Stove Emergency

If smoke is entering the room

Take the following urgent action:• Open doors and windows • Allow the stove to burn itself out• Do not stay in the room any longer than is necessary • Do not attempt to re-light the stove until the stove baffle plate and flue system have been checked and cleared of blockages• Get your chimney swept as soon as possible

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If you smell or suspect fumes

Carbon monoxide  (CO) is odourless and tasteless and the gas can also be disguised amongst other combustion smells.

If you suspect carbon monoxide is present then take the following urgent action:• Open doors and windows • Allow the stove to burn itself out • Do not stay in the room any longer than is necessary • Do not attempt to re-light the stove until the stove baffle plate and flue system have been checked and cleared of blockages• Get your chimney swept as soon as possible

For more detailed information on smoke and fumes entering the room please click here

If the carbon monoxide alarm sounds

Take the following urgent action:• Open doors and windows • Allow the stove to burn itself out • Do not stay in the room any longer than is necessary • Do not attempt to re-light the stove until the stove baffle plate and flue system have been checked and cleared of blockages• Get your chimney swept as soon as possible

Virtually all cases of Carbon Monoxide poisoning with solid fuel are due to poor installation or lack of stove maintenance. Also check that other appliance operating elsewhere in the house are not causing the CO to build up (eg gas fire or gas or oil boiler system). If you haven't got a CO alarm, then please get one today – they really are life-savers.

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If the stove starts burning slowly or if it goes out frequently

A sufficient flow of combustion air to enable the stove to burn effectively and safely is vital. When a stove is starved of this it will be hard to light, have lack-lustre dirty orange flames and may frequently go out. With double glazing, laminated floors and improved insulation modern homes are effectively becoming 'airtight' so that the home's natural ventilation is reduced to the point where it can cause a stove to burn poorly.

• Open a window in the room to see if this improves how the fire burns • If this improves the situation then you need to check that any existing air vent, especially if it was installed at the same time as the stove, is not blocked, either on the inside or the outside of the house

If you don't have an air vent, then you should seek the advice of Hetas registered or other approved stove installer, to ensure that your installation complies with Building Regulations air supply requirements

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Stove Industry

Hetas is the organisation recognised by the Government to approve multi fuel stoves and wood burners, fuels and services including the registration of competent installers. They established the Hetas Approved Retailer certification in 2011 so that anyone wishing to purchase a stove could be directed to retailers who meet high standards for service quality – including expert installation and safety advice. 

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HETAS is the independent UK body recognised by Government and essentially its remit is to ensure the safe installation, operation and maintenance of safe and efficient wood burning and multi fuel stoves and boiler stoves. As part of this process it produces an annual list of products which they have checked and approved. It is important to point out that whether or not a manufacturer chooses to submit their products to appear on the list is purely voluntary. This therefore means that the Hetas Approved Appliance is not comprehensive and that there are many perfectly good, perfectly safe and efficient CE tested stoves which do not appear on their list. 

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Stove Installation

The actual installation of the stove is not usually rocket science and most practical DIYers can manage most of it without much difficulty. Especially if you're okay with heights when it comes to dropping a liner down the chimney. However, in our opinion, and we say this purely with your safety in mind, it is always best to leave the installation of a stove to a professional installer who will have experience of fitting hundreds of stoves as well carrying out the appropriate spillage and safety tests in virtually every type of situation. If you undertake the installation yourself then you must ensure that it complies with all current building regulations and also submit the installation for inspection by your local authority Building Control.

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When you install any stove it is important that you adhere to the manufacturer's declaration regarding minimum safe distances to combustible materials as this will be fundamental to you and your family's safety. Any stove which has actually been CE tested in a UK or EU notified laboratory will clearly state these distances within their instructions. The problem is that there are still a lot of stoves on the market which purport to be CE tested and which are clearly not (rest assured these are not sold by The Stove Yard) and therefore any declared minimum distances stated by these unscrupulous manufacturers or importers are likely to be pure guesswork and must be assumed to be potentially unsafe.

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Since 2005 it has been a legal requirement to notify your local authority Building Control department of your intention to install most fixed heating appliances in your home (whether it is a simple replacement or not), and this includes wood burning and multi fuel stoves and boiler stoves. Although this is not 'Planning Permission' in the strictest sense, you really do ignore this at your peril because Building Control approval, and the appropriate building Regulations compliance certification for the installation work, will almost certainly be requested should you ever wish to sell your house or there is an installation-related insurance claim.

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There is nothing in Building Regulations Document J (or its NI or ROI equivalents) which stipulates that you should use a particular grade of stainless steel flexible liner for solid fuel stove applications. Further, Hetas recently stated "Hetas do not perceive the benefits of the 904 grade of liner to be greater than those of 316; so long as installation, maintenance and use of the liner / appliance is within guidance supplied by the manufacturer / user instructions, both are accepted as suitable".

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In the case of CE EN13229 test for inset stoves, the safe distance to combustible materials above the stove is measured and this ’shelf’ distance, which varies from model to model, should be clearly stated within the handbook that comes with your new inset stove. It may also be referenced on the stove's CE dataplate. Therefore this is the absolute minimum safe distance that any combustible mantel can be placed above that particular inset stove. However, although safe distances are tested for the sides and rear of freestanding stoves the shelf distance is not a requirement of its CE EN13240 test, simply because there would be too many variations for a standard test. This can pose a problem for the installation of stoves set within a fireplace opening.

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Yes...probably, but proceed with caution. MVHR systems, and indeed other forms ofmechanical air extraction, will alter room air pressure which in turn couldadversely affect the performance of the stove's flue or chimney system. Tomaintain safe air quality in your home the proposed stove should have a directexternal air supply (DEAS) and importantly, should have an effective door-sealto make it virtually room-sealed. This means that the stove's safe operationwill not be affected by potential changes to the room air pressure caused bymechanical ventilation. When the door is closed none of the stove'scombustion air can be taken from the room and conversely none of the combustiongases produced can escape.  

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This is the rectangular opening set in a chimney breast to take a solid fuel open fire which would have incorporated a decorative fire surround at some point. In the UK and Ireland this opening is usually approximately 22" high by 16" (560mm x 406mm) wide, subject to the age of the house, and at the time of construction would have also had a shaped concrete fireback built into it. The builder's opening can often be easily re-opened by removing the fire surround and backplate to make a recess to take a wood burning stove.

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New and replacement stoves must be installed by a competent person and any works they carry out must be in accordance with all local and national building regulations. Since 1991 OFTEC has been recognised by national governments for promoting excellence in domestic heating installation through its UKAS accredited competent technicians scheme. OFTEC are associate members of the Stove Industry Alliance (SIA).

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Stoves Technical

This is a question The Stove Yard gets asked regularly and actually, it's not that easy to explain. Especially when one normally associates a 'net' figure with being less than a gross figure and oddly, in the case of stove efficiencies, the reverse is true: Net is greater than Gross, so the 'higher' Net efficiency is generally the one that is quoted by manufacturers in the UK and Ireland, causing confusion when making comparisons with some European manufacturers who quote the Gross figure. 

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External air, also known as direct or outside air, is an increasingly important safety requirement for a stove which is being installed in a room with an extractor fan or in a modern, virtually air-tight home, especially one with mechanical ventilation heat recovery (MVHR). The direct external air supply (DEAS) allows the stove to take its combustion air from outside the room the stove is installed in, normally from outside the building.

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This is a regular question we get asked at The Stove Yard, and unfortunately the answer is definitely 'no' – not if you ever want to use the stove again as a boiler stove.

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A flue damper is a cast iron or steel plate on a spindle fitted inside a flue system (usually in the first length of vitreous enamel flue pipe) which can be rotated by a small handle outside the flue pipe to reduce the adverse affects of a strong flue up-draught or 'pull'. It does this like a 'butterfly valve' by simply moving the plate against the flue gas flow to help slow it down.

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Unfortunately there are no strict definitions of the term 'Clean Burn' when it is applied to multi fuel stoves and wood burners, and in reality it should be seen as a relative term. No doubt you'll come across Clean Burn or Clean Burning elsewhere on the internet and it is worth pointing out that it is sometimes deliberately used to mislead customers regarding the benefits and features of inferior quality, usually imported, lower priced stoves. All imported stoves, and from July 2013 all domestically produced stoves, need to be CE tested for efficiency and emissions, but this is no guarantee that a stove is clean burning – just that it has passed some very minimum EU emissions standards.

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We cannot think of any current model stove, certainly none that that The Stove Yard sell, which does not feature an Airwash System to help keep the glass clean. Some manufacturers have given their Airwash Systems their own fancy names – but don't be confused, they are all essentially the same thing with the Secondary Air and the Airwash being one and the same 'system'. When you control the Secondary Air you are effectively controlling the Airwash.

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Cloudy, 'milky' or crazed glass is caused by unburned acidic condensates etching the ceramic glass and unfortunately this cannot be easily removed. It is definitely not faulty glass, but has to do with the quality of the fuel that you burn or the way that you operate your stove.

Elsewhere on the internet, you might see the odd Youtube video showing someone (obviously with a lot of time on their hands) polishing and cleaning their cloudy glass to something like its original state – but not quite. However, this will mean removing the glass and will take a lot of time and hard work, as well as involve you in the purchase of a proprietary grinding paste which is unlikely to be available from your local stove dealer or DIY merchant, to which you can therefore also add the cost of post and packing. In our view this is really more trouble than it's worth.

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Stoves general

Ecodesign is an EU regulation aimed at controlling emissionsfrom a range of appliances that use energy, including stoves, and it will comeinto force on 1 January 2022. The United Kingdom will continue with thisregulation after Brexit and of course it will apply in the Republic of Ireland.

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I've heard that stoves are going to be banned, is this true?

The short answer is 'no'. Absolutely not.

Wood burning has certainly received some bad press recently,linking it to poor air quality. The Mayor of London was even said to beconsidering banning stoves in the city. Unfortunately some journalists have ahabit of ignoring facts that get in the way of a headline-grabbing story andsadly, this also applies to the quality press in this instance. At no point didthe Mayor of London ever say that stoves were going to be banned. In fact, byway of an apology for this press misquote, the Mayor's Office was happy toendorse some Ready to Burn Wood advertising in the London Evening Standard(February 2018) to help set the record straight (see below).

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No, not particularly. It's all relative in our view, but let us explain. There have been some newspaper articles which seem to have got everyone in a bit of a panic on this subject, most recently those covering research entitled ‘Indoor air pollution from residential stoves’ which was carried out by Sheffield and Nottingham universities. However, it is important to remember that there are many other things that also affect the quality of our indoor air such as cooking with gas, lighting candles, using aerosols and simply vacuuming and dusting – plus a host of other essential activities that we barely give a second thought to and which can be much worse. So let's try to get things in perspective by examining some of the facts.

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Your Stove

Essentially, you need to avoid spillage – this is when smoke inadvertently enters your room. Assuming your stove has been installed according to Building Regulations, these simple steps should help you to maintain good indoor air quality.

Your Home    

Well ventilated clean homes are generally healthier, but most of us can always do a little more. Here's a few tips...

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Firstly, you need to understand the difference betweenburning wood and burning multi fuels such as anthracite or smokeless coal. Toburn effectively a smokeless coal fuel load needs combustion air delivered fromunderneath, whereas a wood fuel load doesn’t and only needs an air supply fromabove. These differences are reflected in the way that wood burners and multifuel stoves are made.

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Most traditional radiant multi fuel stoves have been designed and tested to burn wood just as effectively and efficiently as other solid or mineral fuels. For many years stoves produced in and for the UK and Irish markets have been configured for multi fuel burning because, quite simply, with our vast stocks of cheap coal we have always been a nation of coal burners.

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If you're talking about a good quality steel bodied stove versus a good quality cast iron stove then, providing the stove is used according to the manufacturer's instructions, it really doesn't matter. Poor quality cast iron stoves have a reputation for cracking and poor quality steel bodied stoves have a reputation for warping.

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Once a stove is up to temperature and the bodywork is hot then there are two ways the stove's heat can be used to warm the room and there are therefore two types of stoves – radiant stoves and convection stoves, both of which have their own particular set of advantages and applications.

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Wood burning stoves have always involved an element of heat storage which was derived from their traditional cast iron construction. What the early stove makers discovered was, that not only is cast iron strong enough to take the intense heat from the stove's fire chamber, but that the thermal mass of cast iron also delivers heat long after the stove has gone out. It's one of the great benefits of traditionally made stoves which, to some extent, has been diminished over the generations because of the changing methods of stove construction and also our reliance on central heating to provide convenient background heat in our homes. However, the ever-increasing cost of energy, much better house insulation and environmental concerns have encouraged a re-appraisal of the benefits that heat storage from wood burning stoves could bring to the modern home. 

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Is there any difference between a stove tested for intermittent burning and one tested for continuous burning – do I need to choose one or the other?

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First and foremost – efficiency – and therefore running costs. Today the amount of fuel that you use, compared to the amount of heat that you get in return and what that heat will cost you to produce is naturally of great concern for most of The Stove Yard's customers.

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The CE mark has always been important, but after July 2013 it will be a legal requirement for all multi fuel stoves and woodburners to have a CE 'plate' attached. Currently all stoves imported into the UK require a CE Test certificate to ensure that they conform to European safety and efficiency standards – EN13240 for freestanding stoves and EN13229 for inset stoves. Home produced stoves do not yet require this, but virtually all UK manufacturers undertake the official tests to these standards irrespective of whether there is a legal requirement or not. Unfortunately a number of unscrupulous importers and dealers have been getting around the CE requirements by claiming stoves are CE tested when they are clearly not, with some stoves even carrying fake CE plates. Many stoves have arrived in the country over the years with a 'CE' mark which simply indicates that they are 'China Export'. 

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Stove Operation

They're not difficult to use at all and you'll quickly get used to getting the best from your stove if you follow the manufacturer's instructions. Compared to lighting an open fire, lighting a stove is quicker and easier, as well as being much more predictable because of the control you have over the combustion air.

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There are three really important issues which determine the efficient operation of your multi fuel stove or wood burner. Understanding these 'three basics' will go a long way in helping you to operate your stove efficiently and also help you to identify any potential problems. 

Understanding the importance of an effective flue system

Understanding the importance of good dry wood fuel

Understanding the function of the stove's controls

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Include a helpful and informative answer to the frequently asked question here.

We definitely wouldn't recommend it for the following safety reasons, whether in a stove or an open fire. Green, unseasoned wood, which has a high moisture content and in particular the excessive amount of sap (sticky resin) contained in the different varieties of Christmas trees, can cause serious problems inside your flue or chimney.

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Generally speaking, this is when a stove, which was working perfectly fine when you last used it, then inexplicably doesn't work. It will be difficult or impossible to light, possibly causing smoke to enter the room. There could actually be a number of causes (see below). However, at certain times of the year when there are dramatic swings in temperature and especially because the problem has occurred suddenly, it is more than likely to be caused by 'Spring and Autumn Syndrome' and is not likely to be a problem with the stove.

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There are three factors which determine how much heat you can get from a log when you burn it. The variety of the wood (and how 'dense' it is) and the efficiency of the stove are two, but these are fairly insignificant when compared to the importance of the third: moisture content.

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Stove Spare Parts

The first thing you need to do is identify the make and model and, if you have it, the year that it was installed. Once you have these it should be relatively easy to locate the parts for most stoves, either from your original stove dealer, the stove's distributor or specialist stove components companies like our own, Stove Spare Parts

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It always comes as a shock to new wood burner or multi fuel stove owners that their baffle plate (also known as a throat or deflector plate) is classed as a stove 'consumable' and is therefore not covered under their stove warranty in the same way that most of their other stove components are. This is because baffle plates are positioned at the top of the fire chamber specifically to deflect flames and heat back into the stove instead of letting them go straight through the flue system – and this is partly why stoves are much more efficient at delivering heat to your room than an open fire. However, it's also why, even on top quality stoves, baffle plates tend to burn out. 

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