Now the clock’s have gone back and the temperature is cooling, it’s time to start thinking about heating in the home. There’s nothing quite like a fire for creating a cosy, comforting atmosphere and these days the range of options is wider than it’s ever been. If real fires aren’t your thing, there’s a variety of mess-and-fuss-free alternatives on the market. You can choose from a traditional look, or something more contemporary depending on your decor. We take a look at what’s available.
By ‘real’, we mean stoves that burn solid fuel. You can choose from wood burners or multi-fuel options.
Log burners, as the name suggests, are a type of wood burner optimised for burning logs only. They have a built-in fire box which collects a bed of ash to encourage the wood to burn more efficiently. Log burners are the most traditional option, but you’ll need a fair amount of space to store all the logs you’ll need to get you through a winter – and remember they need to be kept dry. Alternatively, you could look at wood pellet stoves which burn specially-prepared pellets. The fuel for these takes up a lot less room, but these stoves also require connection to an electricity supply so may not be as cost effective.
Multi-fuel stoves have a grate to allow air to circulate under the fuel, and although they will burn wood they’re better adapted for burning smokeless fuel and coal.
Any type of solid fuel stove will need a flue to be fitted.
These are in a category by themselves, as they burn liquid rather than solid fuel. The main advantages are that they produce no ashes or smoke, and therefore don’t require you to fit a flue. Bioethanol fuel burns with 98% efficiency, so there’s no mess or soot, and it’s an environmentally friendly option too. The liquid fuel is comparatively compact and easy to store, and these stoves give a good amount of heat.
These days, you can buy gas stoves which are almost indistinguishable from traditional solid fuel stoves. They’re convenient, controllable and give instant heat as you don’t have to wait for them to heat up. You don’t always have to have an external flue installed as you can choose a powered flue instead (a sort of extractor fan operated by electricity). This means greater flexibility as you’re not forced to locate the stove against an outside wall.
Installing a gas stove, though, can be expensive as you’ll either have to have a mains gas supply installed or use pricey bottled gas. They’re also usually more expensive to buy than solid fuel stoves.
In terms of simplicity, you can’t get any easier than this. No need to worry about flues or fuel storage – all you need is a power socket and you can click and heat. Electric stoves heat up quickly and are controllable, and if you buy a free-standing model you can literally move it around the room. They tend not to give out as much heat as solid fuel stoves but require very little maintenance or cleaning.
Whichever stove you choose, it will quickly become the focal point of your room – and who knows, may even help you look forward to the colder weather!0