WHY SUSSEX WOODSTOVES?
WE'VE BEEN AROUND FOR A WHILE
We fitted hundreds of stoves since 1986, but as we get older, the stoves seem be getting heavier! People say that we are "lucky" to still be in this business after so many years - but we find that the harder we worked, the luckier we seemed to be! Anyway - we no longer fit all our stoves, but we do provide a pre-sales visit at a nominal fee, and a summary visit report on which you can assess the estimates of any HETAS fitter.
As the stove industry has matured, specialists now seem to be the way to do things – specialist sweeps will clean and safety-test chimneys, specialist stove sellers (some of whom, like us, sell the liner and chimney fitting kits) will determine what you need and sell you what you want (preferably like us, with wide installation knowledge) and specialist installers will independently fit stoves, liners and chimney systems for you.
WE OPEN EVERY WEEK OF THE YEAR
We are here to sell stoves, and what we sell, is discounted from list prices - and what we sell you see on the website. We prefer to sell free-standing stoves, because they are typically more efficient. We are open for visitors on Tuesday, Thursday 10-12 and 2-5, and Saturday 9-5 but on most Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and even Sundays, we are either sat here doing the paperwork, or out assessing jobs for customers. I work on most days, despite my advancing years - but it's worth a phone-call on to be certain that I am here to show you the stoves.
SITE VISITS & REPORTS
We request a small fee for site visits and for production of subsequent reports - £5-£35 depending on distance, at roughly £1 a mile one way, though this fee is sometimes waived if you have already bought one of our stoves.
WE KNOW WHAT WE KNOW
We think that we know what we are talking about when it comes to stoves - we have been buying, selling, historically fitting, repairing, refurbishing and maintaining stoves since 1986. We really do prefer NOT to sell stoves over the internet - you just never know quite what you are going to get, or what might be missing or damaged - so this website is meant to offer you summary information, and to encourage you to visit us, rather than to just take your money and run!
IT'S MORE THAN JUST A LUMP OF METAL
You will soon hear your own fire crackling, see the warming glow flickering around the room, enjoy the natural heating with extra cosiness in the living rooms. Just imagine - crisped toast (inside the stove over embers or outside the glass when blazing), soft crumpets and drippy marshmallows are scrumptious feasts. Chestnuts are a treat cooked within the firebox or on the top, but beware chestnut explosions! Slow-cooked casseroles are easy (we use Pyrex glassware so that we can see what's going on) and hot drinks are possible - even toasted sandwiches in foil if the stove is hot enough!
The sight, sound, warmth and economy of stoves are all tremendously attractive and the potential other uses are there for you to experiment for yourselves.
TIMBER FUEL THAT HAS BEEN PROPERLY SEASONED FOR AT LEAST 12-24 MONTHS SO THAT THE SAP-MOISTURE CONTENT IS LOW, MUST STILL BE STORED IN THE DRY – DELIVERY IN BAD WEATHER, OR STORAGE IN DAMP CONDITIONS, MAY SEEM TO REGISTER HIGHER MOISTURE CONTENT – IF THE TIMBER HAS BEEN SEASONED IT WILL BURN WELL - IF IT JUST SMOULDERS OR BUBBLES, OR WILL NOT BURN WITH FLAMES THROUGH ITS BURNING PERIOD, THEN IT MAY BE TOO DAMP.
IT’S MORE THAN THE SURFACE READING THAT MATTERS – FOR EXAMPLE MEASURING THE BARK WILL GIVE UNRELIABLE READINGS – IT’S THE SEASONED TIMBER THAT MATTERS.
WE SELL WHAT WE SELL
Please note that many stove suppliers and all liner suppliers now make professional hetas fitting & registration, plus professional stove maintenance and chimney w sweeping, reasonable pre-conditions of considering any warranty issues.
We stock YEOMAN, BD&CO LONGLIFE, BOHEMIA, PEVEX & VILLAGER stoves. There is a web-page for each, and "PICTURES & PRICES" summarises the stoves, while "20 QUESTIONS" covers common queries from stove customers.
We sell British, Chinese, Czech and Scandinavian stoves. Our prices range from £400 to over £2000 and we seek to supply durable, reliable stoves at high quality and reasonable discounted prices.
Our stoves are considered by many to be excellent value-for-money compared with Scandinavian, American, Canadian, New Zealand and other UK stoves. Ours have simple, low maintenance designs, modern efficiency and simple controls including full "Airwash" glass systems, primary, secondary and tertiary air supplies to keep the glass cleaner for a clear view of the flames, and to reduce atmospheric pollution.
"Airwash" or "Clear View" are market-speak to describe air-flow systems that push the smoke away from the glass - there will always be some dirty marks - remember what's happening inside the stove - it's a hot, dirty environment so keep the stove doors closed unless loading fuel - this also keeps the efficiency at over 75%, whereas open-doors drag it down to under 25%! Internal fire-bricks and baffles improve the combustion efficiency by retaining heat within the stove making for a cleaner burn, so annual maintenance replaces these as necessary.
All our stoves with larger windows offer a really good view of the fire. Good, dry fuel quality (under 20% moisture tested with a damp-meter) is important to protect your stove and your chimney, and your warranty.
Our stoves meet UK & Euro standards BS/EN13240 for efficiency and emissions and have HETAS approval. Many are also DEFRA-approved for smoke-control areas.
WE ARE WHAT WE SEEM
Based here in Horsham, West Sussex, we are still a small Cottage business, operating from secure workshops around our home, selling relatively few steel and cast iron stoves at keen prices and we have no intention of expanding into anything grander or more anonymous. Many of our stoves are British-designed and British-made and others are sourced from abroad. We sell robust stoves, so that we rarely have to sell spares, though we can often supply spare parts or even make them if needs be. We do not sell enamelled stoves because of relative fragility of the enamelled surfaces.
WE THINK THAT WE DO WHAT WE DO WELL
We fitted stoves up to Autumn 2012 with and without chimney liners dependent on the condition of the chimney when independently tested. We supply standalone chimney systems and boiler stoves on special order. Double-sided stoves are also special order only, and discounted. Mostly, stoves are not complex to fit, but great care is needed and there are multitudinous Rules and Regulations to obey for your own safety, for the safety of others and for the protection of property – hence, please use a HETAS fitter, checking their website at www.hetas.co.uk - Fitting prices vary greatly across the industry so you may want to shop around.
When our work was inspected annually by HETAS, we maintained the highest standards, and apply those parameters to any inspection or report that we undertake.
SHOULD WE LINE THE CHIMNEY
Your chimney may not necessarily need flexi-lining if it proves Sound within the scope of Building Regulations (read Document J online), and some fitting companies will fit stoves without liners on your request, into tested chimneys but some customers prefer a liner anyway so they really don't need to pay for a Test.
Major Chimney sweeping and inspection companies undertake chimney scraping, thorough sweeping, Soundness Testing and many other repair services.
Expect to pay from £45 for though sweeping and from £90 for Soundness tests. Make sure beforehand that you know how much these services will cost, and make certain that safety certificates will be issued.
With a valid Soundness Test, some fitting companies will fit a stove for you without the typical £1000-1500 extra added expense of relining the chimney, plus scaffolding etc.
RE-LINING A CHIMNEY
It sounds simple, to fit a stove with or without a liner, but if it was then everybody would be doing it and it would not be "regulated".
Fitting a flexi-liner typically costs from £700 (maybe plus scaffolding) plus materials; Two qualities can be sold to you – 316 stainless steel 10-year warranty liner, and 903 25-year Molybdenum liner. Fitting without liner into a Sound chimney with suitable fireplace costs from £400-£600. These charges often include Building Regs Compliance certification - using Building Control Officers to inspect and confirm the works, can cost £200 pre-planned, or £600+ retrospectively signed-off – we include this free.
If there are blockages to a 150mm liner, wall-cuts need to be made – these can add to prices, so make sure any estimates consider the possibility as they may typically add £200 each, excluding plastering & decorations. If chimneys obstruct 150mm liners, DEFRA Smoke-Control-area stoves may be fitted with 125mm liners to 125mm stove outlets - we specialise in these stoves.
In our youth, we fitted hundreds of stoves since 1986, and as we get older, the stoves seemed to get heavier!
That and a few unfortunate accidents this year, mean that we no longer undertake all our fittings. We do the lighter jobs and let younger men do the heavy stuff – there are so many HETAS-qualified fitters through www.hetas.co.uk postcode lookup, that you might be spoiled for choice – get several estimates, ask to see their qualifications, ask about local references, and choose the best one.
People say that we are lucky to still be in this business after more than 25 years - but we found that the harder we worked, the luckier we seem to be!
The October 2010 Building regulations revisions to Document J changed the emphasis between Building Regs and Manufacturers' recommendations in that the more stringent of these now generally applies - for example, even though a stove-maker may have permitted a 125mm liner, a standard stove liner must hereafter be 150mm diameter. The exception this is DEFRA-approved Smoke Control Area accepted stoves where if the flue outlet is 125mm: a 125mm liner may be fitted. This is particularly important in very tight chimneys where 150mm liners may not go through without expensive cutting through internal walls to clear a path for the liner, but even 125mm liners may sometimes need wall-cuts.
Only a qualified HETAS fitter who has done the job, or a Building Control Officer who has overseen a job, may legally sign off Building Regulations Compliance Certificates. Sign-off “by the office” are illegal. Ask to see people’s personal HETAS identification cards – if they don’t have one, they should not be working on your home, other than with the Building Control officer hovering about. Check this through www.hetas.co.uk
You may use a HETAS fitter, possibly a local builder, or even DIY - we can sell you a discounted liner kit or twinwall chimney kit and tell you how to get it legally signed-off by the Building Control Officer under the Building Regulations if your chosen means of fitting is not a HETAS registered company using registered HETAS fitters.
We may occasionally visit, assess and prepare incident reports on potentially faulty, or proven-faulty installations, and after chimney fires or other incidents have taken place. For this our professional fees are higher than for site-visits - currently £80 per hour and expect such work typically to take at least 3 to 8 hours including travelling, on-site inspection, photography, and report-writing. Any invoice will list the number of hours logged, rounded up to the higher hour. For legal matters we charge £160 per hour for preparation, reporting, travel and attendance time, minimum 8 hours.
WE TRY TO SELL YOU WHAT YOU NEED
Whether you need a stove for primary heating or as a backup, we can sell you what you really need, economically. If you insist on buying a larger stove than the room design requires, we will try to discourage your extravagance, but probably, in the end, reluctantly give in, and sell you what you want!
To spend money on fancy stoves may be an extravagance. To spend less on recycled scrap stoves may be false economy. We would seriously caution you against enamel stoves unless the surface is unconditionally guaranteed by the manufacturer or the supplier - the coloured enamel is disturbingly fragile! Spend what you really need to - Buy something that you really like at Sussex Woodstoves.
WE WANT YOU TO BE HAPPY
As a small home-based business, mostly serving Sussex & Surrey, we strive for quality, value and a good reputation. You may also find many high-quality fitting companies through www.hetas.co.uk . We are being cleared as a "Buy with Confidence" company having had our terms and conditions and practices vetted by West Sussex County Council Trading Standards. Remember that sometimes aesthetics may be impeded by site constraints – it’s better to have it all legally fitted and safe than to ask fitters to compromise.
Our own website, which you are now reading, has detailed pages for several types of stove, and a lot of general information, but perhaps the summary pages will also be most useful - these are the PICTURES & PRICES and Q&A pages that we sometimes post out by snail-mail for telephone contact customers - One page summarises the stoves and prices, another addresses the top questions that stove customers have asked us over the years. We also have guidance notes on pre-fabricated chimneys and boiler stove on request, noting that we do not do these types of installation, but details for these types of work are more fully specified in Building Regulations and elsewhere. Even this website has been checked and approved by the "Buy with Confidence" scheme.
Our website is meant to encourage you to come to see the stoves. We are not generally interested in sending out stoves that we have not personally quality-checked before despatch. However, we may occasionally agree to send stoves across the UK or abroad at the cost of handling, but this is always expensive - typically £45-£100 for the Mainland, more expensive for the Highlands, Islands and NI, and truly extortionate for export , for example the last double-sided stoves sent to the USA cost over £1200 to send by air-freight.
PRICE & VALUE
If you prefer cheapness to quality, then we are probably not the supplier that you are looking for - there are many cheap Internet suppliers out there selling stoves at low prices - buying in bulk and acting just as handling agents, they can sell some makes of stoves a little more cheaply than we can, but most of them cannot supply our years of experience and technical backup. We also sell several stoves that cannot be bought through the internet, as manufacturers prefer to sell them only through more knowledgeable retail outlets.
PAYMENTS & WARRANTY
We generally accept cash & cheques only, and plastic card transactions are not possible - We MAY accept payments through PAYPAL - We sincerely dreaded the Government's now-abandoned plans to abolish cheques, as these are still a safe, secure and well-tried payment method!
Each stove and chimney part carries its own manufacturer's warranty which follow the industry standard and typically cover the casing and doors, but exclude any serviceable parts such as seals, grates, glass etc, and which do not cover cases of abuse by impact, weather, burning wet or green fuels, modifications, burning petro-coke, physical abuse, over-firing, chimney-fires and other considerations. Any claims are to be made directly, but to be honest we have never seen a valid claim, and regular servicing pre-empts most stove problems.
Any installer’s warranty should be for at least 12 months, provided that no-one disturbs the installation.
We offer our customers an annual service facility to keep the stoves in excellent condition (from £40 + parts).
SELECTING A STOVE
Whether you need a stove for primary heating or as a backup, we can sell you what you really need, economically, and you can easily have it professionally fitted. If you insist on a stove that is too large or too small, we will try to discourage you, but probably take your money if you force us to do so. For sizing a stove, allow 1kW per 14 cubic metres of the room to be heated. Remember that clearances are required around the stoves - typically 1-2" air-gaps to the rear (assuming 8” walls), 2-6" to the side brickwork (assuming 8” pillars), 6-8" to the aperture lintel and 9-12" of fireproof frontal hearth, depending on the model chosen – usually 12” applies unless the front of the stove cannot be open to burn it open-doored.
We try to be helpful when customers are busy choosing stoves, but we neither recommend any particular stove models or manufacturers, nor do we recommend specific fitters and services suppliers. Come to that, we are perhaps unusual in that actually prefer to sell to and work only for nice people, so we may even sometimes decline an offer to purchase goods - eccentric, I know, but ethical!
FITTING A STOVE
ONLY www.hetas.co.uk accreditation permits self-certification in England. Other qualifications do NOT authorise completion of the compliance certificates.
There are lots of good stove fitters out there but you should choose your own and verify their HETAS credentials through www.HETAS.co.uk - As with all well-paid trades that are in short supply, there is also an emerging "cowboy" community out there, so please be careful. No-matter where you live in the UK, there's a genuine HETAS fitter not too far away! Sadly the cowboys are often cheaper and sometimes even closer!
Unqualified claims, cheapness and smooth-talking are no substitutes for safety in your home through high-quality workmanship.
We used to probably fit 50% of the stoves that we sold. Today, many customers just 'Pay & Take Away' our stoves and arrange their own fitters and we are happy that they do so. If we exchange emails before you buy (firstname.lastname@example.org), please note that all communications are covered by our Terms & Conditions elsewhere on the website and on all our documentation, for your protection as well as for ours.
It is sadly not unknown for unethical companies to use unskilled labour to do cheap and inadequate installations, and then to send the Compliance certificates from the office, signed by people who did not do the work - this is illegal, but hard to exclude - if harm occurs to you, your home or your neighbours, getting compensation and corrective works done may prove impossible. Remember that the HETAS conflict resolution procedure needs you to call them in within a year of the installation being completed.
Remember that as the houseowner, YOU are responsible for obtaining the estimates, making your own choices, employing the right people for each part of the job, and this includes the responsibility for adequate sign-offs.
The HETAS lists are your best guide for solid fuel installations - Non-HETAS installers may still be used and you may DIY if you wish, but please before you start any work on a fireplace, chimney or stove, remember that you must submit sketches and notes to your local BCO. HETAS fitters may only sign-off works that comply with Building Regulations and the HETAS guide - any relaxations to regulations are the province of the BCO.
SIGN-OFFS FOR BUILDING REGULATIONS
The individuals who fit your stove should also sign the certificates - HETAS engineers all have id-cards, so don't be shy about asking to see them and if they have not got one, do not employ them. Also ask about liability insurance up-front, as any subsequent damage to your home should then be corrected without costs to you. All www.checkatrade.co.uk HETAS companies are also obliged to be properly insured.
Check their HETAS coloured personal id-cards, and if in doubt phone HETAS. Ask to see the coloured HETAS Company registration certificate (and check the date), make sure that the people who fit the stove sign the Compliance paperwork and if in doubt, find another fitter.
In common with all HETAS engineers, we can legally only sign-off stoves and/or chimney systems that we have fitted, although if you ask for our comments to assist a BCO sign-off, we might comment informally - however, expect a factual response - do not expect us to unduly praise any unworthy installation. We happily produce technical reports to support your Building Control Officer's signature - for these reports expect to pay us £50 for each hour's work, typically 2-3 hours.
Nobody may connect stoves to liners or prefabricated chimneys that have not been signed off by their installers or by a BCO. If a liner is to be installed for a stove, the same HETAS company should complete all the work and all at the same time. If you DIY, or a builder inserts a liner, then no-one should connect to it as its condition and provenance are unknown and the risks associated would not be covered by liability insurances.
Equally, nobody should reinstall existing stoves with or without liners without having the chimney and/or liner tested. If the chimney fails the test then it has to be repaired and/or the chimney has to be re-lined. A verbal opinion that the chimney “looks fine for use without a liner” is not worth the paper it is written on!
If you need to remedy corroded register plates or corroded flue-pipes – nobody can "just replace them" as there may be other chimney defects that would remain undetected. The chimney needs to be Soundness tested to refit a stove without a liner, for example - if it's OK then we can do the repairs - if it fails then a liner is unavoidable.
If I tell you each year there are in the order of 40 "serious incidents" involving damaged or faulty installations of stoves & chimneys, and that this roughly equates to the number of gas incidents where there are about three times as many installation, you will better understand the potential depth of this problem. Respect your stove installation and there will be no problems.
Other than HETAS engineers, only a BCO can legally sign-off an installation. Without a sign-off at the time of installation, when it can be fully and properly inspected by a BCO or fully certificated by a HETAS engineer completing their installation, you may not be able to sell your house without removing the stove and/or liner.
You might choose a local builder, or even DIY - if so we can make and sell you a register plate & flue, or supply a full liner kit, or a twinwall chimney kit and guide you towards how to get it all legally approved, installed and then signed-off by the local council's Building Control Officer under the Building Regulations.
Some BCO's are reluctant to do non-HETAS sign-offs, but it's generally part of their legal duty to do so, and for a fee - properly-handled pre-applications may cost you £75-£200, but "regularisation" applications after you have done the job without warning them, may cost you £400 to £600, and they will quite-rightly only sign for installations that fully meet Document J and the HETAS guide specifications.
OTHER SUPPLIERS & FITTERS
We do not EVER "recommend" fitters or suppliers. If more than one discipline e.g. gas, oil, solid fuel. is involved in your plans, then be sure that you know how each of these elements will be signed-off, and paid for, before you contract out the work, and make sure that the BCO knows too as he may have to sign off such complex installations. This is especially important if you are considering stand-alone solid fuel boiler systems, or boiler stoves integrated with other heating systems - the sign-off processes need to be detailed with their costs during the period when you are gathering estimates, then carefully managed.
If you employ any Other Supplier for fitting services, confirm their qualifications and credentials beforehand, remembering that you might need bricklayers, plasterers, gas fitters and specialist plumbers and that ALL structural operations on fireplaces, and chimneys have been legally "Controlled" tasks since 2001 with serious fines for those who disregard the regulations.
"Taking great care" also applies to chimney sweeps - professionals tend to work full time, are proud of their qualifications and trade associations, and issue proper works certificates. HETAS, NACS & NACE are the primary approved sweep's organisations - there are others starting up but they are not yet "approved" and we have seen Soundness Certificates where gas-terminals have been "approved" for use with solid fuels. Again, unethical companies and individuals who may or may not have been "doing the job for years" operate unlicensed and uninsured, and may issue worthless certificates. Ask about liability insurance, certificates and qualifications before booking.
"If it's so cheap that it's too good to be true, then it's probably trouble!". We have several known examples of bricks being dislodged in chimneys, holes being poked in chimney liners, rain-caps being pushed off liners, chimneypots being loosened and left in place, areas above register plates catching fire because they were not hovered out, stoves removed for sweeping and then refitted illegally by sweeps who are not HETAS engineers, stoves left without re-sealing the joints, liners being unravelled by brushes, etc: if your sweep damages your home or your neighbour’s, you will have no insurance redress against unqualified sweeps.
Any stove needs its chimney professionally swept at least once a year for smokeless fuels, and at least twice a year for logs, or even more often if the professional sweep tells you so - expect to pay £45+ each time.
BEFORE you install the stove, it is really important that the chimney is thoroughly swept, whether or not a liner is to be fitted. We recently reported on a case where a liner was put into a chimney, hard-up against old caked with deposited coke & tar - all seemed well for a couple of years, then the owner unwisely burned unseasoned oak, tarred the liner and started a chimney fire at the debris-blocked top of the stack. The fire worked its way down inside the liner and set light to the old deposits in the chimney brickwork, bursting the plaster off the walls and filling the house with disgusting smells. The vermiculate insulation was contaminated with tar residue, the liner and stove had to be removed, the surface inside the chimney had to be scraped, the walls re-plastered, and a new liner inserted. The stove was cracked by the intense heat. The house was uninhabitable during repairs. Chimney fires damage liners as well as brickwork or pre-fabricated chimneys, so please be warned.
DAMP FUEL CAN DAMAGE YOUR STOVE- SO TAKE REASONABLE CARE TO AVOID IT.
REPUTABLE LOG-SELLERS’ FUEL THAT HAS BEEN PROPERLY SEASONED SO THAT THE SAP-MOISTURE CONTENT IS LOW, MUST BE STORED IN THE DRY – THE BEST OF FUELS, IF DELIVERED IN BAD WEATHER, OR STORED BY YOU IN DAMP CONDITIONS, MAY SEEM TO HAVE A HIGHER MOISTURE CONTENT – IF THE HEARTWOOD IS SEASONED, THE LOG WILL BURN WELL - IF IT JUST SMOULDERS OR BUBBLES THROUGH ITS BURNING PERIOD, THEN IT MAY BE TOO DAMP.
IT’S MORE THAN THE SURFACE READING THAT MATTERS – FOR EXAMPLE MEASURING THE BARK WILL GIVE UNRELIABLE READINGS – IT’S THE SEASONED TIMBER FUEL THAT MATTERS.
Free-standing, room-heaters burning good fuel provide efficient, economical space heating with minimised pollution. You should ONLY burn properly- seasoned dry-stored dry logs (not over 20% core or sap moisture) or dry solid-fuels (we have tested bagged solid fuel at up to 36% moisture). Poor fuels may produce tar and water vapour that ruins stoves & chimneys and invalidates the warranty!
Email me any questions and we will do all that we can to help you.