Woodburners from Sussex Woodstoves

01403 240300 (24/7 & messages)

07771 701122 (9:00-5:00 daily)

Sussex Woodstoves
Blue Cedar Lodge
44 Pondtail Road
Horsham
West Sussex
RH12 5HR



JUST EMAIL ME YOUR QUESTIONS - I TRY TO GIVE A KNOWLEDGEABLE ANSWER WITHIN 48 HOURS

Sussex Woodstove Services at 44 Pondtail Road, Horsham, RH12 5HR
OPENS MOST MONDAYS to SATURDAYS 9am- 1pm & by appointment
Please phone / text 07771 701122 on weekdays before visiting.

We service all stoves -
Bernard Davis & Co, Poacher, Majestic, Inglenook, Cottager, Forager, Forestman, Balmoral, Supreme, Yeoman, Exmoor, Exe, Devon, County, CL3, CL5, CL8, Villager, Puffin, Chelsea, Kensal, Firebelly, Pevex, Neria, Bohemia, Cube, Stovax, Stockton, Jotul, Antique stoves, Obsolete stoves, etc

Key Areas where our Wood burning stoves have been supplied / installed:

Horsham, Billingshurst, Southwater, Henfield, Crawley, Cranleigh, Storrington, East Grinstead, Guildford, Haywards Heath, Reigate, Reigate, Redhill, Horley, Worthing, Arundel, Brighton, Lewes, Hove, Hurstpierpoint, Petworth, Midhurst, Littlehampton, Chichester, Dorking, Croydon, Lewes, Bognor Regis, Farnham, Twickenham, Richmond, Dartford,Wokingham, Camberley, Horley, Coulsdon, Heathfield, Woking, Southampton, Tunbridge Wells, Toubridge.

WHY USE SUSSEX WOODSTOVES?
WE'VE BEEN AROUND FOR QUITE A WHILE!
Formed in 1986, and still going strong!
There's a lot of information in this section - it's seriously worth reading through it all!

STOVES?
Yes, we are a Registered HETAS company.
Yes our HETAS qualifications are all up to date.
Yes, we sell good stoves and chimney systems.
Yes, we fit stoves with and without flexi-liners.
Yes, we fit stoves with stand-alone stainless steel chimney systems.
Yes, we fit stoves that we have not supplied, as well as our own stoves.
Yes we service and maintain our own stoves throughout their lifetime.
Yes we maintain and service all types of stoves that we did not supply.

HETASWe have supplied and fitted hundreds of stoves since 1986. People say that we are "lucky" to still be in this business after so many years - but we always find that the harder we work, the more consistent the quality of the work that we do, then the luckier we are! Anyway - we still fit stoves that we have sold, just not all of them. And we also fit other people's stoves, but different prices may be involved. Our pre-sales Estimates are thorough, and honest - at a nominal fee - and the summary visit report and estimate may be useful for you to assess the estimate qualities of any other HETAS fitters.

Always ask to see current HETAS photo-id, even from people offering to do estimates for you - if they are not properly qualified, then you risk the job being inadequately completed.

Use our 20 Questions section to check out the knowledge and skills of other suppliers - and test us too, if you want to! There are more than 20 Questions in that section! If you get contradictory answers, or confusing information, or down-right lies, ask u for the truth! We hope that you will eventually choose us as your fitters as well as your suppliers! Please see out Terms & Conditions section, which is also attached to all correspondence.

As the stove industry has matured, specialists rather than skilled generalists now seem to be appearing - specialist sweeps will clean and safety-test chimneys, specialist stove sellers (some of whom, like us, also sell liner and 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. Other specialists maintain your stove for you - how confusing. WE DO IT ALL - FROM SALES TO MAINTENANCE! OUR CUSTOMERS RECOMMEND US TO OTHERS - WE RECOMMEND ONOY OURSELVES.

WE TRY TO OPEN EVERY WEEK OF THE YEAR

We are not just here to sell stoves, or to fit stoves. e sell you see on the website. We sell free-standing stoves, because they are typically more efficient. We are open for visitors on Monday to Saturday 9am-1pm, otherwise I am 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 07771 701122 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. Fees vary depending on whether it's an Estimate (the fee is refundable), a technical report, a repair or a maintenance visit. Click the T&C tag for current prices.
Estimate fees are REFUNDED if you buy one of our stoves. Estimates tell you what seems to be needed. Any other suppliers or fitters should prepare their own estimates rather than rely on ours.

SERVICING

There seems to be a shortage of qualified maintenance engineers - people interested in looking after stoves - everyone wants the initial profit, and most companies want the installation work, but - and how can I put this - being "qualified" to do a job is nowhere near the same as doing the job properly, and knowing how to look after your investment, is something that we do really well!

WE KNOW WHAT WE KNOW

We do 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.

FUELS

Dry, properly seasoned timber and dry solid fuel are essential. Timber fuel that has been properly seasoned for at least 12-36 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. Damp solid fuel is useless too!

It's more than the surface moisture reading that matters - for example measuring the bark or the coal surface will give unreliable readings - it's the core of the fuel that matters.

WE SELL WHAT WE SELL

It's not the law yet, but it's wise to do so! Please note that many stove suppliers and all chimney and liner suppliers now make professional HETAS fitting & legal registration, plus professional stove maintenance and chimney sweeping, pre-conditions of considering any warranty issue.

We currently stock YEOMAN, BOHEMIA, PEVEX & STOVAX KENSAL stoves. "PICTURES & PRICES" summarise the stoves, while "20 QUESTIONS" covers common queries over the years. Please, do read through it all - you will not quite know as much as we do, but it will stand you in good stead if you need to consult other suppliers!

We currently sell British, Chinese and Czech 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 to be excellent value-for-money when compared with other Scandinavian, American, Canadian, New Zealand and other UK stoves. Ours have simple, low maintenance designs, modern efficiency and simple controls including full "Airwash" glass-clear systems, primary, secondary and tertiary air supplies to keep the glass cleaner for a clear view of the flames, and to reduce atmospheric pollution, modrn internal firebricks to maintain high temperatures and low emissions, and full BS/EN, CE and HETAS approvals.

"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 stove's 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 and CE approval. Many are also DEFRA-approved for smoke-control areas.

WE ARE WHAT WE SEEM

Small is still beautiful! Based here in Horsham, West Sussex, we are still a small Cottage business, operating from secure workshops around our home, selling 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 have fitted stoves for many years with and without chimney liners dependent on the condition of the chimney when independently tested. We supply & fit standalone chimney systems. We supply-only boiler stoves on special order.

Double-sided stoves are 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 US or another 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. Make sure that the man who fits the stove shows you his HETAS-id, and that he signs for his personal work - getting a certificate "from the office" is illegal - watch out for that one!

When our work is inspected annually by HETAS, we maintained the highest standards, and apply those parameters to any inspection, report or installation work 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 you ask us to do so. We, and a few other HETAS fitting companies will fit stoves without liners on your request, into professionally tested chimneys that are proved sound, but some customers prefer a liner anyway so they really don't need to pay for a Test, do they?

Major Chimney sweeping and inspection companies undertake chimney scraping, thorough sweeping, Soundness Testing and many other repair services. This avoids igniting old debris!

Expect to pay from 50 for though sweeping and from 110 for Soundness tests. The test may save you 1000-2000! Make sure beforehand that you know how much these preparatory chimney services will cost, and make certain that proper 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. We don't charge as much as others do, but some companies have been known to charge 2300 to deliver & fit a stove with a liner, with the cost of the stove on top!

RE-LINING A CHIMNEY

It sounds simple, to fit a stove with or without a liner, but if it was that simple then everybody would be doing it properly and it would not be "regulated". Our company validly condemns at least 24 stoves and inadequate installations every year - stoves that have been dangerously or incompetently fitted; stoves that cannot meet the regulations: installations that risk property and lives.

For us to supply & fit a flexi-liner typically costs from 1200 (maybe plus scaffolding) plus a stove; Two qualities can be sold to you - 316 stainless steel 10-year warranty liner, and 903 25-year Molybdenum liner - make sure that you get what you pay for.

Fitting without liner into a Sound chimney with suitable fireplace costs from 400-600. Our charges usually include Building Regs Compliance certification - using Building Control Officers (BCO) to inspect and confirm the works can cost you 200 if pre-planned, or 600+ retrospectively signed-off - we include this registration for free. It is illegal for anyone other than a BCO to sign off anyone else's work!

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 supplying and fitting these clean-burning, low-emissions stoves.

REGULATIONS

We have fitted hundreds of stoves since 1986. There are now 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. If in doubt, choose us as your fitters, as well as your suppliers!

People say that we are lucky to still be in this business after more than 25 years - but we have always found that the harder we work, 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 BCO who has actually overseen a job, may legally sign off Building Regulations Compliance Certificates. Sign-offs "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 BCO hovering about. Check their qualifications through www.hetas.co.uk

You may use a HETAS fitter, or possibly a local builder, or even DIY under BCO supervision - and we can sell you whatever you need! Or you can ask us to do the whole job for you.

INCIDENT REPORTS

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 rather more and at a minimum of 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 toomkuch 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 WEBSITE

Our own website, which you are now reading, has a lot of general information, but perhaps the summary pages will also be most useful - these are the PICTURES & PRICES and 20 QUESTIONS 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. We still install prefabricated chimneys, but we do not install boilers. 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 and to understand what needs to be done. On occasions, we tell customers that what they thought they wanted was unwise. We tend only to work for people whom we like, and people who like us and our way of doing things. We are not generally interested in just 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 and to New Zealand, actually cost over 1200 each 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 will help you to ensure that you 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. If the gas-man says he can do it, he may be right - what he can't do is to sign it off!

Not everyone attending a HETAS course has the skills and knowledge to get a Pass Certificate!

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 to your wallet!

Unqualified claims, cheapness and smooth-talking are no substitutes for safety in your home through high-quality workmanship.

We probably still fit 80% of the stoves that we sell. Some 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 (info@sussexwoodstoves.co.uk), 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 being yours for adequate and legal 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.

RESPONSIBILITIES

In common with all HETAS engineers operating legitimately, we are permitted only to 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 1-3 hours.

Nobody may connect stoves to liners or prefabricated chimneys that have not been signed off by their responsible HETAS installers or by a BCO. If a liner is to be installed for a stove, the same HETAS company should complete all the chimney and stove work, and all at the same time so that other parties cannot damage any of the components in-between-times. 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 anyone's liability insurances.

Equally, nobody should reinstall existing stoves with or without liners without having the chimney and/or liner professionally tested and certificated first. 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! Also if there are structural issues (damaged inner chimney leaves or feathers, damaged mortar, leaning chimneys etc) these must be repaired and signed-off by a BCO before any chimney liner is inserted.

If you need to remedy corroded register plates or corroded flue-pipes - nobody should "just replace them" as there may be other chimney defects that would remain undetected. The job must be dealt with as a new-installation! 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 replacement just of the register plate, - if it fails then a liner is unavoidable. However, we can often repair a register plate in situ without taking it all out, by riveting in repair sections - under those circumstances, it counts just as maintenance.

Health & Safety: If I tell you each year there are in the order of 40-50 "serious incidents" to property and health nationwide, involving damaged or faulty installations of solid fuel stoves & chimneys, and that this roughly equates to the number of gas incidents where there are about three times as many installations, perhaps you will better understand the potential depth of this problem. Respect your stove installation and stay safe. Annual servicing is for YOUR benefit, not for ours.

Selling up? 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.

Non-HETAS work: 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 a small fortune, 400 to 600, and they will quite-rightly only sign for installations that fully meet Document J and the HETAS guide specifications - and they may well still insist on a report from people like us.

OTHER SUPPLIERS & FITTERS

We do not EVER "recommend" fitters, other companies, builders 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 the sign-offs 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, electricians 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 choose to disregard the regulations, and equally serious fines for householders.

CHIMNEY SWEEPS

"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 may not yet be legally "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 as unlicensed and uninsured sweeps, and may issue worthless certificates. Ask them about liability insurance, certificates, full identites 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 dangerously in place, areas above register plates catching fire because they were not properly hovered out, stove to flue and flue to register plate joints being left unsealed, stoves being 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 cheap, amateur sweep damages your home or your neighbour's property, you will have no insurance redress against unqualified sweeps.

SWEEPING

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. LINERS & TWINWALL SYSTEMS ALSO NEED SWEEPING!

Hidden Dangers 1: BEFORE you install the stove, it is really important that the chimney is scraped clean and thoroughly swept, whether or not a liner is to be fitted. We recently reported on a case installed by another company 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 upstairs walls and filling the house with disgusting smells. The loose vermiculite insulation was contaminated with tar residue and acted like a wick to the liquid tar. The liner and stove had to be removed, and totally replaced. The surface inside the chimney had to be scraped, the walls re-plastered, and a new liner inserted. The stove was actually cracked by the intense heat. The house was uninhabitable during repairs taking several weeks. Chimney fires damage liners as well as brickwork or pre-fabricated chimneys, so please be warned.

Hidden Dangers 2: Ongoing maintenance is also your responsibility. We had another situation referred to us where the chimney-fire was OUTSIDE the chimney liner. The chimneystack had not been properly maintained over the years, and industrious jackdaws had dropped probably 5 cubic metres of dry twigs through a hole in the side of the chimney where they had loosened old mortar then pushed out half a brick! The solution was a chimneystack repair, a new liner and new stove! Who was responsible? Well, the builders who had left some softer old pointing in difficult areas to reach on the stack, had disappeared. The sweep who had not checked the area around the outside of the liner during his annual visits was an uninsured amateur. The company who put in the stove and liner were not culpable, as at the time of installation, the stack appeared Sound. The backfilling with twigs by the birds was a gradually-operating cause, so the insurance company backed-away. That left the owners! Luckily the insurers made an ex-gratia payment.

FUEL WARNINGS

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 MOISTURE IN THE BARK-LAYER WILL GIVE UNRELIABLE READINGS - IT'S THE SEASONED TIMBER AT THE CORE OF THE FUEL THAT REALLY 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) - we have seen logs delivered to customer at over 50% moisture - at that level they would need 3 years to dry out properly. We have sent back customers' log deliveries because the Douglas Fir logs still had green sprigs growing formt hem and the moisture level was 55%. We have tested bagged smokeless solid fuel at up to 36% moisture. Poor fuels will always 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.

Sincerely
IAN AIRD


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