COMBINED WITH YOUR favourite people, your softest PJs, a pot of tea and some crumpets, a real fire is the perfect antidote to a grey winter afternoon. If there’s no woodburning stove in your home right now, we’re willing to bet there’s one on your Christmas wishlist. And not just because they’re fashionable – a woodburner heats not just your sitting room, after all, but if you opt for a boiler model, it’ll take care of your hot water, radiators and underfloor heating too. What’s more, it uses planet-loving fuel, and there’s nothing quite like wood-gathering to sate your hunter-gatherer fantasies. And whether your tastes are ‘country farmhouse’ or ‘modern minimalist’ there’s a wealth of styles to choose from – as well as something for pretty much every budget. Many manufacturers, such as Exeter-based woodburner designers, makers and sellers Stovax, are also incorporating technically advanced features and increasingly innovative functions like Cleanburn and Airwash, which, respectively, save fuel and keep your glass nice and clear.
Here’s what to do before the first twig ignites.
1. Check with your local authority to see whether you live in a Smoke Control Area – if you do, it will restrict the type of appliance and fuel you can have.
2. Get the stove installed by a HETAS*-approved fitter – it must conform to strict building regulations, and the smoke can’t just go up the chimney as it is.
3. Find a local, sustainable, reliable fuel source (try www.bigbarn.co.uk/logpile/indexen.php).
* HETAS is the official body recognised by the Government to approve solid fuel domestic heating appliances, fuels and services.