Friday, 16 December 2011

Stoves Are For Life, Not Just For Sherry & Mince Pies

Carefully placed mistletoe and oversized stockings surrounding a fireplace is a quintessential Christmas image. However, it is a shame that fireplaces are not used more often, instead of being reserved for sherry and mince pies on Christmas Eve.

Given that open fires are notoriously poor heat emitters (typically producing efficiencies of just 10-15%) it is understandable that homeowners prefer to reach for the central heating controls rather than chopping another pile of logs. However, for those who still yearn for a roaring fire but don’t want all the heat to disappear up the chimney, there is an alternative – the wood burning stove. They might be a logistical problem for Santa, but wood burning stoves supply efficient and sustainable heat to a home and can happily justify the title of being carbon neutral.

Aga, probably most famous for their range cookers rather than their wood or multifuel stoves have put together this handy guide to explain why a wood burning stove is not just for the festive season – it can last a lifetime.

The Aga Minsterley Can Also Heat Water & Radiators
SO WHY SHOULD I CHOOSE A WOOD BURNING STOVE?

Some independence from the utility companies and the option of using a carbon neutral fuel are
just two of the reasons people choose a wood burning stove. With ever-increasing prices in gas and
electricity, the way we heat our home is more important than ever.

By depending less on the grid we can make our winter
fuel bills more predictable. Plus, stoves still give your
room an important focal point as well as delivering
up to three times more heat into the room than an
open fire.
The Little Wenlock Classic, for example, has
efficiencies of up to 81%, meaning that only a fraction
of the heat generated goes up the chimney. So, it
need no longer be a special treat to light the fire – its
additional warmth can be enjoyed on a daily basis.

ISN’T WOOD JUST AS EXPENSIVE AS GAS OR ELECTRICITY?

Not necessarily - especially if you source your wood locally. It can be a very cost effective way to
heat your home.
Of course the quality of wood can vary and it is important that you use well seasoned, dry wood as
too much moisture in the logs reduces the efficiency of the stove.
To find your nearest firewood supplier try
www.yell.com or alternatively check the Forestry
Commission’s website for a wood scavenging license
in your area.

DO STOVES NEED A LOT OF MAINTENANCE?
Not really. There are some checks that you should carry out on a regular basis to make sure you keep your stove in tip top condition. These include inspecting the ash tray and glass door for any cracks, the finish for any rust and checking the seals are tight.
All of these are important but take a matter of minutes and can prolong the life of the stove. Finally, once a year the chimney should be swept to remove any build-up of deposits – ideally by a sweep who is a member of the National Association of Chimney Sweeps. For more information visit
www.nacs.org.uk

ARE THERE ANY DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE STOVES AVAILABLE?
Yes – it’s definitely a case of getting what you pay for. If you choose a stove from the lower end of the market which may have been imported, it might be poorly constructed with little or no testing and could be potentially dangerous.
Here at AGA Stoves, testing is rigorous to ensure all imperfections are rectified before the product is sold. And to reassure homeowners, we’re one of the few manufacturers to display all the approvals on a data plate. It means that all the salient information is in one, clearly visible place.

WHAT IS THE LIFESPAN OF A STOVE?
The lifespan of a stove very much depends on the quality of its construction and the levels of maintenance undertaken throughout its life.
A cast iron stove can function for decades although you may need to replace some firebricks or a grate, but these are usually available from the more reputable manufacturers and spare-parts retailers, So if you choose to have a wood burning stove, the investment really can last a lifetime.

For The Complete Guide as well as for more information on any of the Aga Stove range visit http://agaliving.com/media/stoves/aga_stoves_christmas_21.10.11.pdf

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