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Decorating with Wood Burning Stoves
Stoves, particularly the wood burning variety have become increasingly popular of late and it is not hard to see why. They are up to 90% efficient (compare that to a traditional coal burning fire at just 20%) and use wood, a renewable fuel source, to generate their heat. There are even those equipped with back burners from which you can heat a small house and generate hot water.
Fitting a stove
For most models of stove it is not even necessary to have a chimney. However, like all other heating appliances stoves burn a fuel – wood, coal or smokeless fuel – to create heat. A by-product of this is carbon monoxide a silent, odourless killer that claims around fifteen British lives a year. To be sure that your stove is fitted correctly first time and to prevent installation costs escalating call in an expert – a fitter who has qualifications approved by the Heating Equipment Testing and Approval Scheme or HETAS as it is known (similar to the old CORGI approval system).
Fitting a stove yourself could prove costly as you would need to pay for your local council’s building control officer to come and inspect the work. If it does not comply with Building Regulations you will, by law, have to take measures to bring it up to standard. This will involve more visits from the council representative and spiraling costs. Get someone in who knows what they’re doing in the first place.
Getting the wood
Wood is, of course, available all year around. You can buy it in garden centres or individuals often advertise their own from garden clearances and such. Wood to be used in a wood burning stove must be seasoned and dried. Invest in a log store to keep logs dry and to dry them out yourself in warmer months. Be aware though that wood from sap rich trees such as pines and conifers can take years to fully dry out. It would be worth having two log stores on the go where wood can be rotated. They make a pretty, rustic feature in the garden too. If you fear that it might be difficult, at times, to source wood for your stove opt for a multi fuel model.
Wood burning stoves, unlike the more traditional coal and wood burning open fires create very little mess as the are very much self contained. They are also, in general far more responsive. There are even remote controlled models on the market.
However you’ll need one or two props to get your stove going. At the very least you’ll need a poker and a pair of tongs. An attractive fire set is a lovely accessory in a living room.