Monday 30 April 2012

Rugby Captains Calls On Wales To Switch To Wood Fuel

Welsh rugby legend JPR Williams is calliing on householders to help Wales become a low carbon nation by switching to more carbon neutral wood fuel.
JPR Williams In Action
The former Welsh and British Lions fullback has been using a wood-burning stove to heat his home in the Vale of Glamorgan forthe best part of a decade and is backing a new campaign by Woodfuel Wales, the Welsh Government funded body wich represents all sectors of the Welsh wood industry.
The campaign is encouraging people to use wood as a more carbon-friendly way of fuelling the home and follows reports that Wales was almost half way towards meeting the 2015 target to reduce Carbon Emissions by 40%.
The call by JPR Williams comes as the Wales rugby team is coming off a Grand Slam performance  in the Six Nations Tournament and is appealing for people to focus on supporting the nation's future as well as their rugby team. "Wales is a passionate nation and when we get behind something we have the power to make great things happen. If the Welsh nation could use even a quarter of the support it gives out Rugby team and put it towards protecting its environmental future then we would be well on our way to preversing our beautiful country for generations to come. I have used wood fuel to heat my entire home for many years now and I know that our heat supply comes from a reliable source.We buy our logs from a company based just six miles away helping reduce our carbon footprint even more, whilst also supporting a local industry and jobs."
According to Woodfuel Wales, using wood as a form of fuel is one of the best ways people can reduce thier carbon footprint and help slow down the effect of climate change, as Nic Snell, Managed Director Of Certainly Wood and Chair of Woodfuel Wales, explains: "The greenhouse gases we all produce through our day-to-day activities, including the wya we heat our homes are all factors contributing to climate change. Wood is a carbon neutral fuel that is greener and more sustainable than any other form of non-renewable fuel. It can offer savings in terms of energy efficiency and we have a plentiful, sustainable resource here in Wales."

Woodfueld Wales also claims more people are realising the benefits of switching to wood, as official member statistics released by the Stove Industry Alliance in Autumn 2011 showed a 32% growth (year on year) in the sales of wood burning stoves.
Nic Snell continued: "As the prices for oil and gas have risen in the past year, we and our members are seeing that wood fuel is being viewed as a more viable option than ever. Over the next decade, we can grow as fossil fuels deplete, making people realise that Welsh Forestry provides one of the best renewable energy resources in Wales."

Saturday 28 April 2012

Energy firms to 'guarantee best deal' on tariffs

Energy companies will be required to let customers know what their best deal is, in a move which ministers say could save households up to £100 a year.
Firms will be obliged to tell people about the most suitable tariff for them and to offer it if they request it.
Announcing the move, Deputy PM Nick Clegg said seven out of 10 people have the wrong deal and pay too much.
Labour have accused energy firms of "ripping off" people and said there must be more competition in the market.
Under the deal, British Gas, E.On, NPower, Scottish and Southern Energy, EDF and Scottish Power will contact their customers once a year to tell them what the best tariff is for them, and how to get it.
They will also contact customers coming to the end of a fixed-term contract with the same advice.
They will not be obliged to let people know about cheaper deals with rival companies.
But the government says it is looking at the possibility of putting "quick read" codes (like barcodes) on energy bills by spring 2013, containing information about someone's energy consumption, which they could then share with other energy firms to see if they could offer a cheaper deal.
Most customers saw increases of between 15% and 18% in their gas bills in the autumn, while electricity bills also rose sharply, a move energy firms blamed on rising wholesale energy costs.
Leading firms cut their prices earlier this year - reflecting what they said was a dip in commodity prices and the mild winter - but not by enough to compensate for the earlier rise.
Environmental campaigners say the deal announced on Wednesday was just "tinkering around the fringes".
'A bit confusing' But Mr Clegg told the BBC it was "an important step" as companies were currently under no obligation to tell customers whether they were on the wrong tariff and few people would "turn their noses up" at a £100 saving a year.
He said it was part of a series of measures the government was looking at, aimed at driving bills down, but admitted he had not personally switched energy providers for some time.

This is probably only going to work if this is part of a much wider strategy to really help people engage more effectively with their energy bills”
          Audrey Gallacher Consumer Focus

He told BBC Radio 5live: "We haven't switched actually over the last year or two and I kind of think we're probably very typical. You stick to a tariff, you think it's all a bit complex, you get lots of stuff through the letterbox... all a bit confusing. You don't really then make the effort or take the time to look at how you're using your energy and what tariff would be best for you."
He said he hoped that from this autumn all the information would be much simpler and it would be much easier for people to work out the best tariff for them.
Consumer Focus said the move was a "welcome first step", as customers coming to the end of a fixed-term contract would be able to move on to the cheapest deal rather than the more expensive standard rate.
But the organisation's director of energy Audrey Gallacher added: "This is probably only going to work if this is part of a much wider strategy to really help people engage more effectively with their energy bills, really cut their costs and get the best out of the energy market."
'Fiddling at the margins' Labour have called for the cheapest tariffs to be guaranteed for the over-75s and said firms should be forced to sell energy to new providers, such as retailers, to open up the market.
"Six months ago, at the energy summit, Labour called on the government to get tough with the energy giants - but all ministers could do was get the energy companies to write to their customers telling them to shop around," said shadow energy secretary Caroline Flint.
"Our energy market needs a complete overhaul, but this government is only fiddling at the margins."
Greenpeace said any move to bring down bills was "good news" for thousands of households but the government needed to do more to reform the industry, making Britain less dependent on expensive imported gas and backing "home-grown renewable energy".
"It is good to see Nick Clegg taking an interest in the plight of people who are feeling the pinch," said the pressure group's head of energy, Jim Footner.
"But tinkering around the fringes of the overly gas-dependent energy sector simply won't be enough."
Christine McGourty from Energy UK, which represents energy companies, said consumers needed to shop around to get the best deal.
She added: "There are many different ways people can manage their energy bills, whether by changing tariff, method of payment or installing energy saving measures such as insulation."
Energy regulator Ofgem has accused the largest six firms of having a "stranglehold" on the market but they say competition is the strongest in Europe.

Sunday 22 April 2012

Broseley Fires leading edge eVolution 26 boiler stove gains MCS approval

Broseley Fires Limited is pleased to announce their first MCS approved product in its range. The eVolution 26  woodburning boiler stove is the flagship model in the new eVolution range and as well as now being MCS approved the eVolution boiler offers a range of innovative features designed to maximise the potential of one of the most environmentally-friendly fuel sources.

John Reeves, Managing Director at Broseley, explained:

“The eVolution 26 boiler is at the leading edge of wood burning technology, incorporating our unique Safety Cold Water System (SCWS) enabling it to be connected directly to a sealed heating system without the need for extra feed and expansion tanks. Now that we have achieved MCS approval and a grant of up to £950 will be available for customers to install this product we hope the stove will continue to be a growing success”

Tested to the very latest UK and European standards, the flagship stove in the eVolution range is 78 per cent efficient and has an output of 26kW, delivering 10kW of heat to the room and 16kW to provide hot water.

The evolution 26 is not only a viable alternative to increasingly expensive oil or gas fired systems, it is also a real living flame attribute for your living room and a primary source for providing heat and hot water in a wide variety of homes.

“When combined with other energy-saving products such as solar panels and/or a thermal heat store, the boiler has the potential to help householders significantly reduce their heating bills whilst relying on sustainable fuel sources,” John continued.

The Grant Schemes

Currently the grants available to non commercial installations of the eVolution 26 boiler stove are in phase 2 of the Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP) which comes into effect from the 2nd April 2012 this grant scheme entitles users without a mains gas supply to a £950 grant for their installation.

Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said:
“The new Renewable Heat Premium Payment scheme will be bigger and better than the original.
“We’re increasing the budget from £15m to £25m, for the first time we’re including community schemes and there’ll be more social housing schemes that can benefit. Those people who are reliant on expensive oil or electric heating should consider applying to the Premium Payment scheme to cut their fuel bills in the long term.

“Generating heat from renewables will not just cut carbon emissions; it will also help create a market in developing, selling and installing kit like solar thermal panels or heat pumps.”
The scheme will continue to be administered by the Energy Saving Trust.

Karen Lawrence, Energy Saving Trust Director of Delivery, said:

"Our aim is to empower householders by giving them the right tools and advice to help them reduce both their energy usage and bills. Without a doubt, one of the main barriers that prevents people from taking the plunge is the up-front capital cost. The announcement of the second phase of the government's Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP) scheme not only offers homeowners help with the initial costs, but it also provides them with access to heat technologies that can help them to reduce their energy bills, year on year

Friday 20 April 2012

Industry Council Recommends Carbon Monoxide Alarms

The Heating & Hot Water Industry Council has recommended to government that Building Regulations be changed to require a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm be fitted with every heating appliance installation.
Partly following these recommendations, the Communities & Local Government (CLG) Committee is recommending that an audible, wired-up ‘EN 50291 compliant’ carbon monoxide alarm should be fitted wherever a heating appliance is installed in new or existing homes.

Public awareness of installing a CO alarm is much less than that of understanding the importance of having a smoke alarm. In addition, public knowledge about the risk of the odourless, invisible and potentially lethal carbon monoxide fumes must be raised to increase safety in the home, the Committee has warned.
HHIC has championed the importance of making sure consumers pick an installer who is Gas Safe Registered and also advises they use the HHIC benchmark scheme. The Benchmark member scheme is a nationally-recognised scheme that places the responsibilities on both manufacturers and installers to ensure best practice in installation, commissioning and servicing of domestic heating and hot water products in line with Building Regulations in England and Wales.
When it comes to gas and electrical safety, the Committee concludes that far too many homeowners do not appreciate either the dangers of using sub-standard engineers or their own liability when it comes to faulty gas and electrical work.
Chris Yates, HHIC deputy director, told the Select Committee hearing: “I fully agree with the necessity of carbon monoxide alarms but it must not be a replacement for annual servicing and it is very important that they are linked together.”
The CLG Committee has also recommended that electrical equipment sold in DIY stores, such as sockets, must be labelled to warn that it is illegal for an unregistered person to carry out most electrical works in the home.
Launching its report of the inquiry into gas and electrical safety in the home, Clive Betts, chair of the Committee, said: “The government must co-ordinate a concerted effort by key industry organisations to raise public awareness levels on these crucial issues. Likewise, more must be done to alert households to the dangers of using sub-standard electricians and of the need to complete regular maintenance checks on electrical circuits in the home.”
On carbon monoxide alarms, Clive Betts said: “The government should oversee a co-ordinated public awareness campaign by the various industry organisations to raise public awareness of carbon monoxide poisoning and ensure homeowners appreciate that they themselves are liable for faulty gas or electrical installations and repairs."
In its current consultation exercise into Building Regulations, the government has examined further deregulation of Part P, which focuses on electrical installation and repair.
"The Committee highlights how evidence gathered since the introduction of these rules demonstrated that deaths and injuries due to electrical faults have decreased. We could only support de-regulation if there was clear evidence that safety standards would not suffer, but such evidence has not been provided by the government,“ said Betts.

Monday 16 April 2012

Woodburning Stoves Installed As Part Of Hardwick Hall Renovation

Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire has just been refurbished and recently reopened to the public boasting green credentials that include two new woodburning stoves.
As part of the renovation project on the Elizabethan house, once home to Bess of Hardwick and now run by the National Trust, woodburning stoves have been installed in the book room of the shop and visitors centre located in the Stableyard.
The National Trust said the aim of the revamp was to incorporate green technologies into the Stableyard “to either generate energy or recycle materials and resources”. Visitors to Hardwick Hall will now “be able to see how much energy is generated and water recycled on a display in the lobby of the facilities”.
There is a wood burner in the new shop which was installed in order to “supplement the heating for this building and create a cosy atmosphere for you to browse through the books on sale”. Woodburning stoves are a fantastic way to enhance a building’s eco-friendliness as well as means of heating the property and providing a wonderful focal point.
The second woodburning stove has been installed within the brand new visitors centre and provides a “truly warm welcome”.
The Duke of Devonshire, who opened the renovated Hardwick Hall, said: “I have personally followed this project with great interest, from the point of view of the restoration of heritage buildings using traditional skills and craftsmanship, and the fact that these buildings were built by my family,” BBC News reports.
“I think she (Bess of Hardwick) would have been thrilled because she loved value for money – so to see these buildings, which were falling into dereliction until the National Trust realised that they had ideas… which would help the visitors make a more enjoyable day out here, she would have been thrilled with that.”
Other green initiatives for the newly-renovated Hardwick Hall include a biomass boiler to deliver heating and hot water to the Stableyard that burns locally sourced wood pellets, and recycling rain water.
Wood is a renewable resource and virtually carbon neutral, making it the ideal choice for environmentally-friendly projects like the recent renovation work at Hardwick Hall. A tree absorbs CO2 throughout its lifetime and only when it is burned does it release carbon, and only at the same level that it took away from the atmosphere – hence its virtual carbon neutrality. Plus, combine this with a woodburning stove and wood as a fuel is even better because it burns more slowly in a stove.
Stoves themselves are highly efficient nowadays and most modern models feature an energy efficiency rating in excess of 70%. In contrast to an open fire, an average stove is around three-times as efficient – open fireplaces have a maximum efficiency of 25%.
And of course all the benefits of an open fireplace can still be enjoyed with a woodburning stove. You have a clear view of the flames dancing within and it becomes a natural focal point similar to how an open fire does in any room.

Saturday 14 April 2012

Woodburner Safety Advice from Fire Service

Dumfries and Galloway Fire and Rescue Service recently issued some safety guidance in the wake of a number of house fires linked to wood burning stoves. Substantial energy price rises in recent years, coupled with the struggle to cope with recession, have made woodburners a popular way to save money on home heating bills. The trouble is that the pressing need to save money can tempt people to cut corners when installing their wood burning stove, increasing the risk of a house fire.
According to community fire safety officer Michael Aldersey of Dumfries and Galloway Fire and Rescue Service “When they are used correctly, wood-burning stoves are a safe and effective way to heat the home, but users should be aware of some basic safety considerations”. His comment appeared last week in The Galloway News, along with the following recommendations for safely enjoying your woodburner.
  1. The main concern is to make sure wood burning stoves are fitted professionally, including having the chimney checked before installation.
  2. People often leave firewood close to the stove to dry out before it is used, but the wood can get sufficiently warm and dry to catch fire even if it isn’t in direct contact with the woodburner. You should keep any flammable materials well away from your stove.
  3. The surface of a wood burning stove will become very hot during use. If you have young children in the house you should put a fireguard around your woodburner to prevent them getting close enough to burn their little hands.
These are all excellent points, but I would add that anyone who uses their woodburner with the door open should use a spark guard, and that it is vital to dispose of ash safely as embers can reignite hours or even days after the fire has gone out.
If you are thinking of getting a wood burning stove we recommend a professional solid fuel installation survey before going ahead to confirm it is a suitable heating option for your home, to get a clear idea of the installation costs and to ensure you have expert help in choosing the best stove for your home.

Thursday 12 April 2012

One in five illegal gas jobs are immediately dangerous

One in five of the illegal gas jobs Gas Safe Register investigate are deemed immediately dangerous.
Figures from Gas Safe Register's national investigation figures for 2011 show an alarming number of homes are at risk if gas equipment is not installed and maintained properly and safely.
To combat the risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, often caused by poorly-installed gas work, Gas Safe Charity and The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents are launching a new initiative ‘Be Gas Safe’.
Rolling out across England this year, the programme aims to supply 10,000 families at higher risk with CO alarms and will provide many more with advice, information and education about gas safety and the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Promoting the Be Gas Safe campaign are the Heating Helpline, the home heating advice service operated by B&ES, the Building & Engineering Services Association (formerly the Heating & Ventilating Contractors' Association).
The Heating Helpline said cases of poor gas heating installations are now all too common.
“Poorly-installed gas work can cause explosions or carbon monoxide poisoning, which can be fatal and can also cause serious long-term health problems,” said Bob Towse, technical consultant to the Heating Helpline.
Anyone who carries out gas work must be Gas Safe Registered.
The Heating Helpline’s team of experts can provide information on where homeowners can find local Gas Safe Registered installers, answer questions and give advice.
For more information call the Heating helpline free on 0800 840 4069 or visit

Tuesday 10 April 2012

Buyers Guide, Barbecues

With the summer sun on it's way out (hopefully) and most of us taking some time off work to enjoy the weather and erhaps some outdoor cooking on the barbecue. We take you through a handy buyers guide between a gas or charcoal barbecue.

Gas barbecue
For speed and convenience, gas barbecues have the advantage that they can be lit almost instantaneously and heat up fast, so you can get cooking quickly. Gas barbecues offer a controllable and consistent heat supply at the touch of a button, and some gas barbecues feature a temperature gauge so you can check the heat. The grill is easily started by turning on the gas at the cylinder, opening the valve and clicking the starter ignition.
The vast majority of gas barbecues feature side shelves to provide additional cooking space. Larger gas barbecues often have side burners with the advantage of keeping food warm after it has been cooked. Alternatively, side burners are also suitable for frying pans and saucepans so you can cook and fry food and sauces outside, rather than going in and out of the kitchen. 
When looking at the size of a gas barbecue consider the cooking area and number of gas burners it has. Smaller barbecues such as the Napoleon Ultra Chef 375 have 2 gas burners, whereas the largest barbecues can have up to 6. Look out for barbecues with a large cooking area and 5-6 burners if you are entertaining a large party of people. Barbecues such as the Napoleon LE485 features a rotisserie burner, infrared Sizzle Zone and easily controllable burners for that precision

Charcoal barbecue
If you are looking for that traditional barbecue experience, charcoal is the answer. Charcoal barbecues are usually cheaper than their gas counterparts, so they suit any budget. If you are attentive with flavours, charcoal barbecues also give you that authentic char-grilled taste and flame-grilled appearance. To ensure a high cooking temperature, light the charcoal up to 45 minutes before cooking. However, some instant-light charcoal is ready for cooking in 15-20 minutes.
Folding or portable charcoal barbecues are great for easy storage and perfect if you want to pack up your barbecue and take it on your travels, such as camping or the beach. In addition, some charcoal barbecues feature folding side tables with tool hooks providing instant additional space when you need it.


Kettle charcoal barbecues feature a lid, funnel and cooking grid – all parts are porcelain enamelled making this type of barbecue incredibly easy to clean. With the lid on, hot air is circulated and can be regulated like a convention oven. This makes it perfect for cooking large pieces of meat. The funnel channels the warm air circulation in the kettle and prevents food from being burnt. In addition, most of the drippings vaporize and give the food the typical barbecue flavour.
Getting started
A gas grill is easily started by turning on the gas at the cylinder, opening the valve and clicking the starter ignition. Charcoal takes a little longer to get going and to ensure a high cooking temperature, it is recommended that the charcoal is lit up to 45 minutes before cooking. However, there are now many quick-lighting varieties of charcoal that are ready for cooking in 15-20 minutes.


Stacking charcoal in pyramids will speed the lighting time as the air will circulate, encouraging the flames. Placing firelighters at the base of the charcoal pyramids will help ignite fuel (always let these go out completely before you start cooking). To judge the temperature of a charcoal barbecue, check the colour of the coals; they will begin to turn ash-grey when hot enough for you to start cooking.


Sunday 8 April 2012

The DRU app, as easy as 1, 2, 3(D)!

The new DRU app makes use of ‘augmented reality’ technology. This means you can project your favourite fire or gas fire in 3D into any required virtual environment, including your own living room!
The DRU app is very simple to use. Stick the ‘marker’ in the place you wish to install your fire, select one of the six DRU fires from the app menu, aim the camera of your smartphone or tablet at the marker and hey presto … the fire of your choice will appear, in 3D!
Follow the steps described and pictured, and within just a few minutes you have a clear idea of what your favourite fire will look like in your own home. 

What do you need?

Download and print out the marker
The DRU app gives the best graphic reproduction with an A3 marker. If you do not have an A3 printer, follow the instructions below:
  • Download and print out the pdf A4 marker
  • Cut or clip off the white edge on both pages
  • Stick the 2 A4 sheets together, to create a single large image
  • Your marker is ready for use
Share it with your friends!
You can now share the fire of your choice with your family and friends: simply take a photograph of the end result, and post it on Facebook!

Friday 6 April 2012

Electric Heating... An Insight

Heaters are still very much in demand to supplement or boost central heating systems.  They can take the edge off a very harsh winter; or eliminate the need for full central heating in spring and autumn. Follow our advice on heaters, and you’ll soon be feeling toasty!

Types of heater

Before you rush out to buy a heater – as they’re often emergency purchases - it’s worth taking time to work out where it will go and what it’s needed for.

Fan heaters

Fan heaters are popular because they are relatively inexpensive and very portable.  Cool air from the room is blown over a heated element by a fan, with the heated air then blown back into the room. This makes them good for spot heating, where heat is needed in a specific place, like being blown in your direction as you sit and watch TV.
Check out the Burley Chilton 128 Electric Stove which combines a realistic flame effect and 2kW fan heater to help create the warm ambience as well as heating the air in the room. For small-to-medium rooms, choose the Broseley York Grande Electric Stove, this offers 800watts more power than any other fan heater on the market, combined with the authentic cast iron body and one of the best flame effects on the market mean you will not feel cold with this stove in your front room..

Convector heaters

Convector heaters are used for constant background heating rather then instant results, because they need time to warm up. They’re usually suitable for all room sizes.
Convectors work by heating the air inside the appliance; this then rises out of the top of the heater and into the room.  Cooler air is drawn through the bottom as a result of the hot air rising up through the appliance and the process continues.
The Esse Solo Victorian Electric Stove is a luxury model that silently heats the room using a powerful 2kW convection heater, using the cast iron panels to bring more heat into the room. These models differ from fan heaters and don't require the fan on in order to operate – useful if you want silent operation.

Heated towel rails

A useful alternative to bathroom radiators, towel rails are permanently liquid filled for maintenance-free operation. They can be mounted for left- or right-hand cable entry and are hardwired into a power spur in your bathroom. Some towel rails such as the Stelrad Arc Radiator can be plumbed into your central heating system. Creating a stunning, contemporary finish to any new bathroom. The Stelrad range do not just work well as towel radiators in bathrooms, they would work brillaintly in a kitchen, shown left, or other similar space to create a functional heating appliance that takes up less space than a traditional radiator.

Wednesday 4 April 2012

Manufacturer Focus: Meg Stoves

The beauty of Meg multi-fuel stoves is all in the engineering and design. Stylish and understated the designs include large viewing windows to make the most of the flames. The attention to detail along with precision engineering make Meg stoves amongst the most efficient and well finished in their class.

Why is efficiency so important?

Wood has the potential to be a carbon neutral energy source, as long as it is burned efficiently. In the past, stoves contributed to air pollution, but now by burning wood in one of our highly efficient stoves we can all make a contribution towards cleaner air and energy conservation.
All Meg stoves burn with an efficiency of at least 80%, and this means that all of our stoves have been approved by Defra (The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) for burning both kiln dried wood and anthracite in smoke controlled areas, a dual fuel that most cleanburn products cannot offer.
A Meg stove will not only produce many times more heat than an open fire, but draughts and smoking will no longer be a problem. And, of course, the more efficient the stove, the less fuel you need to use.
Along with the contemporary styling and sleek design features the steel construction allows for durability and excellent heat retention. All their grates are made of stainless steel and are incredibly durable and our generous ash bins mean you will only need to empty them infrequently. Meg stoves are easy to light and the large glass picture window along with the airwash system allows for hours of clear fire viewing.
As you would expect, these quality stoves are precision engineered which means everything fits perfectly, feels solid and works as it should.
"At Meg we don’t believe you should be limited to one single option when it comes to the colour of your stove. Although Charcoal is standard and the most popular Meg multi-fuel stoves also come in a range of colours and whichever you choose, be assured that the finish will be smooth and blemish free ready to look stunning in your home."
Meg stoves are entirely British made from start to finish and at their factory in Cheshire they and build the stoves from the finest quality steels. This gives Meg absolute control over the production process and means quality assurance is of the highest standard. Meg are so confident in the quality of our products that we offer amongst the most extensive guarantees of any stove manufacture.
Meg Stoves are not available online, focusing on sales through only the most qualified showroom retailers. With two stoves now on display in Fireplace Megastore
"We have used our design expertise and engineering knowledge to develop a range of high quality, highly efficient precision engineered multi-fuel stoves. Our aim has always been to exceed our customers’ expectations and we are convinced that our range of Meg stoves does just that."

Monday 2 April 2012

Building a Surround for your Woodburner

A surround for your wood burning stove has a functional purpose as it protects non‐combustible surfaces from the heat of the fire. However, it also serves a decorative purpose, with a range of ready‐to‐fit surrounds available in a variety of styles.
A fireplace is generally comprised of the hearth, the surround and the mantel piece although some wood burning stoves are fitted straight into the chimney recess, with no need for a surround. In this instance the stove itself provides a decorative feature to the room, but a hearth is still necessary for fire safety reasons. With fire recesses, there are also Building Regulations relating to the surrounding walls.
Building Regulations
In accordance with building regulations a hearth must be fitted to protect non‐combustible materials from the heat of the stove and from any accidental spillages of ash. The hearth itself must be made from a non‐combustible material, such as concrete or masonry.
There are set guidelines as to the size of hearths both for wood burning stoves fitted into a recess and for freestanding stoves. With recesses the hearth should reach at least 150mm past the sides of the stove and 300mm in front, and with freestanding stoves the hearth should be at least 840mm x 840mm in size. The hearth should also be at least 125mm thick with a space of 50mm between the hearth and any combustible material, or otherwise 250mm thick.
Surrounds should also be made from non‐combustible materials, and if the stove is fitted into a chimney recess there are set requirements regarding the thickness of the walls and the materials that they are constructed from. For example, the walls of masonry chimneys should be at least 100mm thick, but if the walls separate the room from another compartment or dwelling, then they should be a minimum of 200mm away from the inner surface of the flue liner or have a gap of 40mm from the outer surface of the chimney.
The fireside recess and the chimney should also be made from non‐combustible material, and the internal walls should be a minimum of 200mm in thickness. Flue sizes must also comply with Building Regulations for safety reasons.
Any work undertaken should be notified to your local planning department so that they can make sure that all the requirements are being met. Alternatively, you should employ a qualified installer who will be familiar with Building Regulations.
If you buy ready‐made hearths and surrounds from a specialist stove supplier, they will usually ensure that these parts meet with Building Regulations. It is best to check with the supplier to make sure though.

To fit a fire surround you need to start by marking the walls according to the measurements of the surround so that you can make sure it fits. Masking tape is useful for this task. Next, you need to mark where the studs are in the wall as the spacers will be fixed to these. The studs are the upright posts that form part of the framework of the wall. You will also need some non‐combustible spacers, and screws to fix the spacers to the wall studs.
Suitable materials for woodburner stove surrounds are cement board, slate, or granite tiles. For reasons of safety, wooden surrounds are not suitable. However, providing all Building Regulations have been complied with in terms of thickness and materials relating to the chimney walls, then it is possible to have a wooden mantel shelf. Many suppliers sell mantel shelves complete with fittings in a range of woods and finishes. Again, the mantel shelf should be a suitable distance from the stove and flue.
With some fire surrounds the mantle place forms part of the surround as it juts out from the wall. Therefore, you will not need to buy a separate mantel shelf for these types of fire surrounds.
Fitting the Surround
Start by fixing the spacers into the studs using screws. The purpose of the spacers is so that there will be an insulating gap between the wall and the face of the surround. You can then fix the fireplace surround, which should be made from a non‐combustible material. You do this by using screws that are long enough to fit through the spacers and then into the wall studs. There should be a gap at the top and bottom so that air can heat up and flow through the gap.
Once you have fitted the surround, if it is not supplied with a decorative finish, you can decorate it using a fire proof material such as stucco, tiles or heat‐resistant paint. Remember to cover any surrounding areas to protect them from spillages.
Fire surrounds come in a wide range of styles to complement any room in a variety of materials. You can choose from contemporary or traditional. Whatever style of surround you select, it is sure to enhance the appearance of your wood burning stove making it a great focal point for any surroundings.