• Flaming Fire Accessories

    We all know and love the inviting warmth a fire brings to a room. But, did you know that your fire can be embellished with a few simple accessories? Fire accessories can contribute to the safety, practicality and whole aesthetic of your fire. It can be a confusing and expensive process deciding what accessories are right for you and your fire. So, we’ve picked out our favourites to make the whole process that bit easier and make sure your fire is kitted out for the fast-approaching winter months.

    Tiger Wood Burning/Multi Fuel Stove from £384.99

    Safety first!

    Fire safety is always the number one concern for parents, pet-owners and safety-conscious fire owners, so, these accessories can make your fire that little bit safer to make sure you can enjoy relaxing in front of those flickering flames without the need to worry.

    Fire Screens

    No matter what fire you have sparks can easily fly and there’s no better way to protect you, your family and your home than with a fire screen to block any unexpected sparks or debris.

    Not only this, fire screens, particularly those that can attach to the wall, are a great way to prevent those who aren’t aware of the dangers of fire, such as children or pets, from getting too close.

    Although fire screens are a great means of protection against the dangers of fire they are also a great decorative feature of your fire. While the fine mesh protects from unexpected sparks, it still allows heat and light through meaning the benefits of your fire can still be felt by the whole room.

    Your fire is more than likely the focal point of your room and it can be a worry that a fire screen can detract from this. However, there are now a wide range of styles available from contemporary to traditional, so, whatever your taste there should be a spark guard to improve your fire safety and embellish your fireplace!

    For more information on fire screens see our previous article: Fire Screens -  Safety and Summer!

    De Vielle Black 4-Fold Screen £29.99

     

     

    TOP TIP: A folding screen is a great choice for adjusting around your fire surround and can be easily stored when it is not in use!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Buckets and Hods

    Whether it is coal or wood keeping your fire burning, buckets and hods are both safe and practical storage methods, and, with a great range to choose from you can easily find the perfect match for your fire.

    De Vielle Log, Kindle and Match Holders £59.99

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Buckets and log holders, like the De Vielle Log, Kindle and Match Holders featured above, are the perfect accessory for any fire, whether you want the practical storage of solid fuels or a purely cosmetic item. Buckets come in a variety of styles, sizes and colours to provide the perfect finish to your fire and store your fuel safely and stylishly.  

    De Vielle Ash, Shovel and Holder Set £24.99

     

     

     

     

     

     

    A great addition in this range is the De Vielle Ash Shovel and Holder Set. This product is perfect for cleaning out your fire safely, to ensure it continues to run efficiently, or, is a great accessory for contributing to the theme of your fireplace!

    Companion Sets

    De Vielle Turn Handle Companion Set 25" £34.99

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Last but not least are companion sets! Ranging in size and style these are perfect for any fire and consist of the following: brush, coal tongs, shovel and poker. Despite their practical uses these can still provide a decorative finish to your fire.

    De Vielle Coal Bucket/Companion Set £34.99

     

     

    TOP TIP: Purchasing a coal bucket with a companion set is a great way to lower the cost and storage space of your accessories!

  • It’s raining again! Light up your gas stove!

    Consider these points :-

    - You would love a multi fuel burning stove but have no facilities or time to chop logs or store them or space for coal?

    - You come in late and tired from work?

    - You’ve got soaked putting the car away?

    - House feels cold and damp?

    - The children come home from school hungry and you have no time to set a fire?

    Well if you have installed a gas fires stove you can just flick a switch and you will have instant heat and a wonderful welcoming fire to sit by.

    This is the Broseley Canterbury Slimline gas stove.

    I agree this is not everyone’s choice but as far as instant heat goes nothing can beat a gas fired stove with either log or coal effect flames.

    Gas stoves are inexpensive to run and also highly efficient.

    Why consider a gas stove?

    - The main advantage gas stoves have is that they are at maximum efficiency and heat output in a matter of seconds.

    - Ideal system for an older person who may have health problems and be unable to kneel/chop wood.

    - Gas stoves will provide a stunning focal point for any room.

    - They come in traditional or modern designs, and have the same traditional cast iron body as have multi fuel burners. You can have log effect flames or coal.

    - These gas stove are designed to look like traditional log burning stoves. Lighting up will provide the same glow and even the noise of burning.

    - Conventional flue gas stoves usually require an existing chimney – or a twin wall system. However if this is a problem for you there are also flueless stoves available which do not require that chimney.

    - Easy to operate – you can even have remote control switching.

    - No fuel storage problems.

    There are many advantages to consider….especially if you already have a gas connection to a traditional fire in your fireplace. E.g. The Tiger gas stove with log effect.

    Price wise they are similar to good multi fuel systems, only slightly more expensive but well worth the extra expense. If you decide to go for one of these and are looking around for a good supplier online also consider taking out finance if you cannot afford to pay outright. A good supplier will be able to offer this, have all the relevant safety certificates in place and best of all good customer service.

    It maybe summer now and most of us only need that extra heat occasionally but we’ve had plenty of summer rain recently and there will plenty more of that to come in autumn and winter. Be prepared!!!

  • AGA STOVE - summer is a PERFECT time to purchase!

    Summer is perfect to give you time to research thoroughly before purchasing a new Aga stove and to decide if you will need any finance to help. You will notice these fires are much more solid and are very substantial but as with all things good you get what you pay for, so they are more expensive!

    Lots of things to consider when you are making your decisions just as there are with other types of stoves and fireplaces.

    • Firstly I have often wondered what makes an AGA stove better or different than a normal wood burner type?
    • In fact what exactly do the letters A G A actually mean??

    Well …. A G A is actually the letters that stand for the name of a Swedish company who invented a system of safer storage for the acetylene gas used in lighthouses. Aktiebolaget Gas Accumulator! The reason these stoves are now so successful is based on their heavy iron castings, or sometimes with the more contemporary designs they can be heavy duty steel .

    Whatever the casting they have the AGA attributes which retain and absorb heat. So that answers the first two queries!

    Now consider the AGA stove reputation:

    • AGA’s have been around for over 80 years and have always been at the forefront of being known for their top class engineering.
    • They are cast iron or heavy duty steel, employ the best new technology – they have all the best traditions embodied in them!
    • AGA stoves look the part! Their appeal is timeless and they are the best around making a stunning centrepiece in any home.
    • In winter they are great for leaving on all night; they will save on any normal central heating system costs as they will help to heat the whole house.
    • They can be wood or multi fuel burning.

    E.g. The AGA Ellesmere 5 multi fuel Wood burning stove. This blends all the traditional AGA values but with a contemporary look. It also has a wonderful large viewing window so you can still feel like you are sitting by an open fire. It has a top or rear flue outlet.

    Do not discount getting an AGA if you have a very modern contemporary home – there are designs which will be perfect for this look too.

    e.g.  The Lawley AGA stove. This wood burning stove is approved by DEFRA for use in smoke exempt areas.

    Looking for an AGA may mean you need finance so now is a good time to do it whilst you are not fighting with higher heating bills and trying to heat your house in efficiently. Look for offers of interest free credit and shop around to find the best deals for you but be sure to check out the dealers who have a good customer service and are registered for all the safety measures and qualifications, e.g. DEFRA approved.

     

  • Love solid fuel and want a stove?

    Traditionally we all associate solid fuel with coal – many of us actually growing up with that open grate fire with a bucket of coal next to it. It has to be said that it is warm, great to sit by and comforting to sit and stare into the flames.

    Today the way forward for a more efficient and cleaner fire is to install a stove. Solid fuel options are wide and yes, you can still burn coal if you wish but it is not advisable. Coal is not the most efficient or the most economical.

    In many areas we have governments ‘The Clean Air Act 1993’ to abide by. This Act of parliament also protects us from other environmental air pollutants….black smoke from industry and residential misuse of fuel. This can often refer to the burning of coal.

    Consequently many residential areas now have a specific ‘Smoke Control Area’ (Gov.uk). This is to prevent or reduce air pollution and will prevent the use of coal and wood on open fires.

    If you live in one of these areas you will only be permitted to burn smokeless fuel products.

    Now for the GOOD NEWS!

    You are permitted to use solid fuels if you have an EXEMPT appliance.  The Statutory Instruments (Orders) contained in the Clean Air Act have made stoves, ovens and wood burners exempt. All good brands of these appliances will have passed tests to show that they are capable to burn smokey types of solid fuel but without emitting smoke.

    This is just another reason to buy your stove from a reputable retailer.

    Coal facts

    The coal with the highest carbon content is the best and cleanest type of coal to use.

    Top of the list as being best is Anthracite, second is bituminous coal, and third is sub bituminous coal and lastly lignite.

    Anthracite has least impurities so will produce most energy. For the environmentally conscious this means; the low sulphur content produces virtually no smoke or particulate emissions. It is also safer in some respects as it means the fire needs less attention and there is less risk of chimney fires.

    There are various forms of good smokeless fuel available under different manufacturer’s brands. The most common one to be found is a type of briquette – often rounded in shape.

    IMPORTANT  INFORMATION

    Household coal or smokeless solid fuel should not be used in a primarily Wood Burning stove. Multi fuel stoves are ok – the design of pure wood burning stoves is different!

    A pure wood burning stove has a flat floor – the multi fuel stove will have a raised grate. The reason for this is simple – wood requires air from above to burn well, whereas coal and other smokeless fuels need air from above and below. Also these solid fuels do produce more ash than wood and this will need to be cleaned out regularly.

    Do not use household coal on a multi fuel stove – it produces a volatile yellowish grey smoke and this can damage your chimney.

    CHECK your appliances manufacturers’ manual for indications of which fuel is best for your stove.

    I think it’s safe to confirm that before you buy you must discuss your purchase with the retailer. Choose a reputable company who has the necessary health and safety certificates . Before you contact them decide which type of fuel you will be wanting to burn, which will be the most economical and easiest for you to obtain.

    Then make your choice.

     

  • Fire Screens - safety and summer!

    You may have now got a wonderful fireplace which has become the focal point of your room. Everyone will be drawn to sit and admire the flames in an open fire or just get warm by a flickering log burner. In winter the warmth is what attracts us to fires, in summer we just need to see the flames to feel comfortable. However what draws us as adults to the fire, will hypnotise and attract other members of the family too who are not able to be aware of the dangers.

    Heath and safety are definitely at the forefront of all parents or pet owners’ minds when we talk about fires. Additionally if you are caring for an elderly or infirm person, you need to know they will be ok by the fire.

    Whether you have a log burner or use smokeless fuel everyone needs to be aware of the dangers a slight spark can cause.

    Then we have SUMMER!!! Hopefully we will get some summer weather and some long warm days when we will not want to light our fires. At this time it is also sometimes very useful to have a decorative fire screen.  The traditional style fire screen is often used for this purpose E.g. De Vielle black 4 fold screen.

    The’ who’,’ what’ and ‘where’ TIPS for choosing your fire screen :

    Who are you protecting? Children love fire – they cannot help but be drawn to it. It does not just stop at looking either….they want to touch as this is their natural instinct. Learning that tender young skin will burn is a lesson you never want your child to physically experience. So the best fireguard for you is an all round firm screen which could be attached to the wall or surround. Small mesh, well away from the heat source, and which is too far away for anything flammable to catch fire or feel the burn. E.g. the best choice would be an adjustable size nursery fire screen.

    What type of stove/fire do you have? If you have an open fire burning any type of fuel whether it is logs or solid fuel, there will be sparks at some time during the burning process. Initially we worry about a spark coming out and burning someone close to the flames, however it is prudent to be aware also of the damage that a single spark can do to a carpet or piece of fabric in close proximity to the fire. Many people will have a fashionable carpet/rug in front of the hearth and no matter what fabric this carpet is made of it will ether burn or melt. E.g. the best choice for this type of fire is a heavy duty fire screen with a fine mesh.

    N.B. The purpose and use of fire screens has changed over the last 200 years. In the 17th and 18th century fire screens were basically used just for shielding everyone from the intense heat as the fire was the only source of room heating. Then by the mid 19th century they became decorative features as wood burning stoves were introduced. The fire screens we have today are now also mainly decorative with the added asset of being a protection from the sparks.

    • Where is your fireplace ? Wherever you have your fireplace it will no doubt be an integral part of your overall room décor. Not only the room but also the fire surround itself will be part of the whole theme. Consequently before picking your fire screen, if it is for more of a decorative purpose as is traditional, check out all the different styles available – contemporary, stylish, folding, traditional style, spark protection a prime worry, there are plenty to choose from.

    Folding fire screens are useful as they can be stored easily when not in use and also adjust for your fire surround  E.g. De Vielle black 3-fold classic screen.

    The best choices for fire screens are made after consideration of all the facts stated. It is usually recommended that you purchase your fire and fire screen from the same source. Have a word with the experts on what type would be best for you. Buying your fire screen online is often most competitive for pricing and you can easily see the National recommended safety standard qualifications on the suppliers web site.

  • How fire ready is your chimney?

    You may think a chat about chimneys is irrelevant to your aim of buying a good log burner or fireplace – but in actual fact if you don’t look after your chimney or have the correct flue for your fire you will be disappointed with your fire.

    Wrongly fitted flues, dirty chimneys, wrong types of flues – these all can add up to either smoke filled rooms, possible fires in the chimney cavity and also a great heat loss. Your fire will just not burn correctly as there will not be sufficient up draught!

    A truly efficient working chimney will naturally create adequate ventilation – you will get a healthier atmosphere and there is much less chance of condensation.

    Chimney fires used to be associated with history and old fashioned coal fires ..…but the BBC News reported (25th January 2016) that chimney fires are on the rise. A Fire service report states that the reason for this is the latest popularity with log burners and open fires.

    First let’s clear up the confusion between chimney and flue.

    • The ‘flue’ is the working part of the chimney. The flue is the core of the chimney and its job is to take all the products of burning, i.e. fumes and gases , up and out into the atmosphere.
    • The ‘chimney’ is the structure built around the flue – the flue being perhaps a core of clay lining or a concrete flue liner – on top of this will be a suitable chimney pot or a cowl.
    • A ‘flue pipe’ is the metal pipe which will connect your fire appliance to the flue.

    A good flow of air is necessary for any chimney to work well and for the flue to be able to maintain as high a temperature as possible. Sometimes now with new builds the chimney is insulated to keep the smoke warm. Wood burning appliances are now very popular but they burn at a cooler temperature than coal – if the smoke is kept warm it lessens the chance of turning into tar deposits as it condenses.

    The flow of air is known as ‘chimney draw’ – to be successful hot flue gases need to be maintained between 150ﹾC and 500ﹾC.  This will create a good up draught – the correct sizing, type and installation of the flue are therefore very important.

    The correct operation of your new appliance is also part of the success of the chimney draw.

    Finally – you do need to regularly check your new fire appliance and expertly sweeping flues/chimneys is as important now as it ever was! So a flue pipe with a cleaning hatch may be a necessary part of the installation of any new fire appliance. E.g. bend with cleaning door.

    ESSENTIAL TIP:

    It is advisable to only purchase your fire and necessary equipment e.g. flue fittings from a registered reliable supplier. Check the supplier has the correct knowledge of all regulations and safety aspects – a good online supplier will have a sound customer service base and be able to help you out and give good advice with any queries you may have.

    You also should know that UK Building Regulations, European and British Standards cover the construction and application of any chimney whether it is serving solid fuel or wood burning fires. The building regulations not only cover new built chimneys but also in some cases for relining old chimneys – this applies when there may be some alteration of actual change of the heating/fire appliance inside.

  • Fireplaces Suites to Suit You

    Nothing compares to relaxing in the warmth in front of a glowing fire, and yet most of us have never realised how important the actual fireplace and hearth area is in that comfort.

    Apart from a fireplace being a central feature in any room, fireplace efficiency can save you money.

    The design of a good fireplace consists of 3 main features, the hearth, the back panel and the mantelpiece.

    The Hearth: will set your fireplace apart from the rest of your décor by using separate patterns/non combustible materials e.g. in a contemporary setting it may be e.g. smooth clean Portuguese Limestone, Brick or marble.

    Hearths are also useful safety features, not just decorative. The hearth is a valuable safety feature when using a multi fuel or wood burning stove. Apart from protecting your carpet or other floor surface from any falling ash or burning embers they are great for storing any regularly used accessories e.g.

    Or storage of fuel e.g. logs or solid fuel in a coal bucket.

    Fireplace efficiency can be improved by making sure it is clean – regularly empty the ash from the bottom pan and clean out soot – hence the need for a ‘companion set’ close by!

    Safety wise a hearth is a recognisable area which alert children or guests to be aware of the actual heat from the fire or stove itself.

    The Mantlepiece: A stone mantelpiece looks luxurious, and is a focal point in any room décor/design. It is now mainly decorative but still has to be considered an important feature in a fireplace suite. It can be used to add accessories which accentuate the fireplace suite design and the room.

    Marbles, granites and limestone are all favourites, but have to be carefully selected for their quality. Intense heat from a solid fuel fire may crack some stone. Limestone is the exception which is why it is popular, additionally e.g. Cotswold Jurastone has a luxurious quality.

    The Back Panel: This will normally be of the same non combustible material as the rest of the fireplace surround. The design and purpose will depend on the type of stove you require.

    The back panel is often not considered as important but actually is the foundation of the whole design of the fireplace suite. Whether you choose contemporary or classical the back panel will echo and reinforce the look of your room design.

    Conclusively choose your fireplace suite well, use it as a focal point and consider the type of fire you are going to install to match your chosen look.

  • 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!

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