Regulations and potential problems when installing a wood burning stove in a conservatory, shed or extension?

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We all want to make informed decisions, right?

Well if you are researching potential problems or regulations that you need to consider when installing a wood burner or multi fuel stove in your conservatory, shed or extension, this article will tell you everything that you need to know or that your potential installer should know and be telling you prior to installing a wood burner at your home.

After all, we all do some research prior to making an investment like this. So that we can assess which installer to go with and how to choose between the different quotations that you get to install this type of work.

Wood burners and multi-fuel stoves are becoming common sight in conservatories, sheds and extensions for good reason. They absolutely change these spaces so that they can be enjoyed all year round in the coldest of climates.

Murray and McGregor have installed 100’s of stoves in just about every type of conservatory, shed or extension you can imagine. We absolutely love this type of installation as our customers just can’t believe how much this transforms what is a cold and threatening space in the winter time to the warm ‘winter wonderland’ it becomes with a well installed stove from a professional.

This gives us the ultimate satisfaction, we love nothing more than enhancing someone’s lifestyle.

However, we realise that there is little or conflicting information out there regarding any potential problems or regulations regarding installations in conservatories, sheds and extensions.

This handy guide will mean that you are much more aware of what to look for when investing in a wood burner to enhance an already considerable investment such as a conservatory, shed or extension.

Unless you have an existing chimney, which is very rare indeed. This type of installation will be done using a double skinned insulated rigid flue pipe, this is called ‘twin wall flue’. This is expensive, so it is important to consider the factors that will limit the height required for your installation.

We come up against the same questions and explain the same solutions time after time, they all cover these 5 areas:

  1. Position of the stove and flue height
  2. Planning permission
  3. Distance to combustibles
  4. Sealing the roof
  5. Output of stove and ventilation required

We can almost guarantee that when considering the installation of a wood burner in a conservatory, shed or extension 90% of the question will come from these five areas.

1. Where should I ‘position my stove’ in the conservatory, shed or extension?

This is a great question, the answer to which will be different depending on these main influencers:

Does the proposed position of the stove mean that the flue will be within 2.3 metres of the house?

If the flue is less than 2.3 metres from your house the flue height will have to go the full height of the house until it reaches at least 600mmm beyond any point that is within 2.3 metres of the adjacent building.

So, if you have a double storey house and the flue position will be within 2.3m of the house, it is most commonly recommended that the stove is positioned so that the flue can be anchored to the outside of the house for this height using extendable wall brackets as illustrated.

However, this will obviously cost more to install than a stove that was positioned so that the flue was more than 2.3 metres from the house. Although there is always a minimum flue height from each manufacturer, this ranges between 3.5 metres and 4.5 metres in most cases.

This flue route is very common and just the same as many stoves that are installed inside a house and taken through the wall before going up the outside of the house to its terminal.

If you were to position the stove so that the flue would be more than 2.3 metres from the house, the flue would only have to be 1 meter above the conservatory roof, which makes it cheaper and easier to install. Although, you must also adhere to the manufacturers specified minimum flue height, this is most commonly 3.5- 4.5 metres in height. An example of such an installation is below.

Structural locking bands or a telespopic roof support can be used to make sure that the flue stands up to high winds. It is important to have a survey carried out to establish which would be suitable in your home prior to booking an installation with your local installer or showroom.

2. Do I need planning permission to install a wood burning stove in my conservatory, shed or extension?

In nearly every circumstance the answer to this is no!

However, there are a few limited cases where this might apply, such as, listed buildings. This should be discussed with you at survey stage with any prospective installer and if in any doubt at all you should contact your local authorities’ planning department or ask your installation company to do so.

You may require a building warrant if you were crazy enough to attempt this yourself, we really can’t be stronger in our advice not to do this though.

Otherwise a lot of installers and showrooms have HETAS registered installers who can self-certify. This supersedes the need for a building control certificate which will save you anywhere between £200-£350 depending on what6 your local authority charge.

3.How close will the stove be to the wall?

This is a ‘distance to combustibles’ question, as are lots of others. So, to explain, all stoves have a distance to combustible materials. This will give a minimum distance to the rear, sides, front and above the stove from any combustible materials such as joists in walls, wooden window sills, door frames and soft furnishings. This is the type of thing that would be discussed at your survey and recommendations can be made based on your own individual circumstances.

A low distance to combustibles is preferable in these situations, so this needs to be a real consideration when choosing your stove. There are 3 main ways to get a low distance to combustibles:

Fit a rear and/or side heat shield- Many stove manufacturers make a heat shield for some of their range that will lower their distance to combustibles. Once fitted you can achieve very low distances, like that of a modern tall stove. The heat shield is fixed to the rear of the stove and creates a secondary barrier and an air gap which allows for this distance to be reduced considerably.
Fit a stove with a low distance to combustibles- Most tall modern stoves are perfect for this type of installation as they tend to have much lower distances to combustibles. Where you can sit the stove as close as 50-150mm from combustible wall. The reason that these stoves have such a low distance to combustibles is that they are built in such a way that they are cased in a steel or cast that acts as a heat shield which is integral to the design.

Building work where joists are cut out and blocked up- If you see the stove of your dreams but it has high distance to combustibles. Building work can be undertaken such as removing the joists from within a stud wall, this area would be braced and blocked with brick or block. A non-combustible board at the same depth of surrounding Gyproc can be applied to the wall prior to being finished by taping or plastering.

Another consideration with 'distances to combustibles' are hearths. All stoves must have a hearth installed underneath the stove. There are two main types of hearth:

A cosmetic hearth- A cosmetic hearth is considered 12mm- 20mm and above. This is most commonly made from a stone such as slate, granite or marble in 20mm. However, there are other options such as glass hearths that are 12mm thick and either clear or smoked in appearance. For a stove to be considered suitable for a cosmetic hearth, it must not transfer heat below the stove beyond 100 degrees Celsius.

A constructional hearth- A constructional hearth is a concreate base that must be 125mm thick, this is most commonly found where there is an existing chimney. You will recognise that big block of concrete in front of a chimney breast that is level with the floor joists, right? Well this is a constructional hearth and is always required for open fires, however with wood burning and multi fuel stoves the requirement of a constructional hearth will depend on how much heat is transferred down to the hearth stone. For an installation in a conservatory, shed or extension you should make it a priority to choose a stove that is suitable for a cosmetic hearth. This will minimise the cost and work required prior to installation.

4. How will you seal the roof of my conservatory, shed or extension when installing a wood burning stove?

This is quite rightly a big question we get, so how do you make sure that after you make a hole in my roof that no water comes through?

Simple! although the answer is different depending on the construction of your roof.

Types of roof

There are 4 main types of roofs in conservatories, sheds and extensions. We will cover them all below:

Tiled or Slate roofs

These are both what would be considered ‘solid roofs’ which are the same as the type of roof that most people have on their house. We use the same flashings that we would use taking twin wall up through a house.

Concrete tile- For a tiled roof we would use a lead-based flashing, the lead base has coverage, that once the tiles are replaced provides a 100% seal to all weathers. There are two main types of lead flashing that can be used for this, let your qualified installer advise which is best for you.
Slate roof- An aluminium flashing will normally be used for a slate roof, again this has coverage that will provide a 100% water tight seal and allow the flue to have a storm collar to be fitted which will also direct the flow of water out and away from the area directly above the roof exit.

Glass roofs

Glass roofs are common and is the only type of roof finish that a qualified installer may ask you to contact your conservatory company to assist prior to installation. There are a few methods to install a flue through a glass roof:

Contact your conservatory company or glazier, to cut a templated hole through the section of glass required. The flashing used here would be an EDPM flashing. This is commonly referred to as a ‘rubber dektite’. These are sealed with sealant and a fastener, the flexible base is virtually compatible with any roofing material such as metal, plastic, asphalt, tile and rubber membrane. The stepped cone design makes it adaptable to almost all pitches and suits all flue diameter sizes from 90mm to 660mm.
Remove the required section of glass and replace with a polycarbonate section, this is often the preferred method and means that your installer can simply mark up the position that requires the hole and cut this to the desired size and diameter. This would be finished using an EDPm flashing and sealing as they would on a glass ,corrugated or uPVC roof.

uPVC or polycarbonate roofs

These are probably most common and offer the simplest solution. Your installer will just cut the desired hole and use an EDPM flashing to keep you nice and water tight.

Corrugated metal roofs

These are also easy to deal with using a good EDPM flashing despite the up and down contour of this type of roof. All hail to the EDPM  flashing, a stove fitter’s friend in many instances!

So, as you can see there is a solution to all these problems.

Hopefully having this knowledge will help you make the correct choices when deciding on your preferred installer. At Murray and McGregor, we offer a workmanship warranty of 5 years, to ease our customers minds. Most installers will offer a 1 year or 2 year ‘call back’ window. So, it is worth bearing this in mind when choosing the best company to complete your installation.

If you choose an installer who is a man in a van, what is the likelihood that he will come back out to attend to any issues that you have 1, 2 or 5 years down the line? Some will, some wont…

5. How big should my stove be?

When we are asked this, a customer is really asking, what output should my stove be? I feel like writing 5kW and that’s it!

However, lets go into it a little more and explain why this makes me smile.

I would say that 90% + of the time, this will be the right answer. Most extensions, sheds and conservatories will be adequately heated with a good 5kW ‘nominal’ stove. Nominal output is taken from what might be considered a light load of wood, so in reality there will always be a range of output that you can achieve from a well designed and crafted wood burner.

It’s very common to have a range of 3-7kW from a 5kW stove. So, it would have to be one hell of a space to need more than this output.

Any reputable installer or showroom will give you the correct advice here. Something to consider would be if you install a stove with a higher output than 5kW. You will have to install a core vent, supplying the room with a constant supply of ‘fresh air'. Most people hear “Cold air” when I explain this and truth be told, they are not wrong. My advice here is simple, you need a 5kW stove and that’s that, although not quite.

There may be very rare instances where a house has an enormous orangery ,for example, that may require a larger stove. However this is very rare, if anything, you might need to consider a 3 or 4kW stove so that you are able to stand the heat in a smaller conservatory, shed or extension.

Installing a wood burner in your conservatory, shed or extension is a great idea. It really helps connect you to the outside and brings the family together in a way that can’t be achieved by buying a new kitchen or bathroom. It can and should bring a much deeper level of connectivity to yourself and surroundings and maybe, just maybe be the conduit to live your life the way you have always wanted to.

We have written an article on the cost of installing a wood burning stove in a conservatory, shed or extension that you can read HERE.

I hope that that this article has been useful to your research when considering installing a wood burner. If you think we have missed anything or just want to pick our brains we would love for you to Contact us.

We provide a FREE SURVEY across the whole of Scotland where you can benefit from the experience of one of our friendly surveyors, who will give you the options and information to make an informed decision with absolutely no pressure!

Talking from the heart of Scotland

My area of expertise has been in commercial and domestic renewable heating systems from Geothermal and Air Source Heat Pumps to Biomass boilers, giving technical advice and taking a project from concept to completion.

The industry has been good to me and I am blessed to have developed a reputation for knowledge and fairness with my clients as well as being used by Scotland’s many install partners for advice on a variety of renewable projects.

Whilst I love renewable energy, there are many issues that are just not talked about within the industry. This has led me to turn my attentions to the more tried and tested method of heating using wood burning or multi-fuel stoves.

The very best and most economical set ups that I have seen have been a combination of renewables and a stove or two to subsidise the main heating.

The reality is, not every home is suitable for renewable heating technologies such as Geothermal or Biomass.

I have witnessed too many people being sold heating technologies that simply do not adequately deal with their very individual heating requirements. Unfortunately the renewable energy industry has been heavily propped up with tariffs in the form of the Renewable Heat Incentive and people have bought heating systems for financial gain.

Expertise within the industry is very thin on the ground and unfortunately many of the companies that have been selling and installing renewable heating systems, have limited expertise and have neglected to educate their clients properly.  
Let me be clear by saying...

I advocate the use of renewable heating technologies where they are suited and have always educated my clients with regards to the complexities involved. I would never recommend a system that isn’t right for the client or property.

Unfortunately this isn’t the ‘norm’ within the industry and the majority have pushed whatever technology showed the best financial results in the form of RHI payments. This will ultimately come back to bite many on the backside and the recent announcements from DECC only confirm this. 

The carbon benefits purported are often misrepresented as they are not supported by local supply. The carbon involved in the transportation of Biomass pellet and chip from North America and Scandinavia are conveniently negated from the equation.

Likewise, the faceless corporations that provide the main supply of electricity to the UK benefit directly from Heat Pumps and Geothermal technologies. There is real insecurity regarding fossil fuel supply despite our attempts to produce greener grid energy.

The same cannot be said for a good quality stove installed well. There are no maintenance contracts or computer boards that display endless faults requiring costly call out charges. They are built to last and provide very little in the way of ongoing maintenance other than having the chimney swept and cleaning the stove.

Scotland is rich in local well managed forests that can supply the fuel necessary for a wood burning stove. This supports the local economy and helps safeguard you from the insecurity of supply associated with electricity, gas and oil.

Locally sourced wood is ‘carbon neutral’ and much better for the environment than fossil fuels, whilst also helping to sustain the local economy and promoting local employment.

Modern stoves have such high efficiencies that they have secondary and sometimes tertiary burning which means that the wood is burned efficiently to give as much heat as possible. This produces little to no smoke, so much so that many stoves are eligible for install within smokeless areas

Stoves have been heating homes for hundreds of years and will continue to do so for hundreds more, regardless of technological developments and innovations.

There are many reasons for this, some of which have already been explored. Perhaps this is because...

 

They look fantastic and there is a style to suit each home.

 

Good quality stoves are relatively inexpensive and are built to last

 

Stoves are suitable to nearly every type of home with the exception of high rise flats.

 

Although, perhaps much more than this…

Owning a stove actually promotes an involved relationship with how you heat your home or business. You will become more conscious of ways that you can save money on your heating bill.

They also help to connect you with the local community and make you feel like you are part of something bigger than yourself.

Or maybe we are just hard wired to get lost in the glow and flicker of the flames produced from your stove, providing a deep comforting heat that cannot be compared to any other type of central heating.

Whatever it is, you can be confident that owning a stove will enhance the quality of your life in many, many ways.

About the author

poole

Ross Murray Poole is the founder of Murray and McGregor Stoves and Fireplaces who has a deep passion for conservation and sustainable ways of living. He resides in Bridge of Allan with his young family and now considers the Stirling area to be his home although born and brought up in Glasgow. Deeply committed to providing simple execution of quality and service to his clients, this blog will serve as a platform to educate and engage the wider community. 

Murray and McGregor Stoves and Fireplces are a proud family run company supplying a wide range of wood burning stoves, multi fuel stoves, gas fires and fireplaces across Scotland and the UK. Based in Stirling, Dundee, Perth and Glasgow we bring the showroom to your home anywhere in Scotland  - You can visit us at our showroom in Dunblane, Perthshire where we have a selection of stoves and fireplaces. Call us on 0800 316 9800 to chat about our wood burning stoves including Newman Stoves  Burley Stoves  Broseley Stoves  Dunsley Stoves  Aarrow Stoves  Pevex Stoves Henley Stoves  Carron Stoves  Jetmaster Stoves  Trianco Stoves  Aduro Stoves  Firestorm Stoves  Varde Ovne Stoves  Nordpeis Stoves  Franco Belge Stoves  Nestor Martin Stoves  Rika Stoves  Wiking Stoves  Hwam Stoves Riva Studio Stoves  Riva Cassette Stoves  Yeoman Stoves  Yeoman Gas and Electric Stoves  Dovre Stoves  Stovax Stoves  Jydepejsen Stoves and AGA Stoves and many more. We supply and fit our wood burning stoves and gas fires to a wide range of areas including Stirling, Glasgow, Dundee, Perth, Edinburgh, Arbroath, Aberdeen, Fort William, Kilmarnock, Paisley, Livingston, Dunblane, Bridge of Allan, Callander, Falkirk, Inverkip, Bearsden, Milngavie, Strathblane, Croftamie, Old Kilpatrick, Lenzie, Helensburgh, Balfron, Drymen, Beith, Kilbirnie, Barrhead, Johnstone, Bridge of Weir, Kilmacolm, Paisley, Renfrew, Neilston, Newton Mearns, Giffnock, Newlands, Clarkston, Kinross, Auchterarder, Bridge of Earn, Crieff, Comrie and many other locations throughout Scotland. We can also provide Morso, Jotul, Scan, Charnwood and Contura in our Dunblane Showroom. 

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