At The Stove Yard we're often asked "can I fit a stove in a new build house?" and our answer is "yes". However new build properties, especially timber framed homes, can be challenging for the installer and their special requirements can also limit the developer's or homeowner's eventual choice of stove.
We probably have more experience of supplying and fitting wood burning stoves in new build homes than any other stove company in the country. Developers fit them because they add character, they're desirable and they're also a cost-effective way of increasing value. Homeowners just love them and if 2021's huge energy price increases prove anything it's that, more than ever, everyone can benefit from the heating independence and savings that only a wood burner can deliver.
Compared to a pre-2008 home there is so much more to consider when installing a low emissions stove in a modern low energy home to create a safe and efficient closed combustion system. This includes ensuring an appropriate supply of combustion air which doesn't impact the building's air permeability, providing an efficient flue to safely remove combustion gases including carbon monoxide especially to counter the effects of mechanical extraction and how best to locate the stove and the flue system to safeguard combustible materials and minimise disruption to the home's aesthetic appearance.
At The Stove Yard we can not only offer you the expertise you need, but we can also offer you a big choice of contemporary or traditionally styled air-tight stoves, boiler stoves and heat storage stoves specifically designed to work in low energy homes, including passivhaus type homes and those featuring MVHR. If you still want the look and feel of an open fire we can even make that happen with our range of Fondis insert stoves. These can deliver you the old-fashioned features of an open fire and, because of their counter-balanced disappearing doors featuring patented automatic air supply control, they can also provide the safety and convenience of a modern controllable closed appliance – whenever you want. These insets can be installed either within the flat wall of a purpose-made mock chimney breast for a minimal look or within a traditional or contemporary fire surround.
Check out the information on installing stoves in new builds on the pages below...
If there's anything else you need to know then please do not hesitate to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
If you're planning a new build project The Stove Yard can work directly with you and provide guidance at the earliest stages of your plans or we can work directly with your architect or builder. We can do as little or as much as you want from simply supplying your new stove to its complete installation and commissioning.
VAT charges on the stove, flue and other components, as well as the labour for the installation work, can get complicated on new builds so it's always best to first get the advice of your builder, installer or stove dealer and not to assume anything until you are clear when, where and if VAT must be legally charged and paid.
You don't normally need specific planning permission to install a stove. However there are many technical considerations which apply to stove installations, especially in new build low energy homes and timber framed homes. If you're thinking of installing a wood burner then it should be included as soon as possible on any plans that are being submitted for planning permission and of course it needs to be part of the property's SAP calculation.
The Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) is required by the government to measure the energy performance and associated CO2 (carbon) emissions of all self-contained new build homes and conversions to show compliance with Building Regulations Part L. The Republic of Ireland has a similar scheme with their own Building Energy Rating (BER).
Once you've decided that you want a wood burner and you have a rough idea of where you would like it positioned in the new build then this is probably the ideal time to talk to your stove dealer – bring your plans if you can. They'll be able to quickly tell you if your idea is feasible, whether there's a better, possibly more practical and cost-effective alternative to position and flue the stove, what type of stove will best suit you and your lifestyle and critically the heat output you'll need for the proposed living space. You might like the look and price of a particular stove for your new build project, but it may not necessarily be suitable.
If you're planning a stove then you must also have a chimney or flue system. Wood burners can never be 'flueless' or operate with 'balanced flues' like gas fires. They must have a fully functioning flue which creates sufficient updraught to safely remove all of the combustion gases, including carbon monoxide, from the stove. How you flue the stove and exactly how and where the flue will eventually exit the building through the wall or roof can have a dramatic impact on component and installation costs as well as the overall appearance of the interior and exterior of the building. Most importantly, where the flue eventually terminates can also create particular installation issues which, if they are not fully considered at the outset, could affect the stove's performance as well as potentially create air quality problems for occupiers of the building and its neighbours. Importantly, pay particular attention to the proximity of the flue termination point any air intakes or extracts for MVHR and air source heat pumps.
Your choice of new stove must have the minimal impact on the new home's air permeability (the air leakage rate per hour per cubic metre under pressure). It is essential therefore that your eventual stove choice features direct external air supply (DEAS) capability. Having this feature will ensure that the stove does not take its combustion air from the room (except briefly when the stove door is opened for refuelling) allowing you to avoid the required dedicated open air vent as specified in Document J.
Once you've decided that you want a wood burner and you have a rough idea of where you would like it positioned in the new build then this is probably the ideal time to talk to your stove dealer – bring your plans if you can. They'll be able to quickly tell you if your idea is feasible, whether there's a better, possibly more practical and cost-effective alternative to position and flue the stove, and what type of stove will best suit you and your lifestyle, especially in terms of heat output for the proposed living space.
The combination of wood burning stoves and heat pumps gives you the best of both worlds – consistent cheap background warmth backed up by quick abundant heat that warms the bones when you really need it and better still, is also great to look at.
This all depends on exactly what you want your wood burning stove to do for you and the type of chimney you're planning, or can afford to have (see the section 'Creating a chimney for a stove in a new build'). Most people want their stove to not only be a practical heating source but also to be an attractive focal point where family and friends can be drawn to. With a wood burner there's no reason why you can't have both as well as being able to choose exactly where you want your stove, especially if you're not already governed by having a fixed chimney.
The higher insulation standards and reduced air permeability of new build and low energy homes pose particular problems regarding the adequate supply of combustion air that the stove will need to perform safely and efficiently and therefore such homes need special consideration.
Carbon monoxide (CO) gas can be a killer and is produced by the incomplete combustion of oil, gas, coal (including smokeless coal) and wood. Even cigarette tobacco smoke contains CO. However, when these fuels are properly controlled, as they are in millions of appliances, including stoves, in UK and Irish homes then there is rarely ever a problem. Any issues that do occur – and unfortunately some of them can be fatal, generally happen because of poor installation or lack of maintenance, or both.
There is still a place for boiler stoves, especially in a new build where an integrated heating system can be planned from the very beginning to deliver central heating and hot water. Although modern, low emissions Ecodesign wood burning boiler stoves provide less heat output than the previous generation of multi fuel boiler stoves, both to the room and to the hot water, this is no bad thing.
In an effort to reduce energy consumption new homes are now being built to incredibly high insulation and airtight standards with the German Passiv Haus and the UK equivalent, AECB Carbonlite, being the very highest. Not too many homes are quite built to this standard yet, although many aspire to be and in fact the term 'passiv haus' has become a much misused description for any low energy home that goes some way beyond basic building standards. When it comes to installing a wood burning stove in these airtight homes special consideration must be given regarding how the combustion air will be supplied and the combustion gases removed without compromising the building envelope.
MVHR systems and wood burners make a good combination in a new low carbon, low energy home and generally speaking there shouldn't be any real issues when installing both providing that you select the correct room sealed appliance and the appropriate BS8303 spillage tests are carried out by a competent person during commissioning. In addition, selecting and maintaining an MVHR system set-up that pressurises the building rather than depressurises it will also help ensure the safe performance of the flue updraught.
Ensuring that your new stove and its flue maintain a safe distance to combustible materials, some of them concealed, is of paramount importance. Some issues can be avoided by careful consideration of the stove type and the individual manufacturer's safe distances declarations – which can vary greatly, as well as how the stove will eventually be installed and exactly where it will be placed. If you're planning on building a Class 1 chimney with a traditional fireplace, then in terms of safe distances to combustible materials, there is not much to consider compared to a free-standing installation.
Building Regulations Document J (and other country equivalents) stipulates that for safety reasons all stoves require one of two types of non-comustible hearth depending on how hot it gets underneath the stove. This temperature is derived when the stove is assessed during the CE tests and it should be clearly stated in the stove's installation instructions or declaration of performance.