How to Fit a Wood Burning Stove DIY | UK Guide | 2023
A wood burning stove is a great focal point for any interior. The best wood burning stoves are not only easy on the eye and great for adding character to an interior, they also provide you with a considerable amount of heat. However, installing a wood burning stove can be fairly difficult. Not only do you need some considerable DIY know-how, you also need to ascertain whether your building itself can accommodate one.
Unlike gas appliances, fitting a wood burning stove can be undertaken by non-professionals, with no certification required. However, you will need to ensure that you are sticking within certain building regulations, especially if there is call for flues and chimneys to be installed. If you need to undertake any significant modifications to a building in order to install a wood burning stove, make sure you consult your local authority for clear guidance on any certification and clearance you might need.
Planning the Installation
Before you rush out to purchase a wood burning stove, you need to consider a few things. For starters, you need to bear in mind that a wood burning stove produces a significant amount of heat. You will certainly need to install an additional hearth in order to compensate for this. Stone is the preferred choice of material for hearths and if your stove kicks out particularly high temperatures, you will want to make sure it extends a considerable distance in front of the stove housing.
Stoves with lower temperature outputs will still need to have a hearth surround, but you can be a little bit more flexible when it comes to shape and size. A half-circle hearth is a good choice for those who want minimal intrusion to their floorspace.
A wood burning stove produces a large amount of hazardous gases, even when used on an occasional basis. When released in high enough levels, it can prove dangerous to your health. Significant exposure can even be deadly. Adding a high-quality liner to your chimney will help ensure deadly gases are efficiently funnelled away from the stove and out of your home.
These liners are usually made from metal or ceramic material and are contained with the flue. Chimney liners also have the added benefit of preventing cold air from intruding through the chimney and flue and into the stove itself. This not only allows your stove to burn more effectively, it also prevents gusts of air from toppling logs as they burn, minimising fire risk.
You don’t necessarily have to line your chimney, although doing so will make your wood burning stove a more efficient addition to your home. Chimney liners will however make your wood burning stove installation more expensive.
Don’t Have a Chimney?
If your home doesn’t have a chimney, you can still have a wood burning stove installed. However, it makes things a lot more difficult if you want to install one yourself. Twin wall flues are often used in lieu of a conventional chimney, although they will need to be installed by a professional. Again, this represents a significant extra cost.
Before you commence installation of your wood burning stove, you will first want to make sure that the chimney you are attaching it to has been thoroughly cleaned. You can clear a chimney yourself, but you should probably accept the extra expense of paying a professional to do it. A professional chimney cleaner can get the job done quickly and effectively, ensuring your wood burning stove is safe to use.
You will also want to measure the fireplace you are looking to use, as well as the dimensions of your wood burner. Each wood burning stove will need to be placed a certain distance from any neighbouring objects that might represent a fire risk. If you are tight on space, you should probably go for a smaller wood burning stove.
When installing a wood burning stove, you will almost always have to cut out a ceiling hole to ensure a flue pipe can be fitted. Be careful to avoid any existing wiring or plumbing. A stud finder device is useful to use when cutting flue holes. Once you have made space for your flue pipe, you can attach it to your wood burning stove. You should attach the flue with something called a pipe collar for best results.
Once everything has been fitted together and the stove installation is complete, you should request the services of someone with HETAS certification to sign off on your installation. Although you are free to install a wood burning stove yourself, you will first need to ensure it complies with the latest building regulations and standards before you can start using it.
If you are installing a wood burning stove in a home without a chimney, you will be using a twin wall flue instead. With these installations, more care is needed to ensure any openings that are cut to accommodate pipework and flues are fully weatherproofed. This can make installation more difficult for less experienced DIY enthusiasts, while also costing you more money in terms of materials.
Using Your Wood Burning Stove Safely
Even if your wood burning stove has been installed correctly and signed off on by a certified professional, you will want to take some steps to ensure it can be used safely. Although many people think of wood burning stoves as a relatively eco-friendly way to heat a home, there is some ongoing discussion about how healthy they are. If you suffer from any respiratory illnesses, such as asthma, a wood burning stove has the potential to cause you some issues.
Adding a carbon monoxide detector to your home is definitely something you should think about if you are using a wood burning stove. This will allow you to monitor the levels of harmful air pollutants within your home. If you notice that dangerous levels are a constant issue, you should rethink whether or not a wood burning stove is a good option for your home. Even if your stove has a lockable door, there is always the potential hazard of burning logs causing a fire risk. Therefore, installing a secondary smoke alarm in close proximity to your wood burning stove is a good idea for those seeking peace of mind.