Choosing The Right Stove For You.

If you are considering buying a wood burning stove and this is your first look in to the world of stoves, it can all seem a little confusing.

Don’t buy off the Internet..?? If you visit any high street stove shop they will no doubt tell you not to buy a stove off the internet, and the advice will be bolstered with “tales” of how enormously bad things, of biblical proportions, will happen to you, if you even dare to consider buying “on-line”.

The truth is in fact very different. Internet shopping is now the choice of many, and it allows you to browse a huge choice, in the luxury of your home. The quality of the products on-line is often no different from what you will find in a high street shop, however because many items are at lower prices, you can actually get something better for your budget if you shop on-line. In addition unlike a high street shop, the internet allows you to see historic customer feedback and reviews, and with sites like eBay, at the click of a button you can establish if a company sells good, or bad products. Critically customer feedback provides no hiding places for an on-line retailer.

Modern Stoves have 100% positive feedback from over 10,000 customers on eBay, therefore we must be doing something right!

Modern Stoves are a professional Stove and chimney retailer. We are HETAS certified and our team are here to assist you at every stage of your purchase and installation of a stove. Our wealth of experience in the stove industry has led us to sell a huge  range of stoves that are high build quality and reliable, at amongst the most competitive prices in the UK. We are often asked why our stoves are so reasonably priced, critically what’s the catch? There isn’t one, we just sell high quality stoves at great prices. You’ve heard the phrase “you get what you pay for”, or the phrase “you buy cheap – you buy twice”, and no doubt we have lost customers who have thought that our prices are too good to be true. However we DON’T sell cheap low quality stoves from the far east, all the stoves we sell are high quality products that have been manufactured in Europe to strict manufacturing standards. We are the importer, the middle man, the service company, the sales company, the on-line retailer, and the after sales support company. Because there are no middle men we are able to keep our prices low.

What we offer is a no-nonsense approach, and if you prefer to view before you buy you are very welcome to visit our showroom, where you will receive honest, friendly, no nonsense advice. We are a HETAS accredited retailer and installer and most of the staff at Modern Stoves are technical and on hand to talk about your specific requirements, and we only tell it as it is. We also offer a free chimney design service through our HETAS trained staff, and we offer installation within 80 miles of Manchester Airport.

Based on our own vast experience, here follows an accurate and factual insight in to wood burning and multi-fuel stoves.

We recommend that you consider a couple of basic factors when purchasing a stove:
The style of stove you require, i.e. tall, square, round, contemporary, 3-sided etc etc.
The physical size of the stove that you require.
The performance or output of the stove, which is normally measured in kilowatts.
Are you in a smoke controlled zone, if you are you may need to consider if the stove you want to buy meets low emission standards, or burn “approved” fuels.
Do you need a stove with a Direct Air Supply connection (required for houses that are air tight)

In our product range, you will find a huge variety of quality, hand built stoves that offer a range of different styles, sizes and kilowatt outputs. We state the specification for each stove in each product description. We are unable to specify what a stoves can’t offer or doesn’t do, for example if a stove model doesn’t state that it comes with Direct Air then it won’t include Direct Air, but we cannot state that it doesn’t include direct air because the a list of what the stove doesn’t offer would be endless, we only state that the stove includes or will offer. It is therefore important that you seek advice prior to purchasing your stove if you are in any doubt concerning choosing the correct stove.

Almost all the stoves we offer conform to the new Eco Design 2022 low emission standards – All of the stoves we sell are manufactured in Europe – All the stoves we sell are CE certified to the latest manufacturing quality standards.

The glass in our stoves is made by a German manufacturer called Schott, who are arguably the largest and most reputable specialist glass manufacturer in the world.

The flue pipe that we sell is produced in Europe and is Hetas approved to ensure safety and reliability.

In order to ensure that all the products that we sell are of the highest standards we don’t sell any cast iron stoves, or stoves that have been manufactured in the far East, the products we sell are produced in the UK, or in Europe to ensure safety and high quality.

Most of the stoves we offer have air control vents that allow the user to control the burn rate and temperature output of the stove. The air control vents work by reducing the amount of air that is introduced in to the stove, i.e. the less air, the less the fuel within the stove will burn. Therefore we recommend choosing a stove that will provide a larger output that you may consider you will need, it is worth considering that you are unlikely to run your stove at full capacity, in reality you will control the burning and heat out output with the control vents.

Click on the following topics for further info:- 

Eco Design 2022 compliance

Steel Vs Cast Iron

Calculating The Kilowatt Output You Require

Fire Grate

Back Boiler Stoves – for hot water 

Plumbing systems

Range Cooker Stoves


Eco Design 2022 Compliance

There are new emissions standards that all stoves will be required to achieve by 2022. Burning wood produces particulate matter (PM), but the amount produced depends on how the wood is burnt. Independent research demonstrates that Eco design 2022 compliant stoves can reduce particulate emissions by 90% compared to an open fire and 80% compared to an old stove. In recent independent tests, stoves that are Eco Design 2022 Compliant consumed 6 times less fuel than non compliant stoves… the result is that the savings on fuel consumption are significant. In addition the emissions limit for Eco design is 55% lower than for DEFRA exempt stoves and Eco Design 2022 Compliance will replace Defra certification by 2022. (Clean Air Alliance)

Steel vs Cast Iron:

We are often asked about the differences between cast iron stoves vs steel stoves and we regularly hear from customers have been given misleading information about the pro’s and cons of the two different types. Historically speaking stoves were almost always made of cast iron, and you will no doubt have seen the traditional type of “box” stove that essentially is a cast iron box with four feet on it. Very often the manufacturer will introduce some swirls or patterns to the cast in a bid to jazz up the design of the stove. Traditional cast iron stoves used to be durable and long lasting, however due to the fact that most cast iron stoves are now cast from re-cycled metals, instead of virgin iron ore, the quality of cast iron stoves has declined in recent years. Critically this leads to premature cracking and melting, and it is not unusual for this to occur with months of the life of a cast iron stove.

For this reason all the stoves in our range are made from high grade rolled steel. In recent times European manufacturers have preferred to manufacture stoves from rolled steel, essentially steel is a refined bi-product of Iron, and is therefore stronger and more resilient than Iron. This makes it more versatile in terms of the forms and shapes that can be made and therefore contemporary styling and design can easily be achieved. Typically a steel stove will be made of two parts; an internal firebox constructed from 6 -10 mm steel, and then a thinner decorative outer casing which forms the style of the stove. In addition the firebox on almost all steel stoves is lined with ceramic firebricks, which serve to protect the stove and enhance its life span.

Steel stoves heat up much more quickly than cast iron stoves, but also cool down more quickly. However we think that there is an advantage in having a stove that heats up quickly, because very often you will have left the room when the fire has gone out and the stove is cooling down, critically a steel stove will provide rapid warm up and heating over it’s cast iron equivalent. As an example a cast iron stove can take many hours to reach it’s optimum temperature, whereas a steel stove will start to produce room heating in less than 30 minutes. Some of the stoves in our range have a soap stone finish, which is a similar material to granite / marble. Soap stone has the ability to hold heat and release it slowly, therefore allowing the heat to radiate from the stove long after the fire has gone out. It is worth remembering that due to the sheer surface area, steel stoves will continue to radiate heat for many hours after the fire has gone out.

If like many people, you are researching buying your first stove then we have some good news for you. You may be replacing an existing gas fire or open fire; the difference between the heat you currently get from your fire and the heat that a modern stove will provide, are worlds apart. Unlike a gas fire, or traditional open fire, where 70% of the heat goes up the chimney, over 70% of the heat will radiate from the stove in to the room. In addition modern stoves are extremely controllable in terms of how much fuel they burn and how much heat they provide. Lighting a stove is quick and easy and you don’t have the issues of hot spitting embers or smoke and fumes. New modern and contemporary stove designs mean that stoves can now compliment contemporary and stylish homes, and the fact that they offer cost effective heating, they are clean burning and efficient, and they offer huge controllable heat output, means that they make a sensible addition to any home or dwelling.

Many customers are both surprised and delighted with the heat out put from a modern stove. Rooms that have previously been cold and miserable, become comfortable, usable spaces. In addition heating your house using a wood burning, Multi-fuel stove is considerably cheaper than heating a property using electricity, oil or gas. In real terms the savings made by using a multi-fuel stove will pay for the stove in a relatively short period of time.

Stoves are often referred to as wood burning stoves, when in fact many stoves are in fact multi-fuel stoves. Multi-fuel means that you can burn solid fuel such as coal, as well as wood. In essence the main different between a stove that is multi-fuel and a stove that is wood burning only, is the fire grate. In a wood only stove, the fire grate is a solid surface, in a multi-fuel stove the fire grate has holes or grooves to allow air to pass up through the grate. Almost every stove in our product offering is a multi-fuel stove, essentially they all have a slotted fire grate which allows the burning of wood, and / or solid fuels.

Calculating The Kilowatt Output You Require:
The heat output, or KW capacity of a suitable stove can be established by measuring the size of the room and applying a simply calculation. However we also recommend that you choose a stove by the style of the stove that you like. A wood burning stove is something that should be enjoyed and therefore it should compliment the room. Choosing a stove on the output alone, may leave you with something that is unsightly and difficult to get on with. Remember that you can control the heat output of the stove and in addition opening internal doors within your property will allow heat from the stove to heat other rooms. Genuinely it is perfectly possible to heat your entire house with one stove.  To establish an approximate capacity of the stove that you will require you should measure the width, length and height of the room to be heated by the stove. When you have the measurements, simply multiply the length – by the width – by the height, to give a total square meter figure. Once you have the total figure divide the figure by 14 to give the output that you will require.

Example length of room 5 meters, width 5 metres, height 2 meters.
5 x 5 x 2 = 50 square meters. Divided by 14 = 3.57 kw. You will therefore require a minimum of 4kw output.

If you are estimating the kw output required for a room of an older style property with relatively low thermal qualities, we advise that you divide the total by 10, instead of 14, as this will provide a higher Kw output requirement, which will be better suited to a property of this age. i.e. 5 x 5 x 2 =50 divided by 10 = 5 kw. Some modern building materials offer low insulation and therefore allowances should be made for glass and or poly-carbonate roofing.

All the stoves in our range have been tested and rated to European manufacturing standards, and carry CE certification of quality.

In our product description we quote the maximum and nominal output capacities of each stove, they have been tested in a laboratory environment and the figures are accurate and correct. There is some debate about “actual” Kilowatt ratings of wood burning stoves and sellers quoting outputs that are exaggerated. In line with most heating products (i.e. a boiler or electric heater) we quote the “maximum” output as well as the “nominal” Kw output, which is the output that the stove is expected to provide once the fire within the stove has settled down and starts to simmer.

Once you have calculated the kilowatt output that you require, we recommend that you choose a stove where your specific kw requirement falls somewhere between the range of maximum and nominal output of the stove.

If you require assistance in calculating your suitable KW output, or if you would like any advice regarding choosing a stove, please don’t hesitate to call us, we are always on hand to provide friendly, no nonsense advice, and your satisfaction is paramount to our business ethics.

Customers often enquire about the option of a “riddling grate”. A riddling grate allows the user to riddle the ash and cinders through the grate in to the ash pan below. Typically a riddling grate is made of at least two sections which move against each other, this movement makes the ash and cinders fall through the grate. In our experience riddling grates are not particularly effective, they often jam and they are more prone to breaking than a fixed grate. Therefore most of the stoves in our product range don’t have a riddling grate, since in our experience a riddling grate can cause more problems than solutions.

Back Boiler Stoves – for hot water:
Many of the stoves that we sell can be supplied with a back boiler option. (See stoves with back boiler section). Stoves that are fitted with a back boiler are very effective and will provide generous amounts of hot water, which can be distributed between central heating and domestic hot water. Most of the stoves that we sell will heat in excess of 10 radiators plus the domestic hot water, guaranteed! With the recent hikes in energy prices, more and more people are looking at introducing alternative ways of heating, essentially a stove with a back boiler is an effective alternative and its popularity is on the increase. The back boiler is welded in place and cannot be removed or added at a later date, and we do not recommend that you use the stove with the back boiler dry.

A back boiler will take some of the heat output from the stove, therefore you will see the kw outputs displayed for both the space heating and for the water heating. It is worth noting that we have never experienced a customer reporting that a back boiler stove wouldn’t produce enough hot water or heating, critically they are very efficient and effective. In addition we have never experienced a fault or one that has developed a leak.

Below we have included some brief details about the types of plumbing systems that stoves with a back boiler can utilise. If you require further advice regarding stoves with a back boiler please call our support team, we are always on hand to provide practical assistance. 0161 439 1400

Plumbing systems:

There are essentially 3 common types of heating and plumbing systems in a typical domestic property. They consist of “ vented ”, “ un-vented ” or a Thermal Store, and for the avoidance of doubt a Thermal store is normally vented.

A vented heating system operates at normal atmospheric pressure – i.e. there is no water pressure in the heating pipe work around your property. If you have a vented heating system (sometimes referred to as open vented) then you can use any stove with a back boiler to heat your domestic hot water and central heating. You can determine if you have vented or un-vented by looking if you have an additional header tank in your loft, or above your hot water tank. If you have an additional header tank, in your loft or above the hot water cylinder then you have a vented system therefore you can use any stove with a back boiler.

If you don’t have a header tank then it is likely that you have an un-vented heating system. This is sometimes referred to as a closed system. Essentially the plumbing system is a sealed loop of pipe work that is pre filled with water and therefore operates under pressure. As an example, a heating system that is heated by a combi boiler will almost certainly be an un-vented heating system and therefore operates under water pressure. Pressurised hot water requires additional safety measures and in addition the back boiler on the stove must be rated for use with a pressurised system. We offer a number of stoves with back boilers that are rated for use with water pressure up to a working pressure of 2 bar and which are therefore suitable for an un-vented heating system. The stoves that are rated for use with an un-vented heating system carry the prefix “BO” after the name of the stove. BO means that the back boiler on the stove has been manufactured and tested to a working pressure of 2 bar. Additional care should always be taken when fitting a back boiler stove to an un-vented heating system and additional safety devices should be installed, such as cold water flush valve (TAS Valve), expansion safety vessel and pressure release valve.

Stoves with back boiler are a very efficient way of combining central heating and room heating from one single heat source, i.e. a multi fuel stove. You can increase the efficiency and warm up time of the stove by installing a pump station that is equipped with a thermostatic blending valve. The pump station will monitor the temperature of the water from the back boiler on the stove and return the water immediately back to the back boiler until it has reached an optimum temperature. Once the water reaches it’s optimum temperature the pump station blends the hot water in to the heating system. The process is similar to the thermostatic control on the radiator of every motor car engine, essentially it ensures that the back boiler does not endure continuous cold water passing through it when you first light the fire, which increases the efficiency and warm up time of the stove.

Range Cooker Stoves:
At Modern Stoves we offer a selection of range cooker stoves that provide a multiple heating solutions in one product. A modern range cooker can be used to heat, cook and provide domestic hot water and central heating hot water from one single appliance. As with all of our products they are manufactured to the highest standards of quality and finish. If you compare our prices to products with a brand name, such as a Rayburn, you will see that our range cookers offer unrivaled value for money. It is common for us to receive praise and thanks from customers who have bought one, and many customer report that they are surprised at how substantial the product is.

They heat up quickly and thanks to a large firebox they will take logs that are up to half a meter long and they will stay lit overnight. The oven temperature is extremely controllable and if you choose the option with a back boiler then it will provide copious amounts of hot water.

Under UK building regulations a solid fuel appliance (wood burner, multi-fuel stove, pellet stove) must be installed by a HETAS certified installer, or alternatively by a competent person who holds the necessary qualifications. The installation must be registered with your local council to make the installation legal. Modern Stoves are a HETAS certified installer and retailer, we can provide installation within 80 miles of Manchester Airport. Please contact us discuss your specific requirements. If you are outside this area, please see the HETAS web site to find HETAS approved installers who are local to you.

Modern Stoves also offer a FREE chimney design service.