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Chimney sweeps - Solid fuel fires - Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire

Solid fuel stoves are not a thing of the past

Solid fuel stoves are not a thing of the past!

Today we rely on modern radiators, electric heaters and gas fueled boilers to provide our homes with heat, but with the ever soaring costs of gas and electricity the solid fuel stove is making a welcome return to our homes.

How the solid fuel and wood burning stove works

In times gone by fires were situated in the centre of the living area and most probably in a fire pit or just surrounded by rocks to prevent the fire from spreading. As methods of heating and cooking progressed, people began to enclose the fire in some sort of container, this was to become the first stove as we know them today. These stoves were connected to a chimney that generated a draught, pulling fresh air through the burning fuel in a controlled manner. This meant that the temperature of combustion would rise to a point of about 600 degrees centigrade where efficient combustion could be achieved.

One of the earliest examples of a solid fuel or wood burning stove was the fire chamber, where the wood burning fire was enclosed on three sides by stone walls and covered by an iron plate. In the 17th century the French designed a stone construction with several fire holes that was covered by perforated iron plates, this was known as a stew stove.

As the end of the century approached, the design was improved and solid fuel and wood burning stoves began to gain a reputation for being heat efficient. Even the President of the United States of America, Benjamin Franklin developed his own cast iron solid fuel and wood burning stove with a much improved heat efficiency.

Today, as more of us become concerned about the environmental issues of deforestation, air pollution and climate change, a new generation of improved and extremely efficient solid fuel and wood burning stove designs have started to appear on the market and the poularity of these stoves is quite amazing.

There are lots of new methods that are being adopted by solid fuel and wood burning stove manufacturers to achieve this efficiency. One such method is known as airwash. This is done by drawing air across the stoves doors to create a barrier between the burning fuel and the glass within the door of the stove.

This process essentially preheats the air and the combustion temperature is increased further and it helps to keep the door glass clean.

But what about deforestation?

Should we really be burning wood when the worlds forests are under threat? Well yes, trees are a renewable source of fuel and trees are being planted on a regular basis. As well as freshly felled trees, there is a great deal of dead and fallen wood that can be used to fuel a solid fuel stove, just look around the open countryside where you walk your dog. More and more people are taking to collecting disguarded wood when out and about in the countryside.

There are literally acres of coppice throughout Europe that are used to provide telegraph poles, fencing materials of all manner of other wooden products. If these are not regularly felled, they will wither and die destroying an entire eco system.

The environmental impact of burning wood

Now if you are passionate about the environment, this is the best reason to use a wood burning stove. The amount of carbon dioxide produced by burning wood is almost exactly the same amount that was used by the tree when it was growing in the first place, so we can confidently say that wood burning stoves are pretty much carbon neutral.

Should we leave wood to rot on the ground it produces methane, which is twenty times more damaging to the environment than carbon dioxide. When burnt correctly, wood produces virtually no smoke and no acid. So why do we feel the need to continue to use the non renewable fossil fuels as energy sources, when we are surrounded by renewable wood?

There is about 20 million tonnes of renewable wood available every year in the United Kingdom alone and a further 50 million tonnes in France, so doesn't it make sense to make good use of it?

So what's the cost of heating a home with a solid fuel stove?

Well energy bills have gone up at a eye watering rate recently. Many people are turning to wood and solid fuel burning stoves to replace all, or part, of their central heating systems.

Retailers and fitters of solid fuel burning stoves are reporting an increased number of sales as consumers become angry with the cost of their latest gas or oil bill and are seeking out alternative and cheaper ways of heating their homes.

The Solid Fuel Association has stated that sales of solid fuel stoves have risen up to 30% higher than normal with some solid fuel stove manufacturers finding it hard to cope with the increased demand.

So not only are wood burning solid fuel stoves environmentally friendly, they can make very attractive additions to our homes and also make sound financial sense.

Some of the newer designs of solid fuel stoves incorporate an effective clean burn technology, to the extent they can be installed in houses in clean air areas that ban conventional open fires. These stoves are also a far more efficient way to heat a room than a traditional open fire that allows the majority of the heat to escape up the chimney. Some of the best solid fuel stoves are as good as 85% efficient, so it really is well worth checking them out.

Another major benefit with a solid fuel and wood burning stove is that if you install a back boiler, which fits to the back of the stove, you may be able to provide all the central heating requirements and all of your hot water, as long as the solid fuel stove is correctly rated for your size of property. This is fantastic for people who currently rely on LPG or oil fired boilers as they can make a substantial saving in running costs. There are still many people who reside in remote properties who do not have access to a mains gas supply and a solid fuel stove would be a very welcome addition to these properties, particularly when you consider the eye watering cost of having oil delivered.

So if you think that a solid fuel stove is a thing of the past, think again and give Ansell solid Fuel Stoves a call.

Further information

If you would like to know more or are interested in a quote we would be happy to help. Phone us on 01923 661 614, email us at info@ansellchimneys.co.uk or fill in our free quote form and we will be in touch as soon as possible.

Ansell Chimneys

t: 01923 661 614

m: 07941 282 325

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