To buy or not to buy? The drawbacks and benefits of wood pellet stoves

18 Oct

Wood pellet stoves are becoming increasingly popular for their versatility, design and functionality. Pellets are C02 neutral and come from a renewable source for a sustainable heating system. But before you take the plunge, here’s a quick guide to the drawbacks and benefits of wood pellet stoves.

Diadema Idro pellet stove

Drawbacks of wood pellet stoves

• Maintenance: if you’re used to cleaning a wood burner, then you perhaps won’t be too phased by having to thoroughly vacuum the burning pot every week. But your wood pellet stove will also need a thorough deep clean every three months and a service annually.

• Noise: one of the big drawbacks of pellet burners used to be the noise of the ventilator and auger when the stove is in operation. However, these problems have been largely dealt with in newer stoves as the technology improves.

• Fire: the flames from a pellet burner are much smaller than those of a wood burner, and can’t compare to the look of a traditional roaring fire.

• Electricity: for wood pellet stoves to achieve full functionality, they’re dependent on electricity and won’t work in a power cut.

The benefits of wood pellet stoves

• Functionality: if you want the sustainability of burning wood with the ease of use of a conventional boiler then a pellet burner is the ideal choice. You can programme them and adjust the temperature with a room thermostat, or even control them from an app on your phone. It’s this hassle free operation and autonomy that is a big plus for wood pellet stoves – just add the pellets, set the programme and enjoy comfortable warmth in your home day after day.

• Efficiency: wood pellet stoves can be up to 90% efficient, which makes them far more economical than a wood burning stove. The on-board computer will also ensure the pellet burner operates at maximum efficiency, producing an ash content from wood pellets of just 0.5-1%.

• Convenience: you may not have room to stack and store logs, but there’s always space for bags of pellets. These can be easily stored thanks to their compactness and are always ready to use. The price of pellets has been comparatively steady in recent years, making them a cost-effective fuel and as a biomass fuel they’re carbon neutral too.

If you’re interested in investing in a wood pellet burner that’s capable of doing everything from looking decorative to running your heating and hot water system, then contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

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A buyers guide to wood pellet stoves

23 Aug

As energy costs spiral ever upwards, more and more of us are investing in off grid heating solutions. So, why should you consider a wood pellet stove instead of a more traditional wood burner?

Melinda Idro pellet stoveFirst and foremost because of their practicality – you can operate a wood pellet burner using a remote control and set the timer just as you would for a gas or oil boiler, but at a much lower cost. A pellet burner can be used to provide heat and water for an entire house, from your armchair.

What’s inside wood pellet stoves?
Superficially, pellet burners and wood burning stoves look alike, but inside they’re very different beasts. A wood pellet stove is, in fact, a sophisticated and highly efficient combustion device that delivers low cost heating. If you need a pellet burner to drive a whole house heating system, then look for a model with a large hopper that will give you the freedom to light the stove and then control it remotely without having to constantly add pellets.

Getting the sizing right
When buying a pellet stove you’ll need to decide whether its primary function will be to heat a room or to replace an existing gas or oil boiler to provide both heat and hot water. To roughly calculate the size of stove you’ll need, first calculate the area to be heated in cubic metres (length x width x height) then divide by 34. However, many factors can affect the sizing so contact us for advice before investing in one of our wood pellet stoves. Getting the sizing right is crucial to avoid wastage and pollution.

Other considerations when buying wood pellet stoves
• Where the stove will be located – is there sufficient ventilation? Is the floor surface suitable for your stove?
• The look and style of your stove – we sell both contemporary and traditional styles stoves suitable for any interior.
• Do you prefer the look of a traditional fireplace? If the answer is yes, invest in a pellet burner that has a visible flame.

Advantages of pellet burners
Pellets burn very hot and much more cleanly than wood because of the way they’re made. Pellets, made from compressed sawdust, are carbon neutral give off much lower levels of particulates and have a far lower water content than logs. This super efficient form of heating is more expensive to install up front, but pays dividends in the long run. At Stove Steller’s we’re fully qualified, registered and insured, and happy to help you make the switch to a wood pellet stove.

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Modern interior themes and French wood burning stoves

21 Jul

If you are about to refurbish a property or redecorate a room, researching interior design ideas can be great fun.

When planning the layout and design of a new room, it makes sense to browse photographs of other people’s choices of theme and décor. However, this is only to fuel your decision. Your room should fit perfectly with your own individual tastes and needs.

Best Wood Stoves

If you are considering adding a French wood burning stove, you may be wondering what sort of interior design trends it would suit. You probably already realise how amazing they are in terms of heat and aesthetics, but you need it to blend in with the overall theme too.

French wood burning stove versatility

These wood pellet stoves come in a fascinating array of styles and colours, so fortunately there is a very good chance you will find one that sits perfectly in your chosen colour scheme and theme. French wood burning stoves have been around for centuries, so it could be convincingly argued that they sit well with rooms themed along any interior design trend from the last 300 years.

Let’s look in more detail at how wood burning stoves match modern interior designs.

Would a French wood burning stove suit contemporary decor?

There is a lingering myth that French wood burning stoves are all along traditional lines, with ornate metalwork and curved flowing shapes.

Think again. If you are planning a simplistic, contemporary room in one neutral shade, there is an ergonomically perfect wood stove for you. Sleek chrome finishes and soothing geometric shapes can either merge in to a corner or stand proud as a room centre piece.

If you have chosen an angular interior design, there are stoves with rectangular simplicity, offering achingly beautiful construction and finish.

One of the most popular modern design trends is to theme rooms in an industrial style. This involves exposed brick walls and pipework, for example. Furniture would be a combination of wood and metal – usually cast iron. Colour schemes would be raw and bold, and light fixtures hanging from ceilings often echo warehouse and factory lighting.

A French wood burning stove matches industrial themed decors perfectly, using quality metalwork and providing heat from a natural source.

For more ideas on theming a room based on an industrial style, this site is handy

How would a French wood burning stove fit in with traditional themes?

Though modern versions are engineered for maximum efficiency, function and contemporary aesthetics, there are still many models that echo the artisan craftsman from a bygone age.

So, if your decorating tastes lean more towards Victorian or period themes, then fear not. There are French wood burning stoves that incorporate classical designs and more traditional colour schemes, to match any colour combination in your room, including floral wallpaper.

The fun starts here. Take a look at our range of wood burning stoves, and find the perfect match for your interior design preferences.

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How to use a wood burning stove for central heating

26 May

You can use a wood burning stove for your central heating as a means of keeping your house nice and warm, and providing you with hot water. Although there are several ways of achieving this, the core principle involved is usually the same. Wood burning stoves produce energy in the form of heat. Some of this is transferred to heat the water in your tank, before being pumped into your home’s radiators.

Melinda Idro

How to use a wood burning stove for central heating…

The installation of a wood burning stove to use for your central heating is generally similar to the price of installing any other form of central heating system. That being said, due to the fact a wood burning stove is generally more energy efficient than alternative forms of heating, many users discover that their stove aids significantly in reducing the monthly cost of fuel bills, as well as lowering carbon emissions. With the cost of electricity and gas continuing to rise, an increasing number of people are changing their central heating systems to rely on wood burning stoves.

To discover the specific type of wood burning stove which would be best suited to your home, get in touch, one of our qualified heating engineer will happily run through the various options, and advise you on the specific heating requirements of your house. There are several factors that need to be taken into account, including the following:

What form of boiler does my house need?

In order to produce the most comfortable, efficient, and economic heating, your boiler and stove need to work in harmony. They should be tailored to the specific requirements of your home and its heating. This decision will vary, depending on whether or not you plan to add an additional boiler to your existing stove, or whether you instead plan on making use of a completely new setup for your central heating. You can add a special clip-in back boiler to a separate stove, or integrate a back boiler, which is generally the more efficient method. The latter needs to be fitted by the manufacturer. The material you will be using in your boiler will also be a factor. For example, glass-lined or stainless steel boilers are generally more expensive than those made of steel, however their durability is considerably higher and therefore they represent a long-term investment.

What is your required output in terms of heat?

Your heating engineer will be able to properly calculate the required heat output for your system, which is measured in kilowatts, or KW. The heat output you require will vary depending on factors including the size of your home, the average temperature ranges you are expecting in your geographical region, and the pattern of your heat requirements, which are determined by your family and domestic routines.

What kind of wood burning stove will suit my decor and taste?

As a result of the increasingly high demand for wood burning stoves, new models are becoming available in a wide range of styles, from traditional to modern and innovative contemporary designs. Take the time to factor in the full range of styles available, and if you are finding it difficult to make a decision, get in touch and we will happily help you find the perfect model and style to suit your budget and taste.

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The beginner’s guide to buying a wood burning stove

15 May

Woodburning StoveIf you’ve been considering purchasing a wood burning stove then you’ll probably have a rough idea in your mind as to the particular style of stove yo would like to own, whether it be a traditional or modern design. However, if you’ve never purchased a wood burning stove before then you may be overlooking some important buying factors which could have a drastic and costly impact on how effectively your wood burning stove heats your home.

To rectify this issue, we have created the following beginner’s guide to buying a wood burning stove which will equip you with everything you need to know in order to make a suitable, well-informed purchase:

1. Consider and calculate the correct heat output that you will need

The type of wood burning stove you purchase will differ depending upon the size and type of space that you intend to heat. For instance, a typical output rating for a wood burning stove (kilowatts – kW) to suit an average sized living space is 5kW to 6kW. However, if you wish to heat a larger living space or if the layout of your home is more open-plan then you will need to factor these parameters into choosing the correct size of stove to make up for these thermal losses. Similarly, if you own a modern house with cavity wall insulation or a well insulated renovated property then you will not need to purchase a wood burning stove with as powerful a heat output as you would need if you intended to heat an older less well insulated stone building. It is worthwhile considering these factors before purchasing a wood burning stove in order to purchase a stove that is the correct size for your individual heating requirements at your home. Too big a stove will incur additional expense wasted on the cost of the appliance then the amount and cost of the wood you use whilst no doubts opening the windows because you are too hot! Too small a stove and you will be over-firing the stove to try to keep yourself warm whilst faced with the prospect of paying for the use of a secondary heat source, for example an electric heater or indeed having to replace the woodburning stove for the next heating season.

2. Decide what fuel you wish to burn

As matters stand there are a wide variety of wood burning stoves, pellet stoves and multi-fuel burning stoves available on the market which utilise all different types of fuel; from wood, wood pellets to coal and anthracite. As such, it is advised that you locate a reputable supplier to source your fuel from before you purchase a particular type of stove or indeed if you plan on managing your own supply from trees located on your own land ensure to season the wood well before burning it, at least 2 years. Although you may initially wish to purchase a multi-fuel burning stove, if your home is located in a rural area where wood is abundant or you live near a saw mill then it may be far easier and more cost-effective to invest in a wood burning only model stove.

3. Verify that your wood burning stove complies with national building regulations

All wood burning stoves, multi-fuel burning stoves and pellet stoves must conform with the national building regulations before they can be installed. Therefore you should carry out extensive online research with respect to the national building regulations and for household installations; investigate that you are purchasing a safe and legal appliance which has been fully tested and comes with these guarantees. You should also consult with your particular wood burning stove supplier or installer in order to ensure that the unit you purchase can be installed in complete accordance with these building regulations, in France your installer should hold an RGE qualification & certificate to be able to provide you with sound advice and be able to pass on government grants. A few hours of investigation before purchasing your wood burning stove could save you a great deal of time, money and stress in the long run!

4. Choose your preferred stove features

From innovative air wash systems which will circulate cool air over your stove’s glass components to keep them in a clean and presentable condition, to efficient fans and vents which will permit you to regulate the amount of air within your stove in order to moderate it’s heat output and even remote controls it is important that you evaluate which stove features would benefit your household before making a purchase. For these reasons it is advisable that you visit plenty of wood burning stove showrooms and online stores to gain a comprehensive understanding of all the additional wood burning stove features at your disposal.

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Wood Burning Stoves – A Guide for the Beginners (Infographic)

05 May


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Make the best of your best wood stoves with the these top tips

24 Apr

It might seem a little premature to start thinking about next winter, but now is the right time to start thinking about the logs you’ll be burning. After all, why invest in one of our best wood stoves and then not make the most of its performance? That means never using ‘green’ or unseasoned logs in your burner. This wood has a high moisture content and when it burns it emits smoke that’s filled with noxious gases and particulates. You’ll also end up with a chimney or flue that’s lined with bitumen, increasing the risk of fires.

Hunter Hawk 4 Double Sided Stove

Choosing the best logs for the best wood stoves

You’ll need wood that is well seasoned, and that process takes about a year if you intend to buy young wood and season it yourself. The Forestry Commission have some useful information on drying your own logs. Once they’re well seasoned, your logs will have radial cracks and the bark will come away from the timber.

The very best woods for burning in your wood burner will be hardwoods with a moisture content under 15%. Look for kiln dried and seasoned logs when buying, and reject any that have the bark firmly attached with no cracking. Here are our 5 of the best logs for your fire:

• Ash: this is the best wood you can get hold of as it burns with a steady flame and produces a high heat output
• Oak: this is an extremely dense wood so it burns for a long time, which is useful if you rely on one of our best wood stoves for off-grid heating
• Chestnut: best used in a stove as it can spit, but produces a good heat output with a strong flame
• Beech: has a similar calorific value to Ash but must be thoroughly dried before use
• Hawthorn: a very traditional wood with a slow burn and good heat output.

Getting the best out of our best wood stoves

Tip 1: When you’re burning the right wood, you’ll see only light smoke and steam from your chimney. Black smoke is a sure sign your burner is not working optimally.

Tip 2: Clean your stove and flue once a year to maximise efficiency.

Tip 3: If your fire won’t catch, open the stove door and then open a window because air turbulence circulates oxygen.

Tip 4: Always use more than one log and make sure they’re well seasoned!

Tip 5: Light your fire from the top down as our best wood stoves will then reach their operating temperature more quickly and the wood will burn more efficiently.

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Why the French adore French wood burning stoves

21 Apr

France, the land of ooh la la and l’amour is also the land of the wood burning stove. In fact, it was a Frenchman, Francois Cuvilliés, who first constructed the forerunner of the modern woodburner the Castrol Stove way back in 1735. And Rene Descartes, the founder of modern philosophy, was said to have come up with his famous dictum ‘I think, therefore I am’ when warming himself by a wood stove.

Invicta Chamane

In fact, for the thrifty French, whose homeland is covered in vast swathes of woodland, it makes sense to heat domestic homes using this cheap and readily available fuel. Wood biomass is affordable, ecologically friendly and guarantees thermal comfort throughout the house.

A short history of French wood burning stoves

Some of the most beautiful French wood burning stoves date from the beginning of the 20th century and are heavily influenced by art nouveau and art deco. More works of art than simply functional stoves, these stoves come in a range of enamel colours rather than the black we’re more familiar with today.

These stoves, many produced in the iron foundries of the Ardennes region of Northern France, where the abundant forests provided plenty of fuel for the smelters, are still highly sought after today. Whatever your style, we stock a range of French wood burning stoves to suit every budget from companies like Fonte Flamme, Franco Belge and Invicta which carry the flamme verte energy performance seal of approval.

Why choose French wood burning stoves for your home?

If you’re in France, and you choose to have a flamme verte approved stove installed in your home, then you’ll be eligible for a range of tax credits and grants that make switching to a woodburner worthwhile.

But the real reason the French love their wood burning stoves is what they represent about the French way of life – a sense of bonhomie and a warm welcome into your home.

At Stove Sellers, we ensure all installation work is conducted to French ‘normes’ or building regulations and carries a 10-year decennial guarantee. We can install everything from a single woodburner to an entire off-grid heating and cooking solution. Whether you’re newly arrived in France and are looking for a cheap heating solution or you’re an old hand who already appreciates the benefits of a woodburning stove contact us and we’ll be happy to help you select the right stove for you.

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Is your chimney off its stack? These are!

11 Apr

It is a sad fact that every year in France

  • 7000 people are victims of fire.
  • 1 in 2 victims of a fire dies or is hospitalised in serious condition.
  • 2/3 of the victims are killed by the fumes.
  • 70% of fires occur at night.
  • 6000 people are victims of a poisoning due to carbon monoxide (CO) and 300 die.

wood burning stove

There has never been a better case for having your chimney swept, having and your wood burning stove correctly installed and fitting a carbon monoxide detector. Judging by the following photos it can’t be a moment too soon for some home owners! You’ll be surprised by the state of some chimneys we’ve seen but we’re not.  After several years of sweeping flues of all kinds we’ve seen it all but even then there are those that ‘cap it all!’ This chimney is clearly non-compliant on several counts and it’s quite safe to say that it is no fit for purpose. If you’ve got a chimney like this that is clearly ‘off its stack’ we recommend that you stop using the flue and ask round a professional to give you a quote to repair it! And if that one wasn’t bad enough how about the one below?  A shocking stack in a shocking state after the owner had carried out his own DIY repair and was more concerned about getting the fire going again after it had been swept.  Needless to say that the sweeps brush would probably have been enough to topple this stack when trying to sweep this one and as such it was swiftly condemmend… along with its owner! More shocking tall chimney stories are being stacked up and coming soon! Send us photos of your chimneys or stove installations if you think that you can top these!wood burning stove installations

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How to choose and season fuel for use in your wood burning stove

21 Mar

A double-sided wood burning stove is an efficient and characterful addition to your home. However, choosing the wrong type of wood with which to fuel your wood burning stove or storing the wood incorrectly can cause problems.

Here’s a guide to help you select and season your wood the right way.

Choosing wood for your double-sided wood burning stove
The first rule of choosing wood to be used for fuelling your double-sided wood burning stove is never to use offcuts of timber that have been treated with any sort of varnish, creosote or paint.

When this type of wood burns, potentially toxic fumes are released that could be harmful to you and your family. Burning paint and creosote also coats your stove’s flue with flammable resins and oils, which could easily cause a chimney fire if ignited by a stray spark.

Green wood and sticks that you gather during country walks should not be used for burning in your double-side wood burning stove. Green wood contains high levels of sap and water. Consequently, it won’t burn easily or with much heat and furthermore, the acidic water it contains will finish up as sticky, flammable residue in your chimney. Don’t worry, green wood is easy to identify. The water content makes it very heavy, and it often smells fresh. When you strike two green logs together, they will make a dull, clunking sound.

When collecting dead wood, look out for branches and sticks that are dry and brittle with a pale coloured interior and no visible green tissue. Seasoned dead wood is lightweight. It produces a hollow, knocking sound when struck, and the bark will easily come away.

Seasoning and storing wood for your double-sided wood burning stove
The best method of seasoning wood is to cut it at least six months before use to allow it plenty of time to dry out. Large logs should be split into quarters to aid the drying process and stored where the sun and wind can get at them to dry them out. This also applies to the firewood you buy from garages and garden centres.

Keep your wood in a weather-proof woodshed, away from the rain. Open-sided sheds are preferable as they allow good air circulation which is essential if the wood is to dry out thoroughly, although you must remember to cover them with a tarpaulin on wet days. Site your woodshed in a sunny spot for maximum drying power during the summer months.

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