Stove or Open Fire?

Which one to choose?

A main factor for choosing which to opt for is efficiency.

Open fires can range from 15% – 50% efficient, depending upon type of grate etc.

A stove has an efficient rating from 60% – 80%, depending upon make and model.

Also, another factor to consider is safety. With a stove, when the glass door is shut, you can leave the fire unattended, knowing that no sparks, ashes or hot embers are going to fall out of the fire, potentially onto the carpet, etc.

Current regulations state that open fires need to have a permanently open vent through to either an outside wall, or if you have wooden floors with an air space underneath, vents can be put through there. With stoves, if you keep it to a 5kW stove or under, ventilation is not required.

What kW stove do I need?

To work out the kW needed to sufficiently heat your room, use the following formula:

(Measure your room in metres)

Multiply the Height x Length x Width, then divide by 14.
Why do I need a HETAS approved fitter?
A HETAS approved installer will fit your solid fuel appliance, according to current building regulations.

They are then able to sign the work off themselves and issue a certificate, without having to have a building inspector to check it. If you have work carried out by non HETAS approved fitters you would need to have a building inspector to inspect the work and sign it off and this is usually at an extra charge.

Click here to view the HETAS website.

What size stove will fit in the opening?

Current regulations state that when the stove sits in the opening, there needs to be a minimum of 6″ of air space at either side, 2″ of air space from the back of the opening to the stove and a minimum of 12″ of non-combustible hearth from the front of the glass doors of the stove. The only time this could be different is if the stove manufacturer states otherwise. We would need written proof of this before we could fit.

Our engineers can prepare the openings for you.

If you do not want to have the opening made bigger there are inset stoves that can be fitted into existing openings.

What Fuels Can I Burn?

Depending upon whether you live in a smoke control area or not will have an effect on what you can burn.

If you do live in a smokeless zone you will be able to burn approved smokeless fuels, such as anthracite, or if you have a DEFRA approved stove or an approved smoke control stove, you can also burn seasoned wood. You will need to check with the stove manufacturer or supplier to be sure.

Wood is a popular solid fuel as many people are becoming environmentally aware, as wood is carbon neutral. This is because the amount of carbon dioxide that is released when wood is burned is similar to the amount that is absorbed when it is growing. Wood should be seasoned before being burned. Burning unseasoned wood can lead to inefficient burning and also tarring up of the chimney or flue. Most wood should be seasoned for approximately 2 years before being burned and MUST have a moisture content of 20% or below. You can purchase moisture meters to ensure the wood you intend to burn is dry enough.

In non restricted areas you can burn most types of fuel, such as house coal, anthracite, coalite, wood etc. Do not burn household waste or plastics. Your local approved coal merchant will be able to advise you on what you can burn. See the link below to find a coal merchant for your area.

Please note: If your chimney is lined with a flexible stainless steel liner, please check that the fuels used do not contain halogens, as this could damage the liner and invalidate your liner warranty. Check the manufacturers liner warranty for more information.

Click here to view the Solid Fuel Association website.

Why should I have a NACS chimney sweep?

A chimney sweep that is registered with The National Association of Chimney Sweeps will sweep to their standards. A NACS chimney sweep will also provide you with a certificate of sweeping, and will write on any advice or action you may need to take.