Government that approves solid fuel heating appliances, including the registration of competent installers. HETAS won't allow their engineers to certify these stoves as safe, let alone install them.
Check if you live in a smoke-controlled area
Another problem that’s often overlooked is that if you live in a smoke-control zone such as London, then your stove must be tested to see that it complies with smoke emission regulations for your area.
Many towns and cities are smoke-controlled zones, and this means you’ll need a Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) approved stove to burn wood. If you don't have a Defra-approved stove, you can use it to burn smokeless fuels instead of wood.
Comply with building regulations
As well as having to meet safety standards, wood burning stoves must also meet UK building regulations. These include specifications on how the flue is fitted, the size of your hearth or the distance of your stove from combustible materials.
You will also need a chimney, but if this cannot be accommodated, then a stove can be fitted if adequate ventilation can be achieved through a flue system. If you live in a listed building, this may reduce the options open to you when it comes to installing a stove.
There are many types of stoves in a variety of shapes and sizes including wall hung and free standing. As building regulations may impact on the kind of wood burning stove you can have, it’s best to speak to an installer before buying.
Use a HETAS registered stove installer
Finally, when it comes to safety, for your own peace of mind make sure you use a HETAS registered stove installer. They will have experience of installing different types of stoves and will be able to make recommendations on every aspect of your wood burning stove from safety and efficiency through to style and location.
If you’re considering installing a wood burner or multi-fuel stove and would like advice from a HETAS registered engineer, contact Peter at HGS Home and Garden on 07749 863650.