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Fitting a wood burning stove










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Is it difficult? How much does it cost? Can i do it myself?

These are some of the questions we get asked more and more these days. The difficulty and expense of heating our homes is becoming a problem for many families. The rising cost of energy is only going to become an even bigger problem in the future, so if you are thinking about installing a log burner, or multi fuel stove, you will probably be wondering how difficult it is, and how much it costs to fit one.

The first thing to make clear is that having a real fire in your home is potentially dangerous, so there are regulations in place to protect you (and your neighbours) from the devastating consequences of a fire or poisonous fumes.


The UK Building Regulations cover this, and there is a legal requirement to notify your Local Authority Building Controls Dept of certain types of work carried out on your home - unless they are done by a "competent person". There is a government leaflet you can read explaining the rules governing this by clicking here.

The "competent persons" for a wood burning stove installation are those certified as HETAS approved.

However, if you want, there is nothing to stop you doing it yourself (or with a competent builder) and then applying for your local council's Building Controls Dept to come out and certify it as safely installed. You can read up everything you need to know about installing in the lengthy UK Building Regulations document J which you can obtain here.

Most people will find that impenetrable, so here is a summary of some of the key facts you are going to need to know.

When a stove is installed, the following distances MUST be observed:

 Between the stove and rear wall: 50mm

Between the stove and side walls: 150mm

Between the stove and any combustibles (including plaster or skirting boards): 600mm 

Between the stove and front of the hearth 300mm if stove can be operated with door open

between the stove and sides of hearth: 150mm

Height of hearth from flooring (inc raised/laminate flooring/carpet): 50mm

 Overall depth of chimney: 250mm

Between base of flue and exit through rear wall: 600mm


Have your chimney swept by a qualified chimney sweep and have a test on the interior quality of your chimney.

 Measure the chimney and flue outlets.

Arrange the installation of the hearth.

 Arrange to remove any old stoves/fireplaces and rebuild chimneys if not structurally sound.

Contact a Gas Safe engineer if there is any possibility of live gas supplies close to where the stove is to be fitted

Purchase and install a carbon monoxide (CO) detector.

Once all this has been done, the next issue is the lining of the chimney - should you or shouldn't you? Most qualified installers agree this is an absolute MUST on the grounds of safety alone. The cost of lining a chimney is a few hundred pounds. The cost of NOT lining a chimney might be your life and those of your family in the event of a chimney fire. We take a very simple view on this - you should do it and we always advise people this when asked. If you want a fuller explanation give us a call on 0161 743 9567 and we will explain it for you.

The chimney flue liner is usually a slightly larger diameter than the flue pipe coming out of the top of the stove - so if your stove has a 5" flue, common practice is to step up to a 6" flue liner. It needs to be fed down the chimney from the top, so great care needs to be taken when climbing onto the roof to do this.

The liner is usually suspended from a pot hanger - which sits on top of your existing chimney pot, and also doubles up as both a bird guard and a rain cap. The liner is then fed down the chimney with a nose cone over the end of it to prevent it snagging on the way down.

Once it is in place above the stove it is simply a matter of connecting up the stove, flue pipe and liner and fitting the register plate and sealing all the joints with fire cement

Once done, a smoke test (done with smoke pellets) will reveal any leakages and then a test burn can take place to ensure the stove is burning correctly, and the flue gases are being drawn up the chimney.

If you have chosen to do all this yourself or with an ordinary builder, now is the time to pick up the phone to your local council and ask them to come and inspect and certify it. If you DON'T have it certified, and you later have a house fire, this will almost certainly invalidate your house insurance.

Please bear in mind that they are coming only to approve the installation - not your choice of stove. We know of a couple of cases where people did not call in Building Controls because they were worried that they had bought a stove that was not DEFRA approved and they lived in a smokeless zone. That is not relevant to the safety of the installation - after all the Building Controls officer does not know (or care) if you are planning to only burn smokeless fuel after he has left.

He only cares that you aren't planning to burn yourself and your neighbours!

Where possible we always recommend that you seek the help of a suitably qualifed HETAS installer to do this work. Not only are they qualified to do it, but they are allowed to self-certify their own work so when it is complete you do not need to call in your local council.

We always recommend that you buy your stove and all the kit to line the chimney from us (because we are cheaper) and just employ your HETAS installer to fit it. That way he is giving you a price for his labour only and you can compare with other HETAS installers in the same area to make sure you are getting a good deal..

Armed with the information in this guide you should be able to make an informed choice about installing a beautiful log burner in your home.

Please note these articles are inended for GENERAL GUIDANCE ONLY. We do not provide advice over the phone or by email to customers looking for a free consultancy service to help them with a DIY install, and if you have bought your stove, chimney liner or other installation kit from another supplier, we will not answer any questions or otherwise get involved in disputes or queries. Please check with your local council building controls department before commencing any work if you are unsure of the regulaions.