Frequently Asked Questions

Why have wood burning stoves become so popular?

People have gained great pleasure from fires for thousands of years, but recently have stopped using open fires because they are incredibly inefficient. Open fires have an energy efficiency rating of less than 25%. A gas fire is around 55% efficient and gas central heating boilers range between 70% to 90% efficiency. A modern Ecodesign wood burning stove can be over 84% efficient and wood is a significantly cheaper source of energy than gas or electricity.

Should I buy a wood burning stove, a log burner or a multi fuel stove?

People choose wood burning stoves (also known as Log burners or wood burners) because they intend to only burn wood as it is very cost-effective and a fully renewable heat source. A wood burning stove can be slightly more efficient way of burning wood than burning wood on a multi fuel stove. Some of the most beautiful designer stoves are only available as wood burning stoves because they were designed in countries which traditionally only burn wood.

People choose multi fuel burning stoves because they offer more versatility, being able to burn wood, anthracite coals and recycled pellets & briquettes. Despite being a slightly more expensive anthracite coal and some recycled fuels can produce more heat than wood and burn for longer (up to eight hours) reducing the need to refuel the stove.

What size (Kw output) stove should I buy?

It is important to buy a stove which will provide the most appropriate output for the area you are heating and the temperature range you prefer. Online calculators are not a good guide as they rely on room dimensions only, failing to take into consideration factors such as insulation value of walls & ceilings, size & type of windows, door size & efficiency, stairs, furnishings, your personal preferences and numerous other factors. The best way to find out the size of stove you should buy it to raise this question with a reputable and very experienced stove company.

Will a wood burning stove save me money?

Gas and electric prices continue to be volatile. If you choose the right stove, have it expertly installed so that it operates at optimum performance and source your fuel prudently, you could save you up to 30% of your heating costs.

Why are you so inexpensive?

We have built our reputation on the belief if we offer an excellent service at a fair price, we will be successful. We own our 6,000 square foot warehouse site and showroom, so we do not need to pay expensive rent. Over 80% of our new customers come to us because a previous customer has recommended them, so we spend very little on advertising. Our warehouse enables us to buy bulk from stove manufacturers at substantially discounted prices. We share the benefits of our very low overheads and the savings we make with our customers. This is why we can provide a high quality modern Ecodesign and DEFRA approved (for smokeless areas), wood burning and multi fuel stove, all the installation accessories normally necessary and installation by one of our teams of HETAS and OFTEC registered engineers for only £999 + vat.

Can I save money buying a stove and then pay someone else to install it?

If you buy a stove and then have someone else install it, if it doesn’t work correctly after installation or several months later, the company who supplied the stove can blame the installer and the installer can blame the company who supplied the stove. This can make it impossible to get a refund from either party. Unfortunately, the only way to resolve this type of problem may be to buy a replacement stove from a company that will supply and install the new stove.

Buying a stove online may appear a good option. However, remember you will also need to buy an installation accessories kit and pay someone to install it:

Buying a basic good quality stove will cost around £600, a basic installation accessories kit will cost around £350 and a reputable HETAS or OFTEC registered installer will charge around £700 (£600 + £350 + £700 = £1,650).

GATFire can supply a high quality stove, all of the installation accessories normally required and our HETAS and OFTEC registered engineers will expertly install the stove for only £999 +vat = £1,198.80.

Can I buy a stove online and install it myself?

The regulations surrounding the installation of solid fuel burning stoves are very strict. HETAS and OFTEC regulate the installation of all solid fuel burning stoves in the UK. If your stove is not installed by a HETAS or OFTEC registered installer you will be responsible for applying for building regulation approval from your local council before the stove is installed, then paying the council to inspect and hopefully approve the installation after the stove has been installed. In addition, failing to use a HETAS or OFTEC registered installer could invalidate your home insurance and you could experience problems selling your property in the future.

GATFire’s very experienced teams of installation engineers are fully HETAS and OFTEC registered.

What are Ecodesign compliant stoves?

Ecodesign stoves are compliant with a defined standard of higher efficiency and reduced emissions. The Ecodesign standard was originally formulated by the European Union, following Brexit the UK Government adopted the same standard as part of its 2019 Clean Air Strategy. All new stoves sold and installed in the UK must now be Ecodesign compliant.

Ecodesign Plus is a description used by some manufacturers to indicate a stove exceeds the Ecodesign compliant standard by being even more energy efficient and generating even less emissions.

What is DEFRA Approved, DEFRA Exempt and DEFRA Approved for smoke control areas?

DEFRA is the Government Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs. DEFRA Approved stoves are also known as DEFRA Exempt stoves and DEFRA Approved for smoke control areas stoves. DEFRA approved stoves are more efficient and produce even less emissions than the Ecodesign compliant standard. Therefore, all DEFRA approved stoves will also be Ecodesign compliant.

Some cities and towns are smoke control areas. A DEFRA Approved stove will allow you to burn wood, anthracite coal and other recycled fuels in a smoke control area.

What is a clearSkies labelled stove?

clearSkies is an independent stove certification organisation, incorporating the Ecodesign and the DEFRA approved standards.

clearSkies level 2 stoves are Ecodesign compliant.

clearSkies level 3 stoves are Ecodesign compliant and DEFRA approved.

clearSkies level 4 stoves exceed the Ecodesign compliant standard by 15% and are DEFRA approved.

clearSkies level 5 stoves exceed the Ecodesign compliant standard by over 25% and are DEFRA approved.

Can I use a wood burning stove if I live in a smoke control area?

If you live in a smoke control area you can use a wood burning stove or multi fuel stove completely legally if you choose a DEFRA approved stove and burn seasoned wood or other smokeless fuels. DEFRA define seasoned wood as having a moisture content of no more than 20%. Seasoned wood is commonly labelled ready to burn, woodsure approved or kiln dried and is readily available from home delivery firewood suppliers, home improvement stores, petrol stations etc.

Alternatively, you can obtain freshly cut wood also known as green wood, season it by allowing it to dry until its moisture content is 20%, then burn it in your DEFRA approved stove.

Do I need building regulations approval for a stove?

You do not need to obtain building regulation approval if your stove is installed by a reputable HETAS or OFTEC registered installer. However, if your stove is not going to be installed by a HETAS or OFTEC registered installer you will need to pay to apply for building regulation approval from your local authority.

Do I need a chimney to have a wood burning stove?

If you do not have a chimney or do not want your stove located under an existing chimney, a twin wall flue system passing through an external wall or ceiling is the answer.

How often will I need my chimney swept if I have a wood burner?

All modern stove packages should include a high quality stainless steel chimney liner, this increases stove efficiency, reduces the quantity of debris deposited in the chimney and the number of times the chimney needs to be swept. However, to keep your stove operating at maximum efficiency we suggest having your chimney swept once a year, preferably before the winter season.

Are wood burning stoves environmentally friendly?

Scientists believe CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions are responsible for 80% of global warming. Fossil fuels such as gas, oil and coal are burned to produce electricity and power central heating boilers. The burning of fossil fuels produces far more CO2 than burning wood.

Air pollution is made up of gases and particles, the most harmful being CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) gas, NOx (Nitrogen Oxides) gas and PM2.5 (Particle Matter of 0.0025 mm). In terms of climate change and damage to health, scientists consider the key dangers to be CO2 and NOx. Burning fossil fuels contributes the most to the production of CO2 and NOx. Therefore, burning fossil fuels can harm health in a way burning wood cannot match.

The CO2 produced by burning wood is absorbed or converted into oxygen by younger trees as they grow. When fossil fuels are burned, they release CO2 which has been stored for millions of years. Firewood is mostly a by product of trees which have been harvested to supply the building and furniture industries. Sustainable forestry practices and commercial sense ensures new trees are planted to replace harvested trees, but fossil fuel fields cannot be replaced. Therefore, burning fossil fuels is not carbon neutral and harms the environment in a way burning wood does not.

BBC Science Focus recently confirmed “Wood burning stoves offer a low carbon alternative to heating your home using fossil fuels. Trees absorb carbon dioxide as they grow, which is returned to the atmosphere when their wood is burned. If you source your logs or wood pellets locally, a wood stove is virtually carbon neutral.”

Will wood burning stoves be banned in the future?

Alarmist media reports predicting the Government were considering banning wood burning stoves, were completely contradicted by the Government in January when it published its Environmental Improvement Plan 2023. The plan explains how the Government intends to improve the environment and build a greener more prosperous country over the next 20 years.

The Environmental Improvement Plan 2023 on the subject of wood burning stoves the Government's plan clearly states “We are not considering a ban on domestic burning in England. The UK government recognises that some households are reliant on solid fuel burning as a primary source for heating, hot water and cooking, with this in mind government is not seeking to ban burning.” Therefore, the Government appears to have confirmed in writing for the next 20 years wood burning stove owners can rest easily.

Currently around 1.5 Million households in the UK use wood burning to heat their homes. These 1.5 Million households are occupied by around 3.5 Million potential voters who are very unlikely to vote for a Government who wants to stop them being able to heat their homes in the way they choose.

Around 190,000 new households are installing wood burning stoves every year. If this trend continues and the existing households who already burn wood do not stop, in 20 years time around 12.8 Million potential voters will live in wood burning households. Such massive voting power could make it impossible for any Government to ever consider banning wood burning stoves.