Replacing Open Fire with a Log / Coal Burner

Discussion in 'General DIY' started by johnny_t, 7 Jul 2006.

  1. johnny_t

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    At the moment I've got an inset fireplace which goes out through a chimney with a liner installed (according to the chimney sweep).

    Mrs.T would like a log burner in its place so, inevitably, that's what will eventually go there. At this stage, I am just trying to work out what is involved - Is it as simple as taking out the old fire and shoving the burner in, with the outlet going up my current chimney (her take on the situation), or is there more to it than that (which is my guess) ?
     
  2. sidecar_jon

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    more or less.... you need a metal plate up the chimney connecting on the going up side to the liner and rigid pipe from the stove connecting to the former fires side of the plate.... the pipes range from "how much!" to "Daylight robbery"... ie enameled pipes with fittings etc to double lined stainless steel (probably the proper regulation nowadays in case you lean round the fire and thrust a hand on the hot pipe) Decide what stove and therefore what size pipe you need... i found there's lots of advice on the net to do with stoves not all of it true, All sorts of calculations to do with chimney height etc, ignore it, if the fire burnt fine then a stove will most likely do fine too.. dipending on how rich you are you can pay soemone to fit it all, but from what ive heard they have as much likelyhood of failing as you do...
     
  3. oilman

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    A legal bit, putting in a log burner is classed as a controlled service under the building regs, so you are supposed to pay the protection squad (building control) to allow to put a log burner in.
     
  4. sidecar_jon

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    yes oilman is right...you must remember to ignor them too.... just remember..."its always been like that"....
     
  5. johnny_t

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    Thanks Gents,

    Incidentally, is there legally a point when a log fire becomes a log burner ? Is it to do with the doors or something ?

    Also, with regards to building control, if I play the old 'I didn't know I needed permission - I thought I just shoved it up the hole' card, what's the worst that can happen ? And what's the likeliest ?
     
  6. sidecar_jon

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    When does a log fire become a log stove?...... there's the rub ah. As i said personally id just do it and worry latter. If the chimneys been emitting smoke for years, the worse that will happen is that it'll be less smokey with a stove. As for legal sanctions, i don't know, but id presume it'll be a cease and desist order. Remember there's a difference between regulations and the law.


    And unless you write what you have done on a placard and parade it round outside the Building regs office there is very little likelihood of being caught, and a sensible installation will pass building regs anyway (should the care)... No ones going to report you unless it makes a terrible mess or the neighbors get annoyed.
     
  7. breezer

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    ........................unless you are in a smokeless zone like we are here in Luton, Beds (mate had a call / visit for buring rubbish in his ggarden (but a neighbour did complain)
     
  8. johnny_t

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    Nah. I live in a mining village (or ex-mining village to be strictly accurate) and its like being at a traction engine rally throughout the whole of winter round these parts......
     
  9. sidecar_jon

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    umm cant beat that smell!
     
  10. johnny_t

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    Right, the heat is on, so to speak, to get a log-burner in place before winter comes, so I thought I should start investigating what I need to do. I removed the old inset fireplace to have a look what was behind it today and, after scraping off the various bird-bits, found this.....

    [​IMG]

    So my first questions are....

    1) What is all that loose material at the bottom - It seems like a sort of polystyrene. Is it just insulation between the fire back and the outside world so as not to waste heat, or does it have a more safety related purpose. I didn't replace it when I put the fire back but can if I need to. Would it be OK to have 2 or 3 more fires without it, or should I just not light up.

    2) Most of the bricks within the fireplace seem to be loose. If I take them out is the chimney going to become a big empty square box (which I would like) or are some of these bits important.

    At the top of the fireplace, about 70cm up from the hearth top, it goes up into this.....

    [​IMG]

    and if I look up it it looks like this.....

    [​IMG]

    So....

    3) Is this what they call a liner, or a flue ? Is there any difference that I need to know about in this context ?

    4) It seems to be about 7.5" in diameter, whereas most stoves seem to have a flue of about 5" or 6". Do I need some sort of adapter or could I, say, run the 6" pipe up inside the 7.5" pipe for, say, a couple of foot and stick some insulation in the void between the two ? Or is that just being silly ?

    Finally, I read somewhere that you should allow a heat output of about 1kW for every 14 cubic metres. My room is about 20' x 11' x 10' so I was going to aim at around 5-6 kW-ish. However, some of the ones I have seen on eBay say things like '6kW - ideal for a small room' and my room isn't that small. Does anyone have a feel for how good that 14 cubic metre figure is ?

    Think thats it for the moment and all help much appreciated. Have I missed anything else obvious ?
     
  11. oilman

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    Loose stuff is insulation. Use it if the installation instructions of the log burner say you need it.

    It looks like you have a liner already, lucky you.

    The size heater you need is small. The problem with a big heater is that they cannot be run slowly. All wood burners have to run at about 130 C to 250 C, so more surface area means more heat out. If you have a small stove with a small output, you can run it when the weather is warmer. If you have a big stove, you can only run it when the weather is freezing cold, so you can't use it so often.

    Get a GOOD one NOT a cheap one. There is a lot of difference in the amount of wood they consume and how well it is burnt. This is a place to look, so is this. Here is a really clean option. And more........
     
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  12. RigidRaider

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    My hap' 'orth:

    We did the same. We stripped out everything back to breeze blocks and a bare square hole. Then we plastered the lot and dropped a big stone slab in for the stove to stand on. Luckily we have a class 1 flue so we didn't need a liner. Looks like you've got a good narrow smooth flue so you'll get a good column of rising hot gas and it will draw well. Get a chimney sweep to fit the stove, he will sort out the stove pipe, the join and a rodding port for sweeping.

    The advice to err on the side of a smaller stove is good: you will need to burn this harder and hotter and it will stay cleaner than a big stove shut down burning less oxygen.

    You need to be buying your wood NOW for this season. Even now is too late if your supplier brings it half green. You may need to start with smokeless coal for a few months until your wood no longer hisses and steams, because the moisture is very bad for your stove and your flue. Storage arrangements for the wood are as important as the flue - it must be well ventilated but covered. A sloping roof against a wall is perfect, with some old pallets underneath for air flow.

    Your stove will be wood or multi-fuel by virtue of the airwash, which is an extra vent allowing fresh air to flow downwards over the inside of the glass reducing tarring. I believe I'm right in saying this is the main difference between a wood burner/multi and a coal burner.

    When you plaster, get the plasterer to remove old plaster for a good distance away from the fireplace, even the whole chimney breast if possible. We didn't and now we have cracks at the join between old and new plaster because of the different expansion rates. New plaster all over will spread the stresses. These things get HOT, believe me! We fixed a separate beam of wood on the front of the fireplace to finish it, it hangs on mirror plates and can be removed for decorating.

    Don't forget the ventilation; a stove or fire sends huge volumes of air up the chimney. Your room will feel cosy and well ventilated but if you don't have a vent near the fire, fresh air will enter under the door or through the windows, causing drafts. One cure for a badly drawing fire is to open a window to equalise the pressure in the room.

    Let me know if you'd like me to email some pics.

    Phew! that's more like a fiver's worth!
     
  13. oilman

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    You MUST have an air supply of the correct minimum size for the stove. Gas is treated as dangerous as far as carbon monoxide is concerned, but solid fuel kills many more people than gas.
     
  14. johnny_t

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    Thanks Gents,

    I will keep an update on here as it goes in. Got to source my stove first though....

    RigidRaider, could you post up some pice please. I still haven't quite got in my head how I am going to finish off around it once I have the stove in.
     
  15. building control

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    OILMAN and SIDECAR JON are you qualified to give advice!!!!!!!!!!
    All domestic combustion appliances are subject to Building Regulations. This is for the benefit of yourselves, and is not just a money grabbing exercise by the Building Control body.
    Adequate ventilation and air replacement for the safe combustion process is required , fire risk to other buildings, fire risk to your home, locality of any combustible material to the flue ie floor joists etc,locality of windows etc to flue terminal, correct flue type for the combustion appliance etc,etc,etc are all issues which need to be satisfied for YOUR safety.

    Another issue is conservation of fuel and energy, yes, again a building regulations issue, how do you know how efficient the proposed system will be???How do you know the appliance has been safely installed?????

    Irrespective of whether it is a log burner or not IT IS A COMBUSTION APPLIANCE used for heating.
    Once again i see misinformation being provided to persons using these types of forum, REMEMBER it will be YOU in court and not one of the persons whose enlightened advice you have followed.

    SAFETY FIRST and if your not qualified in these matters then seek professional advice. A simple call to your local Building Control body is the best advice, were not monsters were here to help and protect you (some of you need protection from yourselves looking at some of the replies in this thread).
     

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