Saturday 30 April 2011

Brilliant E-Motion

Is the Fire On The Right Gas Or Electric?



Not Sure?

The Brilliant E-Motion looks like a full depth gas fire, but is in fact a very slim inset electric fire. It has been designed by the makers of the Newdawn, Brilliant and features the same silent LED flame effect that will cost you less than £1 per year to run based on using the flame effect EVERYDAY for 5 hours a day.

The flames emerge from within the fuel bed and appear to be burning in a ribbed fireback, the unique flame effect will make almost anyone question whether they are looking at an electric fire or an actual gas fire!

Available in a choice of black, brass or silver finishes and features the Media Fret in black, aluminium or brass finishes allowing the flexibility to suit almost room style. The slimeline depth means that this fire can be fitted against a flat wall in any surround with a 76mm standard rebate. This means even houses without any additional depth can have an ultra-realisic fire without having to use a spacer.

The E-Motion boasts a slimline canopy, making the fire look even more realistic without a bulky canopy sticking out of the front of the fire. Highline master controls and concealed heater controls feature a thermostat and 1 or 2kW heat output settings.

This ultra-realistic fire is now on display at the Fireplace Megastore

Thursday 28 April 2011

Natural Gas - The Facts

The main ingredient in natural gas is methane, a gas composed of one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms. Millions of years ago, the remains of plants and animals decayed and built up in thick layers. Over time, the sand and silt changed to rock, covered the organic material, and trapped it beneath the rock. Pressure and heat changed some of this organic material into coal, some into oil, and some into natural gas — tiny bubbles of odorless gas.In some places, gas escapes from small gaps in the rocks into the air; then, if there is enough activation energy from lightning or a fire, it burns. When people first saw the flames, they experimented with them and learned they could use them for heat and light.

How Do We Get Natural Gas?

The search for natural gas begins with geologists, who study the structure and processes of the Earth. They locate the types of rock that are likely to contain gas and oil deposits.

Today, geologists' tools include seismic surveys that are used to find the right places to drill wells. Seismic surveys use echoes from a vibration source at the Earth’s surface (usually a vibrating pad under a truck built for this purpose) to collect information about the rocks beneath. Sometimes it is necessary to use small amounts of dynamite to provide the vibration that is needed.

Scientists and engineers explore a chosen area by studying rock samples from the earth and taking measurements. If the site seems promising, drilling begins. Some of these areas are on land but many are offshore, deep in the ocean. Once the gas is found, it flows up through the well to the surface of the ground and into large pipelines.

Some of the gases that are produced along with methane, such as butane and propane (also known as "by-products"), are separated and cleaned at a gas processing plant. The by-products, once removed, are used in a number of ways. For example, propane when stored in a liquid from is an alternative for people who do not have a natural gas supply and is normally stored in a large tank outside your home, this is know as LPG or Liquified Propane Gas.

We can also use machines called "digesters" that turn today's organic material (plants, animal wastes, etc.) into natural gas. This process replaces waiting for millions of years for the gas to form naturally.

How Does The Gas Get To Me?
Natural gas is moved by pipelines from the producing fields to consumers. Because natural gas demand is greater in the winter, it is stored along the way, you may have seen the large storage tanks near you, large round tanks that rise and fall depending on the amount of gas inside. The gas remains there until it is added back into the pipeline when people begin to use more gas, such as in the winter to heat homes.

How Is Natural Gas Used?

How Natural Gas Is Used

Natural gas is used to produce steel, glass, paper, clothing, brick, electricity and as an essential raw material for many common products. Some products that use natural gas as a raw material are: paints, fertilizer, plastics, antifreeze, dyes, photographic film, medicines, and explosives.

A majority of homes in the UK use natural gas as their main heating fuel, if they are connected to the national grid. Natural gas is also used in homes to fuel stoves, water heaters, clothes dryers, and other household appliances.

Tuesday 26 April 2011

Aga Fusion Pellet Stove

For those wanting to heat their house or large living space, but do not have a gas connection and want to to reduce thier carbon footprint should look not further than the Aga Fusion Pellet Stove.
The Aga Fusion Pellet stove combines the traditional clean lines and stunningly simply design that have become synonymous with Aga stoves with modern and technology to create a high efficiency stove that uses renewable wood pellets to heat even some of the larger living spaces!

Boasting Automatic control the Fusion means that all your heating needs can be catered for and programmed so the stove can be on and heating the house ready for when you return from work or so the house is warm when you get up. With up to a 13kW output, the Fusion provides beautiful warmth and is suitable for any large room. The AGA Fusion Pellet Stove efficiently, conveniently and cheaply converts biomass in the form of Wood Pellet Fuel to heat while giving off almost no wood smoke, helping to protect the environment.


PELLETS consist of sawdust or real wood scraps ground and pressed into small cylinders about 6mm in diameter and 20-30 mm in length. As fuel, pellets are completely environmentally
friendly, as they are made entirely of natural wood, without glue or other chemical compounds. Pellets have a high calorific value (4.7 to 5.3 kW/kg), and low moisture content.

Sunday 24 April 2011

How To Heat Your Home - Fires & Stoves

Nothing beats a fire - whether it's real or not. Before you shop, you'll first need to find out what type of chimney or flue your home has.

Traditional brick chimneys, which come complete with chimney stack and chimney pot on the roof, can be used for any type of fire.

Pre-fabricated flues, characterised by a metal flue pipe on the roof, are compatible with most gas fires.

Pre-cast flues, with no chimney breast, just a raised ridge tile on the roof, are usually found on modern homes. You should be able to fit a slim-line gas fire.

No chimney? No worries. If you've got a suitable outside wall, you can probably have a balanced-flue (these are sealed at the front so that gases don't escape into the room) or power-flue gas fire fitted (these use a fan to extract the gases).

No suitable outside wall? Then it's time to think about a gel or electric fire.

The real thing

For that authentic 'crumpets by the fireside' feeling, nothing can beat a real, or solid-fuel, fire. But in order to live this dream you must have a chimney and hearth in tip-top condition. And, just as important, you must check that you're not living in a Smoke Control area (to see where you stand on these rules take a look at - if you are, you won't be able to burn either coal or wood.

Opening up your fireplace

If you know that your home once had fireplaces that have since been concealed, don't despair. In many cases a fireplace will simply have been bricked up and then covered in plasterboard, all of which is easily removed. Once this is done, hold a lighted taper in front of the opening - if the flame is drawn inwards, you should have a clear chimney, but if it's burning outwards there is some kind of obstruction that must be cleared. From this point you will need to seek professional advice and practical help to ensure that you comply with the building regulations.


Like fires, stoves come in various fuel types (including electric, gas and multifuel), but by far the most authentic is a wood-burning stove. And, while they can blast out a tremendous amount of heat, they are becoming increasingly clean and energy-efficient (some as much as 90%).

Drugasar, a Danish company that has been making cast-iron stoves for over 100 years, has made particular advances, utilising the latest clean-burn technology to reduce smoke emissions. And, of course, burning wood is carbon neutral, so the amount of carbon monoxide produced is the same as if you just left it to rot in the forest.

It's essential to pick the right size stove for your room, to ensure it will meet your heating needs. Most companies, like Drugasar, will enclose a user guide that gives you plenty of maintenance tips that you'll need to get the best out of your stove and ensure its longevity. Some types of wood-burning stove can be used in smokeless zones, but it's worth checking your situation with your local authority (or go to It's also possible to fit some types with back boilers, to generate heat for radiators and hot water, too.

Stoves and boilers burning pellets made from waste wood currently have the greenest credentials. To find out more check out the Renewable Energy Association website,

Friday 22 April 2011

You Won't Know Carbon Monoxide Is There.

Keeping you and your family safe should be a major concern when having any gas appliance fitted, replaced or repaired. That's why we want to make sure you know about Carbon Monoxide (CO) and the steps you can take to keep everyone safe from harm.

Four Sigs That Could Show CO is Present:
  • Staining, sooting and discolouration on or around your gas boiler, fire or water heater.
  • Excessive Condensation or seeing/smelling smoke in the room the appliance is installed in.
  • Colour of pilot lights and other gas flames - these should burn mostly blue but if they are yellow or orange, Carbon Monoxide may be present (Note: This doesn't apply to fuel-effect, living-flame or decorative flame gas fires which are meant to have an orange or yellow flame.
  • A pilot light that frequently goes out could be another indicator that CO is being produced.
REMEBER: It's important to keep vents in doors, walls and windows clear and to check regularly that your chimney (if you have one) isn't blocked by birds nests or other debris.

What You Should Do If You Think Carbon Monoxide Is Present.
  • Stop Using The Appliance Immediately
  • Open All Doors and windows and leave the room
  • Call the Gas Emergency Services on 0800 111 999
How Do You Recognise The Effects Of Carbon Monoxide?
The symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning can be similar to flu and can include headaches, dizziness, confusion and extreme tiredness. If anyone in your home, friends, family or visitors show any symptoms please see a doctor immediately. It may not be CO poisoning, but it can't hurt to check.

How Do You Stay Safe From Carbon Monoxide
One sure way is for your gas appliance to receive an annual service by a Gas Safe Registered Engineer.
Always Make Sure Your Appliances Are Professionally Installed.
If you are having appliances such as a fire or stove installed please make sure the work is carried out by a qualified engineer. Always ask for a Gas Safe engineer to install and service your appliances.

Ask Your Landlord
If you rent your home, it is your landlord's job to make sure any gas appliances and pipework are safe. Check with them today to make sure a Gas Safe Engineer repairs and faulty appliances, performs safety checks annually (my landlord is carrying one out on my house right now) and issues you with a certificate to verify the work has been carried out.

Wednesday 20 April 2011

New Europa Electric Fire Suites

Europa has continued to extend their high quality products range, it now includes the Europa Brome, Europa Serdica and the Europa Blumberg complete firpelace suites.
These 3 Europa electric fire suites come with a choice a electric fire, and each uniquely designed firpelace surround the back panek and hearth. The optional fires have a range of finishes and all include a remote control which gives an added touch of class to the suites. Europa have also allowed the option for the electric fire, that has a maximum heat output of 2kW, to feature a realistic coal or pebble fuel bed effect as both fuel effects come with each suite, so if you change your decoration, or mind, you can alter the fuel bed effect.
As the size and success of Europa continues to grow it is always worth perusing their products to see what latest developments and designs have most recently been released.

Saturday 16 April 2011

New Electric Suites From Be Modern And Fireplace Supermarket

Fireplace Supermarket have recently launched the new range of Bemodern Electric Suites, incorporating the highly realistic new LED flame effect.

The new range of 'eco' electric suites make use of ultra low energy LED's, dramatically reducing the cost of running the flame effect. To put this in perspective, a standard 60W red bulb which is normally used to create the flame effect, if one of these standard 60W bulbs was used for the fire, 4 hours a day for 5 days that would cost you 1Kilowatt Hour which is normally around 16-18pence, or around £13-£15 for the year with 98% of this energy being wasted as heat. Comparatively when using an LED electric fire and running the flame effect for 5 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year would cost less than £2 per year based on the same tariff.

While this saving does not seem like much, only £10 a year, but this is just one way that LED's are cheaper and easier to run. Unlike standard incandescent bulbs, an LED can last for over 100,000 hours without need of replacing, where as you would be lucky to get just 10% of that life from a standard bulb before it blowing and you having to buy a replacement which doubles up on the savings of an LED fire.

The new range of Bemodern suites consists of five different models, The Ashford, Darras, Eden, Gosport all using a realistic wood effect finish and Lusso Eco finished in an Ivory stone effect. They are all designed to be fitted against a flat wall, ideal for those without the luxury of depth to inset a standard fire, they also come with the added luxury of thermostatic control for complete handfree use to maintain that perfect temperature without moving from your seat.

My personal favourite is the Ashford Eco suite, the dark or natural cherry wood effect both work well with the brass trim of the electric fire to accentuate the flame effect in the centre. The simple styling of the mantle with the subtle arch mean this fireplace works beautifully in both contemporary and traditional living spaces.

The Ashford boasts a 2kW heat output, more than enough to take the cold edge off of almost any sized room, which can be controlled either using the thermostat or in 1 or 2kW heat settings for that quick burst of heat.

Wednesday 13 April 2011

Europa Bingen Suite

The Europa Bingen Suite is a complete suite that consists of fireplace surround, decorative gas fire that sits in a traditional styled cast iron insert and with a beautiful granite hearth.
The Bingen has just been released by Europa and as far as we are aware is yet another first for Fires,Fireplaces,Stoves as we are yet again first to be publicising this complete natural gas suite's details online.
We are extremely excited about and impressed with the Europa Bingen Gas Suite, as it is truly a beautiful addition to the Europa ranges. The Bingen Suite has a 54inch mantel shelf and has a natural oak effect finish as does the rest of the surround. The hearth that is included with the Bingen gas suite is a black granite hearth, and it has the same width as the mantel shelf.
At this point you may be thinking, well what's so special about this gas suite then?, and rightly so, but here comes the pure excellence of Europa, unlike most other gas surrounds this surround does not have a back panel, it however has a solid cast iron insert that also acts as the back panel.
Europa give a choice of cast iron inserts, the Jubilee or the Lytton, and as expected Europa have yet again taken these well-known and popular cast designs and added little touches of brilliance. An example of this is adding the additional detail of including a fixed damper plate, that remains open and adds a stylish authentic touch to the insert. The Europa Bingen inserts are also highly complemented with the realistic coal fuel effect that is included with the open fronted decorative gas fire.
This is a truly magnificent package that has been stylishly put together by Europa, it wouldn't surprise me if they run out of stocks super quickly so if you like the look of the suite snatch it up quickly, and you'll be able to as Europa has managed to produce all this package and choice and keep the price more than affordable.

Sunday 10 April 2011

Bio Ethanol Fires: Embracing The Environment

Streamlined, beautiful to look at and evironmentally friendly, Bio Ethanol fireplaces are the hottest thing on the street right now. Except they're not on the street... they're on coffee tables, hearths and even set into the walls of homes across the UK.

These fires encompass everything people are looking for in a centrepiece in their home; requiring little or no installation, no flue or chimney and emitting little or no smoke or fumes; Bio Ethanol fireplaces only need a supply of the specifically developed fuel which arguably makes these fires so special.

Bio Ethanol is derived from plant crops and is available in two distinct types, the first is a light, colourless liquid that resembles water and the second is a gel form, it is completely safe to for use in domestic homes which need a focal point with no concern over pollution at all.

Some fires will work with both types and some only with one, the fuel is easily purchased from the supplier of your fire. Bio Ethanol fuelled fires are a simple to use and effective solution for homes which need a focal point but where building regulations may prevent the installation of a traditional fireplace, where the fireplace has been block off or indeed where there is no fireplace at all!

This is because some model's can actually be placed straight onto a coffee table, lit and enjoyed in the traditional fashion that families have enjoed for countless years.

So What Types of Bio Ethanol Fires are on the market and what might be the best option for you? The short answer to that question is that it depends on your taste. These are no restrictions because these fires are just so flexible in terms of styling to suit most contemporary or traditional homes. The most commonly available types of Bio Ethanol fires can be roughly separated into the following styles:

Wall Mounted

Wall Fires provide a more traditional way of enjoying real flames within your home; being mounted on the wall with brackets makes it easy for homeowners to choose exactly where to place the focal point in their living space, but unlike traditional fireplaces, you're able to change your mind and alter the location of the fire with probably less fuss than it takes to move that bookshelf in the corner!

Freestanding fires are just what they say they are... designed to stand freely on what would otherwise be an empty hearth or onto the floor. Much like the wall fires these are available in a range of styles to compliment or contrast both contemporary and traditional decor. The other advantage of Bio Ethanol fires is that they can also be taken outside!
The portable range of Bio Ethanol fires have no moving parts they are relatively weatherproof, although It is recommended that you check before purchase. These isn't anything better to create that special atmosphere during a summer evvening that a Bio Ethanol fire that could bring the extra little bit of sophistication to your event!

Popular among interior designers for thier contemporary finishes and the flexibility of their application, Bio Ethanol fires are poised to become the must have fires of 2011! Bio Ethanol fires are a stylish and convenient solution for those who lack a fireplace or even for adding a special touch to a dining room which otherwise might lack a certain warmth.

Many Questions spring to mind when considering the purchasing a Bio Ethanol Fire. The main one that comes to mind is What heat will it actually provide me?

Most of the larger Bio Ethanol fires would probably put out around 3kW of heat depending on where the fire is situated e.g. It would produce less heat if situated within an area of strong draft or near an opening door. 3kW is normally adequate to compliment existing heat sources and is more than which you would get with an electric fire.

Bio Ethanol Fires are easy to maintain and fill. To add fuel simply pour into the container and touch with a naked flame. To extinguish the flame simply replace the lid. Cleaning the fires only needs to occur every 3 or 3 uses and simply involves rinsing with soapy water. Read manufacturers safety instructions carefully before using and always follow precautions necessary with naked flames in a home and you should encounter no problems at all.

Tuesday 5 April 2011

Exempt And Authorised But Not Approved

In the last couple of months, we've heard and written about lots of DEFRA approved stoves for use in smoke control areas and also received a number of emails asking for guidance of what can and can't be done when burning logs.

Unfortunately we're not complete experts in the subject (but we're learning) but having spoken to a number of experts in the field we have quickly learned that we should get our terminology correct.

There's no such thing as smoke control 'approval'. Assuming an appliance satisfies DEFRA's test requirements, it becomes 'exempt'. On a similar basis, a fuel meeting DEFRA requirements becomes 'authorised'.

Assuming it is not against the guidance of the manufacturer, you can burn any 'authorised' fuels in any stove or fireplace in a smoke control area. BUT, and it's a big but, the list of DEFRA 'authorised' fuels does not include wood logs, so if you want to burn wood logs in a smoke control area, you must use a DEFRA 'exempt' appliance.

We strongly recommend you look at which provides detailed and in-depth detail of the legislative background to the UK smoke control areas, the general locations of the smoke control areas and list of both exempt appliances and authorised fuels.

Finally, because each governing body has differing mechanisms and timetables relating to legal status and exemption, the lists of exempt appliances and authorised fuels will be different in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

Sunday 3 April 2011

DRU 64 Clean Burn Stove

We've just had this review in from one of our readers, a great review of the DRU64CB wood burning stove:

I spent ages looking at different stoves. Really ages.

I wanted a stove that was capable of heating my 30x16' living room and 15x9' kitchen adjacent, that was really well made, would last for years, had clean contemporary lines yet not be boxy or like a tv set.

I'm really delighted with it, having had it now for 5 weeks, using it every single day.

It is fantastically easy to light. I scrumple up 3 sheets of newspaper, some kindling, a couple of large lumps of wood, and a big old log, light the paper, and shut the door. The whole lot is blazing within a minute or two.

I have found that a mixture of wood and homefire ovals makes for a really good combination. The ovals burn for a long time, and the wood produces the flames. Together they can make a spectacular blaze, really hot, and heat the place very quickly.

The controls really work well. You can damp it right down, for overnight burning. In the morning, the ash contains glowing coals and wood ash. A few sheets of newspaper, or even some kindling and a new log on top, shut the door and again its burning again.

The ovals produce more ash so the pan needs to be emptied daily. When just wood, only once a week or so as combustion is near complete.

If you want to get the fire roaring really quickly and hot, leave the lower ash pan door open for a while.

This stove has a side-opening door too, which is perfect for long logs when the fire is roaring. The brushed stainless steel door handle is removable and it works well, as it is always cool and you don't have to mess around with gloves or warn friends that the handle is hot, but you do sort of have to get used to the best way to orientate it - if I was designing the stove, I would make the handle easier to fit into the hole.

The finish is very nice as standard. The viewing window is really lovely, it's huge, with nicely rounded bow at the top which isn't twee or traditional but simple and perfect to look at. The firebox takes really big logs up to 18" long.

The instructions say that the fire does best to blaze to heat the room up, and then leave it for a while, and then blaze it again, if it isn't too cold outside. I think this is probably correct, rather than leaving it on a slow burn all day long. If you have quite a large firebox, as this is, then having it full and blazing really heats up the sides, whereas a smaller fire in the middle of the firebox doesn't get the cast iron hot enough and I wonder if much of the heat produced in a very small fire in a small firebox may go just up the chimney. It's a joy to see the stove really blaze anyway.

The control for the air flow entering at the base of the fire is very effective, but I have a one criticism, which is that at some low settings, it creates a situation where the dampening of the baffle plate begins to oscillate as just enough air is drawn in, and this can make a funny sound. It's easy enough to tweak it however to lose this.

Would I buy this stove again? Absolutely. I considered the Clearview Vision 500, for almost the same money, but it is a smaller stove (8kW instead of 9-11kW as this is), of steel rather than fully solid cast iron, and I prefer the DRU's design. Visually it is larger too, better suited to a big room.

The airwash really works very well. If it does go black, eg when burning very very slowly, or wood falls against the glass, then I have only ever needed to wipe it with a damp cloth to get it completely clear again.

So I'm very happy and would recommend to anyone else.

Friday 1 April 2011

What Is Bioethanol

Ethanol or ethyl alcohol (C2H5OH) is a clear colourless liquid, mainly produced by the sugar fermentation process, although it can also be manufactured by the chemical process of reacting ethylene with steam.
The main sources of sugar required to produce ethanol come from fuel or energy crops. These crops are grown specifically for energy use and include corn, maize and wheat crops, waste straw, willow and popular trees, sawdust, reed canary grass, cord grasses, jerusalem artichoke, myscanthus and sorghum plants. There is also ongoing research and development into the use of municipal solid wastes to produce ethanol fuel.

Ethanol burns to produce carbon dioxide and water meaning that it is perfectly suited to being used in fires as it does not require a flue or are restricted into the location of a gas supply. This means the bioethanol fires are both incredibly efficient and very very flexible, with portable models available to be taken outside in summer