|Newly installed woodburning stove
Since moving to Suffolk, once of the things we have actually managed to do is install a wood burning stove.
Now the weather is turning colder, I really appreciate sinking back into the sofa in the evening, and basking in the warmth from the fire. Much as I love our house, it doesn’t lack for draughts.
We do have other working fireplaces, but somehow we only get round to lighting open fires on special occasions or when we have visitors. The wood burner however is easier to get going, and heats the room up more quickly, so we’re much more likely to use it.
The photo above shows the wood burner just after it was installed back in February. As with many of our plans, it all took slightly longer than expected.
Turns out it’s not as easy as saying “We want a wood burning stove, please fit one”.
No, first you get a chimney sweep round (the lovely and very helpful Dean Bond) to sweep your chimneys, confirm they’re not blocked up and talk sternly about the importance of bird guards on the chimney pots.
Then you get recommendations for local firms that fit wood burning stoves and have all the right HETAS registration and might actually be able to squeeze in an appointment for someone to come and quote.
The comedy moment arrives when the expert measures your room, sucks his teeth, and explains that because of the size of the stove needed, the regulations insist that he puts in an air brick to ensure adequate ventilation.
Then there is a short pause, while you and the engineer look round at the rattling sash windows, the wind whipping through the gaps between the floor boards and rushing through the open doorway with no door (which is a whole other story all to itself), and clock the fact that if the room wasn’t so damn ventilated you wouldn’t need a wood burning stove in the first place.
So when the next heating expert comes round, you ask if there’s any alternative to punching holes through the elderly brickwork, because you’re pretty sure the local heritage officer and Historic England aren’t going to think much of that plan.
And luckily the heating engineer works out that because there is a (draughty, cold) basement underneath with an existing air brick, he could instead cut a hole in one of the floorboards and fit a metal grille to comply with the regulations.
So then you make an appointment for the local heritage officer to come round and confirm that yes he’s happy for the wood burner to be installed and the chimney lined, and yes he’d rather you fitted a metal grille in the floor boards instead of installing an air brick, and no you don’t need listed building consent (which is an immense relief).
But then you have to actually choose a stove, which involves looking at glossy brochures with pictures of a myriad of stoves at even wider ranging prices, and asking for recommendations from the wood burning stove experts and people who already have them, and discussing the pros and cons of Nordic styling, fancy fretwork and how many flames you would actually see.
So you get competing quotes for the stove you quite fancy, but also need to allow for:
– vent kit
– chimney liner
– access platform or cherry picker so they can actually get up to the chimney and fit the liner
– chimney cap, plus a few extras ones because if they’ve got an access platform or cherry picker in place they might as well fit a few other missing chimney caps
– carbon monoxide detector
– thermometer and sweeping brush
This all adds up to the thick end of a few thousand pounds, so you take a deep breath and get through Christmas first.
And then you choose a firm, and get it all booked in, which of course involves some lead time because surprise surprise you’re not the only people in January who’d be quite keen on having a warmer house.
Then you clear the room of assorted toys and chaos, just in case the chimney dumps enormous quantities of soot and dust during the installation, and finally FINALLY the lovely people from Bentley Fire Shop come round and fit your stove.
And your husband rushes out to buy a log basket, and unfeasibly long heat-proof gauntlets, and even shock horror some wood, and then ta dah you get to light the fire and enjoy the warmth.
And luckily, although your husband is slightly suspicious of central heating, it turns out he absolutely loves lighting the wood burner and will happily get it going whenever the weather is nippy.
|Wood burner in action last week