Wood-burning stove Q&As

John Conlin / 25 January 2019

Chartered surveyor John Conlin answers reader questions on wood-burning stoves.



Question: how far up the flue should the pipe go?

We have bought a wood-burning stove at auction. It had no stove pipe with it. So that we know how much pipe to buy how far up our flue should the pipe go?

Answer

Installing any enclosed stove in England or Wales has to comply with building regulations and will need to be inspected by the local Council’s Building Control Officer unless you employ a HETAS registered installer who are able to self-certify.

One way or another the first thing is for the flue to be swept, checked, smoke tested for leaks. If there are any problems the flue may need to be lined. Next the space at the bottom of the flue around the pipe opening will need to be sealed with a custom made sheet of metal called a ‘register plate’ before positioning the stove and pipe. To finish off you will need fixed fresh air ventilation and a CO2 alarm.

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Queston: I can smell my neighbour's fire

My problem is that fumes are seeping into my house from next door’s wood-burning stove. These houses do not have chimneys, so I don't know what kind of flue they are using.

Answer

The installation of all enclosed solid fuel stoves and their flues must, under building regulations, be carried out by a HETAS registered operative or checked by the Council’s Building Inspector. Tell your neighbour about the problem. If it persists contact the local Environmental Health Officer.

Question: how do Peltier fans work?

Our wood burning stove gives off a lot of heat but it is concentrated around the fireplace leaving the rest of the room tepid. Visiting a friend, we saw that they had a fan standing on the top of their stove that wafted the heat around the room. It does not appear to have a mains connection or battery. I would like to know how it works before buying one and our friends have no idea.

Answer

The metal stand collects heat from the casing of the stove and warms one of two metal plates separated by a narrow gap. The other plate remains cooler and the differential in temperature generates a tiny electrical voltage sufficient to power the small fan motor. The conversion of heat into electricity by this means is known as ‘The Peltier Effect’.

Question: will the new rules affect us?

Where can we find out whether we will still be allowed to carry on using our 10 year old wood-burning stove when the new rules come into force?

Answer

There is no suggestion, as far as I am aware, that any existing wood-burning stoves will be banned. What is being considered is higher standards for new stoves and a ban on the sale of low grade, damp, unseasoned wood for burning because it is this type of wood that smoulders producing particulate rich smoke. Ideally, your stove should be set to burn briskly with good room ventilation and the wood should have been dry stored for at least a year.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.