The adventure of a new house with a woodburning stove
Woodburning stoves are now a highlighted feature of many properties and mentioned in many description as the special feature that they are. Just a quick check on Rightmove shows that Woodburning stoves attract buyers and are a highlight of many homes. It isn’t really surprising that buyers are attracted to a house with a Woodburning stove already installed as it saves you as the buyer the time and effort to install one yourself. Yet you may have never used a woodburning stove before and are new to the maintenance and upkeep of a woodburning stove and therefore have many questions. It certainly is a bit of an adventure having your first woodburning stove and if you find yourself having seen the perfect new home but are unsure of the woodburning stove that it contains we have compiled some tips on what questions to ask to ensure that the woodburning stove you are buying is safe to use.
1. Certificate of Compliance- does the stove have one
All woodburning stove installations should be registered with the governing body HETAS and issued with what is known as a certificate of compliance. This is a certificate that shows that the Woodburning stove has been installed by a competent installer and has been found to meet building regulations. It also shows that if you live in a smoke controlled area the woodburning stove that has been installed is one that meets DEFRA regulations and is permitted to be used in a smoke controlled area. The certificate of compliance should be included in your house pack when you purchase the property so it is worth checking that it is there or even asking directly for it. The certificate of compliance mentions the name of the installer and usually the brand of stove that has been installed- this is very important information as the installation is therefore traceable. If there is no certificate of compliance from HETAS it is worth checking with your local building control office to find out whether the installation was registered or not. Unfortunately there are still a lot of builders and even individuals who install woodburning stoves themselves and are therefore not registered. In this case it is definitely worth getting a chimney sweep or HETAS installer to come and carry out a service on the woodburning stove before you use it. These professionals can make sure that the woodburning stove is safe to use. It’s even worth asking to see the certificate of compliance when you are viewing the property, as you will want to know whether it is safe to use and whether it meets all current regulations.
2. Chimney sweep certificate
All woodburning stoves should have at least one sweep and service every year. This means a chimney sweep has attended to the woodburning stove and the chimney and given everything a good clean and check. This is important as there can be soot build up in the chimney from incorrect use of the woodburning stove or even just over time, which can erode the chimney liner and cause chimney fires. Regular sweeping and servicing of the chimney reduces this risk dramatically. Again if a registered Chimney Sweep was used there should be a sweep’s certificate available to you from the most recent sweep. Ensure that it has a date that is within the last 12 months on it. And don’t forget to have this arranged on an annual basis from that point onwards.
3. Ask for the manual
Every woodburning stove will come with a manual that contains useful information such as the warranty period, what is covered within the warranty period, size of glass, size of the rope seal and many tips on the best way to actually light your particular stove. Every woodburning stove varies slightly on the controls and best way of lighting so it is useful to familiarise yourself with the particular brand of woodburning stove installed in your new property. Knowing the heat output is also useful as it will tell you how hot the woodburning stove might get and whether it is even appropriate for the size of the room which it is situated in. Also knowing the brand and make is useful when looking for spare parts. Not all parts on a stove last for ever and these parts are often not covered in lifelong warranties. The main examples of this are the glass rope, fire bricks and glass. These can all wear out over time and will need replacing at some point. Parts such as the sealant glass rope are easily replaced others a chimney sweep is often your first point of contact to help replace parts.
Each woodburning stove also has a data plate somewhere attached to the actual stove. These are often on the back of a woodburning stove on a metal plate. They are usually accessed by being able to slide the plate out from the back or on a short metal chain hooked on the back. Some woodburning stoves have the data plate on the side of the stove. The manual of a stove often tells you where the data plate is located. The data plate has important information on such as the brand, heatoutput and date of manufacturing, which in turn tells you how old the stove is.
4. Carbon monoxide monitor
This is an essential part of every installation. Many people still think that a woodburning stove is not in danger of giving off carbon monoxide but they can do if installed incorrectly, or if soot builds up in the chimney liner and is not cleaned away or if the chimney liner has eroded. It is important for you to check that there is a carbon monoxide alarm installed in the same room as the woodburning stove. And give it a quick test too to ensure that it has a battery in it. Carbon monoxide alarms can safe your life and should be checked weekly alongside your smoke alarm. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram where we send out a weekly reminder to test your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarm.
Most importantly enjoy your new woodburning stove and the new home you have bought. A woodburning stove is not only a great heat source in your home but a wonderful cozy way to relax on a cold, rainy day.