Temperatures Rise over Wood-Burning Stoves
Published on 31 January 2020
Article for The Courier Beautiful Homes supplement
As winter continues to bite, increasing numbers of us are investing in wood-burning stoves to heat our homes, and add a real ‘wow’ factor in the process.
However, with the environment very much at the top of the agenda, are they safe?
Brothers Gary and Graeme Turnbull own Fire Surround Centres in Dundee, new members of the Stove Industry Alliance.
Below, Gary answers some of the most common queries about this ‘must-have’ home appliance.
Q: I don’t have a chimney – can I have a wood-burning stove?
A: Absolutely. We can install wood-burners in almost any home or business, whether there’s a chimney or not. If you have one, we can use that, or we can design and install a twin wall insulated flue system to replicate a chimney.
Q: Are wood-burners expensive?
A: Like anything, you can go as expensive as you like – our wood-burners start at £499, plus the installation fee. It generally takes us a day to install one, and we can use the existing chimney if you have one which makes it a little cheaper than buying a flue system.
Then, all you need are your logs and firelighters. It’s worth remembering that most manufacturers offer longer warranties to independent retailers, often up to five years compared to the standard one-year with some online retailers.
Q: What wood should I burn?
The logs should be dry with a moisture content of 20% or less. If you burn wet logs, the stove won’t work properly, the glass door will go black, and tars and creosotes can potentially build up within your chimney or flue, not to mention inefficient burning.
Freshly cut wood, on the other hand, can contain up to 90% moisture, depending on the species, so experts recommend leaving it for a least a year or two until you use it. For most homeowners, it’s more convenient to buy logs from a reputable supplier like ourselves.
Q: Are wood-burners messy?
A: Absolutely not. Assuming you burn dry logs, they burn away to nothing and you’re just left with a small pile of ash. You should always keep a small bed of ash at the bottom of the stove because the logs burn more efficiently that way, rather than putting new logs on the bare base of the stove. We’d also recommend you get your chimney swept at least once a year – again something we can help with.
Q: How will a log-burner affect my fuel bills?
A: Many of our clients report that their fuel bills drop dramatically compared to solely relying on gas and electricity. Indeed, many use their central heating system a lot less as a result. A good quality stove should be around 80% efficient, meaning 80% of the heat being produced is being used to heat the room.
Q: Are they safe?
A: People often ask us this question and there’s no doubt that some of the older stoves are less efficient and were emitting higher levels of pollutants.
However, from 2022, any new stoves produced must meet strict, new requirements set out by the European Union, using less energy and producing fewer harmful gases, such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides. These products are labelled ‘Ecodesign Ready’. In conjunction with the Stove Industry Alliance, we’ve taken the step of removing all products from our catalogue which won’t comply in 2022, two years sooner than we need to.
Burning wood is classed as carbon neutral so, assuming you’re burning the right type of logs, the new stoves are not only more efficient but can make a significant improvement to your fuel bills in the process.
Fire Surround Centres, Ash Street, Dundee, DD1 5AR
Telephone 01382 229777