The process of buying a new stove or wood burner can seem quite complicated, whether or not you’ve owned one before. Although there are lots of things to consider, the process doesn’t have to be a difficult one.

At Kindle Stoves, our experienced showroom staff are available to answer any queries you may have about your existing or new stove. Our expertise spans across all areas of wood burners and fireplaces. In order to help out, we’ve put together a list of questions we frequently hear from our customers.

Use the drop down links below to find more specific groups of questions:

General Stoves FAQs
Stove Size FAQs
Chimney FAQs
Stove Installation FAQs
Fireplace Regulation FAQs
Fireplace Hearth FAQs
General Fireplace FAQs
Stove Maintenance FAQs
Stove Trouble Shooting FAQs
Fuel Types for Stoves FAQs
Central Heating and Water Heating FAQs

If you have a question that isn’t featured in this list, or if you want more information on one that is, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team. We’ll be more than happy to assist you.

General Stoves FAQs

What type of stove is right for me?

This depends on a number of factors. The style and size of your property come into play, as well as the level of insulation you have in your home. Budget is also a key factor.

The best way to get a real feel for the type of stove that is right for you is to see one in the flesh. We recommend visiting one of our showrooms to get a better idea of what you’re looking for. Our experienced team can then advise you on the specifics based on your personal situation. Alternatively, you can take a look at our online buying guide.

Is running a stove economical?

Under the right circumstances, a wood burner can certainly save you money. According to the Stove Industry Alliance (SIA), a wood burner is 77% cheaper per kilowatt hour (kWh) to run than an electric fire, 29% cheaper than a gas fire, and around 43% and 50% cheaper than an oil and LPG fire.

Depending on the type of stove and your home, these savings can vary, but overall, it can be extremely economical to run.

Should I buy a wood burning stove or a multi fuel stove?

It’s best to work out which type of fuel you want to burn before choosing your stove. Some people know the type of fuel they want to use ahead of buying their stove, but others the decision can be trickier.

Many people opt for a wood burner as it is a carbon-neutral fuel and generally more eco friendly.

Others prefer the flexibility of having more than one option for fuel. Multi fuel stoves, also known as mineral-fuel stoves, can burn wood, smokeless fuel and coal. However, each of these materials burn in a different way, and the problem some multi fuel stoves have is that they are not optimised for burning all compatible fuels with equal efficiency.

However, multi fuel stoves can be equally effective, and with careful consideration into the brand and model, be as effective as dedicated wood burners.

Both options have their upsides and downsides, but overall it depends on your personal needs. Our staff can talk to you about your individual situation and help you come to the best decision for you.

Should I buy a cast Iron or steel stove?

There are advantages of both types of materials.

While cast iron heats up slower than steel, it does tend to hold onto the heat for longer after the fire goes out. While steel has a higher tendency for warping, cast iron can crack more easily – although these sorts of issues are exceptionally rare and are most often down to misuse of the stove.

The key thing to bear in mind is how good quality the stove is. A well looked after, high-quality stove of either steel or cast iron will give you decades of reliable service. Some stoves have a combination of both which can be a good option.

Which brand of stove should I buy?

Each stove brand has its own individual offering, and the one that is best for you is completely down to personal taste and budget.

For example, wood burners from Clearview, Woodwarm and ACR deliver great efficiency while offering a classic rustic look, whilst Contura, Westfire and Rais specialise in more modern designs.

At Kindle Stoves we pride ourselves on stocking only the highest quality wood burners, in a range of styles that can suit all types of aesthetics and budgets. Take a look at our brands here.

Stove Size FAQs

What size stove do I need?

This depends on how big your fireplace is and how strong you want your heating output to be.

To achieve a room temperature of around 21ºC when the external air temperature is at freezing, approximately 1kW of heat output is needed for every 14 cubic meters of space. This can be worked out by measuring the length, width and height of your room and multiplying the three figures together.

However, the number of walls, windows, size of fireplace and the age of property can also come into play, we advise that a surveyor assesses your property to make a professional recommendation. We offer a full site visit prior to preparing a quotation and will recommend some stoves that we think would suit your fireplace and room.

How big does my fireplace need to be for my stove?

Freestanding stoves in fireplaces need a gap around them of at least 100mm to the sides and 150mm at the top but ideally there should be 150+mm clearance to each side and 250+ mm to the lintel.

However, fireplaces can often be altered to accommodate stoves as needed. Talk to our team about the space you have and we will find a solution.

Will the size of the stove affect its heat output?

The bigger the wood burner, the bigger its heat output. Matching the size of the stove to what level of heat output you need is extremely important.

Chimney FAQs

Do I need a chimney?

In short, no, you don’t. But if you don’t have an existing chimney, you will need a twin wall, insulated flue system.

This will come off the top or the back of your stove and run either on an outside wall to the apex of the roof or it can run up through your house and out through the roof. We install many stoves this way and examples can be seen in our Gallery. We recommend a freestanding convector stove for these situations.

I have a chimney, how do I know if it is suitable for a wood burner?

Most existing chimneys are suitable for a wood burner. Even if a chimney breast or flue has been removed in part or is blocked, we can almost always find a solution. Our experienced team are available to conduct surveys in Bristol, Bath or SW London areas, so if you’re not sure, get in touch.

Does my existing chimney need a flue-liner?

It depends, but in most cases, yes. If your chimney is no larger than 9” or 10” square in diameter, is not on an external wall and is gas-tight, a stove can be connected to the base of your existing flue using appropriate flue components.

The base of the existing flue must be completely sealed and provision made for effective flue cleaning.

However, most stove manufacturers recommend they are used in conjunction with a flue liner. This is because:

  • It prevents leakage of smoke if there are cracks or gaps in the existing flue. (In properties built prior to the 1920s more than 70% of the flues that we test do in fact leak.)
  • It reduces the time taken for gases to pass through the flue because it is of a small diameter and has smooth inner surfaces. This reduces the likelihood of condensation in the flue.
  • It allows the possibility of adding insulation to the void between the outer skin of the liner and the original flue which also reduces the likelihood of condensation of flue gases inside the liner and also makes the stove easier to light. (Stronger draw from cold)

In short, a liner can help your stove work to its best potential. In practice around 9 out of 10 stoves that we install include the fitting of flue-liners.

What type of chimney or flue do I have?

The type of chimney or flue can often be identified by the age of a property.

As a general rule, homes built before the late 1960s will often have what are called Class 1 (capable of burning solid mineral fuel or wood) chimneys, while homes built after that time may still have Class 1 chimneys but could also have Class 2 flues or pre-cast flues (these are for gas appliances only).

Home surveys are the best way to be certain, and it’s best to conduct a home survey to be certain which type you have before choosing a new stove.

What size of chimney or flue do I need for a stove?

This depends on the manufacturer, but for burning coal or wood in a stove, the size of the chimney or flue required is usually 5” or 6” diameter.

Will I need to get my chimney swept before Installation?

Yes. It’s always advisable to have your chimney swept in advance of a new stove installation.

How often should I have my chimney swept?

After your stove has been installed, you should aim to have your chimney swept at least once per year, twice per year if you are burning coal. The stove liner supplier recommends twice per year if your stove is in frequent use.

Does all the heat created by the stove go up the chimney?

No. The efficiency of a stove usually indicates how much heat is lost up the chimney or flue. For example, a stove that is 80% efficient will lose 20% of the energy it consumes. However, much or all of this 'loss' may be essential to keep the chimney or flue operating correctly. Furthermore, the heat is often radiated back into the property through the chimney so the total energy loss is lower than the 20% stated.

Stove Installation FAQs

How much does it cost to install a wood burning / multi fuel stove?

It depends on the circumstances of your property and stove, and we would need to undertake a survey to give an accurate costing. However, as a guideline, a lined stove installation with Kindle Stoves would cost between £1,200.00 and £1,600.00. The cost of the stove is not included.

Can I buy my stove somewhere else but use your installation service?

No. We only install stoves that we have supplied. This way, we can ensure we offer you the full stove warranty as well as the 3-year guarantee that we offer on all our installation work.

Do I need planning permission to install a wood-burning stove?

No, you don’t need planning permission unless you are in a listed building or an area of outstanding natural beauty. Since April 2005, it has been a legal requirement to notify your local authority of all work done to a chimney, such as the installation of a new or replacement stove. However, with Heating Equipment Testing and Approval Scheme (HETAS) registered installers, this is done automatically on your behalf.

Fireplace Regulations Questions

Can any property have a stove?

Generally, yes. Any home is suitable, whether you have a flat, apartment or a house. However, amendments may need to be made. You’ll also need to check if there are any planning restrictions or lease terms which restrict your options. Generally, if a house has a chimney, it is usually fine to fit a stove, and if no chimney is present, a rigid flue system can be built, either straight up and through the roof, or out through the wall and up the side of the building.

When installing a wood burner, are there any building regulations I need to adhere to?

Yes, there ar building regulations when it comes to installing a wood burner, and the installation needs to be undertaken in compliance with these. A HETAS approved installer will ensure these are followed on your behalf, providing you with a HETAS certificate to confirm the stove has been fitted by a trained installer and in accordance with all necessary building regulations.

Will I need scaffolding?

Sometimes we do need to use scaffolding. When re-lining a flue, we need access to the top of the chimney, however in 8 out of 10 installations we can access the chimney top using ladders or via a roof hatch. If the stack is particularly difficult to reach or is very tall, scaffolding may be required.

Fireplace Hearth FAQS

What is a fireplace hearth?

The fireplace hearth is the floor of a fireplace, which usually extends into a room. It is often paved with brick, flagstone, cement or some other durable material.

Do I need a hearth?

Yes. All stoves need to sit on a non-combustible hearth and this should act as demarcation for the stove. These can be made from many materials, including slate, granite, concrete and toughened glass, and need to be a required thickness depending on the stove type and material chosen. At Kindle Stoves, we can supply and install a wide range of hearths and have samples in our showroom.

How big does the hearth have to be?

This depends on the type of stove.

Generally, a hearth must extend 500mm (20") in front of the stove and 150mm (6") either side.

When a stove is freestanding and not within a fireplace recess, the hearth must not be less than 840mm (33") square and the stove itself not placed closer than 150mm (6") to any of its edges.

I don't want to change my carpet. Can a hearth be made to fit?

Yes, as long as the dimensions comply. All of our hearths are made to measure to fit your fireplace exactly.

Do Kindle Stoves supply surrounds/hearths?

Yes, we have a selection of natural stone surrounds in bathstone or limestone as well as wooden beams in many different colours and sizes.

General Fireplace FAQs

I have an old gas fire in my fireplace, can Kindle Stoves remove it?

We can remove existing gas fires using a sub-contracted Gas-Safe engineer, and open out fireplaces to their original ‘built-size’. We can also manage all associated building work to include installing new lintels, dry-lining, rendering and plastering.

My fireplace is blocked up. Can Kindle Stoves open it up?

Yes. We can also undertake any breaking out and finishing work your fireplace may need to create the look you want. We can do the plastering but do not undertake tiling or painting

My fireplace is really small, is it big enough for a stove?

There are ways around small fireplaces. Freestanding stoves in fireplaces need a gap around them of at least 100mm to the sides and 150mm at the top but ideally there should be 150+mm clearance to each side and 250+ mm to the lintel.

In small fireplaces, we recommend bringing the stove forward using a rear-exiting flue to maximise the heat output to the room. Alternatively, you can choose an inset stove, which does not require these distances. If possible, we can also open your fireplace up to a larger size to accommodate the stove.

Can I keep my wooden fireplace?

It depends. All stoves have quoted minimum distance requirements to combustible materials including wooden fireplace surrounds, timber beams, plaster-board and wallpaper. These distances must be maintained in order to comply with UK Building Regulations. In some cases it is possible to use heat shields to protect combustible materials located within these stated distances. Generally, beams over fireplaces are the best option for a wood look as they can be lifted high enough above the stove to maintain the minimum distances required – usually 450mms.

Do I need an Air Vent?

Maybe. If the stove is over 5kw in output, a permanently open-air vent is required. This is usually a vent put in a suspended floor or through an external wall. Alternatively, you can use an external air kit attached to the stove with a pipe connected to an external wall or ventilated space under the floor.

However, homes built after 2007 need an air-vent, regardless of the stove’s output. Depending on the fireplace position and stove type, it may be possible to connect a vent directly to the stove.

Stove Maintenance FAQ

What maintenance does my stove need?

Other than the chimney being swept, not much. We offer a stove maintenance and flue sweep service between February and August every year, where we check the control, door seals and general condition of your stove and sweep your flue. Replacement of the internal fire bricks and door rope are part of the general maintenance of your stove and easy to do yourself – every few years.

How often do I need to clean out the ash?

If you’re only burning wood and not coal, you can allow a bed of ash to build up on the grate and maintain it at a manageable depth (~3-5cm).

When starting a new fire rake it back down to the manageable depth then make a small hole through the ash-bed in the centre of the grate. This allows air from the primary air supply to draw up from under the grate (with multi fuel stoves only) and provides as much air to the fire-lighting stage as possible.

For coal, remove all the ash from the grate.

Empty the ash-pan when full, around once a week or fortnight.

There is smoke coming from my stove when I light it, what is wrong?

This is called “downdraught” or “reversal” and indicates that the air in your flue is cold and heavy. This happens in very cold, still weather, and if your stove has not been used for a long time or in warmer weather.

However, there’s normally nothing to worry about. It is an atmospheric condition and does not mean there is anything wrong with your stove or flue.

You know if your flue is in reversal if you can feel cold air when you put your hand inside your stove. To avoid smoke coming into the room, you will need to warm the flue.

We recommend burning a couple of firelighters on their own or holding a hair dryer on the flue pipe for a few minutes. After this, light the fire using more kindling than usual. You can download our downdraught PDF for further information.

Stove Trouble Shooting FAQ

How do I light my new stove?

You can start a fire quickly by using a natural firelighter or by scrunching a few sheets of newspaper and placing them beside a small log. You can then cover this with a large handful of small dry kindling. Prop the kindling against the log to stop it collapsing. Include a few thin pieces of wood in the kindling, as these will catch fire easily and help the fire to build.

My new stove is giving off a chemical smell. Why?

The first time you light the stove the paint on the stove will undergo a curing process. This process produces a thin haze of smoke and a ‘hot’ smell. It is best to keep the fire small for this initial burn and it’s also worth opening a window to allow the smoke to escape. Do not touch or wipe the paint surfaces while this curing process is taking place

My stove is not getting hot enough. Why?

There are a few reasons why your fire might not be hot enough. Often, it can be due to not establishing your fire before adding a larger log. Alternatively, it may be because the wood you’re burning is not seasoned enough.

To establish your fire, at the lighting stage:

  1. Open all the air slides / spin-wheels according to the stove’s instruction manual.
  2. Light the paper/fire lighter and wait for the initial quantity of kindling to blaze.
  3. Add a couple of large kindling sticks / small logs and allow these to set alight fully.

By now, you should be able to close the primary air supply and then control the ‘burn-rate’ of the fire with the secondary ‘airwash’ air supply for the remainder of your fire. (You may occasionally need to open the primary air supply again for a short period to help a log added to a bed of embers catch fire.)

We suggest that you build the size of the fire steadily until a good operating temperature has been achieved then ‘throttle-back’ the secondary air supply until a steady burn-rate is established.

It will take some time to get to know your stove but you will soon learn what air slide positions work best. A fire allowed to build gradually will bring the stove to the correct operation temperature and will burn efficiently and larger logs can then be added – a couple/few at a time is fine. Be aware that your wood should be under 20% moisture.

My stove glass is blackening up. Why?

This is a sign that the wood you are burning is contains more than 20% moisture or that your fire is not hot enough before being throttled back - please see the answer above for how to establish a hot fire.

How do I turn my stove down?

Make sure you have read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and that you are clear which position is closed for the air controls. Check that the stove rope is intact and creating a seal around your stove door and glass.

For a Clearview stove, you can tighten your handle to ensure the door is tightly closed. Anti-clockwise makes it tighter, clockwise loosens it.

Fuel Types For Stoves FAQ

What type of fuel can I burn?

This depends on the type of stove you have. If you have a multi fuel wood burner, you can burn both seasoned wood and coal (although smokeless coal in a smoke control area – see below for definition). However, please note that coal and wood should not be burnt at the same time as this may cause your liner to degrade.

If you have a wood only wood burner, you can only burn wood.

What does ‘Smoke Control’ Area Mean?

If you live in a smoke control area, it means you can’t emit smoke from a chimney unless you’re burning an authorised fuel or using exempt appliances, eg burners or stoves. You can see the list of authorised fuel here, and the list of authorised appliances here.

You can be fined if you break the rules.

Do I live in a smoke control area?

Many parts of the UK are smoke control areas. The Bristol and London areas are both smoke control areas. Double check your location here.

Just because you live in a smoke controlled area doesn’t mean you can’t have a wood burner. Authorised fuel and appliances allow anyone anywhere to have a wood burner.

Is coal smokeless fuel?

Common coal known as "Lump Coal" or "House Coal” produces a lot of smoke, but multi fuel stoves should only use ‘smokeless coal’ as it is better for the stove and also meets smoke output regulations.

What is the difference between a solid fuel and multi fuel stove?

Wood burning stoves can only burn wood, while multi fuel stoves can burn both wood and smokeless fuel.

While this may sound obvious, there’s a reason that the two types exist. Wood burns best with an air supply over the top of it, no ash pan or grate is required and therefore is burnt on the base of the stove.

However, smokeless fuel requires a supply of air from the bottom, hence a grate is required and an ash pan to catch the ash so the supply of air can be kept clear.

Although you can burn wood in a multi fuel stove, due to the air supply through the grate wood burns much quicker and therefore less efficient requiring more frequent loading.

Some stoves have an optional wood conversion kit, which cuts down the air through the grate and slows the burning.

Central Heating and Water Heating FAQs

Can my stove provide water and central heating?

Yes, but not all stoves are able to do this. You need to select a stove that offers central heating connections so you can use your stove to heat you room, water and radiators.

Some stoves come with boilers built-in so all you need to do is connect the system via the pipe outlets at the rear – you may need a plumber to do this element of the works and many boiler stoves are not suitable in smoke control areas.

Further Help & Advice from Kindle Stoves

If you still have questions, then we are more than happy to help. You can contact us on 01225 874422 / 01179 243898 or via email at info@kindlestoves.co.uk. Alternatively, you can visit one of our showrooms and speak to our expert in house staff.

Salamander Hobbit