Help!…which log stove to choose and what do you have to consider… lots!

My fire-place. old fire in. Not efficient and wants to fall apart

I am on full log burning research at the moment. I’m halfway through building a Clay Oven in the garden, other log burning stuff being fixed (more later) but I have been doing quite a bit of research on which log stove to replace the current not really satisfactory Franco Belge which was an eBay special (if its too cheap it’s too cheap!). Not sized correctly and very used which means bits tend to fall off with the odd crack for good measure in the hearth!

So I have been going after this new stove thing like a work project. First question ‘How much heat do I need’? Online heat loss tools vary greatly as does my house. Open staircase in the heated room to the open landing. Windows, connecting doors, external door, large porch, difference in insulation and ventilation rates along with a nice 100mm room vent through my 900mm thick stone walls with another 100mm of external insulation. Most online tools seem to err on about 3.5kw but some has high as 5.75kw. Advice from my colleague Rob was that stoves seldom operate on ‘flat out mode’ which means slight oversize. My gut feeling and some of the online tools seem to suggest around the 5kw mark.

I have a lined chimney, good fuel, nice new log store with 20m3 of fuel in it (it’s now had three summers to dry… a bit extreme i know). I have good ventilation. I would have liked a direct feed from the outside air to the fire but chimney is in the middle of the house with no outside wall. I have a good room vent which is ok. Right, which one? I have now spent a few weeks on this and come up with something unexpected which is a locally made fire which all the online feedback seems to rate as do a few HETAS stove installers in their own houses. I have looked at the Clearview, Charnwood, Stovax, Burley and more and there is about a £1000 variation at the size I want. I am now looking at a Chilli Penguin Woody stove thanks to a recommendation from Vickie in the office. Price is good but the main aspect is the quality which is superb and very high efficiency and that it’s made on the Llyn Peninsula! Oh and it looks cool!

Before you say anything I will also get a competent HETAS person to install so that I get the whole thing from heat loss to commissioning covered

Any further advice, suggestions? I am now crowd sourcing advice!

This entry was posted in Biomass, Wales and tagged chilli penguin, log fire, log stove. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Help!…which log stove to choose and what do you have to consider… lots!

  1. Nigel Blandford says:

    If you end up losing sleep over this, it’s always worth reading Part J Building Regs again. Blissful nights sleep guaranteed by the time you are half way through.

  2. Matthew Crosher says:

    I have both a Clearview Pioneer and a Morso Badger in adjacent rooms. On paper they are both very similar and both get very good write ups, but IMO the Clearview is in a class of it’s own both in quality of build and practical design, but more importantly it is vastly more controllable. However the Morso is arguably nicer to look at.

    • Keith Jones says:

      Thanks Matthew. I have always recommended them at work when doing cottages up. The feedback seems mixed on line. This always makes me nervous. But I agree it’s one of the best. A friend had a Morso Panther and we had on I work. Open bonnet surgery a couple of times on them. Thanks for the feedback. I suppose the decision will be aesthetic based on quality. I like a wide window and I have larger oak logs. (Will mix in some soft wood) still thinking!

  3. cee says:

    Worth noting perhaps that the ‘standards’ for efficiency calculations for stoves is far from standard:

    • Keith Jones says:

      Agreed. Rob the guy I work with has been experimenting with this for years (course manager at the centre for alternative tech’) he told me that efficiency is gained at non standard operating. Namely flat out. Thanks for the feedback

  4. Hilary Wyatt says:

    Hi Keith,

    We have a Contura 51L and it is brilliant! Our Contura i5 (a recent purchase) is not quite so easy to control. I also note they do some larger models which have a solid heat store (soapstone) which look interesting if you want longer periods of background heat.

    Re the installer, I have just been through the HETAS complaints process (!) and would suggest you find an installer who is recommended or who has evidently good reviews. I have discovered that the level of knowledge about fitting can vary and there are uncertainties between Part J and accepted ‘good practice’ which are unfortunate for the consumer….


Leave a Reply