Key Considerations when Purchasing a Stove
When deciding what type of stove to buy there are several key factors that you should consider, including: whether you live in a smoke control area (and therefore whether you need a DEFRA Approved appliance), what type of fuel you will be burning, and whether the stove will be your primary source of heating.
Do you live in a smoke controlled area?
Before purchasing a stove, you should check to see if you are in a smoke control area. A smoke control area is an area in which you cannot emit smoke from a chimney unless you are burning an authorised fuel or using 'exempt appliances'. You can check this on the local authority website, or by calling your local council. If you are in a smoke control area, by law you can only legally install a DEFRA approved appliance. This will usually be listed among the product description of the stove.
What is a DEFRA approved appliance?
A DEFRA Approved stove is a wood-burning or multi-fuel stove which has been tested and has passed the UK Government's Department of Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) criteria for emission levels and the amount of smoke that it will be allowed to produce during all stages of normal operation. A DEFRA Approved stove will always provide the minimum level of combustion air so that the wood burns efficiently, thus ensuring that the stove complies with the Clean Air Act. A DEFRA Approved stove will therefore allow you to burn wood or fuel legally in a UK smoke control area (most of the UK's cities and large towns).
Some stoves come with a DEFRA kit already installed, and some manufacturers can provide a kit that can be post-fitted. Legally, stove installers (like HETAS approved Home-Sweep)can only install DEFRA Approved stoves in smoke control areas. At Home-Sweep, we can also fit non-DEFRA Approved stoves, but only in non-smoke control areas.
Wood-burning or Multi-fuel stove?
A wood-burning stove must only be used for burning wood, however a multi-fuel stove can burn wood or smokeless fuel and coal. A wood-burner is generally cheaper than a multi-fuel stove, so if you have no intention of burning smokeless fuel or coal, a wood-burner may be the most cost-effective option.
Other considerations include whether your stove is going to be your primary or secondary source of heating. If it is to be your primary source of heating, particularly if it is to be connected to a central heating/hot water system, a multi-fuel stove may be best. The main reason for this is that in general terms, a multi-fuel stove will provide more heat for a longer period than a comparative wood-burning stove.
The choice of fuel type will have a direct bearing upon which type of stainless steel liner can be used to line the chimney if this is required.
We would suggest purchasing a wood-burning or multi-fuel stove from a reputable supplier. If you are purchasing online, please ensure you have determined whether you are in a smoke control area, and if you are, ensure the stove is DEFRA Approved. At Home-Sweep, we recommend Frank Keys Builders Merchants.