Allotment Gardening Advice Help Chat

Smallhold Farming and Rural Living => Property, Buildings, Equipment and Alternative Energy => Topic started by: surbie100 on October 08, 2014, 13:37

Title: Log burners - any tips
Post by: surbie100 on October 08, 2014, 13:37
I've got a cold 1950s flat which has a proper fireplace but I live in a smokeless zone. I want to put in a defra-approved log burner as we'll be here for at least another 2 winters.

It will be 5kw output max and will have an airwash thingummie. I'll need scaffolding for the installers to line the chimney as the flat's on the 3rd floor. Wood will be stored in my garage out the back.

Any tips for things I need to bear in mind?
Title: Re: Log burners - any tips
Post by: ilan on October 08, 2014, 13:49
cost would be a major thought with instalation the pay back will be over a long period
Title: Re: Log burners - any tips
Post by: jrko on October 08, 2014, 14:37
1000 ish for supply, fit, scaffold etc
1cube meter of logs 100 each time x several

Not too bad price wise for a charming warm centrepiece.


However:   In the cold winter expected everyone in the house will need to bring some wood up to the 3rd floor every time they come home, and maybe then some more trips as well.  That sort of inconvenience wouldn't even make it a selling point tbh
Title: Re: Log burners - any tips
Post by: surbie100 on October 08, 2014, 15:00
Cheers both.

I am up late working/writing quite often, and in winter have to put the heating on for the whole flat to keep warm. It would be nice just to heat a room. And I love a wood fire.

I've a hall cupboard for extra log storage, and the lift will take the load of carting it upstairs - but I take your point.
Title: Re: Log burners - any tips
Post by: Comfreypatch on October 08, 2014, 16:16
I have a Stovax log burner for smokeless zones. When we looked into it there were not many that were suitable for smokeless areas. I think clearview do one but they were more expensive. You will need a carbon monoxide monitor but it was supplied with the fire. If you have fires over a certain output you have to have an air brick.
Ours certainly puts out the heat and looks cosy. If you've got a lift logs shouldn't by a problem, we get through a basket full on a cold night if I light it about four. Fortunately we get free logs. Do you have any local wildlife trusts? When they coppice in the winter you may be able to get wood from them but it would need seasoning and you would have to store it.
Title: Re: Log burners - any tips
Post by: beesrus on October 08, 2014, 21:43
If it's a smokeless zone, strictly speaking it has to be a clean burn Defra exempt stove or you have to use smokeless fuel. The newish reconstituted "logs" count as smokeless I believe, but I don't like them and they do tend to have a small flame.
I've just been involved with lining two chimneys in a Devon farmhouse, both with stainless flues surrounded with leica granules. To do the job properly it is also best to reflaunch the stack and reseat the pot.
The flue is not a cheap job at all, but at least there are a few low KW cheapish defra rated burners out there at the moment on offer in the region of 300 to 450. If I were in a smokeless home with an existing fireplace, I would just sweep and use the existing fire with smokeless fuel and a guard ... all in all a couple of thousand cheaper.... legal woodburner installation isn't cheap anymore.
Title: Re: Log burners - any tips
Post by: GrannieAnnie on October 08, 2014, 21:56
Are you allowed to have a woodburner in a flat?  I know they had open fireplaces, but all the flats I've seen have had the fireplaces boarded up.

There was something years ago about setting fire to the other properties if anything happened, but maybe that doesn't apply any more. 

The other thing is as already mentioned, the bringing up of the logs, but if you have the storage room......

We have oil central heating, but I only have it on for an hour in the morning, and 2 hours at night, so all through the day, its the woodburner.  A lot of the logs we buy are softwood, which doesn't last as long as the hard wood.  Last years wood came to 400, the oil for the year was 600 and electric is 46 a month, so you'd have to work out what's cheapest for you.

Saying that, I do like our woodburner, but luckily, the log store isn't far from the patio doors! lol   Good luck Surbie!
Title: Re: Log burners - any tips
Post by: surbie100 on October 08, 2014, 22:22
Are you allowed to have a woodburner in a flat?  I know they had open fireplaces, but all the flats I've seen have had the fireplaces boarded up.

Yep - checked both my lease and with the Council and it's fine as long as it's a Defra-approved one for smokeless zones, which is what I am going for. And max 5kw output so I don't need additional vents/airbricks. The chimney's been swept and checked. I just have no clue as to what to look for in the thing itself. They all look like black boxes to me.

I could have an open fire, but I don't really like them. I would need work done on the existing fireplace anyway, which was messed about with in the 1980s for a really hideous gas fire. There's no fire surround, mantle, hearth now - that was all part of the horrible 80s concrete thing and has been taken away with much rejoicing. I'm left with the fireback and a concrete plinth.
Title: Re: Log burners - any tips
Post by: Madame Cholet on October 08, 2014, 22:31
i have 3 that size they give off loads of heat far better than an open fire anyway.
Title: Re: Log burners - any tips
Post by: Willow_Warren on October 09, 2014, 11:28
This is interesting, I don't live in a flat but a 1950s house and also in a smoke control area.  The fireplace is currently bricked up but the chimney stack is still in place.

I fear it will be the cost of lining the chimney that will tip my over by current available budget. Had an open fire in my old house and I miss it loads!

Got somone coming round to look and quote this afternoon though so will take it from there "shake the piggie bank!"

H :)
Title: Re: Log burners - any tips
Post by: GrannieAnnie on October 09, 2014, 11:36
You may be okay WW.  Our house is 1966 and it had the woodburner here anyway, but when we had some work done on a grant 4 years ago, they checked all the burner and the chimney to bring it up to standard, and they said that it hadn't been lined for the burner, but it was fine.

So you may find yours is okay fingers crossed.

I am pleased for you Surbie that you can have the burner in.  I love mine, and because it has a flat top, I bought a le creusot kettle that I can use on it, and I have cooked stews and things on it in the winter, saves a bit of electric!

Brilliant in a power cut too!  keeps you warm AND feeds you!  :) :)

Don't go for the cheapest one.  I have heard stories about people buy cheap ones and after a season or 2, getting cracks in the cast iron or whatever it is they are made of.  Ours is a Stovax, but the scandinavian ones are the best if you can afford one.  They are made to last!  Jutel I think is one make, but they are not cheap!
Title: Re: Log burners - any tips
Post by: surbie100 on October 09, 2014, 11:56
Thanks GA - I'll bear that in mind. I bought the flat a long time ago, and the ridiculousness of London housing means that the flat is paying for the burner, not me. It can't be a big one though, not just because of the 5kw limit (I don't want an additional vent) but also because it's a narrow opening and the flues from the 3 flats below mine are routed through the chimney breast.

WW I think you'll have a much easier time of it if you're in a house. Good luck!  :)
Title: Re: Log burners - any tips
Post by: Goosegirl on October 09, 2014, 13:06
As GA says, look up Stovax and Jutel, don't go for a cheapie, ensure you get a fully-registered approved installer, wood will leave tar deposits on the liner so will need to be checked and/or swept more often, plus - be confident you are up to the practicalities of shifting logs every day. What happens if you are poorly? So sorry to be a wet blanket on what sounds a great idea, but they are all important points to bear in mind when you are shelling out for something like this. Another thought could be one of those calor-gas jobbies that for all the world looks like a tall, round wood-burning stove. My friend has one and it really does the job.
Title: Re: Log burners - any tips
Post by: Kristen on October 09, 2014, 15:01
Dunno about fuel suitable for "smoke free", but we have a log burning central heating boiler and critical for us is how dry the wood is.  We split and stack ourselves (the "logs" are delivered on a forestry trailer) and they are stored for at least 2 years before burning, the difference in "output" is significant [as the fire is not having to generate heat-enough to dry the wood before it will burn!].

Assuming you don't have space to store wood for that long (and your short tenancy intention too, of course) then perhaps worth investing in a moisture-content probe / meter so that you can check that wood you have delivered is actually the moisture content that you were promised.  You need to split a piece of wood and measure the middle of it, so you won't be able to just do a "surface test" as such.

If you have some wood storage capacity I will "fill" it in late Spring, when you stop using the fire, so it has all summer to dry even more.  Perhaps fire wood vendors will offer you a good deal at that time of the year too.
Title: Re: Log burners - any tips
Post by: surbie100 on October 09, 2014, 15:37
Kristen, is a good point, but I did say I have a garage for storage. I own my flat, but it's leasehold, hence lease checking - very common thing here in London not to own the freehold and the leases can have very weird clauses in them. Split seasoned wood is readily available from the royal parks round here. Smoke-free fuel is really only meant for the open fire, which I am not having. Defra-approved burners can be used in smoke control zones because of their burning efficiency.

Getting logs delivered in Spring is also a good tip, thanks.  :)
Title: Re: Log burners - any tips
Post by: Kristen on October 09, 2014, 16:03
Split seasoned wood is readily available from the royal parks round here.

Hopefully the Royal Parks don't distribute their firewood by Cowboy; around here they are the only source of supply of firewood. When I had my boiler installed I had to buy "seasoned, dry, firewood" for the first season.  Only one supplier delivered wood that was suitable dry, the rest had to take theirs away after I tested a piece before they tipped their loads as far too wet - one of them was 50% moisture!! and supposedly "kiln dried Oak"

This is the sort of moisture meter I have:

(http://shop.euroheat.co.uk/ImgShare/Log_Store/400/1803962822AC101-vertical.jpg)
http://shop.euroheat.co.uk/Misc2/13/Wood-Moisture-Meter.html

(No idea if that is a good price, or not, just using it as the first example out of Google :) )
Title: Re: Log burners - any tips
Post by: ilan on October 09, 2014, 17:25
I suppose I am a bit of a wet blanket as I would have thought the pay back period would be two long so if you have not had it fitted now then it would be at least near to the new year many reputable fitters are flat out booked monthes ahead. so I would put the money aside and get a portable fire that is realistic . If you go down the burner route then get a good make yes they are expensive but the cheap ones warp , dont control the burn rate so they over fire and crack they also burn fuel at twice the rate for the same heat output as they tend to be thinner . whilst there is a lot of talk of logs there is a lot of wood out there ie builders. carpenters, wood recyclers etc   
Title: Re: Log burners - any tips
Post by: RubyR3d on October 09, 2014, 20:30
We have a pioneer clearview 400 that can be used on a narrowboat. It is multi fuel nd though we don't live in a smokeless zone you can use it in the burner.  We use logs and we have a delivery of offcuts from a friend in the kitchen making business every week. It is a 5 kilowatt and heats a large farmhouse when the doors are left open upstairs and down. They are about 1200.
Title: Re: Log burners - any tips
Post by: compostqueen on October 09, 2014, 21:08
The british made ones are good.  Jotul is norwegian.  I used this site to choose mine.  It narrowed down my choice to 3 stoves, which made life so much easier   www.stovesonline.co.uk

I had to have a smokeless one too.  I ended up with an Esse and love it.  My mate has a  clearview and that looks really good too, and she is really pleased with it   
I bough a temperature gauge for mine off ebay, which is magnetic and atttaches to the flu pipe and it shows if the fire is too hot etc 
I am using my own logs at the moment, sycamore felled from my own garden, which gives me a warm glow  :D
Title: Re: Log burners - any tips
Post by: mumofstig on October 09, 2014, 21:14
The Aga Little Wenlock is a nice defra approved stove at a reasonable price
http://www.elyboatchandlers.com/our-range-of-stoves/little-wenlock-classic-se-stove-defra-smoke-exempt-by-aga
Title: Re: Log burners - any tips
Post by: compostqueen on October 09, 2014, 21:18
Our chimney breast is unusually shallow so we only had 3 to choose from.  Ours is wide but not very deep.  There are some lovely ones so have a good browse of that site Surbie.  We had the thicker chimney liner by the way, which gets surrounded by insulation material to prevent heat loss. I think it was vermiculite
Title: Re: Log burners - any tips
Post by: RubyR3d on October 12, 2014, 16:45
Funnily enough my other half has just bought a convector fan that sits on the top and projects the hot air out further. It is silent and beautifully made. Mind you it cost 70. Boys and there toys. :nowink:
Title: Re: Log burners - any tips
Post by: ugly1 on October 16, 2014, 13:51
I have a robin five wood burner/multi fuel stove (stovas make it I think) and live in the Mitcham area of south west london, couldn't do without it. First couple of years actually got a small rebate of the gas company, first times ever. Still my area is one of these smoke free zones and I have used oak, pine and ash. I also use a homefuel coal. Found it best to combine some wood and coal, looks good and seems to warm up quicker.

The stove was DEFRA approved, and being in a 1930's house, just had the chimney checked that it would draw the smoke properly and swept. No liner needed, was quoted 3,000 for liner alone so it pays to shop around.

Like the idea of the fan though, have heard good things about the amount of extra heat they blow into the room.
Title: Re: Log burners - any tips
Post by: Willow_Warren on October 16, 2014, 15:33
I'm so undecided as to what to do.

For some reason I don't feel that confident in the comany that came round and did the quote so I told them that I didn't want to go ahead.  They said that I didn't need the chimney to be lined - but he said that without performing any test?  When I queries he put a smoke bomb through one of the air bricks in the chimney and then looked into the roof to see if anything came out, is this sufficient?  He didn't really explain how wide he would be making the opening...

Anyhow a bit back to the drawing board with finding a company! And still depating over spending the money.  If I don't get it done soon I may as well wait until next year!

H x
Title: Re: Log burners - any tips
Post by: grinling on October 22, 2014, 22:00
http://www.stovesonline.co.uk/

This place fantastic for info and prices are quite good as well.
Title: Re: Log burners - any tips
Post by: Dave NE on January 04, 2015, 10:39
. Found it best to combine some wood and coal, looks good and seems to warm up quicker.

From what I have read on other forums, burning wood and coal together causes sulphuric acid which will rot any flue liner, take care, Dave ps love our Dunsley Highlander 5
Title: Re: Log burners - any tips
Post by: MalcW on June 29, 2016, 11:16
I am pleased for you Surbie that you can have the burner in.  I love mine, and because it has a flat top, I bought a le creusot kettle that I can use on it, and I have cooked stews and things on it in the winter, saves a bit of electric!

Damn, never thought of that. Ours is a Stovax, but it's an inset, so we can't but things on top.