F.A.Q's

This area provides you with the answers to the most frequently asked questions asked. If you have a specific question not listed, please contact your local ACR stockist for more assistance and advice.

Can I have a woodstove if I live in a smoke controlled area?

Yes! If you live in a smoke controlled area you can only burn wood on a DEFRA approved appliance. All of the ACR own brand stoves are DEFRA approved. Please ensure that you only burn wood with less than 20% moisture content on your stove.

Will the saving I make on my utility bills outweigh the cost of the stove?

This depends on the use of the stove and how much money you spend on the stove. Stoves come in various price brackets but dont be tempted to make savings on the installation - you must ensure you chose a HETAS registered installer. If you fit thermostats to your radiators then you should see less usage of your gas as the stove heat distributes around the room and into other rooms. Alot of people see reductions to their gas bills from the onset of using the stove. I am lucky enough to have my flue running through the centre of my home so when I light my stove, the heat warms the lounge but as we keep the door open into the hallway, the heat then rises up the staicase and keeps the upstairs of the house warm too. By operating our stove this way, we rarely put our central heating on and when we do, it is because the temperature outside is close to zero degrees. If you are lucky enough to get free supplies of wood then you can make some dramatic savings to your utility bills.

Can I install the stove myself?

NO! You must use either a HETAS acredited installer (please visit www.hetas.co.uk for details of approved installers in your area) or if you use a non-HETAS approved tradesman you must contact your local authority to come and inspect the installation and they will sign the work off. Carrying out the work yourself could be extremely dangerous - the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning are serious if the work isnt carried out by a HETAS installer. Also, you run the risk of not installing the appliance in accordance with current building regulations or manufacturers instructions which could lead to clearance requirements not being adhered to, the flue not being correctly fitted etc - both of which could lead to a chimney or house fire. You will also require the certificate to prove the work has been carried out as per Building Regulations when you come to sell your home.

How efficient is a woodburner compared to an open fire?

Far higher. An open fire has an efficiency of approximately 20%. Compare this to 65%- 80% for a woodburning stove. When burning a woodstove with the door closed, you will lose approximately 35%-20% or less of the heat up the chimney. With an open fire 4/5th's of your heat is lost up your chimney. A stove is a far more efficient method of burning wood.

Can I burn anything on my stove?

Ideally you should only burn wood on a woodburning stove and this should be well seasoned with less than 20% moisture content. Treated wood, e.g wood that has been painted, creosoted and railway sleepers must not be burnt in your stove. These will release harmful pollutants into the atmosphere and could harm your stove. Unseasoned wood will have too high a moisture content and will mean you get far less heat out of the fuel but will also cause tar and creosote to build up inside the stove and the flue liner which could lead to a chimney fire - it will also decrease the efficiency of your stove and increase polution within the atmosphere. If buying wood from a petrol station etc, always ensure it has the Woodsure "Ready to burn" logo on as this guarantees it has less than 20% moisture content.

If you have a multifuel stove, you can burn seasoned wood and smokeless fuels. Make sure that your smokeless fuel has less than 20% petroleum content with your fuel merchant before buying. A high pet coke content will overheat the internal components of your stove and wil cause premature damage.

Modern stoves are not really designed to be an incinerator so it is best to recycle your rubbish rather than burn it on the stove. Paper and newspapers can be used to start lighting the fire but never put any plastic on the fire.

What is the best way for me to store logs?

It is always best for logs to be stored slightly off the ground and with plenty of airflow around them to enable them to season. There are plenty of log stores on the market to chose from with some costing hundreds of pounds. We have always used Log Tidy's to store our own wood at home which are a steel frame onto which you stack the logs and once dry, there is a cover you can place over them to stop them getting wet from rain etc. For just £20 inc vat these are a great way of starting to store your logs. They are especially helpful if you need to store logs close to the house or need to store in various areas of your garden perhaps.

I have heard that burning wood is bad for the environment - is this true?

When a tree is burned, it releases carbon into the atmosphere but only what is has absorbed in its lifetime. This means that it is carbon neutral and will release far less carbon during burning than fossil fuels, gas and electricity. A lot of modern woodburning stoves have tertiary burn systems or catalytic burn systems which will reburn the emissions prior to them being released into the flue to have an even cleaner burn. As members of the Stove Industry Alliance (SIA) we are striving to introduce EcoDesign approved stoves to the market sooner than the required date of 2022. SIA EcoDesign stoves give the highest efficiencies possible, a reduction in emissions and are up to 90% more efficient that an open fire. Recent bad press about woodburning in cities has not taken into consideration modern stoves such as the SIA EcoDesign models which can help solve the problem rather than add to it. Most emissions from woodburning in city centres are down to open fires being operated with wet wood and house coal. If the open fires were replaced with high efficiency woodburning stoves using "Ready to burn" logs with less than 20% moisture content, there would be an automatic reduction in poor air quality. log_pile.JPG

We have just had a tree cut down. Can I burn the wood straight away?

Freshly cut wood has far too much moisture in it to be able to burn it properly. It is best to cut the wood into smaller rings and then chop into the logs. These should then be stored for at least 18 months to 2 years, ideally under cover to protect from the rain and snow but allowing air to move between the logs, before being burned. It is a good idea to buy a moisture meter to check the moisture level in your logs before burning them. They should have no more than 20% moisture content.

If you were to burn unseasoned wood, you would need approximately 4 times as much fuel to get the same heat as you would get from burning just 1 seasoned log making it a false economy. Burning unseasoned wood will also create tar and creosote in your stove - this will blacken the glass up, make the insides of the stove black and sticky and will tar up your chimney which could lead to a chimney fire.

chainsaw.jpg

Having a woodburner seems like a lot of hard work

Compared to just flicking a switch for your central heating, a wood burner is going to require more effort however this can become part of the fun.

Alot of families make collecting their wood a family activity. Others will have their logs delivered so it can be as easy as loading the seasoned wood from the bag straight into the stove. There is an old saying that tells you that a woodburner will keep you warm 3 times - once when you collect the wood, once when you chop the wood and then once when you light the wood. Most people though will tell you that the extra effort is well worth the benefits.

You will need to clean the stove out and empty the ashpan everyday but nowadays stoves are far cleaner than you remember.

Do I need anything on top of the chimney?

Normally all you should need on the top of the chimney or flue is a rain cap. This will stop rain coming down the flue and ending up inside your stove. It will also help stop birds nesting in the flue and twigs and sticks being dropped down the flue by birds.

Do I need to sweep my chimney?

We recommend that your chimney should be swept at least once a year by a qualified chimney sweep. It is advisable to do this before the start of the heating season - summer is a great time to deal with this.

Can I burn any solid fuel on my stove?

No! If you have purchased one of our multifuel stoves you can burn either seasoned wood with a moisture content of less than 20% or smokeless fuels. Smokeless fuel should have a pet coke content of no more than 20%. Any higher than 20% and you stand to damage the interior of the stove and craze the glass panel. Your stove is not covered by warranty if the incorrect fuel has been burned. We would recommend that you always check with ACR to confirm the fuel you wish to burn if you are in any doubt.

What clearances will I need around my stove?

This will depend on which stove you are interested in as the clearances can differ from model to model. It is always best to refer to the manual for your intended stove which can be found on the product page of the website.

What does DEFRA approved or DEFRA exempt mean?

DEFRA approved and DEFRA exempt both mean the same thing which is that if you want to burn wood if you live in a smoke controlled area, you will need to choose a stove which is DEFRA approved / DEFRA exempt. This means that the stove has been stringently tested on behalf of the government to ensure that it is clean burning and passes the required standards for woodburning in smoke conrolled areas. You can safely install a DEFRA approved / exempt stove if you live in a smoke controlled area.

Will I need an air vent?

It depends! If the property is older than 2008 and has not altered dramatically e.g an extension added, new windows installed or rooms knocked into one then the chances are that you will not require an air vent on a 5Kw or below stove. Your installer will be able to confirm if any additional room air is required. If the property is post 2008 then your installer will need to calculate if additional room air will be required or not. As properties become more air tight then additional room air is required. An appliance with an output of above 5kw will require additional room air and your installer will again calculate the required amount for your chosen stove.

Why is the glass getting dirty on my stove?

Normally this is due to unseasoned wood being burned. We recommend that your only burn wood with a moisture content of 20% or less. Any higher than this and the moisture will condense on the glass and create tar. If you are not burning the fuel hot enough you can also find that the glass will blacken up too. Best to check the moisture content with a moisture meter prior to burning the wood and then don't keep the fire slumbering for long periods. When buying bags of logs, always make sure they carry the Woodsure "Ready to Burn" logo - your guarantee that the logs have a moisture content of less than 20%.

Should I have my stove serviced?

Yes! We recommend that your stove is serviced by a suitably qualified professional such as a HETAS registered engineer annually. As part of the service, the engineer will strip down the internals of the stove to thoroughly clean the stove, replace the door rope seals and inspect the general condition of the stove and repalce any parts as necessary. Most ACR stoves are supplied with a 10 year warranty and a condition of this warranty is that the stove is serviced annually by a qualified engineer. A serviced stove is an efficient stove. By renewing components such as the firebricks at the first sign of wear and tear should prolong the life of the stove.

I don't have a chimney. Can I still have a stove?

In most cirumstances the answer if yes. A twin wall flue system can normally be installed to the property which will allow a stove to be connected and operated. Speaking to your local HETAS registered engineer will confirm this for you.