Blog

Sweeping, Servicing and maintenance of your stove.

A good quality stove installed and maintained correctly will last you in excess of 20 years. As HETAS registered installers you can be sure that the stove supplied and installed by us will only be of the highest quality. This means that the usable life of your stove will be determined by how well you maintain it.

Chimney Sweeping

Once a year, minimum, you should have your chimney swept. This can be done by a registered chimney sweep or HETAS registered installer like Dinghams. For local customers, this costs £60 inc VAT.

Stove Servicing

Make sure that the rope seals around your door are in good condition. Rope seals will degrade over time and may need replacing every 2-3 years. If you rope seal fails, not only will the efficiency of your stove be impacted, but it could allow harmful gases, such as carbon monoxide, to spill into your room. For local Dinghams customers, the price is £110 incl VAT for a stove service and sweep and will also include changing the rope seals and carrying out a general inspection of the stove. Individually from the sweep this is usually £60 inclusive.

Using Good Fuel

One of the simplest things you can do to maintain your stove is to use the correct fuel. We recommend getting a moisture meter as this will allow you to make sure that any wood placed in your stove is at the correct moisture content level. Consistently using wood with a moisture content over 20% will cause deposits to build up in your stove and chimney. These deposits will cause your stove to decrease in efficiency as well as potentially causing irreparable damage to your flue liner/twinwall chimney.

If you are using other fuels, we always recommend only using those that DEFRA has approved as smokeless. This way you know the exact makeup of the fuel and, should you be in a smoke control area, would be the only ones you are legally allowed to use.

Glass

All good quality stoves come with a system of keeping the glass clean. This is achieved by forcing warm air down between the flame and the glass.

Your glass can become dirty for several reasons. Either you have closed the air control down, meaning all the air in your stove is being used to keep the fire burning leaving none available for the airwash. Secondly, you may be burning unsuitable fuel, be this non smokeless coals or high moisture content wood. Marks may also appear on your glass if some of your fuel has fallen beyond the retaining wall of the stove. As the airwash is a curtain of air, anything encroaching the glass will break this curtain and

Whats the difference between a £400 stove and one that is over £1000?

Those considering a wood or multi-fuel burner for the first time will be presented with a huge range of stoves on the market with little insight into why prices vary so much.

This article helps cut through the dense detail and provide you with the salient points. The easiest way to sum up the variations in price and quality in the market is to do a specific comparison on similar sized stoves that vary enormously in price.

TheStoveHub have created a comparison table to compare a £400, £800 and £1,200 5kW DEFRA exempt multi-fuel stove. Not all of the specifications will apply to every stove in that price range, but most will and more importantly you can ask the right questions about the stoves and manufacturers that have caught your eye.

£400 stove £800 stove £1200 stove
Life expectancy 2-5 years 10-15 years 20 years +
Origin China Part UK part China manufactured UK or Scandinavian manufactured
Body thickness 3mm 4mm 5mm
Top and bottom thickness 6mm 8mm 10mm
Construction Welded steel or very thin cast iron Part rolled, part welded steel body. Medium weight cast iron Rolled steel body/cast door very heavy cast iron
Grate Solid fuel grate that also has to burn wood Solid fuel grate that also has to burn wood Robust, full width multi-grate that can be switched from wood to coal in situ
Glass Flat glass Flat glass Curved German rolled glass
Airwash Manual primary and secondary air inlets, rarely keeps the glass clean. Manual primary and secondary air inlets. Airwash keeps glass clean but may use cold air to do so, lowering efficiencies Single knob control that optimizes primary and secondary air, Airwash keeps glass clean and uses pre-warmed air to do this.
Hearth Needs a constructional hearth May need a constructional hearth Only requires a non-combustible hearth
Replacement parts readily available? No Yes Yes- guaranteed to stay in production for 7 years after the stove is discontinued.

Reccomendations to help you and the environment while woodburning.

Even the best wood-burning stove needs your input, if you want to heat your home efficiently and, at the same time, protect the environment from harmful particles. Ultimately, it is a matter of how you use the wood-burning stove – and of course, what you fuel it with.

You can do both yourself and the environment a big favour by following these seven recommendations:

  1. Choose a stove which complies with the strictest requirements on particle emissions.
  2. Make sure your chimney is the correct size in relation to the stove. A good draw is essential for optimum combustion.
  3. Never burn waste, cardboard packaging, printed matter or wood that has been painted or in some other way treated.
  4. Make sure the wood is clean and dry. Moisture content of max 16-20% gives the best and cleanest combustion (and also less soot on the glass).
  5. Never overfill the stove and avoid using oversized pieces of fuel.
  6. Air is important for good combustion and good economy. Before the wood carbonises, enough air needs to be added that flames are produced (always read the manual – it’s important).
  7. Don’t leave the stove burning overnight where possible. Leaving your stove burning overnight is bad for your wallet and the environment.

How to light and operate your woodburning stove.

Igniting:

  • Fully open the Primary and Airwash controls.
  • Place a firelighter or paper together with dry kindling wood on the grate and light the firelighter or paper.
  • Leave the door slightly open as the fire establishes and the glass warms, avoiding the possible build up of condensation.
  • Add larger pieces of wood to build the fire. Too many logs may smother the fire.
  • Close the door fully.
  • When the fire has fully established close the Primary air control. Use the Airwash to control the burn rate when the appliance is at operating temperature.

Refuelling:

  1. Open the Primary and Airwash controls fully.
  2. Rake the embers over the grate to establish a glowing fire bed (if the fire bed is low add a small amount of kindling wood to help re-establish the fire.
  3. Place new logs in an open arrangement to allow oxygen to easily reach every part of the fire. Compact loading will make the wood burn slower; cause the fire to smoulder and produce more smoke.
  4. Burn the new logs at high output for 3-5 minutes before closing the primary air control. Adjust the burn rate using the Airwash control. Do not close the air controls until the fire is burning well.
  5. Refuel little and often for clean, efficient burning.

Useful tips:

  1. Experience will establish the setting to suit your needs.
  2. Ensure your logs are well-seasoned and dry. Hardwood logs also have around twice the calorific value of softwoods.
  3. Do not burn large amounts of fuel with the Airwash control closed for too long. This reduces the glass clean effect, causes tars/creosotes to build up in the appliance and the flue system and will produce excessive amount of smoke.
  4. Burning the stove at high output for a short period also reduces tars and creosote.
  5. Do not load logs above any log guard that is fitted, or any secondary air outlets in the back of the firebox.
  6. A bright and clean firebox indicates the stove is burning well.

How to choose wood for your stove.

Different types of wood have different heat capacities and do not burn the same way.

Wherever possible Hardwood is best – it burns slower and hotter.

Wood should be really dry. Damp wood provides a great deal less heat and releases a lot of smoke , produces few flames and causes the stove, its glass door and the chimney to get dirty and soot up – risking chimney fires and damaging the stove and chimney liner. Big logs should be split prior to storing.

Store the wood well, in a shelter off the ground and well ventilated.

If you are burning wood correctly on a good stove there should not be much smoke. We are aiming for a hot, dry burn producing little smoke. A smoky fire is an inefficient one.

Which wood should you use?

Ash – Considered the best wood for burning; it produces a steady flame and strong heat output.

Oak – The density of the wood produces a small flame and very slow burn but will need at least 3 years to dry.

Beech – Burns similar to Ash.

Birch – Produces a strong heat output but can burn quite quickly.

Hawthorn – A traditional firewood with a slow burn and strong heat output.

Horse chestnut – This wood is burnt well in wood stoves as it can spit. It produces a good flame and strong heat output.