The following information is provided to inform our customers of the procedures of fitting a fireplace. We are not implying that the fires can be fitted on a DIY basis.
|The original fire has been removed and the fireplace has been opened up to acomodate the new insert.||
||The lintel has to be raised by two brick courses to allow space for the new fireplace to fit.|
|This is cemented in.
Raising the lintel is a specialist job and must be carried out by a competent installer.
||The hearth is fitted on a bed of mortar and levelled.|
|In this example the gas pipe enters from under the hearth. The gap under the hearth has also been sealed.||
||The cast iron insert is assembled and sealed between the joints where necessary, in this case using heat resistant silicon sealent.|
|The insert is offered up to the opening and the gap between the wall and the insert packed with rockwool. (Gas fires only)
The rockwool will compress and create an airtight seal when the surround is fitted.
||Please note that the gas supply is usually attatched at the right hand side.|
|The surround is fitted over the insert and fixed to the wall. In this case, the fixings (not supplied) have been sunk into the plaster so they will be hidden.||
||The base inside the opening behind the hearth, is levelled off and can be sprayed black when dry.|
|The fireplace MUST be backfilled up to the height of the damper using 'vermiculite' or 'perlite' topped off with mortar. The fitter will ensure that the mortar is sloped at the back and sides so that any soot falling down the chimney falls into the fire, and can't settle behind the opening.
The damper must be secured permanently open when using a gas insert.
||The grate has been removed in this example to accomodate the gas insert which is secured to the floor and connected.|
|The front bars are fitted and the coals placed on the insert.||
||The fireplace is then cleaned using WD40 light oil and a soft cloth, or spraying with matt/silk high temperature grate paint to remove any marks and scratches from the brick dust and soot.|
||Class 1 Chimney
The vast majority of properties have a 'Class 1' chimney which is generally found on houses built pre 1967. This type of chimney will have a flue diameter of at least 7" (180mm) or more and is generally constructed of brick. The construction must be in a sound condition and should always be tested on a regular basis. When fitting a new fireplaces, the chimney must be tested for leaks, especially in roof voids and between floor joists.
Suitable for: Solid fuels, Natural gas, LPG, Electric
||Class 2 Chimney
A 'Class 2' flue is usually fitted in a older Class 1 chimney which has structurally failed or in newer properties where a steel flue system has been built rather than a brick flue. This can be identified by a 5" (130mm) diameter flue and terminal often made from steel.
Suitable for: Natural gas, LPG, Electric
Houses built later than 1960 generally tend to have a pre-cast flue system constructed of rectangular box sections within the wall. They can be identified by the roof terminal as illustrated. The main drawbacks are they tend to have a high failure rate when tested for soundness and aren't suitable for cast iron fireplaces.
Suitable for: Natural gas, LPG, Electric
Many modern houses are now built with no chimney. The choice of fireplace is limited to electric only. However, it is possible to fit flue systems for solid fuel and gas fires using sectional flue pipes that slot together either internally or externally. (These can be prohibitive due to the price.)
Suitable for: Electric
Please bear in mind that if your room is poorly insulated, has lots of window space or stairs and open doors leading from it you may need to adjust the calculation upwards.
How to use your stove
Click here to follow the link on how to use your wood burning stove. Although this is an American video, the principles are the same for any wood burning stove and is full of useful information.
Traditional cast iron stoves
Cast iron is still one of the most popular materials from which stoves are made. Cast iron stoves can withstand high temperatures and be moulded into decorative designs. Cast iron stoves can be enamelled in a variety of colours but are usually black. Cast iron stoves can crack if not used correctly, usually due to fast firing as the cast iron can't withstand the shock of rapid heating.
Most stoves have either a single or double glass door with an 'airwash' control which directs incoming air over the glass door. This helps to prevent tar build up but, is only effective as the quality of solid fuels being burned. All multi fuel stoves now have to meet stringent standards regarding efficiency levels and most can burn wood or smokeless fuels. Some stoves use clean burn technology which uses a secondary burn system to reduce emmisions to an absolute minimum, making stoves an eco friendly form of heating. Other features of multi fuel stoves include riddling grates, which help remove the ash from the fire grate into an ash pan below. This is a useful function when burning smokeless fuels as ash build up needs to be kept to a minimum. Often the riddler can be operated externally without the need to open the stove. Wood however burns much more efficiently on a bed of ash, so a riddling grate is unnecessary.
A very basic form of stove is the 'pot belly' stove which has no window, is tall in shape with a large round pot belly. The design makes it useful for burning long pieces of wood but they are fairly innefficient and most suited for workshops or outbuildings.
Steel stoves are often made with a steel body but a cast iron door. This is because generally the stove body can be welded together with precision cut sheets of steel which are easy to manufacture on an assembly line. Some doors are steel but most moulded with cast iron to accomodate the glass and air intakes. The designs incorporate the same features found on cast iron stoves including air-washed doors and clean burn technology. Steel stoves don't suffer from the possibility of cracking like cast iron stoves but are lined with heat resistant fire boards to protect the steel body from buckling due to the heat. They are usually more contemporary in design due to limitations with the production process.
Steel bodied stoves are a fairly recent newcomer to the British market compared to cast iron stoves, but have been available throughout Europe, in particular Scandinavia for quite some time. Contemporary Scandinavian stoves are now finding their way into British homes but, are often designed to stand alone in a room as a piece of furniture, rather than sit inside an inglenook fireplace. Some varieties come in assorted colours, have soapstone claddings and large glass viewing windows.
The contemporary Scandinavian stoves are often highly efficient with low CO2 emissions which makes them very eco friendly. There are also airtight designs available, which are fed with oxygen via a pipe from the outside of the building, directly into the body of the stove. This means that the stove isn't drawing air from the room that has already been heated up, but draws cold air from outside, making the stoves extremely efficient.
Not worthy of being called stoves, electric stoves are basically an electric fan heater disguised in a box to look a bit like a stove. They usually have orange fire bulbs in to give a poor fire effect. You cannot get an electric stove with a realistic flame, it just doesn't happen!!! They are expensive to run, very inneficient and not for the eco warriors. There are just no benefits to owning an electric stove.
Types of fuels for stoves
Multifuel – coal, smokeless fuel and wood.
Stoves that burn all types of solid fuel are called multi fuel stoves. If burning coal or smokeless fuels, the stoves are fitted with a grate that allows more oxygen to aid the combustion process. Wood stoves however don't need a grate as wood burns better on a bed of ash.
Wood is the traditional fuel used in stoves as it is classed as a carbon neutral fuel. Put simply, if a tree falls down and rots, it will release exactly the same amount of carbon as if it were burned in a stove. Therefore if we burn sustainable wood, a new tree is planted when a tree is cut down to use as fuel. The tree planted then absorbs the carbon released when the wood is burned on the stove.
Smokeless fuels tend to burn hottest for longest, followed by house coal and then wood. Most stoves are rated for heat output using coal, so if you are only going to burn wood, choose a stove with a slightly higher output rating, as wood burns with a lower heat output.
Wood MUST be well seasoned, ideally dried for 2 years. It can be purchased in processed form as compressed sawdust logs which is a waste product from manufacturing industries.
A recent addition to the UK market are wood pellet stoves. They are popular in the States but have yet to take off over here. The pellets are fed into an external hopper which feeds the stove internally via a feeding mechanism. Wood pellet stoves are becoming more widely available but take up a lot of space. They are awkward to fit to existing properties so are only really suitable for new builds.
A gas stove is simply a cast iron or steel solid fuel stove that has been modified and fitted with a gas burner. The gas burner heats ceramic coals to give a realistic living flame. Gas stoves are quickly going out of favour due to the increasing cost of gas. They are however very easy to control and clean. Gas is available through the mains (natural gas) or bottled(lpg).
Oil is no longer a cost effective fuel to use due to ever increasing prices. It is also bad to the environment due to its production process.
Local laws and regulations dictate the type of fuels you are allowed to burn on your appliance. For instance, in certain areas you are required by law to burn smokeless fuels only, usually in built up areas. This is due to the emissions given off which can affect air quality and cause smog.
However, certain stoves such as the 'Carron Stoves' are exempt from these laws due to the way they burn off the waste gasses, so have a 'certificate of exemption' for smokeless zones.
Wood is not a smokeless fuel as it contains water. If it is burnt freshly cut or wet (green) it gives off steam and water vapour. This in turn produces flammable, acidic tars which can damage the appliance and chimney by clinging to the lining. In worst cases, the tar will seep through brickwork externally and internally and cause pungent aromas.
Wood should be stored dry undercover for a minimum of 1 year, ideally 2 years. The end grain will split when ready to burn. The fine white residue left over when burning wood is NOT ash, but the remains of the woods cell walls which will burn off if your appliance burns hot enough. Hence there is no need to remove the waste from a wood fire until excessive amounts have built up, as repeated use of the appliance will burn off some deposits from previous firings.
Alder: Poor heat output and burns quickly.
Apple: Burns slowly and steadily, good heat. Pleasant aroma.
Ash: Excellent qualities, will burn when green, but not as well as when dry.
Beech: A rival to ash when dry, but, it does shoot embers a long way.
Birch: Good heat but burns quickly. Pleasant aroma.
Cedar: Good heat when dry. Crackles and snaps. Fantastic aroma.
Cherry: Burns slowly, with good heat. Pleasant aroma.
Chestnut: Not bad. Apt to shoot embers. Small flame and heating power.
Douglas Fir: Poor. Little flame and heat.
Elder: Mediocre. Very smokey. Quick burner, with not much heat.
Elm: Must be well seasoned to burn well, but is rather smokey.
Holly: Good, will burn when green, but best when seasoned.
Hornbeam: Almost as good as beech.
Laburnum: Must be avoided. Poisonous tree, acrid smoke, taints food.
Larch: Crackly, scented, and fairly good for heat.
Laurel: Not bad. Has a brilliant flame.
Lime: Poor. Burns with dull flame.
Maple: Good. Burns quite well.
Oak: Poor flame, acrid smoke, excellent for heat when dry, burns slowly and steadily.
Pear: A good heat and a good scent.
Pine: Good flame, but spits. Nice aroma and blue flame. Burns quite quickly.
Plane: Burns pleasantly, sparks if very dry.
Plum: Good heat and aromatic.
Poplar: Don't bother.
Rhododendron: The thick old stems, being very tough, burn well.
Robinia (Acacia): Burns slowly, with good heat, but acrid smoke.
Spruce: Burns too quickly and with too many sparks.
Sycamore: Burns with a good flame, with moderate heat. Useless green.
Thorn: One of the best. Burns slowly, with great heat and little smoke.
Walnut: Good, and so is the scent. Aromatic wood.
Willow: Poor. It must be dry, but burns slowly with little flame. Apt to spark.
Yew: One of the best. Burns slowly, with fierce heat and pleasant aroma.
Also known as bituminous coal, house coal is not a smokeless fuel. It is relatively cheap but harder to obtain nowadays, as it is a dirty fuel to burn. Coal is easy to light and leaves only a small amount of ash, burns very hot with an attractive flame. However, it does make a lot of tarry smoke which stains stove glass, sticks inside flues/chimneys and emits large volumes of flammable gas which can make appliances difficult to control.
Coke is classed as a smokeless fuel. It is a natural coal which is processed to remove the smoke emmisions. These are then distilled to make products such as aspirin, creosote and ink amongst other things.
Anthracite and Welsh Dry Steam Coal
This is a smokeless fuel and is a natural hard, shiny form of coal. Anthracite is difficult to light and burns extremely hot for a long time. It is best used in the 'small nuts' size.
Peat can be used as a smokeless fuel in some areas (check with your local authority) and is made up of semi-decomposed natural woody material. Moorland or bog peat is almost black and once dried can be burned just like wood.
Lignite is not a smokeless fuel but is a natural material that can be categorised between peat and coal. Although it lights easily and burns well, it can produce excessive amounts of ash.
Smokeless varieties include brands such as 'Homefire' and 'Phurnacite' which are compressed blocks of fuel. They can burn consistently for long periods. Other brands are made from lignite, peat or housecoal and may not be classed as smokeless. Refer to manufacturers instructions for more information.
Brand names such as 'Petcoke', 'Longbeach' and other various names are made from oil waste. Although easy to light and control, it burns far too hot with a lack of protective ash which means it MUST NOT BE USED unless well mixed with another fuel. Please be aware that the life of the appliance will drastically be reduced and we strongly advise against their use.
Please remember that stoves are not incinerators and great care should be taken if burning occasional household waste, such as personal information etc. Do not burn plastics as they can give off toxic fumes and batteries/aerosols will explode. Never use liquid fuels such as lighter fuel.
We advise that you try a variety of fuels (or mixtures) to find which burns most effectively in your appliance.
|For Full Polish Finish
Keep the fireplace oiled using a thin coat of a light oil, such as 3 in 1 or WD40. This treatment should be carried out at least twice a year or as required.
Any surface rust should be removed using a fine grade wire wool with oil. (as shown)
This will not scratch the cast iron, the more you rub, the more of a mirror finish will be achieved.
Avoid exposing the cast iron surface to moisture.
||For Black/Highlight Finish
Coat with an iron paste and buff with a duster to enhance the finish of you fireplace.
Regular dusting is sufficient to keep the fireplace clean.
Do NOT use spray polish.
Fireplaces carry warranties in accordance with manufacturers instructions.