Thinking about installing a stove in your home but unsure which fuel-type is right for you?
Here we look at one of the biggest questions when it comes to choosing a stove and how to pick what’s right for your home.
Like many house features, there are several factors to consider when planning for a stove
and the biggest question of all is what fuel do you want to burn or would you rather the
convenience of an electric model? Gas, wood-burning or multi-fuel? If you want to heat your room, and your stove isn’t purely for aesthetic purposes, then the type of fuel you chose will influence the style and choices available to you.
Our handy guide is broken down into fuel categories, helping you chose a stove that’s not only an eye-catching focal point but functions for your home too.
GAS and ELECTRIC For a fuss free flame, a gas or electric stove is always a winner. Modern designs are virtually indistinguishable from a wood or coal burning fire. Gas and electric stoves provide flames, or a flame effect, and heat, without the mess and storage requirements of other fuels. Electric stoves are an easy, plug in choice for home without a chimney or flue.
Are you concerned about having heat during power failure? One of the benefits of solid fuel
fires is they can operate during power cuts, when you need the heat the most. Up to 80% of
the heat generated by a wood-burning stove goes into the room and they continue to
radiate heat after the fire has gone out so you stay warmer for longer. Wood-burners are
the current favorite and can even be installed where there isn’t a fireplace.
Although burning all types of wood from hardwood logs (these give out most heat) to
softwood, there is a lot to learn what you can and can’t pop in the stove. Some wood can
release toxic gases and cause a build-up of resin in the hearth and flue. Look out for the
‘Ready to Burn’ logo when purchasing wood. This scheme is backed by the government and
it identifies that the logs contain no more than 20% moisture to reduce smoke and
emissions which contribute to air pollution.
Multi-fuel stoves are easy to clean and offer the greatest flexibility, burning a variety of
authorized fuels such as coal, wood and smokeless fuel. These stoves have a grate inside
them for the fuel to sit on, making them ideal for coal, which needs air to reach it to burn
efficiently. Wood on the other hand, burns best when sitting on a bed of ash with air circulating from above. Because of these differences, a multi-fuel stove may not be optimised for burning both fuel types at the same time.
From 2022 all new wood-burning and multi-fuel stoves must meet new Ecodesign
legislation. This requires stoves to run at an efficiency of at least 75% and to have low
smoke emissions. Look out for the SIA Ecodesign Ready Label when making your selection.
Whichever fuel you choose to burn (with the exception of electric stoves), they can all
produce carbon monoxide, so make sure you stay safe by fitting a carbon monoxide
detector in the room where your stove will be.