If you're planning on installing a wood burning stove in what is classed by planning authorities as temporary leisure accommodation, such as a workshop, garden shed, log cabin, shepherd hut or similar tiny space, then you should check out The Stove Yard's comprehensive guide. Although, strictly speaking there are no building regulations which specifically apply to installing stoves in these temporary structures we've managed to interpret existing regulations for domestic stove installation, for example Building Regulations Document J Combustion Appliances (England & Wales) and BS8303 Installation of Domestic Heating Burning Wood as well as the Hetas best practice Technical Note 23 and bring these together with The Stove Yard's own hands-on experience to produce a comprehensive, concise and easy to read guide which will hopefully help you avoid making mistakes which could compromise the safety of you and your family. No doubt you will (as we would) look to YouTube to watch some how-to videos – but a word of warning, very few of these videos get it completely right. So armed with our guide, by all means watch the videos, but proceed with caution.
Installing a wood burning or multi fuel stove in a structure considered ‘temporary’, such as a shepherd hut, log cabin, garden shed, summer house or yurt for example, should not be used as an excuse to cut corners or to ignore the installation guidance set out in BS8303 Installation of Domestic Heating Burning Wood or Building Regulations Document J and its national equivalents in Scotland, Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland.
Any stove you choose must have been CE EN13240 (soon to be EN16510) safety tested so that you can rely on its heat output, safe distances to combustible materials, its effective room seal and its efficient performance. This is not always the case with cheap imports of, or example, cute looking pot belly stoves and similar stoves purchased from auction sites etc.
Everything regarding the installation of your stove should be about ensuring that the structure doesn’t burn down and the inhabitants are protected from burning themselves on the stove as well as making sure they will never suffer from the dangerous effects of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Stoves must have an adequate supply of combustion air to operate safely. When starved of air a stove will not completely burn the fuel and this can create the conditions for the production of excessive carbon monoxide which, could potentially escape into the living space. It prevents the stove from producing the high temperatures that create the critical updraught needed to safely remove combustion gases.
When you install any stove it is important that you adhere to the stove manufacturer’s declaration regarding minimum safe distances to combustible materials as this will be fundamental to you and your family’s safety in your temporary structure. A combustible material is anything that is flammable, sometimes this is not always obvious, and remember, these distances are ‘minimums’.
Building regulations state that the flue height should be a minimum of 4.5m (15’) from the top of the stove. However, it is generally accepted that this will not always be practical or aesthetically pleasing for temporary leisure accommodation such as sheds, log cabins and shepherd huts and therefore a compromise, which is both safe and practical, should be sought – but only after complying with the critical BS8303 spillage tests (more about this below).
Hearths are important for protecting the floor underneath the stove from catching fire from the incredible heat the stove can generate when at full operating temperature. If you buy a stove which has been CE tested as suitable for placing on a 12mm non-combustible hearth then the hearth should present few problems otherwise you will have to build and support a hearth made from concrete or brick which has an overall depth of 125mm (5”).
The lack of air space in tiny spaces, especially where there’s a stove present actually increases the potential dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) should any unfortunately escape from the stove. It is vital therefore that a good quality CO alarm is permanently installed where it can best detect this poisonous gas. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and do not do what many people do, simply prop it up in a corner. Recently the consumer magazine Which? found that many CO detectors for sale on a well known auction site were not fit for purpose
Below is a synopsis of the BS8303 spillage tests that all stove installations should undergo before it goes into general operation. These tests are especially important for stoves installed in tiny spaces which, because of the nature of the installation and likely reduced flue height, can exacerbate potential issues with smoke release into the room.
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The Right Stove
The Right Flue System