Stove Buyer's Guide

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As nights draw in and evenings start to get noticeably cooler, it’s natural for us to retreat indoors to warmer places, pulling on chunky knitwear and sliding into cosy slippers. Whilst you might be tempted to crank up the thermostat, the cost of doing so can make you think twice. With the continued threat of increasing energy costs, turning up the central heating for the whole house may not be the ideal solution. An additional heat source, like a stove in the room you naturally magnetise towards, may be your ideal economical option.

A wood burning stove is a beautifully convenient addition to gas fired central heating and adds a new focal point to your room for those precious moments when the family gathers together.

With so many options available, choosing the best stove option for your needs can seem daunting. In our comprehensive buyer's guide we give you the info you need to make an informed decision on the best stove to meet your needs, based on the dimensions of your room and your individual budget.

The appeal of real flames is timeless. The stresses of the day can simply melt away as you bask in the warm glow of a real fire, watching as flames dance hypnotically before your eyes, relaxing to the sound of crackling embers.

NB: A stove is a real fire. A wood burning stove should never be left unattended, so take care not to doze off completely.

What Should I Consider when Planning for a Stove?

When choosing a stove, your primary considerations should be location, output, style and budget. Careful investigation should also be made into the safe installation and any legalities controlling the use of open fires in your area, your council website or DEFRA will be able to guide you on this.

Eco Design 2022 came into effect on 1 Jan 2022, it stipulates that all new stoves must be compliant with pollutant levels. This regulation places a strict limit on the amount and type of pollutants a stove can emit from the flue and also sets a minimum efficiency level. The Declaration of Performance in each stove manual states the level of emissions for the different pollutants and particulate matter for that stove. Stoves must also be DEFRA compliant but applies only to the UK. 

Location, Location, Location – Selecting the Best Location for Your Stove

Whilst a wood burning stove will look amazing in any setting, from ultra-modern to rustic farmhouse, ultimately you want the stove to blend with the décor of your room and to heat it, efficiently at an affordable price.

Deciding where you’re going to position your stove should be your first priority as this will dictate the amount of work needed to install it and the amount of output required for the stove to be effective. Measure your room to get an accurate calculation of its dimensions, ensure that your stove has the power output to warm your room thoroughly. Where possible, install against an exterior wall, preferably underneath an existing chimney or flue, this will make the installation simpler and will enable the efficient removal of fumes.

Flue diagram

A professional installer will be able to provide the best insight on the optimum location for your stove, allowing for a convenient installation with maximum heat output. They will also be able to advise whether your chimney will need to be swept, i.e. whether there is sufficient airflow, and whether your hearth is heat-resistant and is suitably strong to withstand the weight of the stove.

I’ve Got the Power! – Choosing the Best Heat Output Option

Our extensive range of stoves offer a full complement of heat output options. The Clarke Carlton III with 4.2kW heat output, is ideal for the majority of smaller rooms and lounges, though it may not be sufficient as a sole heat source. However, it could be an ideal solution in an open plan setting or to heat a cold spot in conjunction with a primary heat source.

Choosing the right heat output for your space is critical. Our Stove Calculator is designed to help you quickly and easily identify the best output for your space, enabling you to explore your options.

Having narrowed your search, you can filter using the index on the left-hand side of our website. The vast majority of living rooms in the UK are between 12’ and 14’ square (3.7m2 – 4.3m2). Therefore, our stoves cater for this size room. Most of our stove options fall into the 4.9kW – 5.1kW heat output category. For larger rooms, we also offer 5.5kW, 7.9kW, 8.0kW and even a 12.5kW stove option.

All of the stoves in our range are wood burning but there are also multi-fuel options which allow you to burn eco logs, anthracite or briquettes as an alternative to wood.

Be Prepared - Preparing Your Home for a Stove Installation

There are many different factors which can affect the way in which your stove operates and its safe installation. An older house will have thicker walls and therefore the air in the room may be denser and less efficient at dispersing fumes.

Fitting a stove should always be undertaken by a reputable stove fitter or HETAS engineer. Click on the following link to find your nearest registered HETAS engineers. If installing into an existing fireplace, it is always advisable to have your chimney swept and your flue fully tested before commencing installation. A professional installer will do a smoke test using a smoke canister to check the effectiveness of your existing flue by ensuring there is sufficient ‘draw’ to pull fumes up out of your room and out through the flue.

Sweeping thoroughly will clear your chimney of any loose soot and will also dislodge bird nests/insect nests which may otherwise cause a blockage in your flue and could present a fire risk. This is done in a clean, contained manner which is fully sealed so any debris is caught and removed efficiently without falling into your room. Installing into a chimney? If so, it may be easier to opt for a stove with an outlet on the top.

Check with your local council regarding regulations on smokeless zones. A number of our stoves are designed to be suitable for smokeless zones but please review individual product specifications to ensure the model you choose is compatible. For more information on whether your area is a smokeless zone visit the DEFRA website.

If not installing in an existing chimney recess, you may need to build a hearth or at least install a stone or tiled floor on which to place your stove. Wood burning stoves emit heat in all directions, including downwards and so must not be installed directly onto carpet as this significantly increases the risk of fire.

Do It in Style - Selecting the Right Design and Style of Stove for You

Having decided on the location, layout, and heat output; and having prepared your hearth and chimney, you can now decide on a suitable design. There are many stove design options open to you from pedestal mounted, modern chic to rustic farmhouse charm. Choose from traditional rectangular stoves mounted on legs, such as the Clarke Regal IV, a log cabin style barrel stove, ideal for narrowboats and garden rooms, like the Clarke Barrel III, or look at our pedestal mounted wood burning stove options for a real design statement.

Your stove will quickly become the centrepiece of your room and so should blend with the aesthetic of your space, clean lines for a modern space, classic detailing for the more traditional Edwardian or Victorian room.

Whichever stove you choose, you will enjoy the full assurance that comes from buying a Clarke Eco Design stove. Built to exacting specifications with obsessive attention to detail, Clarke stoves offer a new ambience for your living space whilst keeping heating costs manageable.

Take a look at our Stoves Video to see a selection of our multi fuel Clarke Eco Design stoves as well as the useful accessories we supply for preparing and storing wood.

Not only that, but with a range of finance options available, you can get your hands on a stove straight away! With a stove to suit any budget and with a cold snap right around the corner, you cannot afford to hesitate in installing one of our lovely warm Clarke wood burning stoves in your home. 

Flues, Cowls, Connectors, etc.

In addition to your stove you will need to purchase the relevant pipes and conduits to channel the fumes out of your home. Flue pipes are available in matte black vitreous enamel or stainless steel twin wall pipes. Between the stove and the first connector you should use a vitreous enamel flue pipe as this acts to further radiate heat into the room.

Your choice of pipe will depend on the age and design of your home and whether or not you have an existing chimney flue. In addition to a flue pipe you may need radiation shields, ventilated support plates and elbow connectors to negotiate bends in the flue. Outside the house a stainless steel, twin wall pipe is topped off with a cowl. The cowl is a vented cap which sit over the mouth of the pipe and acts to filter and disperse fumes as they rise to ensure they are safely released into the air.

Clarke stove fans

You should also consider purchasing stove accessories such as a stove pipe thermometer and a heat-powered stove fan as these will help you to use your stove economically by regulating the temperature to ensure your stove is used efficiently and then dispersing the heat evenly throughout your room. Before you buy your stove, it will be necessary to make a full evaluation of the essential accessories your stove will need. Buying and fitting these should be anticipated and included when calculating the total cost of your project. For full specifications and dimensions, please refer to the individual product manual for the stove you are purchasing.

It is recommended that a carbon monoxide detector is installed in the same room as the stove in accordance with BS EN 50292:2002.