11 Feb 2014

Heating the greener home


The benefits of woodburning are well documented today with a revival of the activity over recent years still gathering pace. At the heart of this revival is the warmth and pleasure that a woodburner gives; providing an inviting atmosphere and beautiful views in a home from a natural and sustainable fuel source.


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Fortunately for the self-builder, a stove can be easily incorporated into the structure of a house at the design stage. Modern manufacturers have risen to the challenge of today’s discerning consumer and it is now possible to select from a broad and impressive range of top quality woodburning stoves for an appliance that best suits your specific requirements and taste.

Woodburning in a stove or glass-fronted fire is not only attractive but highly effective. Innovations in firebox technology have resulted in triple air systems to ensure that the right amount of air is introduced to feed combustion, burning off unburnt hydrocarbons and keeping the glass in the door clear. The result is excellent efficiency rates and heat outputs, as well as wonderful views of the flames within.

Freestanding stoves now come in a range of styles from contemporary to traditional. Frequently made from cast iron, stoves are often used in combination with steel for increased durability and strength. A diverse range of colour options with frames made from glass or steel, as well as innovations in flue pipe, top plates, plinths and benches, allow for a combination of shapes and hues. There is the option to place a stove into an inglenook for a classic woodburner look or to bring it out into the room for increased impact. Alternatively, there are a number of cassette woodburning fires that are built into the wall and, in some cases, double-sided to connect two rooms or spaces – an effective option for open-plan living. Selected cassette fires benefit from the option of an air ducting kit which enables you to distribute the heat into up to four additional rooms to make the very most of your fuel.

While radiant heat is important you may also require boiler capacity from a stove. A number of woodburners not only meet your domestic hot water requirements but can be linked up to a central heating system. This will ensure a reliable supply and reduce your dependence on gas or oil while providing the power to feed up to 19 radiators, underfloor heating systems or even supplement solar panels. The Government has reduced the VAT rate on these appliances to just 5% due to compliance with their Energy Saving Materials initiative.

Finally, if you are building in a town or city, you may need to consider compliance with the Clean Air acts. Your local authority will confirm whether or not you are affected and if you are, you can be reassured that it won’t be a problem. Manufacturers have responded impressively to this legislation by designing woodburning appliances that are suited to smoke control areas. Look for ‘Smoke Control Approved’ symbols or wording in brochures.

Whatever your personal set of requirements, your first port of call should be a local fireplace retailer who will be able to impart practical and expert advice. Refer to the websites of prominent manufacturers who often offer a quick and easy postcode search facility to find retailers in your area.

Further information....

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