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What are the new Wood Burning Stove Regulations?

Across the UK over 1 million of us settle in on a cold winter’s evening in front of a wood burning stove, and the numbers are increasing due to its continued popularity over the last decade. This may however be under threat, particularly for our customers in London and the surrounding issues as the government has outlined its new strategy in early 2018 to clean up its air pollution problem.

This should not put off any potential customers as the Government plans to ban the sale of stoves after 2022 which do not meet the new environmental standards. For those of us who already own a wood burning stove which aren’t as environmentally friendly (10 years old and over) the persuasive message is to upgrade your stove and avoid burning low quality fuels. “The message we’re putting out, with the the Government, is burn the right wood on the right appliance,” says Dennis Milligan, from the Stove Industry Alliance. “Then, there’ll be a progressive improvement in emissions.”

What things should you therefore consider when purchasing/upgrading a wood burning stove:

  1. What type of stove should I buy?  

Most stoves supplied by manufacturers should be DEFRA approved meaning that they can be used in a Smoke Controlled Area. Furthermore many of the latest stoves to be released will be approved by the SIA and are therefore Eco Design Ready meaning that they can reduce particulate emissions by 90%. Most importantly, new EU laws coming into force in 2022 mean that stoves will need to be at least 80% efficient. (Read more: https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/wood-burning-stoves/article/buying-a-log-burner-or-multi-fuel-stove/how-to-buy-a-log-burner-or-multi-fuel-stove – Which?)

       2. What type of fuel should I burn?

We would always advise our customers to be aware of any burning restrictions in your area as outlined by local authorities before you buy. DEFRA and the Mayor of London have also supported the partnership between the SIA and Woodsure who have launched a ‘Ready to Burn’ wood which has been kiln dried and contains a moisture content below 20% and will therefore burn more effectively and efficiently given you a warmer and longer lasting fire. Additionally the use of smokeless coal and E-coal produces 30% more heat, emits 5 times less smoke and 25% less carbon than normal house coal.

For further information please feel free to contact us or if your would like to see our range of wood burning stoves.

Installing ‘hole in the wall’ Electric Fires

Hole in the wall electric fires are a fantastic addition to any living room, specifically for those of us who don’t have a working chimney, a gas point which is accessible in the property or if you simply want to create a minimalist look in your living room. Over the last number of years manufacturers have therefore invested significant amounts of time and money into developing their electric fire range as traditionally their design and function was extremely poor quality putting many of us (myself included) off purchasing one.

Currently however we have leading manufacturers such as Gazco with its new Skope range which incorporates undulating flame visuals on a bed of realistic coals and logs combined with the very latest LED technology allowing you to choose from an array of colours to set the perfect ambience. Then we have Dimplex with its fantastic new range of Opti-myst fires which present a heart warming illusion with authentic flame with fine water mist creating a smoke effect.  Another leading example is the Evonic E-Series which also makes full use of the latest LED technology and log effect fuel bed. Like the Skope range it also comes in an array of designs and sizes including a double sided fire.

This is a far cry from the days of old as the Thermostatically Programmable Remote Controls’s stunning visuals are truly fantastic in these contemporary models however there are some drawbacks which must be considered before you rush out to put down a deposit.

The most important factor to consider is that hole in the wall electric fires are primarily designed to fit into a false chimney breast, as you will see in many of the glossy magazines. The reason for this is that the engine of the electric fire is generally much larger than the visual screen that you are left with at the end. This has contributed to many a grey hair on our installers as with a frame-less option it is much easier to plaster board up to the edge of the frame rather than attempt to plaster onto a metal unit (If anyone knows how to do this please do share!). This may seem insignificant however many our our customers here are Rigby’s are aware of the fact’s before they enquire and we never want to see a customer disappointed in their quest for the stunning centrepiece they desire.

Nevertheless, the options available today are enormous in comparison to those even within the last decade hence the reason for their surge in popularity. If you would like to find out more information please don’t hesitate to contact us or have a look at our range of ‘hole in the wall’ electric fires on offer.

 

Which type of fuel should I burn for my Wood Burning Stove?

There’s been a lot said in the last few months about wood burning stoves and the impact that they are having on the environment. Rightly so, as 38% of Primary Particle Matter pollution is the result of domestic wood and coal burning, as highlighted in the government’s Clean Air Strategy, released in May 2018. This does not however mean that Wood Burning or Multi Fuel stoves should be banished forever, in fact there are a number of ways to resolve this problem.

Logs

You should ideally only burn wood with 20% or less moisture content. This is because:

    • It’s more efficient. Energy won’t be wasted having to burn off the water first, so the heat output will be higher.
    • Fewer potentially harmful particulates/air pollution are released into the air than when burning wet wood.
  • It will minimise sooty deposits building up in your chimney, which can be a fire hazard.

Seasoned logs – ones that you have partially dried out or that have been dried out by the manufacturer – contain around 25% to 40% moisture. Because of this, they have a heat output of around 3kWh per kg.

Kiln-dried logs, which are dried out in a kiln before being sold, contain less than 20% moisture. Burning this type of logs produces a heat output of around 4.5kWh per kg.

Free wood that has been collected could have as much as 90% moisture in it. The heat output could therefore be just 1kWh per kg.

Briquettes – fuel created from crushing recycled wood or paper – have a low moisture content. It can be as little as 10% or less, so they have a heat output of around 5kWh per kg. Only six of the 237 people we asked use this type of fuel.

Read more: https://www.which.co.uk/news/2017/12/why-you-might-not-be-using-the-best-fuel-for-wood-your-burning-stove/ – Which?

To ensure that your are buying the correct wood make sure that your logs have the Woodsure Ready to Burn logo or purchase it from an accredited supplier. Click here to see our range

Smokeless Coal

At Rigby’s we supply a range of smokeless control, via our manufacturers CPL. They are one of the largest manufacturers and distributors of smokeless coal in the UK, claims on its website that its popular Homefire range of smokeless fuels is “environmentally friendly” because it produces “25% less CO2 emissions than regular housecoal”. 

Homefire releases up to 25% less carbon dioxide than housecoal, mainly due to its higher heating efficiency. This means less Homefire is required to heat a typical room during the course of a year compared to housecoal, resulting in lower annual emissions of carbon dioxide. In addition, Homefire is manufactured using a climate-friendly molasses binder, which is also associated with reduced carbon dioxide emissions. Molasses is a renewable material that is viewed as (almost) carbon neutral, in that the carbon dioxide released when it burns is absorbed by the sugar cane from which it derives.

CPL also sells something called ecoal, the all new eco-friendly fuel for open fires and multi-fuel stoves. It, too, claims to produce 25% fewer CO2 emissions than housecoal and shares the same attributes as Homefire, in terms of heating efficiency and being produced using molasses binder. However, Ecoal has the added benefit of being manufactured from a feedstock blend containing up to 20% additional renewable materials, giving further reductions in carbon dioxide emissions.  

(https://www.theguardian.com/environment/green-living-blog/2009/oct/08/ask-leo-sustainable-fuel-fire)

To see our range of Smokeless and Ecoal click here.

Should I mount a TV over a ‘Hole in the Wall’ Gas Fire?

In the 70’s we had disco, flared trousers and the birth of punk, the 80’s brought us techno, shoulder pads and the shell suit! In the 90’s we had boy-bands, more dodgy haircuts and inflatable furniture…. What we are trying to say is fashion changes and fireplaces are no different. We’ve had it all through our doors here at Rigby’s from retro gas fires with bars that heat up on the front to full wall brick installations. The market however is once more, with people ultimately trying to maximise floor space and a modern contemporary straight line approach, whilst still attempting to maintain that focal feature in the living room for the family to gather round on a cold evening.

More recently we have witnessed the birth of the glass fronted hole in the wall gas fire which provides a stunning elegant look and also fantastic heat out-put. These by all means are superb products, many of which are for sale at Rigby’s both on our website and on display in our showroom. Traditionally these gas fires were designed to be inserted into a chimney breast however significant developments in technology allow for slimline options if being inserted into a cavity wall or the increasing number of balanced flue options.  These fires not only look good but also perform brilliantly, for example, Gazco’s Studio 1 Conventional Flue producing up to 4.97 Kw of heat at 72% efficiency with the balanced flue version as high as 92%. Also Capital’s DL500 (one of the smaller in its range) producing 4 Kw of heat at a snip over 80% efficiency. Fantastic news for everyone out there of course, however there is one slight problem. Our customers and the general public who often inquire into this range tend to always ask the same question:

Q: ‘Can I put my T.V. above the fire?’

A: ‘Erm, not really…..’

Q: ‘What? Why not?….’

To be precise, with such heat output and efficiency to put your beautiful new shiny T.V. above it, is probably equivalent to at the very least manslaughter, no doubt reducing all gadget inspired husbands to a weeping mess.

There is however another way!! That’s right you still have options. You could maintain both your T.V. and glass fronted gas fire, but mount something on your wall between both which will essentially deflect the heat away from your TV’s essentials for example a wooden beam, fireplace surround or some kind of non-combustible shelf which aesthetically doesn’t compromise the look that you are going for. Or you could go for another option which is the Open Fronted gas fire. Manufactured by Gazco, these fires are not only cheaper than their glass fronted counterpart but also don’t require anything which has to be mounted on the wall, and thus the problem is solved! There is however one catch, that is that the heat output is reduced to 1.7 Kw with the efficiency rating taking a hit also. It does however offer up a few additional styling options which allow you the customer to enhance your centrepiece even further.

 

For further information on our range of hole in the wall gas fires by clicking here or contact us on 0208 868 7899.