Get an expert opinion on what to look out for when you’re considering a stove

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Thinking of putting a fireplace at the heart of your home? Experts Stovax and Gazco share their guide to choosing and installing the perfect stove for your property. It all begins with a little research…

Understanding smoke control zones

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Image: Stovax & Gazco

One of the first things to do is before having a stove or fire installed is to find out whether your home is situated in a Smoke Control Zone or not. If you live in an urban area, the chances are you live in a location with smoke restrictions, which will mean that burning wood will not be permitted unless you have a DEFRA-exempt appliance. Many are, however, but it’s still best to check with your local council website.

Alternatively, a multi-fuel stove gives you the option to burn authorised smokeless fuels in these areas, and gas and electric stoves and fires can also be used in all areas.

If it’s a wood burner that appeals to you, the Stovax Heating Group offer the largest range of DEFRA Smoke Control Exempt stoves and fires in the UK.

Choosing your fuel type

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After establishing whether you live in a smoke control area, consider the different fuel types available to you. A living flame from a wood burning or multi-fuel stove provides that classic fireside ambience that many aspire to create in their home, but nowadays their gas and electric counterparts are proving to be increasingly popular and effective.

Some gas fireplaces provide incredibly realistic flames plus a host of smart features that can be operated via remote control, whilst electric fires offer a contemporary feel – plus the option to enjoy a flame effect without the heat year-round. The latter two are also ideal if you don’t have the space to store wood.

Get on top of the rules 

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Image: Stovax & Gazco

If you’re investing in a fireplace, it’s a good idea to take advice from your local retailer on the latest regulations. One example is Ecodesign – a globally recognised air quality regulation that is due to become law for stove manufacturers from 2022.

There are a host of Ecodesign Ready stoves and fires available on the market today. These appliances burn with minimal emissions, meeting strict rules ahead of time and futureproofing your fireplace. If you want a green home, they’re an ideal choice.

Aside from this, safety standards when installing a stove or fire are pivotal. Your expert retailer will be able to recommend or even provide a qualified installer. If opting for wood or solid fuel, your installation is best taken care of by a HETAS engineer – or Gas Safe if installing a gas stove or fire.

Electric fires and stoves are slightly easier to navigate, as they come with fewer rules – some can even be placed in the desired location on the day of purchase and simply plugged into the mains. 

Use a trusted retailer

While many of us turn to the internet for home purchases, there is a level of care that you can only get from buying a fireplace from a reputable retailer. Some stove and fire manufacturers offer extended warranties that are only valid if the appliance has been purchased through their retailer network.

Your trusted retailer not only offers vast knowledge on the product, but they can also guide you with installation, exact specifications for your home, plus ensuring that your stove or fire is fitted to manufacturer instructions and regulations, while some offer after-care service too. When putting a fire at the heart of your home, it doesn’t do to cut corners.

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Kevins Column

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