Once again, the newspapers are misleading people regarding woodburning stoves. Please don’t panic and decide not to have one.
The clean air act is being introduced next year and this actually benefits everybody around the planet!
It means that farmers and factories amongst many other industries have to ensure that anything they put into the air is of a safe standard so that as a planet, we have less pollution.
What this means to you is simply that the people that provide your fuel have got to book their ideas up and make sure that it is dry and safe to burn.
It also means that manufacturers of wood burning stoves have had to re-assess the efficiency of their designs and ensure that they are working for the consumer at the best rate. If you are buying a brand-new stove then you will notice the words SIA approved on their description.
This means that they conform to the new legislation. If you are buying a new stove, it is a good idea to look for it being SIA approved. It will not only benefit the planet but will benefit your pocket as it will be more efficient for you in the long run and your fuel consumption.
If you already have a pre-existing wood burning stove, don’t worry. You can keep your stove and no legislation will affect you other than the fact that fuel manufacturers have to ensure their fuel is efficient.
For many reasons, the clean air act is a brilliant thing. Brilliant for the planet and brilliant for the consumer. Many of us in the solid fuel heating trade often wonder if this negative spin on things is linked to the fact that currently fuel that you burn in a wood burner is not taxable by the government. There are allsorts of theories about this that you can look into.
In the meantime, please ignore the negative headlines as it really has no affect on you,a potential woodburning stove customer, or an existing wood burning stove customer.
If you would like extra reassurance, please have a look at the HETAS website and their response to the negative press.
Those lovely people at Stovax have written a really handy guide with illustrated instructions on how to light the perfect fire in your woodburner.
I was going to do this myself at some point, but they`ve done such a great job that there`s no point reinventing the wheel, and their technological skills are definitely much better than mine!
Take a look... here`s the link:
We recommend Stovax a lot to our customers. Their fires are efficient and well built and their customer service is good too. There are also price ranges across their products for everyone. If you`re thinking about getting a fire, take a look at their range and let us know which one you would like to know more about.
Crikey! It`s been a while since I`ve posted on here and I aim to do this more often from here on in.
I just wanted to take a moment to put this post on our blog as it is something I have been sending out to our customers since the beginning of this year but that our older customers may not have received.
We often get asked about common quirks of having a wood burning stove and so I put together this short document with answers to our most common questions. If you`ve got a stove installed already, then it will be worth a read. If you are thinking about one... read on also! You will be well prepared that way.
First burns - smoke and fumes
Your brand new stove has been through a heavy painting process to make it look as beautiful as it does. When you make your first few burns, you may get a very strong smell which can smell slightly chemical or smokey. Sometimes you may even see a fine smoke. This is due to the paint reacting with the first burns the fire is encountering. It is very normal and although it can smell unpleasant, it is safe and just part of curing your stove to high temperatures. Your Carbon monoxide alarm should be close to your fire and will let you know if the fumes are anything out of the ordinary. Open your windows and allow the smoke and fumes to escape. This can go on for a couple of weeks but will stop once the fire is cured.
First light of the season - Smoke and fumes
Fires get dusty when they are not used and it is common when they are lit again at the start of the cold season to smell a bit fumey again. Like when a radiator is dusty and smells a little... this is normal and it will burn off quickly.
Fire is not burning correctly and lots of smoke is escaping when the door is opened.
This will happen if you have not lit your fire correctly. It is due to the wood smouldering rather than igniting. It is really important to get a good, thick bed of red embers from your kindling and smaller pieces of wood before you add larger logs. If you dampen your fire down too quickly, the wood will smoulder again. Wood needs a hot fire...you can dampen your fire down later once it has been roaring for a while. Whilst you don`t want to be using too many logs, during the initial stages of lighting your fire it is important to really get it going (and glowing) before you try to economise on logs. We encounter this a lot with customers with larger fires (more than 5kw). Larger fires are hungrier and need a lot of wood putting in at one time. The same applies... get your fire absolutely roaring and keep feeding it like a baby bird!
Sometimes, if the weather is mild and you make a fire you may encounter smokey fires even though you have a good bed of embers. On mild evenings, the draw from the chimney is poor.
Wet patches on the stove top or on the stove pipe after snow or extreme rain and wind
Having a solid fuel heating system means that you have to have a chimney. Your chimney will have a cowl on the top but it can`t be completely sealed for your own protection from fumes and to ensure that your chimney draws.
Under the cone section there is an opening and it will be very rare that you encounter water run down it.
During blizzards of snow, the snow is very floaty and travels in more lateral directions. It can sometimes, in high winds, get under the cone shaped section of your cowl and make its way down your chimney. This is normal and usually, if your fire is on, you won`t even know as it will evaporate very quickly.
If your fire is cold, during extreme weathers, you may see it running down the stove pipe. There won`t be a large amount and it can be wiped away. Please wipe it away quickly so as not to mark your stove top. If your stove top is marked then this is easily rectified with some blackening polish.
Normal rain will not cause this problem, only when there are high winds that make the rain travel in amore lateral direction.
The seal appears to have moved after burning your first fires
This is down to expansion and contraction and is something that we see occasionally. It needs rectifying but is not dangerous. Give us a call and we will either post you a syringe of sealant to go over the seal or pop over to take a look. Seals will need replacing over the years and this is normal and will be re-sealed if you book one of our services
Do we service fires?
Like your chimney should be swept yearly, it is strongly advisable that you have your fire maintained yearly also. Keeping on top of seals cracking will ensure that your fire is safe and efficient at the same time. We will contact you just before a year has passed from your installation date to offer you a service. Services currently cost £60 and take about an hour.
Do we sweep Chimneys?
Unfortunately not. We can highly recommend Greg http://www.home-sweep.co.uk/ who will do an excellent job for you. Please get your chimney swept at least once a year. If you heavily rely on your stove then twice a year.
Only burn dry and reputable wood fuel in your fire and use a hard wood supplier. If you keep your chimney swept regularly then you will avoid chimney fires and a carbon build up which will put you at risk of carbon monoxide fumes. Another reason to keep your Carbon monoxide alarm close to your fire.
There`s lots of information online and videos on youtube about how to light a fire and get it roaring. Take a look so that you can get the most out of your fire.
Please ensure that your carbon monoxide alarm is near your fire at all times.
Mark will have secured this in its legal position. Please don`t be tempted to move it. If you do need to move it to decorate then please put it back where it was positioned. I know it isn't pretty but you can easily hide it behind a photo frame or ornament if you are concerned. It could well save your life one day. In the past, Mark has been called out to rectify fires that have been installed by other people who weren`t HETAS engineers. In both of these cases, the carbon monoxide alarms saved their lives. Even then, the residents of one property had to have intensive oxygen therapy. Please also make a note of when its battery life runs out and replace it. This is something we can do for you at an additional cost during a fire service.
If you think you are having any problem that is of a concern with your fire then please get in touch and we will help where we can. If you ever think that your chimney is on fire ( which is extremely rare if you have it swept regularly) then please call 999 straight away.
Problems with fires are extremely rare and so you should have nothing to worry about at all. Your fire will offer you hours of warmth and comfort . You will wonder how you got on without it!
Please enjoy your fire but treat it with the greatest respect.
I came across this image today...
Quirky isn`t it. And I imagine in the right living space it would look really great. It reminded me of something that happened at the end of last summer.
We had a lady who had bought a beautiful, ornate, antique and restored wood burning stove. It was French and really was beautiful.
She asked us if we would install it for her as she didn't like the traditional style of wood burning stove that we tend to see these days.
Unfortunately, the answer was no.... and it would also be no for the picture above.
You see, any HETAS installer worth their salt wouldn't touch it with a barge pole for several reasons.
with quirky fires like the picture above, or unusual, restored or antique fires, there are no manufacturers safety instructions or requirements for the installer to follow. Thus, there is no safe way to determine vital information like for example; distances to combustibles, hearth requirements, clearances. All extremely important for keeping your home safe. There is also no CE mark. A HETAS installer will not be able to fit a fire that doesn't have the CE mark to confirm its safety standard. They are also not going to be DEFRA approved, if you live in a smoke controlled area.
So please.... if you are considering being a little different with your installation then by all means go for it.... just ensure that your fire is safe and complies to what HETAS would require. You can even call HETAS yourself, before you purchase your chosen fire to confirm this, or, speak with your HETAS installer who will advise you. Remember, if you are looking for a bargain on Ebay or an internet site then send the seller a question: Does it have the CE safety mark? can you send me a photograph to prove this? Is it DEFRA approved? Does it come with the relevant paper work for the installer? And, if you don`t get a clear answer then walk away or leave the site and look else where.
Firstly.... Happy New Year!
Our new year has started off much the same as the last one ended... running around the planet being extremely busy again. Still... we actually managed to get some time together to relax over Christmas which was wonderful. It was so nice to enjoy the simple things like pantomimes, lego building with the little one, cosy films and crisp walks (in - between the drizzle and torrential rain!)
Christmas is great for having a wood burning stove... There`s something really wonderful about having it burning away during the day. It usually only gets used in the evenings in our house but whilst we are all at home, lighting it up to keep us toasty whilst snuggling up with festive induced lazy afternoons is a real treat.
The pictures below are from a recent installation just before Christmas. The wonderful customers at this property even gave us a homemade Christmas pudding to take home ( which was really tasty if you are reading this!)
We love the brick effect columns with the oak beam on top. It is a different perspective on the traditional brick surround with a more modern twist.
The pictures are in reverse order... Let me know what you think!
Let`s face it... HETAS installers of Wood burning stoves don`t come cheaply. There are many, many cowboy installers trying to capitalise on this and doing a terrible and frankly life-threatening at times job of it.
Every HETAS engineer you talk to will recount numerous fires that they have visited, fitted by one of these cowboys and will have the same glazed and horrified look in their eyes as they tell you tales of mind-bafflingly dangerous situations. Our personal worst experience was seeing a log burner millimetres away from a live gas feed. That and the flue pipe running through a combustible wardrobe! (the mind boggles!)
After we saw this BBC programme the other night, I had to share it. The link will only work for 28 days so apologies if you are reading this after that. There is a whole section on the life-threateningly dangerous installations made by cowboy installers . Please share this with anyone you know wanting a wood burning stove and impress on them the importance of having it done by a registered HETAS engineer.
BBC one - Fake Britain. Series 6 episode 9.
Whilst we are on the subject...
The amount of times we have talked to people who would like a wood burning stove and have been asked the fateful question:
"Can`t I just do it myself" its usually followed with "I`m/ my husband`s/ my second cousins uncle`s next-door-but-one neighbour is really handy with building work!"
Whilst I brush off the shudders at the thought of that question... based on personal experiences of coming across disastrous and plain dangerous cowboy installations I will answer it for you.
Yes you can. But we don`t recommend it.
Not because we need your business as we are snowed under with installations, but for your own personal safety.
You can legally install yourself, however, you must follow the guidelines and building regulations document along with the manufacturers instructions. If you install a stove yourself then you must inform the building control officer at your local council which can cost £300 plus with no guarantee it will be passed. The council will arrange for a HETAS registered inspector to visit and carry out a survey of the work that has taken place. If the work is satisfactory then the stove will be signed off and you will be issued with a HETAS Certificate by the inspector. There is a charge for this service and is usually in the region of £300 in addition to the afore mentioned fee from your district council.
When you add all that up, it was probably not worth the hassle as it would equate to a HETAS expert fitting it for you in the first place!
If you need a qualified HETAS registered installer in your area then check their website. You can put in your postcode and see where your nearest registered installer is. You will even find us on there under Morleys of Nottingham LTD.
Best of luck with any installations ... stay safe and cosy!
There`s something lovely about a wood burning stove nestled perfectly in the alcove of a chimney breast. If your room doesn`t have a chimney breast and you would like one, providing your room is large enough to host one, you can have one built. We have a reputation for meticulous work and can undertake any building work necessary to achieve your distinctive fireplace. Take a look at the build process below:
Over the years, we really have seen and heard some horror stories regarding stove installations across Nottinghamshire. Many unsuspecting home owners have moved in to a new residence and have assumed that the existing stove was fitted safely. As time passes, it is often revealed that the stove was installed without adhering to the vitally important safety specifications that HETAS insist upon as they weren`t installed by a registered installer.
Over time, we have had to rectify many of these installations, so we thought it wise to share some of this information. Installations that were not only badly put together by the previous non- HETAS installer, but extremely dangerous for the occupants of the house. Most recently, a flue pipe that ran through a wardrobe and a stove that was more like a ticking bomb as it was placed (unknowingly by the occupants) dangerously close to a live gas feed.
Of course, even the best installations of stoves can still be problematic if the occupant is not using them properly. A little maintenance, some common sense and using the best quality wood will keep you problem free.
The room that your stove is placed in should have enough air coming into the room. Any stove over 5KW requires an airbrick to ensure this and reduce the likelihood of airborne particulate within the room. Particulate within the room has the potential to be hazardous to heath, more so for those with a pre-existing respiratory illness.
Carbon Monoxide is produced when fossil fuels burn without a good supply of air. It is a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas which is difficult to detect. And If that happens in a room without adequate ventilation, levels can build up dangerously. Tell-tale signs of carbon monoxide emissions included 'black sooty marks' on the wall around the stove, boiler or fire and smoke accumulating in rooms due to faulty flues.
By law, every wood burning stove installed should have a carbon monoxide alarm fitted in the immediate vicinity. Once your HETAS engineer has placed your alarm in a suitable place, please leave it where it is.
Wood burning stoves must be placed on a fire-resistant base. Due to the extreme heat in the fire box, placement on laminate/wooden floors or carpet is forbidden.
The most common causes of chimney fires are:
We certainly wouldn’t be without our wood burner in our home. We rarely use our central heating during the winter as it is so efficient. If you feel that you need your stove looking at or are considering installing one then do get in touch. Used and installed correctly you have no need to worry about its safety and will get hours of comfort and enjoyment.
We had an emergency call out recently to assess an old Aga. When the home owners` Carbon Monoxide alarm went off in the house they have just moved in to, they called the fire brigade. A reading of 14,000 parts per million of Carbon Monoxide was recorded. Thankfully, they had had a window open as 12,000 gives you about 3 minutes until you fall asleep and die from poisoning. The fire brigade disabled the pipe work and ventilated the property. The couple spent the weekend in hospital on oxygen. Carbon Monoxide alarms must be fitted in the immediate vicinity of a solid fuel installation by law. Please don't be tempted to move them after your HETAS engineer has left. Carbon alarms should have a minimum of 7 years battery life. Make a note of when that is up and please, please replace them. If you haven't got one, then PLEASE buy one. They are literally life savers.
Articles, news and advice from Morleys of Nottingham Stoves.