There are various criteria that need to be thought about and which one of them tops the list will vary from person to person. So here’s an overview of the main considerations to be investigated when buying a fire or stove – it’s then up to you to decide which area takes priority.
And remember, with a self-build you do have one immediate advantage: all the construction work can be planned efficiently and cost-effectively at the start of your project, unlike those people who have bought existing homes and then have to face possible limitations – and increased costs – over how they can incorporate a stove or fire.
How will you use the heat from your stove?
In other words: what function do you want your stove or fire to play in your new house? Do you want it to provide warmth for just one area? Or do you want it to supply heat for radiators in other parts of the building or maybe help to power a hot water system?
Many homeowners spend most of their waking hours in their homes in just one or two rooms, and a stove or a fire can provide all the zonal heating they need for those areas. If you want a stand-alone heating appliance to work in this way, try working out the level of BTUs (British thermal units) you’d need for the space concerned and then pick a stove or fire which could deliver the right amount of heat.
If you want your appliance to provide warmth elsewhere in your house or to generate heat for a domestic hot water system, then an integrated boiler stove would be the best choice. The boiler stove also can “link up” to supplement other heating systems, for instance solar panels. This form of stove arrangement is proving increasingly popular with self-build enthusiasts – the solar panels providing energy when it’s bright and sunny, the wood stove taking over heating and hot water duties when it’s cold and cloudy. Using wood and solar power vastly reduces a building’s carbon footprint and also reduces a homeowner’s reliance on the big energy companies.
What fuel do you want to use?
Each fuel for a stove or fire has its advantages. Wood is regarded as carbon neutral and cheap; multi-fuel appliances give you the benefit of a range of solid fuels; gas is plentiful, clean and, despite recent price hikes, still economical; electricity allows for fires that are simple to install. Wood may win on environmental considerations, but gas and electricity can be switched on and switched off, so no time and energy are wasted as the appliance heats up or burns down.
You have to consider how important to you is the cost of the fuel, its availability, its convenience and its environmental impact. If you like the sound of wood, do you have space to keep it? Chopped wood should ideally be stored for two years and have a moisture content of less than 20% before it is burnt. An outdoor area that could provide a flow of air over the wood would be the best way to do this.
What look do you want?
Do you want an open fire or a stove? Do you want it to have a timeless, modern or traditional look? Do you want it to fit neatly against a wall or to be more prominent? Indeed, do you want it to be in a hearth at all? You may prefer it to be in a corner, on a wall or even in the centre of a room.
Whatever your preference, you can choose from the wide selection of Dovre models such as the Vintage contemporary range of wood burning stoves to the more traditional looking stoves, providing a focal stunning point in your room.
Make sure you buy your stove or fire from a qualified retailer. He or she can give you the right information, install the appliance correctly and then offer any necessary after-sales help.
Finding the right model requires that you ask a number of questions and then research thoroughly to find the answers. However, it’s an investment in time and effort that will pay dividends in terms of how much money you could save on your fuel bills, how much value you add to your property … and how much pleasure you, your family and your guests derive from watching a dance of flames whenever it’s cold outside.
To find more information on the latest Dovre stoves and fire, please visit your local Dovre retailer.