Wednesday 29 February 2012

Top Tips For Saving Money On Wood

The money-saving aspect of owning a woodburning stove is undoubtedly a major factor in your decision to invest. Wood tends to be quite a lot cheaper than other fuels, and when combined with the energy efficiency of modern stoves, the savings soon add up – and without any detrimental effects on the warmth of your home. Plus, you get to enjoy a wonderful focal point to your living room or kitchen, with the range of designs and sizes available nowadays able to meet the decor requirements of almost every household.
However, there are steps you can take to keep your heating costs to a minimum. By reducing the amount you spend on wood for your stove, you’ll save even more when it comes to maintaining a comfortable temperature and benefiting from a roaring fire too.
To maximise the savings of wood, you should try to buy logs for your wood burner in bulk. It’s no good buying bags of logs from the garage, for example, as the price will be higher than the average local supplier would charge because of the added convenience. Instead, source wood locally and if you have the space, order a year’s worth or more of logs and season the wood yourself.

This option comes with added benefits too. By buying from a local, sustainable source you’re being kind to the environment – wood is a virtually carbon-neutral fuel when a chopped tree is replaced. Wood removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as it grows, and puts it back when it is burned, so replacing a felled tree with a new plant makes the fuel sustainable. And by using a local supplier, you’ll keep transportation emissions down. Another advantage is you can decide when to burn the logs, and ensure the wood is fully seasoned before you place it in your woodburning stove – this in turn will save you money as seasoned logs burn better, generating a lot more heat than logs with a high moisture content.
Of course, the greatest way to save money on wood for your stove is to get it for free. This can be easier than it sounds, and with a bit of planning and effort you should be able to find some free wood. Always remember, though, not to burn wood that has been chemically treated or painted.
You should contact local tree surgeons, builders’ yards, timber merchants and wood-based manufacturers to see if they have any spare wood you could take off their hands. While tree surgeons often sell hardwoods, you may be able to get free softwoods as this will save them having to get rid of it – similarly with builders and businesses, if you collect the unwanted wood they’ll likely be happy to give it to you for free as it saves them having to remove it as trade waste.
Also, look out for any unwanted wood that is burnable when visiting the tip or recycling centre. Other possible sources include when your neighbours have building work done, and perhaps they have wood they no longer want. Ask around and see if friends and family have spare wood – many people might be glad to be rid of it and if it can be used, it’s a waste to see it end up at a landfill site. In addition, you can check your own home and garden for spare wood, and next time you prune your trees, be sure to keep the fallen branches.
With free wood, you will need to chop and season and store the logs, but if this is possible it does provide an excellent way to save money on wood and heating costs.

Monday 27 February 2012

Increasing The Value Of Your Home

Modern homes are generally no longer built with fireplaces as the need for open fires is no longer part of our lives and unused chimneys can be drafty. For many this is a pity, as a fireplace can make an interesting and very exciting feature of any room, and in particular a well designed and presented living room that needs something to make it look the part, a well chosen fire, fireplace or stove could even add to the value of your property!
According to one source, homes with fireplaces have a higher resale value because they are considered a luxury feature, adding class and sophistication to a home.  They recommend: "If you live in a home without a fireplace and are thinking of adding one to improve resale value, the electric fireplace can be a good option because this type of fireplace is often the least expensive to purchase and install." Installing a woodburning stove into a period or rustic style property will add a touch of character to a room and further entice buyers to part with that extra bit more cash!
There is little need to explain that fireplaces have been with us for centuries; visit any almost any historical building and you will be presented with a majestic fireplace of an immense size, designed to burn and heat the surroundings, sometimes even used to cook over, all the while with a massive chimney to draw the air away. Moving on and the likes of Adams style fireplaces became the norm – all plaster and carvings – followed in the Victorian era by the beautifully tiled fireplaces so popular and common in even the smallest of homes of that era, each and every one a delight to look at and a thing of beauty.
Of course, in modern times it is quite possible you may live in a house that was built some time ago, and in cases where this is so it is very likely that a fireplace was at one time present in one – or in many – rooms in the house. In Victorian properties it was common practice to have a fireplace in the downstairs and upstairs rooms adjoining the chimney – or in the case of bigger houses with more than one chimney a variety of fireplaces – and over time it is likely that these have been boarded over, sealed and forgotten about.
Tapping the walls where the chimney breast is will give you an idea of whether or not there is a hollow behind, and it is isn't unusual to remove the cladding and find an intact and very beautiful fire surround, sometimes complete with original iron fittings and untouched tiling, as many renovations during the 1950’s and 1960’s centred in modernising houses and hiding away antique features. See this previous article about opening up your fireplace.
Restoring old fireplaces is not a difficult process, especially if yours has simply been hidden away in the years gone by, and when it comes to redesigning a room around a Victorian, Edwardian or other fireplace there is much scope for beauty and style. But be aware, installing a vintage style fireplace in a modern new-build can look very out of place.
The availability these days of modern feature fireplaces is another element of interior design that has taken on a life of its own; some very modern styles of gas powered fireplaces can be found that are both beautiful to look at and extremely functional, and everything from wood burning stoves to minimalist and very extravagant brushed steel designs can be incorporated into fireplaces these days.
Whether your desire is for an antique fireplace or a more modern stone design, a cast iron fireplace or a beautiful and very neat up to the minute version, there is much to be gained from the interior design aspects of fireplaces, and we would strongly recommend that you look around before making your decision.
Fireplaces can be for effect or looks, or for function too, and they make a very stylish and great looking addition to any room; make sure you choose the style that would suit your room or, if you’re one of the lucky ones, why not open out that old fireplace and restore it to good as new?

Saturday 25 February 2012

Celebrating 40 Years Of Charnwood Stoves

A J Wells & Sons Ltd, manufacturers of Charnwood Stoves, was founded in 1972 and is a privately owned, family controlled, British company that specialises in the design and manufacture of high quality wood burning and multifuel stoves. As the oldest British manufacturer of wood burning stoves, run by second and third generations of the family, we are dedicated to providing products of enduring design and of the highest quality.
It all started in 1972, when Alfred Wells and two of his sons, started a small engineering business in Niton on the Isle of Wight. Over the last forty years Charnwood have grown from our original small factory of around 1500 sq. ft to our current site of over 50,000sq. Ft. We have always been keen to provide local employment on the Isle of Wight and have seen the number of our employees rise from the original 3 to well over 150. They are very proud of their workforce who have rewarded them by staying loyal to the company, with many staff having worked with the Wells' for over 25 years. This brings stability to the business ensuring that pride in the company and the quality of Charnwood Stoves is maintained.40 Years later, the business is going strong and Charnwood Stoves are proving incredibly popular.
The last 40 years have featured highlights from humble beginnings on the Isle of Wight to the launch of the LA range of twin door stoves in 1993, designed specifically with the capability of running central heating as well as providing room heat, moving into a new state of the art facility in 1996 and launching SLX Range of inset and freestanding stoves in 2000.
Commitment to their staff is vital as is the commitment to invest in the latest technology to ensure the highest quality. Over the years Charnwood have installed their own Vitreous Enamelling Plant, CNC controlled Press Brakes, Robotic Welders and a state of the art Laser Profiler all of which allow pin point accuracy resulting in superior quality. Keeping the manufacture of as many parts as possible in-house enables Charnwood to maintain full production control to provide customers with long-lasting products leading the field technically in both operation and function.To read more of their story Click Here to view the special 40th anniversary e-book.

Thursday 23 February 2012

Calor issues safety warning over LPG cylinder 'tampering'

A safety alert has today been issued by Calor Gas, warning people of the dangers of attempting to construct wood burners from liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders.
Calor has become aware of a number of websites giving instructions about how to transform or deconstruct LPG cylinders, for example into domestic wood burners. Many of these videos or resulting products are also available online.
According to Calor, a specialist publication recently ran an article showing readers how to make traditional-looking wood-burning stoves out of old gas cylinders. Calor said it has written to the magazine, saying: “We hope your insurance is good.”
LPG cylinders are safe when used correctly, following the accompanying safety instructions. But LPG is a highly flammable material. If a welding torch or power cutter is used on an LPG cylinder, even if it appears to be empty, it can explode violently. As well as the safety implications of a potential gas explosion, tampering with LPG cylinders or attempting to change their use is also an unlawful offence which could result in prosecution.
Earlier this month, the boss of a St Helens gas supply firm was fined £22,500 for causing an explosion by attempting to remove a valve from an LPG cylinder. This incident resulted in multiple burns both to himself and to one of his employees. The HSE inspector said that “in this case, the fact that no one was killed was simply down to luck".
These irresponsible websites and publications encourage users to put their lives at risk, through step-by-step guides, and even videos, demonstrating how to de-construct or convert a cylinder. They have been repeatedly asked by Calor to remove their directions but have not complied.
All Calor’s cylinders are the property of Calor Gas, and are supplied under a refill agreement which contains important safety information. Calor’s ownership of the cylinders is further emphasised in that they are embossed with the word ‘CALOR’ on the metal casing, and are stencilled with ‘Extremely Flammable, Property of and only to be filled by Calor Gas Ltd, Warwick.’
Further advice on this issue is available on the Calor website on the  Calor LPG Safety Website
 Dr Terry Ritter, who is safety, health and environment Manager at Calor, said: "Calor cylinders are used widely, whether at home, for leisure or at work and their safety record is exemplary. However, we are seeing an alarming rise in untrained people attempting to cut open cylinders. Advice on how to create wood burning-stoves is widespread on the internet. This is not only extremely dangerous, but unlawful. We urge anybody considering tampering with one of our cylinders not to do so, because in committing such action, they are putting their own lives at risk."

Tuesday 21 February 2012

Infinity Fires 890CF Infinity Fires


The fireplace in your home performs two functions; one it provides heat and two, it is a decorative focal point in your room. Often when it comes to choosing a fire and fireplace you can get drawn between what is attractive and what is efficient, both together is not always an option.  That is not a problem with the new range of Infinity Gas Fires & Gas Fire Suites.
Designed, engineered and built to offer a stunning, modern look that offers efficiencies in excess of 70% the Infinity Fires range as everything you could want in a new fire. Infinity Fires are manufactured in the UK and designed for the UK market, the stone & timber suites are designed to work with the gas fires in complete harmony.

So if you are looking at changing you fire/fireplace and are looking for quality, British made, highly efficient gas fires and extremely stylish gas fires then look no further. British designed and made for the British market, Infinity Fires have the appearance of Continental fires although they are designed to work in UK households.The Infinity Fires features 3 models, The 890CF, 890CL and 780CL, with all of the models capable of being installed hole-in-the-wall style to create that stunning contemporary finish.
What sets these fires apart from the rest is the versatility of the 890FL and the 780CL, as well being available in the contemporary frameless finish they are also available as part of a gas suite.
The 780CL gas fire is available with a stunning black granite surround featuring strong lines and square edges as well as an elegantly simple surround and hearth in Limestone or Neatstone for that lighter finish. My personal favourite is the 780CL gas suite with a Light Oak Surround, this solid wood surround and accompanying black granite back and hearth give the feeling of original open log fire in a surround, while offering a high efficiency of 74%, a vast improvement on what you'd get with an open fire.
All of the Infinity fires feature Thermostatic radio remote control allows you to set the temperature you require in the room and the fire will regulate itself to achieve this and Designed to give a realistic flame picture from a modest heat input to mean that no additional ventilation is required in the room.
While not available to purchase online, visit Fireplace Megastore today and place an order for one of these stunning gas fires.

Sunday 19 February 2012

New Electric Fires From Apex

2012 brings a new range of Apex fires to retailers round the UK. Replacing the ever-popular Intense range , The Apex Rio and the larger Rio Grande are certainly worth a look, featuring a new and inproved LED flame effect that has to be one of the most realistic on the market with 4 different brightness settings allowing the fire to just provide that ambience of a smouldering fire or to really give that feeling of warmth when sat in front og a bright fire.
Remote control as standard the Rio & Rio Grande offer sizes that can both be understated or as a true focal point, the Apex Rio Grande is 1.3metres wide, and truly be the centre of attention on those long winter nights or chilly summer evenings.While the LED flame effect means that just having the flame effect on to create an ambience will not hurt your wallet, LED's using a substantial amount less energy than electric fires using standard bulbs.

The Rio Grande, shown left, is a stunning hang on the wall electric fire. Available with 5 different fascia options ranging from the natural Travertine fascia to the impressive Zimbali Glass and on to solid Natural Basalt to really give a feel of quality to the fire. All the stone fascias are real stone, (no micro-marble here) with the each travertine fascia being unique, your Apex Rio Grande could really be one-of-a-kind!

Already proving to be very popular with Apex Dealers due to the variety of facias available and the solid natural stone fascias available offer a welcome break from the all-too common tv-esque black glass electric fires.
The Zimbali Glass, pictured right, adds an exotic touch to the Apex Rio range, not something i've seen on an electric fire before. Suggesting African influences to an item that is very traditionally western European in design.
The Apex Rio & Rio Grande are now available from all good Apex Retailers with the Rio Grande in Travertine now on live display at Fireplace Megastore.

Friday 17 February 2012

Chimney Fires

Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue Service attend around 300 chimney fires per year some of these result in serious damage to the property.
If you have a chimney in your home make sure it is clean and safe for use. Poorly maintained chimneys, hearths and fireplaces can increase the risk of fire breaking out in your home.
Chimney fires are usually started when high temperatures or flames from a very hot fire extend into the appliance outlet or flue and the ignition of the combustible deposits within, occurs.
But there are steps you can take to keep your home safe:
  • Ensure your chimney is traditionally swept corresponding to the chart below;

  • Smokeless coals At least once a year
    Wood At least twice a year
    Bituminous coal Twice a year
    Oil Once a year
    Gas Once a year
  •   Wood should be dry and well seasoned this usually takes about 1-2 years. A well seasoned log has drying-out splits in the ends. Never use wet or newly-felled wood as this can cause tar or creosote to form in the wood burner and chimney. If you have a large amount of wood seasoning then consider buying a Log Store
  • Wood & Briquettes with low moisture content give off more heat and are better value for money.
  • Make sure that your fire is well ventilated and enough air is coming in to the room.
  • Have your chimney flue inspected regularly to ensure that it is in good condition.
  • If the wood burner has been used slowly (overnight, for instance), this should be followed by a period of faster burning to dry out any creosote and to warm up the chimney again.
  • Make sure embers are under control and extinguished properly before you go out or go to bed.
  • Be careful when using open fires to keep warm. Always use an appropriate fireguard; a spark guard to protect against flying sparks from hot embers and a nursery guard to stop children or vulnerable people touching the fire.
  • Keep flammable materials and furniture at least 2m from the fire.
  • Check your smoke alarm is working.

Chimney fires have the potential to become a serious fire, causing severe damage to property and endangering life. Burning materials can fall down and set fire to rooms or spread into roof spaces. You can reduce the chances of your chimney catching fire!
• Have your chimney swept at least twice a year if you burn wood or once a year if you burn coal
• Make sure that your fire is well ventilated
• Have your chimney flue inspected regularly to ensure that it is in good condition
• Last thing at night, or if you leave a fire unattended, fix a fireguard in position.

If you have a Chimney Fire
• Bring everyone in the house to the ground floor and be ready to leave the house
• Dial 999 and ask for the Fire Service
• Make sure your fireguard is in position
• Move furniture and carpets away from the fireplace if it is safe to do so
• Keep doors and windows to the room closed
• Do not attempt to put out the fire.

• There is no charge for the attendance of the Fire Service
• There is very little mess made in dealing with the fire
• The Fire Service will ensure the fire is properly out to prevent further
damage and advise you on what further action to take.

Do not
• Relight the fire until your chimney has been swept
• Light your fire with flammable liquids
• Set your chimney on fire deliberately to clean it.

Wednesday 15 February 2012

Project of the month: replacing an old boiler

Beverley and Andrew Weedon replaced their old Potterton hot water and heating boiler with a new energy-efficient Greenstar Worcester boiler, and immediately started noticing the difference.

Fact file

The owners: Beverley Weedon, a writer, and her husband Andrew, a landscape gardener
The property: A three-bedroom semi-detached house
The location: Warwickshire
What they spent: The couple spent £3,100 installing a new boiler system
Boiler before image‘Three years ago we had our annual inspection from the gas board to inspect the boiler and its efficiency. Unfortunately, we were told that our boiler was only 40 per cent efficient, and as it was a Potterton hot water and heating boiler with a separate hot water tank, we were advised to switch to a combi boiler- however, we were quoted £4,900 for the work!
Above: The original boiler system was an in practical Potterton hot water and heating boiler with a separate hot water tank
‘It wasn’t until October 2011 that we started to really set the balls in motion for replacing the boiler. I think it was the prospect of another harsh winter, which really spurred us into action.
‘We were keen to get a couple of quotes and source a reliable tradesperson, who knew exactly what they were doing. I spoke to a number of colleagues at work, who had all had a new boiler system installed by Dave Walker of Warmsafe, and he came highly recommended.
Worcester Greenstar 30vi boiler‘Dave came to the house and spent over two hours going through the various options of systems, which we could have for a house of this size. Originally we were told by the gas board, that a 40si Worcester boiler would be the best option, however, Dave suggested a smaller system was just as efficient for what we needed.
‘We took Dave’s advice and chose the Worcester Greenstar 30si combi boiler, which is 90 per cent more energy-efficient than our original boiler. Within four days the boiler was completely up and running and we were already enjoying the benefits of hotter water in the bathroom and kitchen.
Above: The couple opted for a Worcester Greenstar 30si combi boiler, which is 90% more efficient than their original boiler
‘Since the new boiler has been installed, we have noticed the difference in the overall warmth of the house, plus by having a combi system fitted it means we're not heating unused hot water, which is always a bonus.
'This is a job we have been putting off due to costs, but it really has been worth it in the end. The boiler is extremely efficient and we have already started to notice the difference in our energy bills. The craftsmanship from Dave was also exceptional- we can’t fault him.’

Monday 13 February 2012

Should I Buy A Woodburner?

 Wood-burning stoves are hot property at the moment. From traditional use in country cottages to cutting edge architecture, they are the latest word in green heat. Suzie Nightingale from Stovesonline says that demand has become overwhelming: "We’ve probably sold three to four times the number of stoves in the last two years. We didn’t even have time for a break last year." So who wants one? "It’s a whole range, from people interested in saving the planet to people who want to save money."But we also deal with a lot of architects who are building them into their plans because they know having a secondary green heating source will be looked on favourably by planners."

Hit With Buyers

Estate agent Tom Deville at Savills in Nottingham says that wood-burning stoves are increasingly popular with potential buyers.
"People love them, they make a nice homely feel, and buyers are often aware that they’re cost effective and better for the environment. They probably don’t add anything to the value of a property, but they make it more desirable and saleable."
Although most of the wood burners Tom sees are very traditional, he is encountering more and more contemporary designs.
"People like them if it suits the property. We sold a converted barn recently with a chimney breast in the middle of the room and a double glass-sided log burner. It made the room complete."
So what is all the fuss about? Why are stoves so popular? There are four main reasons:

1. They’re very energy efficient
Everyone likes an open fire, but the efficiency of burning logs in a grate is very low. An open fire has to suck a lot of the (warm) air out of the room, and it is replaced by cold air from outside.
An open fire is estimated to be only about 20-25 per cent efficient, but it can be much lower, even falling into negative efficiency, potentially making your room colder than before you started!
But a modern wood-burning stove can run at over 80 per cent efficiency. So if you put your logs in a stove instead of on a fire you will benefit from at least three times the amount of heat.
In addition, you may be able to use the top of the stove to boil a kettle or make toast, and some models even have ovens built in, so you can bake a cake while you’re warming your home.

2. They’re carbon neutral
Wood is the original carbon-neutral fuel. True, it releases carbon dioxide when it’s burnt, but the amount given off is the same as was stored by the tree when it was growing.
And, if the tree were left to rot in the woods it would produce the same amount of carbon emissions as are released by burning it.
Most firewood in this country comes from sustainable sources, so for every tree cut down another is planted, and the carbon released from the felled tree will be absorbed by another tree.
And, with the aid of new technology, a wood-burning stove can be even greener.
With the cleanburn or cleanheat system the gases created when the wood is burnt are circulated back into the stove and burnt off. This increases heat and reduces emissions.

3. They're Clean
Both in terms of smoke and the amount of ash produced for the owner to clean up, modern wood burners are very impressive. Even in daily use the stove should not need cleaning out more than every few weeks. In fact, a bed of ashes helps the wood to burn. And if the stove has self-cleaning airwash glass a clear view of flickering flames is guaranteed. As for the emissions, many stoves are now clean enough to be legally used in urban smoke-free zones.

4. They look great
There are many manufacturers, both here and abroad producing the comforting traditional-style wood burners that look fantastic in period properties. But if you fancy something a little more adventurous, the ultra modern freestanding stoves with big glass windows certainly make a statement. In traditional black iron, shining steel or a white ceramic finish there is something to suit every d├ęcor. Firebelly Wood Stoves are available in 18 different colours!


What do you burn?

It depends on your stove. You can have a wood only, a multi-fuel, or a pellet stove, which burns small pieces of compressed sawdust that are automatically fed into the fire. Most people use logs, but they should be dried under cover for a year to reduce the moisture content. And, if you want to save money, your fuel doesn’t have to cost you a penny. Eco consultant Donnachadh McCarthy uses his wood burner, combined with an ingenious stove fan, that distributes the warm air around the house, as the sole heat source for his terraced home. So far Donnachadh not spent a penny on fueling his wood-burning stove.   

"I get all my wood between my house and the corner shop. You’ll be amazed how much wood people throw away. I get untreated wood pallets from a local plumbers merchant who used to pay a guy to take them away. "And a lot of people doing up houses throw away good wood. You can use it all, as long as it’s not painted or treated." Geoff Hogan from the Biomass Energy Centre approves of using waste wood, but advises caution: "You have to be particularly careful with wood that has been treated for outdoor use, such as fence posts," says Hogan. "In the past CCA, which contains arsenic was commonly used. And you have to avoid wood treated with halogens, chlorine, fluorine and bromine, or treated with heavy metals."
Smoke-free zone?
There’s no fire without smoke. And, particularly in America, people are starting to be concerned about the levels of particulate pollution produced by burning wood. Geoff Hogan doesn’t believe that we should be overly concerned.  "It is a potential problem, particularly in built-up areas, but the particulate emissions are three to four times less than with an open fire." And, says Hogan, if you’re planning to use a wood-burning stove in an urban environment, you will have to use one that complies with the Clean Air Act, and will have been designed to have even lower particulate emissions.

How much?
Wood-burning  stoves usually cost between around £500 and £2,000, but you could spend up to £6,000 for something very special. Stoves suitable for use in smokeless zones are more expensive, starting at around £750. But installation can be costly.The incredibly efficient Broseley eVolution 5 offers 85.5% efficiency and is one of the most efficient on the market, currently retailing for £999 from Showroom Retailers

Moving Story
Anna Travers and her family are selling their home in Tenterden, Kent, which comes with a wood-burning  stove in an inglenook fireplace. "Having lived with open fires before I definitely prefer the wood-burning  stove," says Anna.  "I don’t use it every day, so I just clean out the cinders when they become too bulky, about twice a year."It’s far more efficient than an open fire, you can forget the central heating when it’s on because the heat filters through the house. "We’re downsizing, and I’ll be sorry to see it go."

Can I have one?

1. You need a chimney with a large enough flue to cope with the output you’ll need for your room. If you haven’t got a chimney can you use a twin wall flue system. Ask your supplier for advice.
2. Check the prevailing wind. If it blows back down the chimney you’ll may need to fit a vent to the top of the chimney.
3. If you live in a smoke-control area (check on Smoke Control Areas ) look for an approved wood-burning stove.

Saturday 11 February 2012

Broseley eVolution Range

The latest range of stoves from Broseley is the eVolution range.The stoves incorporate the very best of contemporary stove design with the latest Broseley Fire & Stove Technology. All the eVolution stoves are highly efficient, clean burning and flexible with the choice of freestanding, inset or boiler stoves there is an eVolution stove to fit every home.

As per a vast majority of their range the Broseley eVolution stoves are approved by DEFRA to be burn wood in a smoke control zone. Easily controlable using the single air control at the bottom can give up to 85.5% efficiency on the eVolution 5 freestanding stove. As shown below, with just a single adjustment of the air control you can adjust the burn rate from a roaring fire to a gentle smoulder.
The cast iron body and large portrait window offer an unobstructed view of the fire inside while making loading simple using a single large door. The eVolution range of stoves would make a stunning addition to any living space. The eVolution 5 is also available with a log store, (shown in the above video) to reduce the space needed for your stove and providing a suitable location to keep wood for when the stove is running low.
These stoves cannot be sold online, Broseley want to ensure that these stoves are only sold by qualified retailers, displaying the Broseley Authorised Dealer symbol, to ensure you are supplied with the very best stove for your needs. The eVoltution 5 multifuel stove is now on display @Fireplace Megastore

Thursday 9 February 2012

Product Update: Laura Ashley

The Laura Ashley Company has come a long way. Literally starting out as a London based “kitchen table business” in 1953. Laura Ashley was inspired after visiting a Women’s Institute exhibition on home crafts. Along with her husband Bernard, Laura started out by making patchwork quilts from their own printed fabrics.
Now, Laura Ashley is a household name, synonymous with beauty, refinement and of course those lovely floral prints. The company has expanded into furniture, lighting and now fires and fireplaces. All the Laura Ashley range of fireplaces are all named after flowers, such as Fuchsia, Azalea, Wisteria and Camellia. Hardly surprising coming from Laura Ashley!
Laura Ashley have just refreshed their range of fires and fireplaces to bring a new range of exciting and stylish fireplaces to your living room. Highlights of the new range include the Foxglove, shown above left, which is available in both Oak and Limestone. Pictured in Natural oak with elated effect tile back panel and hearth with the Woburn Inset 5kW Multifuel Stove.
The Woburn Stove marks a bold new item from Laura Ashley, previously sticking to Fireplaces and inset gas fires. The Woburn Multifuel stove incorporates a unique air management system with innovative clean burn and air wash technology which gives the user total control of the heat output and performance of the fire, but without compromising on the view of the fire inside. Available as both inset and freestanding both stoves are granted DEFRA exemption from the Clean Air act, meaning they can burn wood in smokeless zones. Both stoves feature a subtle highlighted detailing and a cast iron Laura Ashley logo that would make both stoves a stunning focal point in any room.
Another highlight of the rangeis the Aster fireplace surround, this contemporary design of natural limestone and stone lines frame the fire inside perfectly, while allowing the surround to blend perfectly in with almost style of decor.
We are proud to announce that Fireplace Megastore stocks the new range of Laura Ashley fires and fireplaces exclusively in our showroom. Beautifully styled and designed with the inimitable elegance of Laura Ashley, these fires and fireplaces are made using the very best in stone, marble and solid wood.
As the Laura Ashley range is manufactured jointly with one of the leading British fire and fireplace manufacturers, you can be sure of purchasing a fire or fireplace of the highest quality.

These fires and fireplaces are so exclusive that they cannot be sold directly on-line. However, you can visit the Fireplace Megastore showroom where they will be more than happy to demonstrate some of the Laura Ashley range of fires and fireplaces to you. Laura Ashley have carefully selected and approved fireplace retailers who can give expert one-to-one advice.
The fire options are electric, glass fronted gas fires and multi-flue gas fires.Fire frames and frets are available in either chrome or brass that will easily work with any decor.

Tuesday 7 February 2012

Bio Ethanol Flueless Fires Now Accepted As A Credible Alternative To Both Gas Fires And Electric Fires

Having been the first Bio Ethanol Fire company to be awarded ‘First Prize’ in The Best Alternative Category and achieving a ‘Runners Up’ position in The Best Overall Product Category at this years Hearth & Home Exhibition in Harrogate The Naked Flame have firmly announced themselves as the ones to watch in the supply of Bio Ethanol Flueless Fires to the UK marketplace.
“Just by being nominated for the awards gives credible acceptance that Bio Ethanol Flueless Fires by The Naked Flame have now been recognised as a real alternative to both gas and electric fires” said Andrea Riley the company managing director, “but then to go on to win one award and achieve a runners up place in another establishes our products as credible eco-friendly heating solutions for the home”.
Traditionally, the only alternative to gas and electric fires has been solid fuel fires. However, with the ever increasing costs of both gas and electricity coupled with the increase in apartment living and the fact that many homes no longer having working chimneys Bio Ethanol Flueless Fires offer real flames as the perfect alternative without the worry of costly installation or ‘how much your bill is going to be for heating your living room the previous night’.
Working 100% efficiently without the need for a chimney or flue The Naked Flame offers a wide range of Bio Ethanol Flueless Fire products that can sit on table tops, in ‘hole in the wall’ situations or mock/empty fireplaces, they can also free stand in the centre of a living room or conservatory or be screwed to almost any wall by any capable DIY enthusiast. Installation really is that simple. However, if you are unsure, The Naked Flame always advise that you seek professional advice about fixing to walls.
With no smoke emissions there is no need for a chimney or flue and you do not need to worry about toxins as ethanol does not emit any when burning, it’s only emission is carbon dioxide (CO2) and water vapour in amounts almost equal to that of a person exhaling. No smoke means no black marks on ceilings and the benefit of a ‘no chimney requirement’ means that 100% of the heat stays in the room with you. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy the experience in the knowledge that because you have pre-purchased your fuel which is sold in cases of 12 litres at a time and delivered for free, your fully in control of your heating cost expenditure should this be a concern to you.
So there you have it, Bio Ethanol Flueless Fires are suitable for any situation, are eco-friendly, give off no smoke or toxins, can sit on tabletops, hole in wall situations, in empty fireplaces or mock fireplace or can freestand, there’s even a version built in to a coffee table. They really are a credible alternative to a gas or electric fire and now available from House 2 Home Megastore

Wednesday 1 February 2012

Woodburning Stoves: A History

Wood burning stoves started out as a way to heat a home more effectively than with open fireplaces, which had traditionally been used. The first models were placed against the opening of the fireplace so that the fumes could escape through the chimney. They were essentially a metal box, but they heated a room more thoroughly than a traditional fireplace because they reached further into the room.
Eventually, wood burning stoves were developed that were completely closed. This meant that instead of relying on an open fireplace they had their own chimneys and a flue. This development allowed the stoves to be positioned away from the wall so that the heat was distributed all around the room.
Early Designs
Woodburner stoves originated in America and it was in 1642 that the first one was invented in Massachusetts. It wasn’t until 1744 that the idea was substantially improved when Benjamin Franklin produced his own wood burning stove. Named ‘the Franklin Stove’ after its inventor, it was made from cast iron. Although it was open fronted and similar in appearance to a brick fireplace, it gave off more heat than a traditional fireplace and less smoke whilst using a smaller amount of fuel.
Another improvement that Franklin installed was a flue, which was initially situated in the floor of the stove and later next to the chimney. The main feature of the Franklin Stove was the ability for air to circulate.
Various minor improvements then took place over the following two centuries, but the original design of the Franklin Stove is still credited to Franklin. This design remains today, but various changes to style and efficiency have taken place.
In 1796, the Rumford fireplace was constructed by Count Rumford. It developed from the original Franklin design but included various enhancements. One of these was to angle the hearth and make the choke of the chimney tighter so that the smoke would be drawn up the chimney faster.
Early wood burning stoves, on which modern designs are based, were made from either steel, cast iron or another type of durable metal. They had a thick door and adjustable grates to control the amount of air in circulation and therefore control burning.
Woodburners have a chimney at the top and a flue. They usually stand on brick, concrete or stone, and it is essential that the floor that they are mounted on is level. Smoke is drawn outside the building and will flow upwards providing the air outside is colder than the gasses inside the chimney.
As developments in wood burning stoves took place, they were able to perform other functions besides heating the home. From the early 20th Century features such as metal draws and ovens were added so that they could be used for cooking. They also changed in appearance, from a metal fireplace to a freestanding stove with four legs. These freestanding models were often constructed from cheaper materials, which were less resilient but had the advantage of making them portable. They had flat metal surfaces so that pans could be placed on top of them for cooking. Alternatively, a pot could be inserted into a hole in the stove and heated directly by the flames.
Late 20th Century Developments
The concept of a sealed unit with controlled air circulation remained, with the main changes affecting appearance and function rather than efficiency. For example, as well as being used for cooking, pot‐bellied and cylinder variations of wood burning stoves emerged. In the 1970’s, however, major innovations took place, which arose because of the oil crisis. As wood burning stoves increased in popularity their inadequacies became apparent. For instance, the use of a wood burning stove as the main source of heating for the home demanded enormous amounts of wood. Apart from this factor, they created pollution and were a fire hazard.
The fire hazard was a consequence of householders reducing the air intake of the wood burner once the fire was burning well. This was so that the stove would burn for longer periods and produce a more even heat distribution. The problem with this was that there would be unburned resins escaping up the flue. Once these resins cooled sufficiently creosote would form inside the stove pipe. This was hazardous as the creosote would ignite once a certain temperature was reached, resulting in a dangerously hot fire throughout the stove pipe.
This culminated in a drive towards producing more efficient models, which had longer burn times and lower levels of pollution.
The Present Day
Thankfully, today’s wood burning stoves have addressed earlier problems. Modern wood burning stoves are constructed from steel and aluminium and are airtight. They have firebrick linings which mean that they retain more heat and are therefore more efficient. They are also kinder to the environment as current models give off fewer gases, and any co2 that is emitted is absorbed by growing trees.
Nowadays, stoves have to meet set guidelines regarding smoke emissions due to environmental concerns, particularly with a number of urban areas forming smoke control zones, meaning you will need a stove approved by DEFRA to burn wood. Because they are considered as an environmentally friendly source of heating they continue to retain their popularity in the 21st Century. There are now a wide range of wood burners and multifuel stoves on the market in various shapes and sizes and with different heating capacities to suit requirements. What these modern wood burning stoves have in common is their efficiency and kindness to the environment. Added to that, many people find them attractive because they create a homely feel and a sense of nostalgia.