Cold Nights, Hot Chocolate and Nights in By the Stove

As the nights draw in and the weather turns cold, you’re finally considering buying that stove you’ve always wanted. The problem is you don’t know where to start. There are lots of helpful articles out there. But most of them are trying to steer you towards a product or brand. Help is at hand. In this post, we’ve put together our top tips on choosing a wood-burning stove.

There’s something very relaxing about gathering around a fire, keeping warm. Hibernating in style on a perfect winters evening. A fire can bring the family together, as well as providing warmth and comfort. Wood- burning stoves are not only for log cabins. They can also provide a great focal point for your living space and save you money on your energy bills.

Log Burner in Modern Lounge

The Best Time to Buy

There has never been a better time to buy a stove. Haven’t we heard this before a million times? It’s true, prices are on the up due to rising costs, such as materials and labour. But the decision to buy depends on when you feel ready to make the investment. Don’t feel pressured into deciding because the offer finishes tomorrow. There will be other offers that are as good if not better. But don’t expect prices to remain the same in a year’s time. Our best advice is to be certain before deciding. The stove will provide you with many years of happiness so you want it to be right!

Size Matters

The heat output of the stove that you buy depends on the size of the room you want to heat and the layout of your home. The natural choice is to choose a stove with a high heat output to keep you warm and cosy during the cold nights. Yet the heat output on these stoves can be difficult to control. You may feel too warm, particularly if you are heating a smaller room.

Do you want to heat a single room or an open plan layout that combines several rooms? If you are looking to heat a single room, then a 4kW or 5kW stove is enough. But if you have an open plan property you may need to consider something larger like a 9kW stove.

To achieve a relaxing room temperature of around 21°C when the outside temperature is at 0°C. You will need approximately 1kW of heat output for every 14 cubic metres of space.

Here’s a quick and simple way to work out what heat output you’ll need. Measure the length, width and height of the room you would to heat and multiply the three sizes together. This will give you the size of the room, and then divide by 14.

For example, your living room measures:

Length = 7 meters, Width = 4 metres and height = 2.5 metres.

7 x 4 x 2.5 = 70 cubic metres, divide by 14 = 5.

So, you will need a 5kW stove.

If you are still not sure what size stove you need, ask your local retailer or installer.

You’ll also need to check the dimensions of the stove; make sure it fits in the space it's going in.

Our Survey Says!

We recommend that before you go out and buy a stove that you have an initial survey done on your property. This will establish whether you can have a stove and what installation work needs doing. The installer will also be able to tell you what size stove you’ll need. They will provide you with a quotation for the work required. In most cases the initial survey is free. This is a good opportunity for you to find out more information about choosing a stove.

Know Your Installer

We only recommend HETAS approved installers. HETAS are the official body that determine whether an installer is competent and safe to carry out work. You can find a list of local approved installers on the HETAS website. In our experience, most installers are friendly, approachable and impartial. So, don’t expect the ‘hard sell’ like you would get with cold calling salesmen. Don’t settle for one quote; get a couple of quotes from different installers so that you can compare prices. It is important that you establish a good relationship with the installer. Do they seem reliable and trustworthy? Do they seem to know what they are talking about?

Make sure you do some research into the installer to ensure that they are who they say they are. Check the HETAS website to ensure that they are HETAS approved and registered. Check the installer’s website and/or social media pages for reviews or examples of their work.

Choosing Your Stove

Set aside enough time. A wood-burning stove is a big investment. it is important that you allow yourself enough time to make the right choice. Don’t shop if you are feeling tired or are in a rush.

You want to be looking around two to three different shops to make a good comparison of what’s available. The advice that you receive will help to build up your knowledge and understanding.

If you can’t decide, then think about the level of service received from the retailer. Here are a few things to consider:

  • The relationship between you and the retailer
  • Is the retailer easy to deal with?
  • How knowledgeable is the retailer?
  • The retailer’s reputation. If something does go wrong how reliable and trustworthy is the retailer?

It may be worth spending a little bit more money with a retailer that you can trust.

Online vs. High Street, Where Is Best to Buy?

It helps if you can see, touch and test the product before you buy. In a shop, you often receive higher levels of information. It is also easier to build a relationship and rapport with the retailer.

Despite this buying online does have its advantages. Fewer overheads, mean prices are generally cheaper online, and you can save a lot of time.

Also, consider location, if the retailer is 100 miles away how easy are they to deal with?

The Price Is Right

Spend the most that you can afford on a new stove. Be wary of cheap alternatives on the market. As with most things you get what you pay. There are some good cheap stoves out there. If you invest in a better-quality stove, you will get better value for money. Better construction, performance and longevity. As a guide, most stoves range in price from £400 to £2000.

You’ll also need to factor in the price for the parts, accessories and installation. There may also be a delivery charge.

Fuel for Thought

Have you considered what type of fuel you would like to burn on the stove? The popular choice is wood burning from a sustainable source, which some regard as carbon-neutral. Coal is less eco-friendly. It may also depend on the availability of the fuel. Peat for example is hard to source.

A lot of stoves are multi-fuel which means that they can burn a variety of fuels. But you may need to pay extra for a multi-fuel kit to fit into your stove to do this. Please mention to the retailer at the point of sale if the stove is for use with other fuels.

If you live in a smoke controlled area and you want to burn wood, you will need to buy a Defra exempt stove. Or there are a range of smokeless fuels that you can burn instead such as anthracite.

Access All Areas

One thing that is often overlooked is the access to the property. For example, think carefully about purchasing a 9kw stove if it’s to go upstairs. There’s a lot of weight in these stoves and you may end up stuck with a stove you can’t install in the room of your choice. Also, consider delivery restrictions. Narrow lanes and gravelled tracks may cause issues. We recommend that you address any access issues with the retailer at the point of sale.

Final Thoughts

Which other factors are missing? What are the most important factors to you in choosing a stove? Please share below.