Best electric fires for winter 2016 – 2017

Are you looking to freshen up your home for winter? Perhaps you want to make it a bit cosier in time for Christmas.

If so, these stylish electric fires all offer additional warmth at the click of a button and great design and very reasonable prices.

Let’s explore some of the must-have electric fires for winter 2016 – 2017.

Celsi 16 Oxford Black Hearth Mounted Electric Fire

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Designed to sit within your existing fireplace, the heart-mounted Celsi 16 Oxford provides a contemporary twist on the electric fire. A striking modern design is complemented by a realistic flame effect. Click here for a closer look.

Dimplex Adagio Silver Electric Fire

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The Dimplex Adagio is inset into a standard fireplace opening. Its cast iron body is polished into a stylish and modern silver finish. The Adagio comes with a choice of large white pebbles and real coal, so you can pick the right look for your room. Click here for a closer look.

Dimplex Tango Electric Stove

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Get the style and charm of a wood-burning stove with the convenience of an electric fire with the Dimplex Tango electric stove. Its design is based on that of a traditional multi-fuel stove, going as far as to incorporate real coals, but the flames are available at the click of a button. Click here for a closer look.

Dimplex Danesbury Black Electric Fire

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Another inset fire, the Dimple Danesbury comes in a timeless black finish that is at home among both traditional and contemporary decor. Its canopy both enhances the classic look of the appliance and serves to hide the controls that make it so easy to operate. Click here for a closer look.

Dimplex Bach Wall Hung Electric Fire

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Who said your electric fire needs to take up floorspace? Make a feature of your heating appliance with the Dimplex Bach wall hung electric fire, which can be easily mounted to your wall as you might do with a piece of art or a television. Click here for a closer look.

Ezee Glow WH2 Lara Black Glass Wall Mounted Electric Fire

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Another wall mounted electric fire, the Ezee Glow WH2 Lara comes with the additional advantage of a bargain price tag. At the time of writing, it is available for just £130. Click here for a closer look.

Best woodburners for winter 2016 – 2017

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Winter is looming large. There is a definite chill in the air and, if you’re hoping to have a wood-burning stove installed in time to keep you cosy until the warmer weather returns, now is the time to take action.

Fortunately, we have compiled this list of some of the must-have appliances for winter 2016 – 2017. Scroll on to see if you find your new woodburner.

GBS Mariner 7kW Multi Fuel Wood Burning Stove

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The GBS Mariner 7kW is an excellent wood-burning stove at its full price of £540. Given that it is reduced to £350 as we head into the winter, it looks set to be very popular this season. British-made and boasting a contemporary design, this durable steel-bodied stove comes with a three-year warranty. Click here for a closer look.

Mazona Rocky 6kW Multi Fuel Wood Burning Stove

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The Mazona Rocky is a consistent best-seller, and winter 2016 – 2017 is not expected to be any different. A traditionally-styled, cast iron multi-fuel stove, the Rocky boasts a 6kW heat output but costs just £179.99. That’s a lot of stove for the price, especially when you factor in the five-year warranty on the stove body. Click here for a closer look.

Mazona Signet 4kW Multi Fuel Wood Burning Stove

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We couldn’t mention the Rocky 6kW without featuring its little sister, the Mazona 4kW. It features the same traditional design details and cast iron body – and also comes with a five-year warranty on the stove body – but its 4kW heat output makes it is more suited to snug rooms and other smaller spaces. Click here for a closer look.

Aarrow Acorn View 5 kW Flexifuel Multi Fuel Wood Burning Stove

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The Acorn View 5kW Flexifuel is one of the most popular appliances in the stylish Aarrow collection. This stove features a sleek, modern appearance that will provide a beautiful feature in any contemporary living room. Click here for a closer look.

Stratford 20HE Ecoboiler Wood Burning Multi Fuel Boiler Stove

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If your idea of a winter wonderland is finding that your central heating bill is a fraction of what it was last year, you could do worse than install the Stratford 20HE boiler stove, which will not only heat your room but also water and radiators. That means you can cut your reliance on gas, oil or electric and simply light your stove. Click here for a closer look.

Invicta Ove 10 kW Wood Burning Stove

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You could really add the ‘wow’ factor to your home this winter by installing the Invicta Ove. This egg-inspired freestanding woodburner never fails to catch the eye. In addition to that stunning design, the Ove also comes with the benefit of burning for up to 10 hours on a single load of logs. Click here for a closer look.

Looking for something different? Visit gr8fires.co.uk to see our full range of woodburners. 

Top flue exit or rear flue exit on woodburners

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Should you use the top flue exit or the rear flue exit on your woodburner?

Many appliances come with the option of having the flue connect on either the top or the rear of the stove body. The woodburner will usually come with a blanking plate to seal the flue exit that will not be in use. Typically a stove will arrive configured with the flue collar on top and geared up for use with the top flue exit, but it is easy to swap to the rear flue exit

But which option is best?

Using top flue exit

Generally, using the top flue exit will create a more elegant look, particularly in the case of freestanding stoves when all of the stove is on display. The straight line out of the appliance and skywards creates an aesthetically satisfying appearance.

The straight flue also gives an easier path for the flue gases, so that can lead to slight performance benefits in terms of the draw up your chimney.

Using rear flue exit

Using the rear flue exit can have benefits, particularly if the stove is being fitted within a fireplace recess. If three-quarters of the stove are surrounded by the fireplace, a lot of heat will go towards heating the inside walls of the fireplace rather than the room. Using the rear flue exit will immediately cause the appliance to jut further into the room and make better use of the fuel you’re burning.

The rear flue exit may provide slight benefits in terms of the amount of heat generated. The flue gases have slightly further to travel before exiting the firebox than when the top flue exit is use, so more of the flammable gases may be burnt as a result.

Downsides of using the rear exit are that it might be trickier to sweep your chimney and also that it might be slightly harder to light your stove when the chimney is cold.

Need more advice before buying your stove? Download this free wood-burning stove guide book.

Sticky, black liquid in woodburners

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Have you found a sticky, black liquid in your wood-burning stove? Perhaps the consistency reminds of tar, and that’s because that is exactly what it is.

You might spotted it running down the inside walls of your appliance or settled somewhere in the firebox.

If you have seen this black liquid, it indicates that you are not operating your stove correctly and, in particular, burning unsuitable fuel.

Usually tar is created as a byproduct of burning logs on a woodburner when the moisture level of the wood is too high. Since energy is being wasted evaporating water, the stove doesn’t get up to high enough temperature, which leads to cooler gases going up your chimney. Since they are cooler, they are prone to condense when they touch the metal of the flue liner.

The condensed gases will either solidify on the inside or the flue or drip back down into the stove in the form of the sticky liquid. Whenever the tar does get the chance to solidify it will turn into creosote. A build-up of creosote in your stove system increases the risk of chimney fires.

How to stop a sticky, black liquid appearing in your woodburner

There are a few ways to stop the black liquid appearing in your wood-burning stove. The first is to ensure that the only logs you burn are ones that have been correctly seasoned and have low moisture content. You can use a moisture meter to ensure this is the case.

Ensuring there is a strong draw up your chimney, operating your stove at full capacity and ensuring your room is well ventilated will also minimise the chance of flue gases condensing in your chimney.

It is also important to get your chimney swept regularly. This will remove any residual creosote that has built up in your chimney and prevent is seeping back down your chimney and into the stove.

Click here to read more about tar condensation.

Help! I’ve melted something on my woodburner

Boiler Stoves

Wood-burning stoves are very hot. This much we know.

But sometimes people underestimate just how hot they are. We hear tales of people trying to dry clothes by draping them over the stove in the same way they would a radiator.

Trainers, plastic cups and toys are among the items that have been melted on wood-burning stoves with some degree of regularity. Whether, as mentioned above, this was done deliberately with the intention of drying the item in question or whether the accidentally came into contact with the stove or was left sitting on a cold stove and forgotten about, the end result is usually the same.

That is that your lovely wood-burning stove body will now have a nasty blemish in the form of a melted and charred piece of fabric or plastic.

If you find yourself in that position, you will no doubt be keen to find a way to restore your stove to its former glory as soon as possible. That may or may not be realistic, but you can certainly have a go at getting it looking as good as possible.

Follow these tips to attempt to remove the melted material from your woodburner and get it looking like new again.

Removing melted plastic or material from a woodburner

The best way to remove the foreign object from the surface of your wood-burning stove is to rub down the affected area with wire wool. This will hopefully ensure that the melted item is worn away from the surface.

Of course, it is likely that you will also remove some of the stove paint in the process. That leads to the next step, which is to touch up the area on which you’ve used the wire wool with some stove paint.

Click here to buy stove paint.

Smells from wood-burning stoves

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There is nothing nicer than the smell of a wood-burning stove in use, particularly if you’re burning a particularly fragrant wood.

But if your stove starts producing unusual or unpleasant smells it an become a bit disconcerting.

In this article, we will seek to pick out some of the more common unusual woodburner smells to help you to diagnose that pong and determine whether or not it is something you ought to be worrying about.

Egg smell from woodburner
If your stove is producing an eggy smell, that could be due to the sulphurous content of whatever you are burning. For instance, some coals contain relatively high levels of sulphur. This smell might be particularly obvious when you’re clearing out the ashes.

Chemical or paint smell from woodburner
A chemical smell from your wood-burning stove is normal when the appliance is new. This is because the stove paint still needs to cure. Curing is when liquids within the paint start to evaporate when the stove is first heated to the extreme temperatures required for a wood-burning stove. This causes the chemical structure of the paint to change, leaving just the desired finish on the stove, but also creating a paint smell. This smell should go away after the stove has been used three or four times.

If a chemical smell continues beyond that, it could be that something – most likely paint or oil – is burning off further up the stove and flue system.

If you’re burning treated wood, which is not a good idea, that is another possible cause of a chemical smell.

Smoke smell from woodburner
Given that a wood-burning stove involves burning fuel, a degree of smoke smell is inevitable. If you feel the smell is getting stronger or is seeping further into your home it could be indicative of a problem. It could mean that your chimney needs to be swept, that there is a leak in the flue or chimney, or that there is a problem with the draw, which could be caused by conditions outside your home or by a lack of ventilation within your home.

Soot smell from woodburner
As with a smoke smell, a smell of suit from your woodburner could indicate a need to have your chimney swept. It might also suggest that the wood you’re burning is not sufficiently seasoned and has a high moisture content. The soot smell is indicative of a creosote build-up in your chimney.

Got a question? Ask away on our Facebook page.

61% of people say their wood-burning stove has saved them money

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Does a wood-burning stove really save you money? Perhaps the best way of judging is by drawing upon an independent piece of research by a trusted organisation.

Consumer advice organisation Which? carried out a survey in which it asked its members who own wood-burning stoves whether their appliance had helped their finances.

Of those surveyed by Which? in December 2014, 61% of wood-burning stove owners said getting their stove had helped them to save money.

It is worth considering that respondents were only asked whether they thought their stove had saved money, so the results are only based on their perception and not necessarily any factual basis. However, given that all those surveyed are members of Which?, it is safe to assume that they paid closer attention to the success of their purchase than a random cross-section of society would have.

By the same taken, some of those respondents might have factored in the cost of buying and installing their stove and therefore deemed that it had not yet delivered a net saving in comparison to avoiding that outlay and continuing to pay their old heating bills. So, perhaps over time the figure would prove to be even higher than 61%.

Key factors

It is worth bearing in mind that the savings made to heating bills have a lot to do with the way in which the stove is operated. The more efficiently it is used, the greater the savings that can be made.

The type of wood your choose to burn, the degree to which the logs are seasoned, the frequency with which you refuel the appliance, the quality of insulation in your home, the way you operate the air vents and how clear your chimney are among the key factors in this regard.

Click here to learn more about efficient use of a wood-burning stove.

Choosing the right woodburner to survive a zombie apocalypse

Survive Zombie Apocalypse

As we all know, zombie apocalypse is one of the major threats facing the world right now, so it is important to be prepared for such an eventuality.

One item that is going to come in very handy in the event of a zombie takeover sweeping the country is a wood-burning stove. Two of the key things that you will need that might not be available to you via your current methods: light and heat. Helpfully, the heat and light provided by a woodburner is not dependent on any external infrastructure. So, if you can access fuel, you will be able to keep yourself warm and formulate your cunning survival plan outside of daylight hours.

Let’s look at some of the factors that might influence your decision when choosing the right wood-burning stove to help you survive a zombie apocalypse.

Hotplates

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Without people to staff power stations and networks, it will not be long before you have no electricity or gas to rely upon. A trip to the supermarket is probably too risky, so one-pot meals at home will be order of the day. Choosing a stove with hotplates will make it easier to cook your squirrel stew or one of your MRE stash. Something like the Evergreen Ashley 5kW (see above), which has two hotplate, is ideally suited the job. You could even make yourself a cuppa at the same time.

And with water supplies likely to be cut off and/or contaminated as treatment plants grind to a halt, your hotplate will give you an easy way to keep a steady supply of sterile water.

Emissions

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The last thing you want to be doing in the case of a zombie apocalypse is drawing undue attention to yourself, so you will want your woodburner to be emitting the minimum amount of smoke. The best way of doing that is by burning dried, seasoned wood. You can ensure you’re doing that by having a moisture meter to hand to check on the water content of your logs. The lower the moisture content, the more efficient the burn and the less smoke created. To further reduce the risk of emissions that might reveal your location, you might also opt for an appliance that is DEFRA exempt for use in smoke control areas, which will have passed tests to prove the cleanliness of its burn. Something like the Mazona Crete 5kW (see above) would do the trick.

Output

Zombie apocalypse can strike at any time, even in the depths of winter. Make sure your woodburner has a decent enough heat output to comfortable warm your hideout space (a remote place in the countryside is best, if you can manage that). Use our stove size calculator to ensure your stove is big enough.

Heat and comfort

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Perhaps getting a decent bath and warmth throughout the house will drop down your list of priorities in the event that zombies are on the rampage… but they don’t have to. If you’ve opted for a boiler stove, your woodburner will provide hot water and heat to radiators in the property. This will make for a more comfortable existence as you’re hunkered down trying to avoid the living dead. An appliance like the Arizona Nevada 20kW boiler stove would be ideal.

Things all woodburner owners learn the hard way

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Ashes stay hot for a really long time
All wood-burning stove rookies quickly find out why old style dustbins used to say ‘No Hot Ashes’ on the lid. Hours and hours after you thought the fire had gone out, they will still burn through anything they get a chance to.

Your woodburner is also really hot
The very purpose of a wood-burning stove is to provide heat to our home. At its most basic level, it is a metal box with a fire inside – and we all know that metal conducts heat. Yet human curiosity demands we – at least for the briefest of milliseconds – touch our stove to find out: “Can it really be that hot?” The answer is always yes – and you never touch the stove again without the aid of a stove glove.

Birds are clumsy
If you don’t have the foresight to install a chimney cowl at the same time as your woodburner, you will quickly discover that, despite having the power of flight at their disposal, birds have a habit of finding their way into stoves.

Smoke is indiscriminate
If you’re not operating your stove correctly and ensuring there is a good draw up the chimney, the smoke generated by your appliance does not really mind whether it goes upwards or outwards. This lesson is usually learnt when inhaling a couple of lungs’ worth of the byproduct of a slumbering stove.

Logs are irresistible
Spot a log – wherever you happen to be – and you will immediately start plotting the logistics of how you might be able to get it home to your stove. You woodburner will bring out a forager’s instinct.

Did you learn something the hard way when you first got your woodburner? Leave a comment below to let us know.

Gr8Fires Summer Holiday

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The Gr8Fires office will be closed from Monday, July 11, until Sunday, July 17, for a summer holiday.

If you need an item urgently, please place your order before 11am this Friday, July 8, for same-day dispatch.

Any orders placed after this date will be dispatched on Monday, July 18. Of course, you can continue to shop on Gr8Fires.co.uk while the office is closed, but orders will not be processed until the office reopens on July 18.

Our phone lines will also be closed throughout the period the office is closed, so please give us a call before 3.45pm tomorrow, Friday, July 8, if you need to talk to us.

If you’re in a hurry for your order, click here to shop now.