What three features are at the top of your shopping list for your new home? Judging by our builds over the past few years an educated guess would suggest that a wood-burning stove (or two!) would be right up there…
Whether you’re planning your dream home or installing a wood burning stove at a later date, it’s always good to get advice from the professionals. Local experts Speyside Stoves – who regularly install the wood-burning stoves in our builds – answer the five questions they are asked most frequently by their customers.
How can I calculate what size wood burner I will need?
A simple method of determining the size of wood burner is to calculate the length x width x height of the room and divide by 14. This will give the nominal output required.
But, there are other factors we take into consideration when calculating what size wood burner you will suit your needs (and we will always ask when you come into the showroom):
- How many doors and windows are there?
- Is the room well insulated?
- Will the burner be the primary source of heat or supplementing underfloor heating or radiators?
Go big or go home doesn’t apply here… unless you like living in a sauna-like environment!
Will my wood-burning stove be installed in time for Christmas?
We get asked this A LOT, usually in December with the hope we can pull some strings. And the answer is typically no!
At Speyside Stoves, we operate on a two-month leadtime for installation, but with higher demand during the winter months, it can sometimes stretch to three. We’d suggest that if you know that you’d like to drink your mulled wine in front of a beautiful fire – book ahead of time! Don’t wait until Christmas is right around the corner because you will be left disappointed. It may seem strange planning for the winter months with your shorts on (if we’re lucky) but summer is the perfect time to get in contact to secure your installation spot for later in the year. Good quality tradesman will be popular due to their expertise and to get quality you will have to be organised.
If you do find an installer at the beginning of December who can install by Christmas, please be vigilant. Check testimonials, completed work, qualifications… you know what we’re saying.
Is burning wood bad for the environment?
Possibly THE most frequently asked question we get! And the answer is burning wood is not ‘bad’ for the environment.
When compared with other fuels, burning wood has been proven to be better for the environment. Wood is a renewable resource and when it is burned it releases the same amount of greenhouse gasses as taken up by the tree during its life cycle or, put simply, they are carbon neutral. If you use a wood burner as a source of heat you are, in fact, being kinder to the environment because you are replacing the need to use gas, oil or electricity for heating.
All hard wood types are perfect and because of the density they will burn longer and give off more energy for a longer period of time. One negative of hard wood is it takes longer to dry naturally. When a tree is freshly cut the moisture content can be as much as 50%. If the tree is cut and stored the wood’s moisture will naturally reduce to 30%-40%. However, tests have shown that flue gasses become ‘clean’ at around 20% and to achieve this naturally the wood would need to be stored for several years. That’s a little longer than most people are happy to wait so to achieve ready-to-burn wood with a moisture content less than 20% it must be kiln dried.
At Speyside Stoves, we recommend kiln dried Silver Birch to our customers.
Are wood-burning stoves easy to maintain?
Easier than you think as long as your wood burner is installed correctly!
Cleaning out the wood burner only needs to be done occasionally, not every day like a traditional open fire. Burning wood on a bed of ash actually helps; the wood combusts and creates a better bed for the fire to grow. Wood burning stoves are built to take very high temperatures.
To get the best from your stove, it needs to be maintained. This can be easily taken care of with an annual sweep. At Speyside Stoves, we recommend everyone get their chimney or flue swept by a qualified chimney sweep at least once a year. This can include replacing any bricks, glass or door rope.
Keep this up and your wood-burning stove should operate perfectly for many years to come.
How to clean the glass door of a wood-burning stove?
It’s really simple! Roll up your sleeves and bring out the elbow grease.
Step 1: Wet a bit of newspaper or kitchen roll.
Step 2: Dab it in the ash from the night before and wipe on the glass. This will take off the residue from the previous night’s burning.
Step 3: Use a bit of water on kitchen roll to wipe clean. Spray on glass cleaner for wood burners is available. It has a chemical in it to help protect the glass and can give you a better finish.