Frequently Asked Questions
The following are a few questions that we are often asked and the answers may help you to understand what may be possible for you. They are not a substitute for arranging for a professional home survey prior to ordering your fire but they may help you to understand some of the issues involved…
What sort of fire can I have in my home?
This will depend on several factors. We would encourage you to visit our showroom and bring along a photo of your existing fireplace or appliance. This will enable us to best discuss your options.
Do I have to have a chimney?
If you want to have a solid fuel appliance to burn coal or logs then it is necessary to have either a masonry chimney or a twin-wall insulated purpose-built flue system in your home. This serves to remove the waste gases from the combustion process and carry them away safely out of the room.
A chimney or flue system is also desirable for a gas appliance as these fires also have to expel the waste products from the combustion process and the easiest way for them to do this is up through a flue. There are however gas fires available that do not require a chimney. Open gas fires can be installed with a power-flue system which is an electrically operated extraction fan at the rear of the fire which draws the fumes from the fire to the outside.
Glass fronted fires for installation into a home without a chimney usually use a balanced flue system which does not require any power supply. These fires are very efficient, quiet in operation and very safe since they are totally sealed off from the room.
Electric fires require no chimney or fluing system since they produce no fumes.
Does the room need any additional ventilation?
In order to burn fuel whether it is coal, wood or gas, a supply of air is needed to provide the oxygen for combustion. There is usually enough clean air entering a room through natural processes such as gaps in doors, etc but otherwise purpose made vents must be fitted.
Building regulations are very strict on this and state that ventilation must be provided for any combustion appliance unless the manufacturer has had the appliance approved to be fitted without.
In practice this usually means that a gas fire with input rating of less than 7kw or a solid fuel closed appliance such as a wood-burning stove rated below 5kw may be fitted without additional ventilation if the installer is satisfied that it is working safely.
What’s the difference between “heat output” and “efficiency”?
Heat output from the combustion process is related to the type and quantity of fuel that is being used. Generally the more fuel being burned, the more heat will be produced. Unfortunately this does not always mean that more heat will come into the room as in some cases up to 80% of the heat generated is lost up the chimney.
The “efficiency” of a fire is a measure of the ratio of heat produced that is actually thrown into the room. Hence it may be that a small but very efficient fire might be a better supplier of heat than a huge open roaring basket fire. In these days of increased awareness of energy efficiency, it is worth being aware of the different types of appliance that are available and their relative efficiencies.
Ultimately the answer to efficiency is a glass front on the fire. This has the effect of reducing the amount of air flow across the fire and gives huge gains in efficiency. These fires are either built into the fireplace or the chimney breast or in the case of a wood-burning stove can be freestanding in the chamber. These types of appliance also require much smaller diameter flues (usually achieved by a liner down the chimney), require less additional ventilation in the room and cause little heat loss when the fire is not in use.
Does my chimney have to be lined?
Most solid fuel stoves require to work on a flue liner, as this is one of the reasons they are so efficient
Some gas fires are required to run on a reduced size flue so you may have to have a liner inserted into the chimney depending on its diameter.
What is Hetas?
HETAS is the official body recognised by Government to approve solid fuel heating appliances, including the registration of competent installers and servicing businesses. Registered installers are trained and approved to UKAS standards and can self certify that their work complies with the relevant building regulations.
Why Use a Hetas Registered Installer?
As HETAS registered installers have the knowledge and experience to install your stove safely and to a very high standard, they will be able to self certify the installation and provide you with a HETAS certificate. It makes it peace of mind for you the customer.
What is Gas Safe?
Gas Safe replaced CORGI in Great Britain from 1st April 2009. An engineer must be suitably qualified and registered with Gas Safe to carrying out work on gas appliances. Whether for installation or servicing, must be on the Gas Safe Register list.