Laura Cartledge discovers that temperature is just one of the reasons why wood burners are hot property. Wood burners and winter go together like hands and gloves. However the stoves can provide more than a cosy setting or somewhere to warm your mulled wine.
“We have seen a steady growth in wood burners over the years we have been in business,” reveals Nick Turnbull of Sussex Eco solutions.“I think much of it has to do with people being in control of their heating and fuel – as opposed to the big utility companies.”
Another reason for the popularity include a shift in décor style, with country chic taking over from modern minimalism, echoed in reports a feature replace can add as much as five per cent to the value of your home, as well as saving you money.
What’s more ‘assuming a quality stove has been purchased’ Nick insists ‘it can last a life time’.
So what would his tips be for getting it right?
” I’ve always tell customers to consider three things when purchasing a stove,” replies the Ferring based business owner. “The first is aesthetics – what you like the look of. “Stoves, while functional, become a central focal point of your home, almost a piece of furniture, and therefore it has to be something you can live with, be proud of, in your home.”
A close second on the list is size, something Nick explains refers to the physical measurements and output – normally measured in kilowatts.
“If you buy too big or small it will just not do the job,” he says, adding that the final consideration is quality. “The old adage applies – ‘you get what you pay for’,” he insists. “Quality of workmanship, control, after sales support, etc all applies.
“We all love to buy from the internet, but stoves are an ‘installed product’ and the advantage of purchasing from an actual stove shop is that you are dealing with the brand approved dealer,” adds Nick, “which means you can receive full support post install if there are issues.”
Keeping on this topic, Nick adds that a common misconception is that ‘you can just buy any wood burner and install it yourself’.
However, because it falls under building regulations, either a building officer has to sign off on it or you have it installed under the competent person scheme by a qualified HETAS fitter.
While another issue occurs because people regularly believe ‘you can throw anything on your stove to burn’.
“I’ve seen fast-food wrappers, fence posts, even old railway sleeper in stoves,” lists Nick. “If you want your stove to last, don’t use it like a furnace.”
Buying ‘good seasoned hard wood’ – which Nick explains will score 20 per cent or less on a moisture metre – is also essential.
“Always insist on the wood being tested before it is tipped at your home,” he advises. “If you buy wood with high moisture content you won’t get the heat off the log because it’s too busy burning off the excess moisture.
“Also buy a stove top thermometer – I cannot stress how important this is,” adds Nick. “I have been to numerous customers’ homes who have so called ‘issues’ with their stoves to find out that the stove has not been burnt at the right temperature. “Under or over-heating your stove can have detrimental affects on both the wood burner and the flue.”
An annual ‘power’ sweep and an CO2 alarm fitted in the same room are also things Nick deems vital.
As much as the stoves increasing popularity is credited to their old fashioned charm, it seems technology, innovation and the modern market is playing a part too.
“Across Europe, pellet stoves are popular – self lighting, controllable from your smartphone even,” reveals Nick, predicting this will grow as will the number of ‘even more efficient stoves’ thanks to EU regulations.
“While gas res are getting more and more efficient, are cleaner and can offer lots of control via remotes, we all know that gas is only going one way by way of price,” he continues.
“Wood burning is perhaps the most primitive of heating solutions, yet ironically it seems to have a prominent place in our modern gadget driven age.”