Monthly Archives: March 2017

  • Turn up the heat – enjoy the flames!

    When you walk into a room you automatically look at the main focal point – and this is usually the fire. The flames of that fire draw your attention first, there is something mesmerizing about a flickering flame – have you ever wondered why?

    Like moths to a light: In the longer cold periods of weather we now seem to have, a warm fire automatically becomes the best place to be near and will make you feel welcome. Some prefer up to the minute contemporary looks, others the more traditional fire.

    Brilliant Fuel facts:

    What fuel should I use?

    Wood burning stoves are virtually carbon neutral and could account for 10% of the UK Government’s carbon reduction targets by 2020; with the potential to produce 25% of the government’s domestic renewable heat energy target by 2020 (Stove industry Alliance (SIA)). By replacing your decorative gas fire with a wood burner this reduces the carbon footprint of a house by 22%...and if you are replacing a fire run off LPG the figure will rise to 36%!

    Hardwoods are best like oak and ash – but the most important fact is that you should not burn any freshly cut up logs. They contain moisture and will reduce your stoves heat output so you will have to burn more wood. It will also smoke more and make your stove dirty!

    Multi fuel stoves are built to be able to burn either coal or wood. Its not advisable to burn both fuels at the same time, doing this you can damage the flue lining. This is because the sulphuric acid in coal and the moisture levels in wood decide to combine when burning together – this produces a sticky solution that will stick to the stove and gradually erode it.

    Choose smokeless fuel e.g. Anthracite –this obviously burns longer than wood – it is better for the environment and your stove and chimney as it produces less soot.

    Whatever you prefer whether it be real wood burning flames or the highly realistic flame effects from gas we are all drawn to flames. Once you settle by that fire and stare into the flames you cannot help but relax.

    Commercial benefits of real flames : No need to explain the benefits here – just think how many pubs, hotels, dining rooms, cafes etc have you been in recently and the centre of attention in there is a lovely warm flaming fire – albeit a free standing stove or a traditional fireplace. You can relax and feel at home!

    There are plenty of show rooms around but cutting out the middle man and buying your  fire stoves direct online is now the way to go. So all in all whatever look you want to achieve - contacting a reliable and competitive company to supply flame focused stoves and fireplace suites is a must.

  • How to light your fire

    Everyone has their own ideas about lighting fires but most people have only ever lit garden bonfires. If you are one of those people or you have just installed a multi fuel stove there are a few pointers which will help you. Most stoves come with instructions and advice on the type of fuel you can burn. Be aware that for the first few days your new stove may also give off some odours whilst the paint cures and the rope seals may also discolour – this is normal.

    All multi fuel stove models are basically the same so these instructions can be adapted. N.B. Always use dry fuel for all multi fuel burners.

    1.  Fuel needs oxygen to burn so open up the air controls. There will be ‘Primary air’ controls – usually at the bottom through the grate if there is one, and also ‘Airwash’ near the top. There may be secondary controls too check your instruction book.

    2.  Establish a firebed – scrunch up newspaper with perhaps bits of cardboard on top then top with dry kindling wood/twigs – just short bits of softwood are ideal 6”/7” long. Softwood burns and catches easier than hardwood. Lay them loosely and spread out over the newspaper. A firelighter may help too – break it up and insert in the newspaper.

    3.  Light the newspaper. Some stoves benefit from the door or ash pan being left very slightly open at this stage, your instruction manual may mention this.

    4.  Add slightly larger logs. Once you can see the newspaper has burnt away and the kindling wood has caught add a couple of larger bits of wood or very small dry logs. Close the door and wait till the embers of the larger bits of wood are glowing.

    5.  TAKE CARE OPENING THE DOOR – to refuel, do it slowly. This is so the chimney and fire will get used to a sudden rush of air, if you open it too quickly a big puff of smoke will come out into your room.

    6.  Add more fuel and keep an eye on the fire, and at this stage you may need to adjust your air controls – this depends on your chimney. If you have a good ‘draw’ your fire will be burning very hard and you will need to shut the air down a little. If you have a poor draw there may be smoke and the fire may appear to be dying down so you will need to leave the controls almost open. The draw will improve after 30 minutes or so.

    7.  Burn fuel efficiently and get the maximum amount of heat: Once you have a good rolling burn and an established glowing firebed you should shut the Airwash control fully. Adjust the Primary controls to regulate the burning. The majority of stoves will also have a secondary air control often factory set, to help the combustion of gases, burn more efficiently and this will help keep your stove cleaner too.

    Now sit back and enjoy the flames and relax in the heat!

  • Briquette Buzz

    Briquettes are REALLY hot fuel!

    Consider this:

    Most of us buy a wood burning stove to economise on heating costs in the home. Some of us also like to try and be more environmentally friendly and reduce our carbon footprint. The way forward is definitely to use briquettes if you can.

    What are they? Essentially briquettes are compressed wood shavings and sawdust…all made from recycled wood. They sometimes come under different names like Eco Wood, or Heat logs.

     

    Why? When choosing a new stove it is important to consider your access to fuel and reasons for wanting a solid fuel stove.

    • Do you have space to store loads of logs….can you chop/split the ones that are delivered to fit your burner? (some logs are often too big when you buy a job lot).
    • If you have the good fortune access to fresh wood for free …do you have space to store it and let it season?
    • If you want to use solid fuel like coal and you live in a smokeless fuel zone you will have to purchase clean burning fuel like anthracite. It is always well packaged but somebody has to haul it about! Are you able to store and carry this fuel?
    • Do you have access to any recycled wood shavings etc.....and have strong environmental concerns?

    Facts:

    The Guardian ( October 2015) reported that Briquettes can deliver 50% more heat per pound spent than logs!

    They are cheaper to buy, cleaner and easier to store and handle.

    As briquettes are very dry and moisture free they are much cleaner burning compared to logs and don’t have the soot or tar problems which are linked to the use of unseasoned logs.

    The biggest advantage is that you can actually make your own briquettes quite easily with a small briquette press.

    You can recycle all sorts of free materials you may find at home. Things like newspapers, junk mail (then it’s no longer junk!!), cardboard, sawdust or shavings, even leaves, straw and pine needles!!!

    It is a simple process – basically you soak the materials then compact them into blocks with your hand press.

    Each briquette should burn for at least 2 hours.

    So this is FREE fuel! Additionally it’s a great way to educate your family…get the children involved – hands on recycling! Can’t be bad!

  • Save money and keep warm safely

    With the rising prices and more rigorous awareness of health and safety in the home thinking about heating becomes a more focused issue.

    There’s a lot of information out there, on the TV, in magazines and influential advertising. So wondering where to start when faced with trying to economise on your heating bill is quite a problem. Plus you do want something which makes a complimentary focal point in your house, becomes welcoming and inviting for visitors and for keeping your family together.

    Deciding on the style of fire you need, this will depend on initially 2 main points.

    The two main points to consider are quality appliances and service and safety.

    Safety First!

    1.  Do you understand what the safety symbols represent?

    Look out for DEFRA approved. This means that the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has approved the fuel burning in the appliance adheres to UK government legislation in the Clean Air Act of 1993.

    2.  Have you checked out the qualifications and proven experience of the fire appliance installer?

    Gas Safe registration is a legal requirement for anyone carrying out gas work so look out for the appropriate yellow triangle.

    Adequate trained staff to install the appliance are a must have, so look for the :HETAS Approved Registration Certification. This ensures that you will get a suitable and safe heating appliance fitted correctly.

    3.  Worrying about security issues online? - Online purchasing is the most economical way to get your fire but often makes us worry about identity theft and insecure payment systems. So look out for the secure site seal in your browser and when you complete your transaction. This means that all transactions will be secure, private and tamper-proof.

    Service with a smile

    Once you are familiar with these safety and security regulations all you need to do is search out the retailers who will have these 3 safety controls as essential parts of their business. A family run business with a good experience is often the best help for friendly useful advice. The next stop is to consider how much heat you are going to need and what type of fire will be most economical for your resources. Another BIG decision!

    The main objective is always to keep warm safely, enjoy looking at and being near the flickering flames and warm glow of a fire so you can relax in your home.

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