How to choose and maintain log-burning stoves

Cassie Pryce

Here’s everything you need to know before you invest in a log-burning stove: a practical heating solution that will make a stylish focal-point in any home

Choosing the right type of stove

Stoves are available either as wood-burners or multi-fuel models, so you’ll need to decide which is better suited to your needs before buying and which fuel is readily available where you live. With a wood-burner, you’re limited to only using solid wood in the form of logs or pellets, although this means you can stay warm with the knowledge that you’re burning a sustainable material which is carbon-neutral and, therefore, more eco-friendly. 

Yeoman CL5 wide stove, £1,279, Stovax

Opting for a multi-fuel stove means you will have the choice to burn a wider range of fuels, including coal and peat, as well as logs too. If you live in a Smoke Control Area, you will need to burn smokeless fuels (not wood) meaning a multi-fuel stove is a better choice. Contact your local council to find out if you live in a Smoke Control Area if you are unsure.

Once you have decided on the type of stove for your home, you’ll need to consider how many kilowatts will be needed to heat the room. As a rule of thumb, 1kW of heat output is advised for every 14 cubic metres of space to achieve a comfortable room temperature of 21°C when it is 0°C outside. 

For a rough idea of what output will be best for your space, multiply the width, length and height of the room (in metres) and divide it by 14 to give an approximate figure. Bear in mind that other factors, including windows and your chimney, will affect this so it’s always best to have a professional survey carried out.

Churchill 10 wood burner 10kW, from £1,184, Eurostove

 

Features to look out for

When selecting a specific model of stove, it’s important to consider a range of factors that can affect how it performs. High on your list should be how eco-friendly the design is and whether it meets up to date DEFRA regulations (the Department for Environmental Food & Rural Affairs). A new law introduced to promote higher environment standards across the EU means that lots of modern stoves now come with a SIA Ecodesign Ready label. This means they meet the requirements for cleaner, more efficient stoves which ultimately have a smaller carbon footprint than older models. 

Other features you might want to consider include airwash systems—which help prevent soot building-up on the glass—and models with automatic control, which will regulate the air flow meaning you won’t have to manually control the stove during use.

Beaumont 6kw Multi-Fuel stove in Parchment, £1,854

The design of your new stove will most likely be influenced by the type of property you live in and there are a wide range of models available to suit every style, both modern and traditional. Black and cream are the most popular colour choices for stoves, although there are several brands who now offer coloured enamel finishes if you’re after something with more of a custom feel.

Log stores are another add-on which you can choose to work into the design of your stove—not only are they a practical choice if you don’t have room to store logs around the fireplace, but they also make a stylish feature, particularly with contemporary models.

 

Installation and maintenance

Wooden kindling box, £26, Garden Trading

You’ll need a HETAS registered professional to install your new wood or multi-fuel stove to ensure it is fitted to meet all current regulations. There are requirements to meet including the size of the hearth and how the flue is fitted, so it’s important to use a trusted professional for the task.

It’s also advisable to have your chimney tested and swept beforehand to make sure it’s suitable for use with a stove and is in good, working condition. The chimney flue will need to be lined before a stove can be fitted, to protect the structure from the heat and make sure the gases can escape from the house safely. If your property doesn’t have a chimney, it’s possible to fit a stove by having a twin wall flue installed to link to the outside the same way a traditional chimney does.

Once your stove is fitted and being used, you’ll need to perform regular maintenance to ensure it stays in good working order and is performing to its maximum efficiency. Ash and soot will need to be cleared from the stove to avoid it building up and the glass should be cleaned so you can fully enjoy the flames. You should aim to have your chimney swept once a year, too.