Stoves are a great choice because you can put them in any room and they're more energy efficient than open fires
Stoves are more efficient than open fireplaces – they are airtight so less heat is lost through the flue. You could install a stove in any room of the house, including a bathroom, but they can be difficult and expensive to route through buildings because of strict regulations as to which materials flues can come into close proximity with, so check with your supplier before you buy.
Before you install one, bear in mind that stoves can be noisy, so ask if the fan can be installed somewhere further away where noise is less likely to bother you. Make sure you have storage space for fuel, or think about buying one with an integrated space for logs.
Remember that your flue must be specifically designed for wood fuel appliances if you are burning timber, the installation must comply with all safety rules, (part J of the building regulations). Plus, under the Clean Air Act, wood can only be burnt in certain areas (go to uksmokecontrolareas.co.uk for further information). If your building is listed, or in an area of outstanding natural beauty, check with your local authority planning department before a flue is fitted.
Most stoves are made from steel or cast-iron welded to render them airtight (steel heats up more quickly). Ceramic stoves will give out a gentler heat as the energy from the surface is stored up in the surround and then released slowly into the room. Air-wash stoves take in air from above their window and wash it over the surface of the glass. This protective layer of air helps keep the flames at bay, so less tar is deposited, keeping the window cleaner. Squeaky clean and green, stoves that also use a process called double combustion, reach very hot temperatures so that even the smoke burns.
Words: Mary Miller Image: Charnwood