Wood Burning Stoves & Open Fires
Why buy a wood stove?
It’s a sensible choice in difficult economic times when you want to save money heating homes or local business premises. Customers in the county of Kent, such as in the Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge areas, find time and again that stoves give rooms a ‘snug’ feel and also provide a cheaper source of heat in the long term. Stoves are quick to warm a room and are environmentally friendly, compared to other fuel sources.
There are factors to consider when buying a stove. It can be daunting! A customer in Hildenborough took two years to buy a stove because she was worried about the technicalities involved. James the Sweep gave her tailor-made advice and she’s happy with her new wood burning stove!
Prices range from anywhere between £200 to thousands of pounds (at the time of writing). The more expensive stoves cost more due to the style rather than substance. This might be an important factor for you. James doesn’t recommend buying stoves below £600. If you want something cost effective long-term and that gives a decent amount of heat, look at the range between £600 and £1,500. Stoves in that price barrier look good and are easy to run if well maintained.
Please explore all options, from local suppliers to large chain stores, before buying a wood burning stove. There are a lot of stoves on the market. A warning – one of the customers of James the Sweep, living in East Sussex, once bought the first stove he saw in a national hardware store. It gave lots of trouble with inadequate warmth, no matter how much wood was burnt. He’s now found a cheaper but more efficient stove. It’s worth doing your homework before buying a stove!
Facts to consider
Types of stove: wood burning only or multi fuel?
Simply – if you want to burn only wood, buy a wood burning stove. Or if you intend to use different fuels, get a multi fuel stove. Wood stoves do give more heat than multi fuel of the same value and are better for the climate. Regular maintenance is important for all stoves.
Optional extras include clean burning systems. These act like a supercharger for the fireplace, taking in more air and fuel substances, which makes the heating more efficient. Another is airwash, which pulls air along the glass at the front of a stove, cleaning off soot, tar and other fire residue. Make sure your stove is an approved appliance, especially in ‘smoke control areas’. Otherwise you can burn only a few smokeless fuels and could face a fine.
Style choices depend on your interior design ideas. Steel stoves are more durable than cast iron stoves, which are prone to crackling. Don’t just buy online either – see a stove before purchasing and take a tape measure to ensure the stove will fit into your room space correctly. More tips: Curved glass looks splendid but it’s costly to replace. Wood storage areas under stoves are often too small. Contemporary stoves are more expensive.
Consider existing insulation in your home and the number of rooms needing additional heat, when buying a stove. Heat from a fire is measured in kilowatts (KW). James the Sweep suggests that a small house (bungalow or two-bed) needs a small fire giving between 4KW and 7KW. Larger homes need a 7KW to 12KW heat output from a bigger stove. Wood is a cheap source of fuel for heating needs.
Tip: Keep the door of your fireplace room shut to retain heat and save money!