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Help, I need to choose a stove
 Started by  michaelvoyce
 12 May 2010, 5:44 PM

I like to make informed decisions. But, trying to research which stove to install has confused me totally. Is there someone out there who can put me out of my misery?
So, here goes:
I've purchased a three-bed, small Victorian terraced house in Cardiff requiring total renovation. I'm going to go for as green an approach as practical - so windows have been replaced with A Rated units (to match the top Energy Saving Rules which come into force in October). I'm going to put PV panels on the roof to access the attractive feed-in tariff changes announced in the last Budget. And I'm going to go for Solar Panels, a thermal store and Gas System Boiler, for those winter days when I need to boost the domestic hot water, or turn on the central heating. Might even ditch the gas boiler for an airpump thingy (1kw in 2.5kw out the heating engineer told me). I've rejected a boiler stove for hot water or cental heating, as too much of the heat created by the fuel is taken by the boiler.
But, I am going to go for a multifuel stove so I can burn wood, and perhaps some solid fuel. I used such a stove for a few days at a climbing cottage in North Wales last year and it was superb.
So, here's the idea - winter's evening - pour a glass of wine and slob out on the sofa in front of the fire and watch the flames. Wouldn't have to turn the central heating on or be tempted to go to the pub!
I've found a nice firm to install the stove at a good price. I've taken the chimney breast back to the builder's opening and sorted out the hearth, flue liner, vermiculite fill etc. All I have to do is pick a stove and I'm CONFUSED.
Some say Stovax are great, some other brands. I've had a really stong recommendation for Woodwarm stoves. Talked to the firm and asked what was a competitor product. They were totally honest and said Clearview - these two brands reputed to have brilliant airwash systems. Some say Morso. The firm that recommended Woodwarm also install Franco Belge stoves. On one of discussion Forums on this site are also recommendations for Hwam and Nestor Martin.
Put me out of my misery, PLEASE! I want a c5kw multifuel stove with either a traditionalish look to match a Victorian property. or a modern/minimalist look. I'll simply alter the look of the chimney breast and hearth material to suit.
Can anyone help and make a few suggestion cos, I'm flondering?

Don't forget to insulate and draught-proof the house while you are renovating it
You wont then need so much heat to keep it warm
With a terrace you might not even need any heat at all as both next doors will be keeping you warm if you are a fraction cooler than they are.
Air pump thingy, the latest models are much better than what you have been told, .....put in 1.5kws and get out more than 6kws, but they do cost a bit more, something like 1800 fitted, or why not an air pump thingy that makes your hot water as well, for about twice the price.
Just had a Clearview Pioneer 400 multi-fuel fitted. 5kW and it heats our 5m x 5m living room very effectively. Is efficient on fuel: bit less than a log an hour on wood. The airwash system works well. Heat output is very controllable. The HETAS qualified fitter who put ours in is fitting one in his own house.
Don't know anything about most of the stoves you mention but I would say the Pioneer is as well made as the Morso. Much heavier duty than say Hunter stoves.
TheOldBarn is on to something- am a stove retailer in the midlands and deal with them all- clearview are top notch stoves (albeit top end pricing to boot!), would highly recommend a company called Topstak in Vale of Glamorgan 01446 771567. happen to be main clearview dealers also!! best advice can offer- get the output rating right for the space you want to heat- ensure wood is properly seasoned!
Happy burning
Thanks greatly for the advice so far. On my longlist so far are, France Belge Montford, Stovax Stockton 5?, Morso 04, Morso Squirrel, AGA Little Wenlock, Aarrow Acorn, Aarrow Ecoburn 5, Valour Arden, Villager Chelsea Duo, Yeoman Exe and the ones I started with Clearview 400P and Clearview Solution 400, plus Woodwarm Fireview 5kw Slender Flat Top.
I'm making progress, but still floundering.
I would forget stoves entirely. They are inefficient and don't give out much heat. They can also generate carbon monoxide which the advertising blurb doesn't mention. I would install open fireplaces instead. I have two such fireplaces built according to principles discovered by "Count Rumford".
Virtually no builders these days know how to build open fireplaces, most modern and older fireplaces smoke the house out dreadfully, but this design doesn't.
You could include a back boiler to give you central heating ad hot water.
The only advantage I see of stoves is that they are less dusty.
best regards
@simonrichards912 - What level of efficiency does the Rumford fireplace have? AFAIK modern fireplaces only have efficiency of about 30% whereas stoves can be 70% plus.
In other words, in the case of modern fireplaces, only 30% of the heat generated ends up in the room whereas in the case of stoves, that figure is 70%.
I am, however, open to correction! Wink
Sorry Simon as good as the Rumford system is nothing compares to modern day stoves for heat output and efficiency. For example the Burley Hollywell stove burns that economically that 100kg stack of logs produces just one pint of ash. I can't see any open fire coming close. For me I would also have a look online I know my friend brought a franco belge.
Good Luck

Wood-Burning Stoves are great solution for all sorts of installations - but don't forget that they still use fuel. My scavenging license (from the Forestry Commission) gives me two years supply for approx 50. Don't think you'll manage that in Cardiff!! My choice of stove would be Clearview - by a short head - fantastic efficiency.
PV Panels on the roof!! - please do your sums before going ahead - speak to folk who are using PV in their main residence and who are prepared to give you some real-life figures.
Best of luck.
Thanks for all the advice. It's been a brilliant help clarifying my thoughts.
In the end it seemed a choice between the Woodwarm Slender 5kw and Clearview's choice of 5kw stoves. Both seem equally well-engineered, and according to reports more, than effective and efficent to operate. In the end, aesthetics won the day, and as a taller, traditional-looking stove will look best in the somewhat tall builder's opening in the lounge, I've settled on the Clearview 400p.
Then I was thinking - what if I have a back boiler retro fitted and get it to do the domestic hot water, when I get the thermal store and solar panels put in next year. There's a Clearview Vision 500 which is 8kw and can have an 'intergrated' log stand attached, which is visually perfect in creating a taller stove.
Either the 5kw or the 8kw will fit in the builder's opening. So should I ditch the 5kw stove in favour of the slightly wider 8kw stove?

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