While the latter half of the 20th Century saw people swapping wood burning stoves and open fires for modern, gas heaters, more and more people are turning to traditional heating methods in a bid to save money and fuel.
A well-chosen, professionally fitted wood burner looks great, can effectively heat your living space, save money on your fuel bill and act as the heart of your home. As well as being aesthetically pleasing, a properly fitted wood burner produces heat at a rough cost of 2.4p per kW/hour, significantly less than the average gas (4p per kW/h) or electricity (11p per kW/h). In addition, the addition of a wood burning stove will definitely make your house more sellable, with feature fireplaces estimated to add up to 5% onto your house value.
Choosing a stove
Choosing a wood burning stove is a serious business; if you pick the wrong one or fail to get it properly installed, you could be at risk of fire. What’s more, if you don’t have the relevant certification for your stove, you will not be covered on insurance in the unfortunate event of fire. So, it is essential that you pick the right stove for your needs and get it fitted by a certified professional.
Step 1: Consult a professional
Installing a woodburning stove will vary in complexity (and price), depending on the nature of your home, and any existing chimneys and flues. Period properties may well have had their chimneys capped or, in the (likely) event that the open fire was replaced with a gas fire, will have a gas flue installed, while newer properties are unlikely to have a chimney at all. Wood burners must adhere to a strict set of regulations in order to ensure that they are safe and efficient; if you need a new flue, the cost could reach £1,000 per floor. Before you start looking for a new wood burner, it is worth getting a quote from at least two local wood burner specialists to give you a rough idea of the cost and level of work involved in fitting and certifying your fire. Make sure that your quote includes the installation of a carbon monoxide detector, smoke and draught tests and HETAS registration.
Step 2: Choose a wood burner
Once you have checked the viability of safely installing a wood burner, you can get on with the fun bit! There are a host of wood burners available; from classic box burners to contemporary, coloured enamel ones. Wood burners offer a range of heat output, which you will need to consider, depending on the size of the room that the fire will go in. Measure the capacity of your room in cubic metres (length x width x height) and divide it by 14 to get a rough idea of the kW output that you will need.
You will also need to choose a hearth that meets the standards required for fire regulations; your wood burner installer should give you the measurements.
Step 3: Install, sit back, and enjoy!
The installation process will depend on the age of your house and the amount of work required to safely fit your wood burner; generally, it will take just a few days (sometimes as little as one). Once it is fitted, your installer will let you know when it is safe to light it for the first time. Little piece of advice; using a site such as TrustATrader will make sure you can find a qualified installer to make sure the job is done to the highest standard.
Once you have fitted a wood burner, it is important that you get your chimney cleaned once a year, by a certified cleaner, in order to optimise your wood burner’s output and to make sure that you are insured in the case of fire. With just a little maintenance and care, your wood burner will keep you warm, look great, and help to save you money for many years to come.