Wood burner / Logs Guide

Wood burner / Logs Guide

Overview of your options

Are you in search of a practical and eco-friendly heating solution for your home? A wood-burning stove may be a suitable solution.

Whether you are looking for a traditional or contemporary design, there is something to suit your needs.

However, one must consider how to choose the appropriate wood-burning appliance for their requirements.

What are the benefits of choosing a wood-burner?

These stoves provide a combination of aesthetic appeal and eco-friendly features that are unmatched by most heating appliances. They come in various styles, from classic cast iron to designer steel or ceramic versions, making them a captivating centerpiece. Additionally, advancements in technology allow for larger viewing panes, allowing the beauty of a real log fire to be fully appreciated.

In addition, responsibly-sourced timber that is well-seasoned is a carbon-neutral and energy-efficient fuel, making these stoves both attractive and practical heaters.

What are the different style choices available?

The traditional black firebox, with its four legs, has a timeless appeal that suits both period-style homes and contemporary spaces. Nowadays, there is a wide variety of statement designs available to choose from.

Switching the enamel to a different color can enhance the aesthetic appeal of your stove and complement your home’s decor. Various options are available, including wall-mounted and pedestal versions, as well as models that give the illusion of being suspended in the center of a room.

The classic double-aspect stove is also available in show-stopping 360° designs. If you prefer a clean look, a cassette model that fits flush with the wall, possibly integrated into a log store, may be a suitable choice.

What is the maximum amount of heat generated by a stove?

Most stoves are sold as standalone appliances meant to heat a single room. To get an idea of the size of the room heater you need, measure the space in cubic meters and divide by 14 to estimate the required kilowatt output. For instance, a living room measuring 7m x 5m x 2.4m might need a 6kW stove. However, it is advisable to consult a qualified heating engineer for an accurate determination of the required output.

Boiler stoves have the ability to connect to radiator-based central heating systems and provide hot water for various outlets. They can operate as the primary heat source or in conjunction with a gas or oil-fired boiler, reducing dependency on fossil fuels.

What is the efficiency of wood-burning stoves?

There is a significant difference between stoves, which have an efficiency rate of 70%-85%, and open fires, which waste about 90% of generated warmth by venting it up the chimney. However, how do wood-burners compare to conventional boiler-powered central heating systems?

According to the Energy Saving Trust, a log-fuelled boiler stove connected to radiators is estimated to be £90 cheaper to operate annually compared to gas-fired heating. However, log burners do not qualify for payments under the Renewable Heat Incentive, unlike some other types of biomass. If you wish to benefit from this program, you will need to consider investing in either a wood pellet stove or a full-scale biomass boiler.

What stove features should I consider?

Modern stoves offer a plethora of advantages over older models – mainly aimed at either boosting efficiency or improving views of the flames. Air-wash technology, which is fairly standard these days, draws air down the inside of the window to help keep it clean and get rid of performance-impairing residues. This air will also act as the primary supply for combustion of the wood.

Clean-burn systems improve performance by introducing secondary and tertiary air into the chamber. This combustion process increases thermal efficiency and results in a cleaner burn, reducing the emission of undesirable particles through the chimney.

If you reside in a smoke control zone, it is possible to own a stove. Numerous models provide a burn that produces no smoke – please verify if the product you are considering has a Defra exemption certificate – or even better – a SIA Eco-design ready sticker.

Who is capable of installing my stove?

Installing a wood-burner requires notification and adherence to Building Regulations. The recommended approach for compliance is to hire a HETAS engineer who is qualified to self-certify the job.

Installing a wood-burning stove requires a flue to safely remove emissions from the home.

Typically, the installation process includes running the vent up your chimney, potentially requiring a re-lining that costs between £900-£1,100. Additionally, the installer will determine the appropriate stove size and provide instructions on operating the appliance efficiently once it is commissioned.

What types of wood burn most efficiently?

Under new legislation enforced by the Government’s Clean Air Strategy, it will soon be a legal requirement that those with stoves and open fires only burn wood with a moisture content of 20% or below.

This is because water-logged timber releases significantly more smoke than dried wood, causing a higher concentration of harmful gases and pollutants to enter the air and your home.

DEFRA recommends using fuel that has been labeled with the Woodsure’s Ready to Burn logo, as this sticker ensures that the bag of timber contains less than 20% water content.

Where is the designated storage area for the fuel?

To properly store seasoned wood, it’s important to keep it in a dry location. A well-ventilated shed with one open end is a good choice for long-term storage. Logs should be elevated off the ground, usually by stacking them on top of larger pieces and leaving gaps for air circulation. The firewood should be cut to the appropriate length at least six months before it will be burned to allow for proper drying. Splitting the wood to increase the surface area can also aid in the drying process.

Pre-seasoned fuel and kiln-dried hardwoods are available for purchase from Log Delivery and Certainly Wood. The Forestry Commission advises bringing wood indoors for a few days before use.

What are the considerations regarding stove maintenance?

If you properly maintain your wood-burning stove by clearing out ashes and soot, you can expect it to last for over 20 years, although most warranties only cover up to five years.

It is important to be vigilant for signs of possible issues, such as damage to the ash pan or deterioration in the stove’s finish. If any of these signs are present, it is advisable to seek assistance from a specialist. Many manufacturers highly recommend an annual professional servicing (typically costing £70-£100) for both the stove itself and, importantly, the chimney and flue.

What is the price range for wood-burning stoves?

The cost of a small room-heating wood-burner can vary depending on factors such as professional fitting, a new flue, and the need for a construction hearth to meet Building Regulations. Prices can range from as low as £250 for basic installation to upwards of £1,500. If you choose a high-end product or a boiler model that requires new pipework, the total cost can be significantly higher, typically ranging from £3,000 to £7,000.