Multi fuel stove

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Multi fuel stove

Postby Johnny » Tue Sep 04, 2007 9:44 am

We have an open fire place that has no fire back. It is 550mm wide and we have used it with a Spanish basket up till now. The problem is we get no heat from this and wanted to be more environmentally friendly and we've decided on a multi fuel burner. We have a through room that is approximately 25 to 30 foot long and 12 foot wide. The stove puts out 4kW which I'd think is good enough for the space if anyone knows and the stove is 363mm wide but we have only a 550 mm wide fireplace, is this big enough?

The fire place and chimney will need lining eventually and it will need a closure plate etc but it's the size of the space and the kW that I'm not sure of.
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Stove

Postby tim smedley » Wed Sep 05, 2007 5:41 pm

I too am investigating what to put in our recently re-opened fireplace and have been doing much research!

Assuming the stove is new, or if not the manufacturer is still around, I recommend you contact their customer services as all the fires & stoves need different things. They also seem to be very keen to help.

In addition, if you are doing it buy the book then your question must mean that you are not "competent" and thus technically need it installed by a professional who will give you a certificate so you comply with Building Regs and can prove it when you sell the house!

Good places to start for the rules and ideas are: http://www.solidfuel.co.uk/frame/main.html and http://www.hetas.co.uk/

Hope this helps.

Tim
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Postby Johnny » Wed Sep 05, 2007 6:24 pm

Hi Tim,

I've contacted both of these. We aren't installing it ourselves anyway but what we don't know is the Building Regulations governing the minimum space around the stove. Some say 150mm, others say there isn't any regulations but that the instructions for the various stoves should say (which so far they haven't!!). The gap we will have at the sides will only be 95mm. What some of the shops, installers and website have said so far is that the wall being so close as the stove will be fitted in the space may act as insulation and so the fire won't cool down as efficiently and may decrease the life of the stove, or the chimney or not heat properly etc, but all this is unknown as none will give a definite answer

1) Is it legal to put the stove in the fireplace with only 95mm to the side

and

2) Is it worth doing it in the first place as some suggest it should be in the room rather than in the chimney to get the extra heat created. We can't do this as the hearth has to be 1 foot in front of the fire and if the stove is out of the fireplace it will have the hearth nearly in the middle of the room!! If this is the case we'll just go with installing a fireback and grate etc to keep the lovely brick work and arch that is there that we uncovered rather than blocking it off with a all covering metal fireplace/surround etc.
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Postby Lydia » Thu Sep 06, 2007 2:29 pm

Nowadays, as Tim rightly points out, the Building Regs governing, well, everything, but all things energy especially have been tightened up and appropriate certificates are needed. The easiest way to get these is by using an approved tradesman, although you can get them issued by Building Control upon inspection of your DIY.

If I were you, I'd contact an officer at your local council's Building Control department and explain the situation. It's a free advisory service, so you can't go wrong and they are generally very helpful.

The logical reason for leaving a fair amount of space around a stove unit is to get a decent amount of air circulation, therefore making the stove as efficient as possible (just like the "don't cover the radiator" situation). For the same reason, they probably advise not putting the stove in the fireplace otherwise all the heat would just disappear up the chimney - which could easily be got around with a ventilated, removable deflector plate... although that's maybe a bit Heath Robinson!
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Postby Johnny » Thu Sep 06, 2007 6:39 pm

Thanks for all the help. Had an approved person around today and the option was either to widen the fireplace ie chop out the lovely Victorian brick and arch for a stove :( or to put in a fire back etc and cover over the brick with a tiled fire back (confusing using the same words twice but that's what he called it!!) to hide all the cement put in to fill the gap between the fire-back and chimney etc. So for now we are keeping with the nil heat of a Spanish basket and the lovely brick until we are sure what we want to do next :?
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Postby Lydia » Fri Sep 07, 2007 9:12 am

OMG! To be honest, I'd get another bloke in too for his opinion, as some (like maybe this one) like to make their lives easier and fit the surroundings around their products, and not the reverse.

Always be very clear about what you want to achieve and what you are or aren't prepared to do to achieve it.

Of course, it may well be that there are no products out there that would fit!

Good luck!
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Postby Johnny » Fri Sep 07, 2007 9:38 am

We still have one more guy coming next week but we are now looking at firebaskets with high fire backs of 600mm to 700mm. Apparently this is how they use to try and get extra heat from an open fire by putting a large bit of iron behind the fireImage. What we are thinking of though is something like this: http://www.direct-fireplaces.com/p/85879/the-fraserburgh-georgian-fire-grate.html which would be the width of our fire and a large back, so apparently we may get some more heat as virtually all the inside of the fire would be heated and the metal would retain more heat!!!! What does anyone else think?? So far the feedback seems to be just ornamental, but still better than altering the fire we have :?
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Postby Lydia » Fri Sep 07, 2007 12:13 pm

that's interesting! It looks as if your fireplace has already had a bit of an ornamental overhaul, judging by the nearly-new looking state of the tiles below the grate.

In most small fireplaces, you would indeed have found a heavy-duty back (and often sides) so that the brickwork wouldn't crumble under the heat. If you have a look at the cast-iron Victorian fireplaces, they come with integrated backs, sides and often grates for exactly that reason. Carrying the ornamental floor tiling right underneath the fire would be unusual, at least in my opinion, becasue you'd get them cracking/crazing or a bit of discolouration at the very least.

Some of my previous advice may seem a bit strange, mainly because I had it in mind that you were talking about installing a stove-type thing, such as one of these little chaps: http://www.stovesareus.co.uk/catalog/aa ... p-187.html

These stoves to burn very efficiently and kick out a surprising amount of heat (through both the burning and the radiating effect of the stove itself)...

Could you post a pic of the full fireplace? i'm just curious...you don't have to though!
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Postby Johnny » Fri Sep 07, 2007 1:57 pm

Sorry the picture was of the metal fire back that I saw on e-bay not our fire I'm afraid. Ours is a lot more rustic!! :D but we like it.

Image
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Postby Lydia » Sat Sep 08, 2007 8:40 am

ahhh that's more like it!

Generally, in a lounge/dining room situtation, the brick structure of the fireplace would have been covered in some way, either by a complete cast-iron fireplace or tiled (on the front) - as much for protection as for aesthetics.

A bit like this chap:
http://www.fireplacesareus.co.uk/tradit ... _arch.html
(and no, I don't have shares with these guys!)
As you can see, you already have the mantel part, but the insert has been stripped out at some point in the past. The insert just gets slotted in to whatever opening you have and Bob's your uncle.
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Postby Johnny » Sat Sep 08, 2007 7:48 pm

Yes that's the sort of thing, but apparently we have too small an opening for even that according to this guy. I think now we are going for the fire basket with large metal fire back and have something that we like and see the original brickwork and arch.
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Postby tim smedley » Sun Sep 09, 2007 7:47 am

Hi. I am a bit confused. You imply the room that the fire is in is a sitting room - which would traditionally have a larger fireplace than the one you show in the picture. The one in your picture looks like it is the smaller size typically found in a bedroom.

The bedroom fireplaces seem to be about half - 2/3rds the size of a sitting room one.

Is or was the room we are talking about a bedroom or bedrooms knocked together?

Tim
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Postby Lydia » Sun Sep 09, 2007 9:40 am

Believe me, I've seen some fireplace/inserts that are so small you have to wonder whether they were worth putting in (especially bedroom ones as Tim says)! They really do come in all kinds of size and style, so I think the bloke you saw was looking to fit your fireplace around his product, rather than the opposite.

You may be interested in looking into architectural salvage for an appropriate one and getting a builder to install it... it all depends what effect you want to achieve.

I know we've deviated hugely from your original question, but really don't feel that you are limited in what you can do (especially by anyone who takes a look at the fireplace, draws his breath in and starts a sentence with "well..." or "oooo, you'd..."!).

Work out your ideal solution (practicalities/technical requirements, style, budget) and then work back from that.

Do let us know... I have a bit of time on my hands!
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Postby Johnny » Sun Sep 09, 2007 10:05 am

Yes it's the main front room fire place that would of according to this fire fitter of had a small range in it. It is 550 mm wide, around 350 mm depth and I think 740 mm high to the arch, definitely under 800 mm though.

We like the arch so don't want to hide it but there are no details on whether a fire basket which is larger and has a fire back would give out more heat than the simple B&Q basket we have in already. As a trial I've got a large metal sheet from an old gas fire I believe, that fits in behind our basket. The next time we have a fire we'll see if this sheet heating up as well and taking away a large space at the back puts out any more heat - as at present it is very minimal. Keep tuned as too warm here for trying it as yet but fingers crossed as buying an elaborate basket with fire back that is stylish and doesn't mean covering the brickwork would be a win win situation for us if it kicks out any additional heat :?: :?
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Postby Lydia » Mon Sep 10, 2007 8:33 am

the metal back serves to deflect but also retain heat, so that it radiates it back into the room. That's why they're usually quite chunky.

It's also why fire inserts (with an open fire) have sides slightly angled into the room and the stove-type things often have fins somewhere on them - the principle being that the more hot surface to have contact with the air, the better. Bricks, of course, will also store heat to a certain extent and release it slower.

A fire-back will certainly help matters. However (going full circle here!), if you want to keep the brickwork apparent and have the most efficient heating solution possible, one of those stove things is the best option. The fuel burns more efficiently, the whole unit acts as a storage heater and you'll even get heat off the metal chimney/pipe (plus none of the smoke - unless there's a bit of a problem!).

My parents have a large-ish one as well as traditional fires and this thing is quite incredible. It probably uses about half the fuel of a traditional fire to produce a far more comfortable heat (as in not "I'm warm if I stand next to it, but not if I move away"), as well as staying warm/hot for quite a few hours after it's burnt out - enough to last through the night, at least.
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