Frequently asked questions
The following are a list of questions we are frequently asked. We have divided them into sections to make it a little easier for you. Please bear in mind that this is not an exhaustive list, but just to help you. Please click on a question to see the answer. If you still have a question, feel free to contact us.
We have created a before you buy section to give you some ideas as the the factors that might be worth considering when you are choosing to buy a stove or boiler.
Click on a question to read the answer
STOVE AND BOILER QUESTIONS
Q. What size stove do I need?
A. In order to be sure that your stove runs efficiently and effectively, it is very important that it matches correctly the size of the space that it is heating. There is no point in installing a stove that has too large an output for the room, as you may end up having to open doors to let the excessive heat out of the room, or even maybe opening windows – or else running the stove at a lower temperature, which means it will be less efficient, and may soot up the glass or the chimney. Also there is no point in having too low an output for the room, as the room will never seem to be warm enough.
A simple easy guide is to measure the area of your room (length by width by height in metres) to get the area in cubic metres in order to work out what size multi-fuel stove you need, You can use then our online multi-fuel stove calculator, or you may like to do the calculation yourself .As a guide, every 1kW will heat 14 cubic metres of space in a room with average insulation. Needless to say, if you have better than average insulation, then more space will be heated for every 1kW.
It must be stated that this calculation does not apply to wood pellet stoves. In this case, the calculation has not built in the greater efficiences of wood pellet stoves over multi-fuel stoves.
REMEMBER: This is only a guide and may not be an accurate measurement of your heat requirement. Factors such as very high ceilings, number of windows or large open plan rooms do affect the calculation.
Q. How do I calculate what size boiler I need?
A. As in the case of stoves, it is important that boiler output matches your heat requirements, as a boiler that is either too large in output or too small will not run efficiently. If you are looking for a boiler, then ‘sizing’ the kilowatt output of this is a complicated calculation. To be sure that the boiler size is correct for the heat requirements of your home, then a total heat loss calculation will have to be done, and we can do this for you.
In order to calculate the correctly sized boiler for your home, you must take account of several factors, including:
- the dimensions of each room (Length x Breadth x Height)
- the materials used in the house, such as whether it’s timber-frame or brick built
- the age of the house
- the house type – is it detached, semi-detached and so on
- the roof type, and the pitch of the roof
- the area of windows, and also their material – whether they are pvc, wood or metal
- the type of insulation used and the level of insulation used
- an allowance for domestic hot water
All of these combined help to calculate the heat loss of the dwelling, which means you will now know the kilowatts needed to heat it and therefore the output of the boiler. We can visit your home and do these calculations for you and give you a quotation for our recommendation if you wish. Just call us to arrange your free assessment today.
Q. Can a stove heat my home?
Yes, you can install a boiler stove, and this can connect onto your heating system and act as a back or replacement for your current heating system.This can be assessed when we carry out your assessment.
Q. What about insulation?
A. It cannot be stressed enough the importance of insulation. An investment in the insulation of your home is an investment in the environmental and economical efficiency of your home in the future. In short, spending extra money to insulate your home will save you money on fuel bills in the long term. At a minimum, insulation should be at current building regulation standards.
Q. Are there any grants available?
The SEAI is providing a grant towards the cost of insulating existing homes, called the Better Energy Homes Scheme and details can be found here. This scheme makes grants available for works to your home (which must have been built prior to 2006) including:
- Attic insulation
- Cavity wall insulation
- Internal wall insulation – dry lining
- External wall insulation
- Heating controls with boiler upgrade (oil or gas)
- Heating controls upgrade only
- Solar heating
- Better Energy Rating (BER)
Higher levels of grant are now being offered since March 2015.
|Energy Efficiency Measures||SEAI Grant Value|
|Wall Insulation – Cavity||€300|
|Wall Insulation – Internal Dry Lining|
|Apartment (any) OR Mid-terrace House||€1,200|
|Semi-detached OR End of Terrace||€1,800|
|Wall Insulation – External|
|Apartment (any) OR Mid-terrace House||€2,250|
|Semi-detached OR End of Terrace||€3,400|
|Heating System||Heating Controls with Boiler (Oil or Gas) Upgrade||€700|
|Heating Controls Upgrade only||€600|
|Bonus||For 3rd measure||€300|
|For 4th measure||€100|
|Building Energy Rating (BER)*||€50*|
* A BER must be undertaken after upgrading works are complete, and the SEAI will give €50 towards the cost of this.
Q. What if I also have other sources of heat?
A. The more heat sources you have, the lower the output you will require from your stove or boiler. For example if you are considering installing solar panels in combination with your pellet boiler, then ask your solar panel supplier for the minimum and maximum output that the panels will provide during both the summer and winter. This will help you correctly size the boiler output to suit your needs. Remember you can use your pellet boiler in conjunction with an existing system of oil, so that either system can act as a ‘back-up’ to the other.
Q. Does it make a difference where I locate my stove or boiler?
A. For a stove or boiler stove you can locate it in any room in the house. However, you have to allow for the space it will occupy, the space the hearth will occupy, and critically where the flue will go (ideally a chimney or flue through an external wall). Remember that it will typically have a glass front, so you can put it in a living room or kitchen, and enjoy the fire.
- For the in-house boiler, these will not have a glass front, you may locate it in say a utility room.
- For the external boiler, then this would be located in a garage or boiler house. Remember that it’s size will typically be larger than an oil boiler. Also you will have to allow space for cleaning out the boiler. Dimensions for the minimum boiler house recommended for a boiler will be on the brochure. Self designed storage and feed systems, where required can be incorporated into our range of boilers to suit local conditions or requirements.
WOOD BURNING STOVES
Q. How does a wood burning stove work?
A. Wood burns from the top down, and burns best sitting on a bed of ash, with it’s combustion air coming from the top. A wood burning stove needs two things to work efficiently.
Firstly, it needs heat and so it will often be lined with firebricks, but also it is helped by sitting on a bed of ash, as the ash acts as an insulator, directing the heat upwards, into the fire.
Secondly, it needs combustion air from the top, in the form of a good supply of oxygen. There are two types of air intake. Primary Air is the air usually taken in through a control at a low level at the front of the stove to maintain combustion. It is the best way to control a stove burning solid fuels, and is only needed to start a wood burning stove, as once the fire is burning well, it will not need primary air. This control can be adjusted to regulate the air coming into the firebox. Secondary air is a stream of warm air that ignites the unburnt gases, which is known as secondary combustion. This control is typically above the door or to the top of the front of the stove. Secondary air flows downwards along the glass giving a warm air film which helps to keep the glass from blackening. This is known as ‘airwash’. Once the fire is lit a wood burning stove works best by controlling air using the secondary air control.
Q. What is the difference between a wood burning and multi-fuel stove?
A. A wood burning stove is specifically designed to burn wood in the most efficient way with the combustion air coming from above the firebed, so it burns from the top down. It have a fixed grate, with no ashpan as wood burns best on a bed of ashes. A multi-fuel stove on the other hand burns the fuel from the bottom up. These fuels can be either wood, anthracite, smokeless fuels or briquettes. It has a raised grade and a removable ashpan to collect ashes.
Q. Can I burn multi-fuels in my wood burning stove?
A. No, wood burning stoves are designed to only burn wood. Lincar’s wood burning stoves will burn wood, wood briquettes and lignite. While you may burn wood in a multi-fuel stove, if the manufacturer allows for this. Boru Stoves and Horse Flame stoves have an integral easy riddling system to switch between wood and multi-fuel.
WOOD PELLET STOVES
Q. How does a wood pellet stove work?
A. Pellets are stored in a hopper within the stove. The stove is turned on, and the pellets are automatically fed into the burner by an auger, which are then automatically ignited. As the pellets burn, more pellets are fed into the burnpot. Warm air is fed through an internal heat exchanger and is convected into the room. Combustion air fan blows hot air around the fire to maintain a high temperature and enable the pellets to burn efficiently and evenly.
A flue is installed either through the rear of the wall behind the stove, or into an existing chimney. There is very little ash from the burning of woodpellets, but any ash will fall through the grate to a collector under the burn chamber. This can be cleaned out with a hoover about once a week.
All of this is controlled by a control unit, usually located at the top of the stove. This allows you to set a temperature for the stove, and once this temperature is reached, the stove will reduce the feed to the auger motor, to just enough pellets to keep the stove ‘ticking over’. Some stoves on the control unit have a timer function, which can set the stove to come on and off on a daily or weekly basis. (For more details see our technologies explained section.
Q. What are the advantages of a wood pellet stove over a multi-fuel stove?
A. A wood pellet stove:
- is convenient and easy to use – just turn it on and it does the rest
- has built in safety systems
- has built in controls to manage temperature
- ventilates the warm air into the room, rather than how a multi-fuel stove radiates heat.
- requires very little handling as the ash only needs to be cleaned about once a week, and the built-in fuel store can hold up to two or three days worth of heat, depending on it’s size and the heat output of the stove.
Some terms explained
Q. What is airwash?
A. Airwash is where pre-heated air which usually comes from a vent/control above the door of the stove is funnelled downwards along the inside surface of the glass which creates a ‘wash’ effect, basically a film of warm air prevents the flame from touching the glass, and thus keeping the glass clean. This allows you to enjoy the glow and flames of your fire to the full.
Q. What is cleanburn?
A. Cleanburn is a system by which secondary hot air is introduced into the firebox just above the normal height of the fire. This hot air ignites any unburned gases, known as secondary combustion which would otherwise be emitted into the atmosphere. This means a ‘cleaner burn’ of your fuel and greater thermal efficiency as your fuel will burn better, for longer. Boru calls their clean burn system “C02 Burn Technology”.
Q. What is commissioning?
A. Commissioning is the first fire-up of a wood pellet stove or boiler. This is to ensure that the stove is installed correctly according to the manufacturers instructions and building regulations, and that the settings are adjusted to suit your room.
HEARTH FOR YOUR STOVE
Q. What can I sit my stove on?
A. If you are replacing an existing open fire then you will already have a hearth or fireplace. Otherwise, you will need a constructional hearth of at least 125mm in height. There are building regulations which govern the ‘clearances’ needed around the stove, which would be taken into account when deciding the size of your hearth. The technical guidelines to these regulations can be found here.
The following illustration details the clearances allowed around the appliance, which are 150mm each side and above, and 300mm to the front.
A constructional hearth should be provided of solid, non-combustible material at least 125 mm thick (which may include the thickness of any solid,non-combustible floor). We can supply and fit granite hearths for your stove. We have a selection on display at our showroom.
CHIMNEY OR FLUE QUESTIONS
More details as well as a copy of the regulations can be found in our flues section.
Q. I have chimney already, can I use that?
A. It may be possible to use an existing chimney, but it is important that your chimney is inspected first, as it may need cleaning. We offer a chimney camera inspection and reporting service as well as chimney cleaning and chimney lining services.
If it is clean and suitable, then we can just add a connector to the flue outlet at the back or top of stove and then attach a flexible flue liner to this which can by run up the chimney and place a cowl on top. This flue liner should be appropriately sized to the internal diameter of the flue outlet on the stove. We supply flexible flue liner in any lengths you require, in a variety of internal diameters. We can recommend the flue that is appropriate for you.
Q. Do I need to do anything to change it?
A. You must remember that the internal diameter of an existing chimney would be much larger than that required for the stove. All stoves have a certain sized outlet at either the top or the back of the stove. The typical diameters on this are 80mm, 100mm, 125mm and 130mm, 150mm and 200mm. As a chimney is much larger in diameter, in some cases it would give too much draught to the stove and would cause it to run inefficiently. Solid fuels and wood typically need a lot of draught; whereas wood pellet stoves, have a flue motor which regulates the draught, do not require so much draught from the chimney, and therefore have a smaller diameter (80mm or 100mm).
Q. What if I don't have a chimney already?
Q. What about the location of the flue/chimney?
A. We can recommend what is appropriate for your. According to current building regulations, a flue outlet must be located a minimum of 1.6 meters from a door or window.
- For a stove or boiler stove you have the option of either going up an existing chimney with flexible flue liner, or constructing a twin walled rigid flue that can go through the external wall. It’s important to keep in mind the proximity to a window or door of the top of this outlet, because of the current building regulations. It may be necessary as a result to take this erected flue up past the eave of the house.
- For a boiler located in a boiler house or garage, then typically you would erect a minimum 2 metre flue, going out through a hole in the wall at the rear of the boiler. Again building regulations apply, and so you may require a longer length.
Q. What about the plumbing?
A. If you are installing a boiler in your house, then you will plumb the house as normal, but bring the in and out pipes for the water to the intended location of the boiler. If you are installing a boiler externally, then you will plumb your house as normal, and bring the intake and out pipe to the location of the boiler house. Remember that the maximum recommended distance from the house to the boiler is 15 metres.We will then plumb the boiler for you when we install it.
ANYTHING ELSE I MAY NOT HAVE THOUGHT OF?
Q. What else will I need?
If you are looking at buying a multi-fuel stove then as well as what is already mentioned above, there is an optional air intake at the back of these stove which helps with the efficiency, and you will also need to connect this to an external air pipe. Central Air Intake is used to take air from outside of your house for draught for the stove. It means that when you are using your stove there is no energy taken from the room, therefore the stove is even more efficient. Again we can do this for you, when we install the stove.
If you are looking at buying a wood burning stove then all you will need to know is where you will locate the stove, and where the chimney for this will be. Essentially a wood burning stove requires a 6″ pipe which goes up directly from the top of the stove. This can be a flexible flue liner that we can run up through a chimney from the top of the stove.
If you are looking at buying a wood burning boiler then you will need to have an idea where you are going to place the boiler and the chimney, you will need to have plumbed to the location of the boiler. Also remember it will be flued directly from the top of the stove either with a rigid flue or a flexible flue liner, that we can run up through the chimney.
If you are looking to buy a wood pellet stove, then you will need to consider the location of the stove, have a power point nearby, and also consider which option is suitable for you for the flue. This may either be by using an existing chimney and running a flue liner or using a rigid flue, if you do not have an existing chimney.
If you are looking to buy a pellet boiler stove, located in your house, then you will need to consider the location of the stove, have plumbed to this location, have a power point nearby, and have considered the suitable option for the flue.
If you are looking at buying a pellet boiler to be housed in your garage, or shed, then you will have to ensure that this is suitable to house a boiler, plumb to this location, have a power point near by, and consider which flue is suitable for it. Remember, the maximum distance for the boiler from the house is 15 metres.
Q. Where will I store my fuel?
A. In short, in a dry enclosed area. This applies to all fuels. If you are going to be running a stove or small output boiler, then your garage or outside shed will be sufficient.
We supply bagged wood pellets in single pallet lots. The dimensions of the pallet are 3.5ft by 3.5ft by 6.5ft. If the entrance to your shed can accommodate this then, the pallet can be stored here. If left on the pallet then the bags of pellets will be off the ground.
Similarly for logs and wood briquettes they are also delivered on a pallet.
If you are going to be running a large output boiler, then you may wish to take bulk deliveries of wood pellets. You would need to have a system whereby the pellets would be blown in (similar to how grain is delivered). Here you may have two options.
- Firstly, if you have a large room at the rear of the boiler which is enclosed, then you could adapt this to act as a feeder/storage area for the boiler. If you can imagine a room, where you could put two large pieces of plywood (as a sort of false floor) at an angle of either 45 degrees or 60 degrees. At the join on the floor, there would be an auger running along the floor, which would feed the pellets into the boiler.
- Secondly, you could purchase a steel silo to store the pellets, which would be attached to the boiler by an auger.
Q. How to light a solid fuel fire?
A. Firstly, be sure that the grate has been cleaned out from the previous fire. Place a small amount of fuel on the grate. Put some paper or kindling upon this. Place a firelighter (or two) on these and light them. When the fire begins to take hold of the paper/kindling, then place more fuel on top. Be careful not to smother the flame. Place a fireguard in front of the fire. To ensure a lengthy fire, add more fuel to it as it continues to burn.
NB. Grates last longer when ash is removed daily, as the unrestricted flow of air keeps the grate cool and prevents overheating of the bars.