Getting a wood burning stove fitted: what to consider | Part 1

In about 3 weeks time, Neil and I are having our chimney all opened up and a wood burner installed right where you can see those little logs resting in our now decorative fireplace. 

The installation can't happen soon enough. The official date scaffolding is going up and work begins will be the 16th December, so with fingers and toes crossed, everything should be finished up ahead of Christmas. We'll be able to enjoy a cosy fire with friends and family. 

I first had the idea to get a wood burning stove well before we moved into our flat about a year ago. When we bought this place, I knew I needed to restore the chimney for more efficient heating and a cosy feel, and in doing so, hopefully we'll increase the value of the property. 

Since then, we've been saving for the work. It isn't cheap to do this kind of installation especially when you have to factor in scaffolding costs and the price of the stove itself. I think we're looking at about the £3K mark with labour all inclusive, and that doesn't include a new hearth, or widening the fireplace. 

Anyway, I wanted to share a guide to getting a stove fitted and what you might need to consider in case any of you are in the early stages of fitting one yourselves.

1. Getting the right people on the job - what credentials to look for

First things first, get quotes in.

We felt it was really important to look for the right qualified people for the job and not try to fit the stove ourselves. All installations have to be signed off buy a local authority or HETAS registered engineer (more info on Glowing Ember's site) anyway and from experience, sourcing the right company for any work to our flat prevents problems later on. And as we're unaware of the state our chimney is in, we needed qualified people to tell us if the job was doable or not. 

The company we are working with come HETAS certified and gave the chimney a visual inspection free of charge. They checked over the chimney stacks to make sure there were no blockages and the job was doable without permission from other flats in our building. Once the scaffolding goes up they'll be sweeping the chimney and then installing a chimney liner (houses built after the 1960s usually have liners already but as ours was built in 1890 we'll need to install one ourselves).

This diagram seriously helped me understand the structure of the chimney, what's needed, what each section is called and what goes where:

2. Choosing the right energy for your wood burning stove

Having a company doing the installation for us means that from their experience they could tell us the energy of the stove we'd need to heat a room of our size. They also gave us recommendations for the size of the stove keeping in mind we won't be structurally changing our widening the fireplace. 

It's imperative you choose a wood burning stove that throws out the right heat for the room. You don't want a stove that's too hot that you can't sit close to when it's fired up. Similarly you want enough power to heat a space if it's fairly large. 

We are on the market for a 5kw wood burning stove that's 470mm wide and 540mm high (leaving enough space to see the enamelled pipe at the top).

3. Picking the right wood burning stove for your room

I can highly recommend

Glowing Embers

site for the sheer variety of stoves they stock, alongside having fantastic information on installation. 

First pick whether you want a traditional looking stove, or a contemporary stove. 

We're opting for a traditional look to complement

our chesterfield sofa

 (not pictured). We also want something with a fairly large window so we can see the fire :)

Next, choose whether you want a wood burning stove, a multi fuel stove or a gas stove. 

Wood burning stoves are real fires that limit you to only using wood inside. 

Multi fuel stoves are real fires that allow you to use anything from coal, wood, pellets etc and (I think) you can burn paper and litter too, although this would cause an insufferable amount of ash to clean up. 

Gas stoves, are well, not real fires in my book but a much cleaner option ;)

We're obviously opting for a multi fuel stove so that on the days we can't afford wooden logs, we can chuck in the cheaper wooden pellets you can pick up from Homebase or B&Q. 

Which wood burning stove have we chosen?

Keeping all of the above information in mind, we've decided to go for the

Dimplex Wescott 5kw Stove

 that's been DEFRA approved. In Part 2 of my wood burning stove guide, I'll be showing you before and after photos of our new wood burner and letting you know how it's all going.

Roll on a cosy Christmas fire!