Woodburner installed - thanks everyone for advice

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  • Highrisk

    I wouldnt suggest using a rug in front of the stove, due to the fire risk from spitting wood ( as a child went through rugs like they were going out of fashion, the amount of eruptions we got from the open fire.

    Instead of using marble, which unless you were very precise with the cutting dimensions firstly and secondly you would be hard pushed to get anyone to cut it for you as they would be responsible for any damage. Marble is not a very easy DIY job to do, you may need diamond tips saw blades which are not cheap.

    You would be better off using some nice marble effect ceramic bathroom tiles, which are DIY proof and easier to cut. Only problem is certain colours will 'bleed' if they get ash/soot on them, but would be cheaper and easier to replace if damaged. Keep away from cobalt blue and Victorian green ones bleed badly with soot and moisture

    You are looking at the right thing to do in front of the stove. The cheapest thing to do would be using '00' rated plaster board and painting it, but wouldnt look as good as tiles.
  • edited 28 September 2011 at 9:07PM
    GreenfiresGreenfires Forumite
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    edited 28 September 2011 at 9:07PM
    It's a pity about that surround if it's no good as in my opinion it looks pretty smart.

    As far as burning wood goes - it's pretty much been said already - but yes it's always happier sitting on ash rather than a cleaned out grate. Some stoves have a rotating grate that will close up the gaps between the adjacent bars - others are just a riddling device to help keeping the grate clear when burning smokeless fuel. But anyway - once the fire is well established, close the bottom air completely and control the stove with the secondary air alone.

    As muckybutt said - what are the arrangements for sweeping it? I'm also intrigued by these "special rods" the installer mentioned! I wonder if he's on about the flexis we often use on lined chimneys? Is there an access plate cut out of the register plate above the stove? If not, then any soot that is swept from the chimney will land on the register plate and build up, right above the stove where it can get nice and hot and just wait for a few sparks or flying embers to set it off. I see this with DIY installs all the time unfortunately. The only way round this is if the installer has flaunched above the plate to make a funnel so that everything is directed down into the flue pipe and the stove - and I can't see that this would be possible in this case.

    Basically, it's often difficult to get a decent sized brush to suit an open (ie unlined) chimney through the stove pipe - though I know some sweeps will stick a five inch brush through the stove and say they've swept the chimney. They haven't - they've tickled the sides here and there at best - and we're still left with the problem of how to get the soot out afterwards. So is there an access plate in the register plate?

    I'd also agree that you need something in the way of a hearth in front of it to protect the carpet.

    Oh - fuel wise - I'd avoid housecoal - practically every stove maker there is advises against it - it's dirty 'orrible stuff. Anthracite will probably cause you a lot of problems - it's more suite for use in forced air applications like steam engines and you may find you can't even get it to burn. Peat I'd avoid for environmental issues - I'd go with either decent well seasoned logs, firewood briquettes and the odd bag of smokeless fuel from time to time - this will help keep the chimney clear. Don't use petcoke either - it's cheap but will burn your grate out in no time.

    Lastly - don't burn wood and smokeless together at the same time - this can produce sulphuric acid - not strong enough to take your skin off or anything, but enough to start eating away at the mortar joints in your chimney.

    Cheers,

    Andy
  • A._BadgerA._Badger Forumite
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    Greenfires wrote: »
    Lastly - don't burn wood and smokeless together at the same time - this can produce sulphuric acid - not strong enough to take your skin off or anything, but enough to start eating away at the mortar joints in your chimney.

    Cheers,

    Andy


    That was a really interesting comment and I nearly pinged the 'thanks' button... until I got to this last paragraph.

    Let me ask you a straight question. Do you actually know this as a fact? Can you back it with reliable evidence? I ask not because I think you are wrong but because I have read and heard so much conflicting advice - including from my own highly regarded (HETAS registered) sweep who says the 'never use wood and smokeless together' adage is "rubbish".

    This is the problem with the whole stove market, in my view. There is too much conflicting advice, too many vested interests, too little impartial research and a whole host of confusion for we poor consumers.

    We have had posters here telling us that some brands of smokeless fuel produce excessive amounts of sulphuric acid - denied when I asked the SFA. Others repeat the 'never use wood and solid fuel together' but can never provide a reliable source for this advice.

    What on earth are we meant to believe - other than that there's an awful lot of received wisdom going around?
  • GreenfiresGreenfires Forumite
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    Basically you have various sulphur compounds being released from the solid fuel, and moisture from the wood - and when these get together sulphuric acid is one of the things you can "create". Smokeless fuel combustion products are also naturally more corrosive than those from wood - that's why you should use a 904 grade liner with it rather than 316.

    I completely agree there is an awful lot of poor advice about. I've followed a pretty big HETAS/NACS outfit onto at least three jobs lately and some of the advice they've dished out has been worthy of rogue trader status. They condemned one customers three month old liner as breached after using the wrong sized brush to sweep it, doing an incorrect smoke test, and knocking two holes in his chimney breast to inspect it. Customer was a bit miffed due to the liner being so new, so got me in to have a look. I swept the chimney again just to see if I could feel anything amiss - got a load of soot out where they'd done it three days earlier before condemning it. We did a proper smoke test - chimney sealed top and bottom - not a hint of a leak anywhere. The reason the neighbour had a chimney smell in his house when my customer lit his stove was nothing to do with a breached liner - it was the gaping two foot wide hole behind the other guys hot water tank that lead directly into the chimney - this outfit hadn't even noticed that - but they'd have been quite happy for him to sign up for another new liner with them!

    I've also followed other sweeps who are members of trade bodies who somehow manage to sweep unsweepable installations, and remove soot where there's no access to the top side of the register plate to get at it - don't know how they do it!

    So yes - there is a lot of bad advice - and I don't really know the answer to that, as thinking that a HETAS/NACS/ICS/GMCS etc badge is a guarantee of a good job is sadly not always the case. It should be - but it isn't.

    Personally I just do my best to help. I've walked away from many a job without charging a penny, where others will say they've swept it and take the money. I don't install or sell stoves but I recommend a very good bloke who does - and I don't try and get customers to have work done that they don't need. So I don't really have any vested interest. I'll advise customers when I've done their chimney as to how often they should have it swept "if they continue burning as they are now", and probably eight times out of ten, it's LESS often than the trade bodies would have you believe - so I'm actually taking less money off them than I would if I visited at the "recommended frequency".

    Andy
  • muckybuttmuckybutt Forumite
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    Greenfires wrote: »
    Personally I just do my best to help. I've walked away from many a job without charging a penny, where others will say they've swept it and take the money. I don't install or sell stoves but I recommend a very good bloke who does - and I don't try and get customers to have work done that they don't need. So I don't really have any vested interest. I'll advise customers when I've done their chimney as to how often they should have it swept "if they continue burning as they are now", and probably eight times out of ten, it's LESS often than the trade bodies would have you believe - so I'm actually taking less money off them than I would if I visited at the "recommended frequency".

    Andy

    Man after my own heart :T

    Same here often walked away from diy jobs where improper access or stove etc has been incorrectly fitted.
    You may click thanks if you found my advice useful
  • Nice info Andy -but anyone got any coal type recommendations?


    Lit the stove for the first time this morning - heat isn't great, but there is a mild hiss and a little steam on the window of the fire - I take it this is the moisture content people have gone on about?
  • suki1964suki1964 Forumite
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    Nice info Andy -but anyone got any coal type recommendations?


    Lit the stove for the first time this morning - heat isn't great, but there is a mild hiss and a little steam on the window of the fire - I take it this is the moisture content people have gone on about?

    Perhaps now you understand what we are saying to you about you wont get heat from wet wood?

    You dont want coal on a stove - you want smokeless briquettes

    Just pop to the nearest cash and carry - not sure how much a 25kg bag is now but once you get the hang of lighting and controlling your stove you will find it should last a few days ( I order from the coalman - 50kg bag was £16 last year but would last a week or more )

    Save your wood for next year - seriously
  • grahamc2003grahamc2003 Forumite
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    Nice info Andy -but anyone got any coal type recommendations?


    Lit the stove for the first time this morning - heat isn't great, but there is a mild hiss and a little steam on the window of the fire - I take it this is the moisture content people have gone on about?

    If you get a hiss, your wood is really wet and pointless burning it - as no doubt you will realise after a few attempts at burning.

    The 'steam' on your glass is actually condensed steam, together with condensed smoke and other unburnmt hydrocarbon crap you could do without. I'm surprised the glass isn't pretty dirty already. Not only is the crud condensing on your glass, but also all the way up your chimney. It's a mild acid which will eat into your mortar given enough time.

    Steam is colourless, and is (almost) always in the gasses of combustion when burning wood (even 'dry' wood). The trick is to try to stop the (invisible) steam condensing in your chimney (or liner), and you do that by running the stove hot. Out the top of your chimney, you should see the white stuff most people call 'steam', but is in fact water droplets, being condensed steam (it almost certainly condenses there because it's hitting cold air). If it's not white, then it's steam/water mixed with smoke, which is essentially unburnt fuel, which causes damage in the long run, and means your chimney needs sweeping more often, imv (because some of the smoke condenses and causes deposition of soot and tar in your chimney, and possibly the stove itself).

    So burning wet wood means much of the fuel goes up the chimney as smoke, and of the fuel within the wood which is burnt much of it is used to boil off the water in the remaining wood, leaving only a small amount of heat to warm your stove, and you, up.
  • GreenfiresGreenfires Forumite
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    I can't tell you much about smokeless fuel mate to be honest - I've ony ever been into woodfuels both for burning myself at home and selling - for green reasons more than anything - and if you knew how much profit there was in selling the stuff you'd be wondering why I bother!

    However, we have quite a few customers on the canal so I joined the relevant forum to keep up with things on the water - and most boaters use smokeless fuel. The preferred ones seem to be Excel, Stovebright (which I think is a mixed bag of "ends of production run" of various smokeless fuels - Taybright, Excel etc etc) Another popular one is called Homefire.

    Although I never touch the stuff myself - it's fair to say that using a bag from time to time will help to keep the deposits down in your chimney. So in spite of my green leanings, I wouldn't say "don't use it"

    As you rightly guessed, the hissing and condensation on your stove glass is moisture from the wood, and a lot of the energy in your wood is being wasted trying to evaporate it all. There will also be condensation and tarry deposits forming in your chimney at the same time. Best avoided if you can!

    Andy
  • muckybuttmuckybutt Forumite
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    You were told higrisk !

    We do know waht we're on about you know.
    You may click thanks if you found my advice useful
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