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Stoves for Smoke Control Areas – Smokeless Zones

Smoke Control Areas – Why?esse 100 se smokeless stove

For a long time, the wood burning stove had been almost the exclusive province of the country dweller.

This because the towns had gas readily available and as a cheap, controllable fuel it had no equal.

Towns also laboured under the handicap of the Clean Air Acts. Inaugurated to ensure that the air quality in our cities meant we could actually breathe in the mornings .

Today gas is becoming expensive and we begin to realise that this bounty is not limitless or replaceable. Now wood burning stoves are making inroads to the city with a new breed of stoves for smoke control areas that will protect us from killer pollution.

Please accept this responsibility. If you want to burn wood in a city, please take a few simple steps to ensure that the future air quality is maintained. (I get so annoyed when people think its some sort of conspiracy to extract money from them, or that the smoke isn’t their problem once it leaves their chimney. The same people wouldn’t get on a bus if someone was smoking a cigarette…..)

westfire 20 smokeless stoveDEFRA have made a list of approved stoves.

Go to http://smokecontrol.defra.gov.uk/appliances.php?country=s there you will see a list of  “Exempt appliances”. (Note that nearly everything in the English list will eventually appear in the Scottish and other regional listings, but since devolution, the process of ratification can take some time)

WHICH STOVE THEN?

Not all stoves are the same. Like cars, four wheels, steering, transmission, engine, the guiding principles are the same, but there are different solutions offering hugely different performance characteristics. Inevitably prices will differ between products depending on their  features and quality.

Simple rule….you get what you pay for…..mostly! (There is some seriously over priced rubbish out there, learn a little before buying and you will be protected to some extent from rip off merchants)

westfire 16 smokeless stoveBasically (And this is really basic) the hotter the conditions maintained within the stove the more smoke will be burnt off and the less smoke will come out the chimney. Tweak this and you have a stove that will comply with current clean air legislation. (Incidentally this is why there are so few boiler models that comply. The presence of a water jacket continually cools the firebox, less hot, more smoke)

There are four  ways to that “Hot” fire box

  • Prevent the stove from being shut right down
  • Use responsive materials that heat up quickly
  • Inject hot air in to the path of the smoke to ignite it
  • Force smoke into the hottest part of the fire box, the fire itself, to burn it off

Defra approved stove morso 6148You will see in the listings “Conditions” column comments like “The appliance must be fitted with a mechanical stop to prevent closure of the air control beyond the 10mm open position” This is telling you something about the stove. You can’t shut it right down so the stove burns, hotter, harder, more of the time, result….smokeless. This is the easy way, and I think a bit of a cheat.

defra approved franco-belge  montfort smokeless stoveSpend a bit more and you start to see stainless steel in the stove. Stainless heats up quickly, (Its why we use it for saucepans) attaining those magic temperatures well within the limits of the legislation.

Tertiary air systems, usually identifiable by the presence of a row of holes on the inside rear of the stove, inject hot air into the smoke, causing a secondary ignition, more efficient burn and those magic, high temperatures again

“Downburning” stoves are less identifiable, but generally are the most controllable of the breed as the manufacturers have gone to extreme lengths to control the flow of combustion air through the stove.

DEFRA approved appliances all satisfy the UK legislative requirements for limiting the production of smoke over a regulated time period. Some use one and others a combination of the ideas above. This is why they are not all the same.

WHICH ONE FOR ME THEN?

The bottom line is to decide what you want your stove to do. If you have a limited budget, but only intend to use the appliance on high days and holidays then the disabled air inlet appliances will probably tick the box for you. The best way to decide what stove you need is to get in touch with us to discuss a survey of your property, existing chimney if you have one, or if you have no chimney the possibilities for building a new one.

If you want a stove to be the heart of your home, be lit in September and turned off in March, then invest in it.  You’ll be buying more of the systems above and it will show up in controllability, efficiency, fuel consumption etc. (You wouldn’t buy a tiny Smart car to drive to London every day…surely you’d invest in something comfortable?)

Here’s the tricky bit though. It is a recurring theme in this website and our mission statement. Teach yourself. Learn about the products until you can make an informed decision. It’s not rocket science. Talk to us and we will help.

If you’ve decided that wood or fuel storage is too problematic or choice of stoves is too restrictive you can take a look at gas and oil stoves

And lastly, a word of warning. I have a sorry tale to tell of one client who did everything right. Carefully selected the product, secured building warrant and planning permission for his new chimney, bought seasoned wood and a moisture meter to ensure he was using the perfect fuel and yet, eight months later, ripped the whole lot out and reverted to gas!

Too expensive? No. Too labour intensive? No. “Her indoors” hated it? No (It was her idea and she loved it!) Unfortunately the family involved had an endless stream of visits from Environmental Health Officers, legally obliged to follow up complaints from neighbours with regard to smoke. Their lives became a misery!

If you are going to be the first in your street to do this, canvas opinion from your neighbours. Be forewarned if they are going to fall out with you. Note also that being on the right side of the legislation won’t stop you from being prevented from causing a “Nuisance”.

You have been warned!

Contact Form and Directions to Showroom Tel. 01501 823006

Areas where we install aDEFRA approved stoves for smoke controlled areas:- Glasgow, Edinburgh, West Lothian, Midlothian, Stirling, Perth, Fife, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, Borders

In our stove showroom we carry a useful range of essential stove spares and accessories

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