FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Why can’t I fit my woodburner myself?

Installation of a solid fuel appliance is governed by building regulations, Approved Document J. You are obliged to notify your local authority of your intention to carry out an installation. If you were to install an appliance yourself, you would have to work in conjunction with your local building regulations inspector, via your local council. This would mean a visit to see the building inspector, then probably entail various site meetings, probably before, during and after installation to ensure that the regulations have been adhered to. Once the inspector is satisfied with the work, appropriate documentation would be issued. This can often be a time consuming exercise as the appropriate officer may not always be available when you need to proceed with the next stage.

To install a woodburner or multifuel stove correctly does require some specialised tools and access to the chimney stack in many instances, as well as the correct components. Very often you will not have the correct component, as many installations are more complex than they at first seemed, and require different parts than those you have purchased. You will almost certainly find this out at 9 o’clock at night, after a long day! The whole affair can become very protracted.

Using a HETAS registered installer ensures that the installation is carried out to a high standard, meets building regulations, and avoids the involvement of the local council as the installer is able to supply the relevant certificates. The installation will take place in the shortest period of time with the minimum disruption due to having all the correct equipment to hand, and a full selection of components to allow any unexpected problems to be overcome. The result will be a stove that works properly from the outset, as well as an experience person to advise on operation.

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Do I need to line the chimney for my new woodburner?

It is strongly advised to line the chimney when installing a new woodburner or multifuel stove. Many modern stoves are operating at efficiency ratings of over 80%, which means that nearly all the combustible material in the stove is being burnt. This leads to a cleaner emission from the chimney, but produces high volumes of water in the form of steam in the process. In a lined chimney this is contained within the liner becoming water as it condenses as it cools but is eventually exhausted from the chimney. In an unlined flue, the steam condenses on the original chimney walls and the resultant water, instead of being retained in the flue, is absorbed by the masonry. This water then slowly permeates through the mortar/masonry to show up as a brown patch on the chimney breast in the room, usually in the bedrooms first. Once this has occurred it is very difficult to eradicate.

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I don’t have a chimney but want a multifuel stove – what can I do?

In the majority of cases it is possible to install a chimney into a house that doesn’t have one. This can be of various types of construction, probably the most popular being a twin-wall, insulated, pre-fabricated stainless steel system. Your HETAS
registered installer will be able to advise on the best option following an on-site survey.

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What size woodburner should I get?

This is the most common question! The immediate thought that most people have
is to get one that fills the fireplace, regardless of output. This is always wrong, as there are set parameters that must be complied with for building regulations, and an inch spare stove you are thinking of buying will comply with regulation once installed.

With regard to output, first decide what you want the appliance to do. Is it the main heat source for the room, or secondary backup, or purely aesthetic.

If it is a primary source, then simply calculating from an equation or stated room size will quite possibly give you an incorrect result. A new house that is fully double glazed and insulated will have a different requirement to an old cottage with rattly sash windows, leaky floorboards and ancient loft insulation (if any at all!)

What is important to remember is that for a woodburner to work to its stated efficiency, and particularly for the glass to stay clean, there must be a high transfer of air through the stove. If you put in a woodburner that is too big, which frequently happens, you will get too hot, and therefore slow the burning down by shutting down the air controls. This will cut off the air supply to the fuel and lead to incomplete combustion, leading to blacking up the door and flue. As a result you will be disappointed because you were told the glass would stay clean.

It is therefore best to fit a woodburner that is going to be run at about 80% of its potential output for most of the time, with a bit spare for very cold days. As a rough guide, if your room is approx 20ft x 14ft x 8ft high (about 6m x 4m x 2.5m high), and you are not double glazed, a 5kw output should be adequate. Only discussion with an experienced specialist will ascertain what will be best for your situation.

You will probably think that the stove is too small to do what you expect! Never try to fill the opening with a stove – work out what size you need, then find a selection of burners that you like, then pick one of them that most appropriately fits the opening you have available. Some models have a large frontal area but are narrow front to back, keeping the output down but looking large at the same time, whilst others may be high, narrow but deep. Again, discussion with a specialist will make the selection process easier.

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Can I heat my water and radiators with a multifuel stove?

Yes you can, either water alone or both. There is a good selection of boiler
stoves from many manufacturers, however choosing the correct model for your specific requirements is much more complicated than for a ‘dry’ stove. There are so many variables that influence your decision that it is imperative that you talk to an advisor before purchase.

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The woodburner I have seen is 2” smaller than the opening – that will fit OK won’t it?

In a word, no. This would not comply with building regulations, and would probably lead to the burner overheating which could cause it to warp or split.

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I have a wood floor – can I stand my woodburner on it?

Some woodburners have a ‘low hearth temperature’ which enables
them to be stood on a much thinner hearth than others, and that hearth can even be glass. It is not possible to stand a woodburner or multifuel stove directly on a wooden or any other combustible surface.

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Will the chimney need to be swept on my new woodburner?

Yes it will. Depending on use, liner and fuel, it may require being swept every 3 months whilst in use – your installer or sweep will advise on correct frequency.

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Should I get a woodburner or a multifuel stove – anyway, whats the difference?

The principle difference between the two will be the raised grate in a multifuel stove, with an ashpan slid in below it. This raised grate allows for a flow of air to feed the bottom of fuel bed, allowing complete combustion of the solid fuel.

As wood burns best on a bed of ash, there is seldom an open grate in a wood only burner.

Your choice will depend to some degree upon availability of your desired fuel. Coal products are of consistent quality and available in any quantity all year. Supply of quality wood in some areas can be very seasonal – if you think you may run out of seasoned, dry hardwood before the end of the season, a multifuel stove gives you the option of burning a combination. You can only burn wood in a woodburner,
but some manufacturers can supply a grate kit to convert to multifuel.

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Will the glass stay clean on my new woodburner?

If you have a stove that is the correct size, and run it at a high rate of burn and have
good quality seasoned wood, the glass should remain clean.

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