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So, you've read about the benefits of wood burning stoves, and you're thinking of taking the plunge. But what do you need to consider before buying a wood burner?

Here are some of the key things you need to think about when it comes to buying a wood burning stove for your home.



A wood burning stove is a superb addition to the home, but there are a number of considerations to make before you select the wood burner of your choice. The model pictured is the Rhone 4.5 KW Enamelled Wood Burning Stove.

 

Size Of The Room

One consideration you'll need to think about before buying a stove is the size of the room that you'll be using it in. This will dictate what heat output you require from the wood burner, and therefore which size of stove to purchase. Obviously a smaller room will require a small wood burning stove, while bigger rooms or open plan properties will require a higher wood burning stove output.

A rough guide to working out the required wood burning stove size for your room is to multiply the room's height, width and length (in metres) together. Divide the total by 14 to discover the approximate heat output for that room.

For example if the room is 2.5m in height, 5m wide and 4.5m long, multiply these numbers together.

2.5m x 5m x 4.5m = 56.25m3

Divide this number by 14 to find the ideal heat output.

56.25 ÷ 14 = 4.02

Rounded down, the ideal output for a room of this size would therefore be 4KW (kilowatts). This may differ slightly depending on other factors such as the number of exterior walls the room has, how well insulated the property is or how many windows are in the room.

You can also work the formula backwards to determine the size of room that a particular burner will heat. For example, let's say we wanted to see what size of room a 7KW stove would warm. We would take the 7KW, and this time multiply by 14 to give us the room's volume.

7 x 14 = 98

Therefore the ideal 7KW stove room size would be around 98m3. How about a 9KW wood burning stove?

9 x 14 = 126

If your room is particularly large, around the 126m3 size, a 9KW wood burning stove would be the best bet.

 

Do I Need A Traditional Chimney?

It is not essential for a wood burning stove to be used in an existing fireplace with a chimney stack. Although this is perfectly fine, a stove can also be used in a room with no chimney passage. If the room you are installing the wood burner in does not have a traditional chimney stack, a flue is required to carry the fumes and waste away from the room.

If the stove is to be used with an existing chimney, the chimney may need to be lined before it is used with a wood burner. Check with your installer or supplier to determine whether this is required.

To maintain the wood burner's performance and to minimise the build up of soot and tar, the chimney (or flue system) should be swept regularly. It is preferable to have this done at least once a year, and can be done by a professional chimney sweep.

 

Is The Room Prepared?

To be installed correctly and safely, and to prevent damage to your property, a wood burning stove will need to be installed in an appropriate and suitable place. As well as providing direct access to the flue, the wood burner should be placed on a non combustible hearth.

It will also need to be placed in such a way that it is clear of combustible and non combustible surfaces of a predetermined value. The distance of clearance will be specific to your model and will be detailed in the manufacturer's handbook. Ensure that your wood burner is able to provide the required distances between such surfaces when it is installed.

 

Which Fuel To Use

As long as it is dry, any kind wood is suitable for using in a wood burning stove. Some burners are available as multifuel stoves, which mean that they can also be used with different fuels as well as wood. Coal, peat and some smokeless fuels can be used in multifuel stoves, but it's important to check the manufacturer’s instructions to see if there are any particular fuels that are unsuitable for your stove. Take a look at our guide to wood burner fuel options for more information.

 

Can You Store Your Own Wood?

Although it's not essential, space for wood fuel storage can be a big benefit to you in the long run. It is possible to buy seasoned wood which has been dried out and is ready for use immediately. However, unseasoned wood (also known as green wood and which still contains too much moisture to be burned effectively) is much cheaper.

If you have the space to store it in a dry environment for the year to use the following year, seasoned wood can make a huge difference to your outlay on wood fuel.

 

A wood burning stove can be a massively beneficial addition to your home during the cold winter months, but it is important to ensure that your property is suitable to house one. It is also worth considering how you will fuel the wood burner and to make sure that you have the correct ventilation or flue system in place.

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