Why should I buy a stove from Esher Fireplaces?

Stoves are, quite possibly, THE most fun you can have to heat up your room. That being said there is a sense of reality one has to have when owning a stove. Stoves are a very hands on and experimental appliance, an appliance that does have it’s do’s and don’ts.

As an independent retailer, we will discuss your individual requirements both technical (such as sizing the heat output to your room and advising on your flue type) and design; and ensure that you select the most appropriate product for your home. We will also be able to advise on, or assist with, the installation process as well as help provide any after-sales support and servicing your appliance may require in the future. A service that isn’t always offered when purchasing online.

Most manufacturers do not believe suitable levels of customer care and satisfaction can be obtained from purchasing a product only online and we would strongly recommend that you consider this when undertaking your research and making a purchasing decision. Further, please be aware that we do not offer technical support to products bought via nationwide online sales, where this support would normally be offered by one of our qualified sales and installation team.


Primary Air

This is the air that is drawn into the wood burning stove, typically at a low level to maintain the combustion of the solid fuel being burnt.

Usually, the primary air enters through a control on the front of the stove. The control can be adjusted to regulate the amount of air entering the firebox, thus giving you the opportunity to determine the intensity of the fire. This, in turn, will alter the heat output.

Primary air is the best way of controlling a stove burning solid mineral fuels and may also be used to start a wood fire.

However, primary air is not normally used in a log fire once the logs are burning well.

Primary Air

Airwash System

Airwash is a specific design feature that uses a specially placed vent or vents to draw in cool air from the room; the air is then heated and ducted to ‘wash’ over the inside of the glass. This feature helps to keep the glass clean for longer, allowing you to enjoy the glow and flames to the full.

Airwash air is the best way of controlling a stove burning wood and can be used a small amount in a stove burning solid mineral fuels to keep the glass clean.

Convection Air

Where a wood burning stove includes a convection system, cool air from within the room is drawn into the convection chamber and then heated as it rises within the stove before flowing out into the room. The hot air rising draws more cool air into the stove, setting up a continuous flow and maintaining added heating efficiency.

Some stoves also have the option of an electrically operated fan to boost the convection process and provide a quicker warm-up time within your room.

Cleanburn System

Most Stovax wood burning stoves incorporate triple air systems to provide a cleaner burn, greater thermal efficiency and control of the flame picture as follows:

  1. Airwash air is drawn down over the inside of the window to keep the glass clean and clear. It is also used as primary combustion air when burning wood.
  2. Primary air for use with solid fuel, also used to start wood fires but not normally used once a wood fire is burning.
  3. Cleanburn secondary air is pre-heated as it passes through a heat exchanger chamber within the firebox. It is then drawn into the smokestream, where it combusts unburnt hydrocarbons to provide a cleaner burn and greater thermal efficiency.

Introducing pre-heated, secondary air into the firebox at just the right point promotes efficient combustion of any unburnt hydrocarbons that may be in the smoke. This ‘cleanburn’ process can greatly increase the combustion efficiency of your wood burning stove and dramatically reduce the amount of unburnt particles going up the chimney, this can in turn reduce your servicing costs and save you money in fuel. It also gives you an improved flame visual.

Cleanburn System


External Air

All wood burning stoves with a heat output above 5kW require an additional flow of air for combustion into the rooms in which they are installed. An External Air facility allows this air to come directly from outside your building rather than through a vent into the room, thus eliminating draughts and adding to the overall heating efficiency.

Smoke Control Areas

Most town and city homes are located in Smoke Control Areas as designated by the Clean Air Act 1993. To burn logs in a stove in these locations, the wood burning stove must be suitable for use in Smoke Control Areas.

This exemption is given only to appliances that have been independently tested to demonstrate particularly cleanburning combustion. Without this exemption, you may only burn smokeless fuels in a multi-fuel stove within a Smoke Control Area.




When choosing your stove;

Below are key points to consider before selecting the right stove for your home:

  • Style/aesthetics you desire
  • Heat output appropriate for the room/space you want to heat
  • Fuel type – wood burning only or multi-fuel
  • Are Cleanburn, Airwash and efficiency important to you?
  • Do you wish to burn wood in a Smoke Control Area?

All these aspects should be carefully considered before you make your investment but we will be able to lead you through the options to ensure you choose a stove that will not only be a welcoming and warming feature in your home but a real asset to your heating system.

Style & Aesthetics

With style it really is a question of “which one do I think looks the nicest?”. You can choose from a range of Traditional or Modern stoves, Freestanding or Inset stoves. For inspiration on a wide range of stoves please take a look at our Stove collection.

Heat Output

One of your first steps is to decide what size of stove is right. As a guide, we suggest that for every 14 cubic metres of space, you will need 1kW (approximately) of heat output in order to achieve a room temperature of 21 degrees. However, this figure will give only a rough guide and does not take into account a number of other important factors such as the age of your home and how well insulated it is; how many rooms are to be heated or whether or not your living space is open plan.

Woodburning or Multifuel?

Wood burns best on a bed of ash with its combustion air coming from above, so wood burning only versions of stoves have a flat fuel bed and no ashpan.

Multi-fuel stoves usually have a riddling grate for the effective combustion of solid mineral fuels but also have Airwash so they can effectively burn wood as well. The riddling grate allows the ash and cinders from smokeless fuels, anthracite or peat/turf briquettes to be riddled into an ashpan, maintaining the primary airflow through the fuel bed and, hence, creating the optimum conditions for efficient combustion of those particular fuels.

According to the model, a multi-fuel stove may have either an internal or externally controlled system for riddling the grate.

Most existing chimneys are suitable for solid fuel burners. This is of course dependant on the condition/integrity of your chimney. This can be assessed via a Chimney Sweep. Even if a chimney breast/flue has been removed in part or is blocked – we can almost always find a solution.

Not necessarily, if you do not have an existing chimney, you will need a twin wall, insulated flue system. This will come off the top or the back of your stove and run either up an outside wall to the apex of the roof or it can run up through your house and out through the roof. Provided clearances can be met this is a service we can provide. A survey visit from our HETAS engineers will be necessary to quote accurately for this work.

Not necessarily. It all comes down to your flues integrity as well as the individual specification . To find this out a Chimney Sweep will need to assess your flue, if there’s a leak or breach in the flue it will allow Carbon Monoxide (A highly poisonous, odourless and invisible gas) back into the house. So long as your your chimney is no larger than 9” square or 10” in diameter and is gas tight your stove can be connected to the base of your existing flue using the appropriate stove fixing kit. The base of the existing flue must be completely sealed and a means for effective flue cleaning is also installed. In short so long as a Chimney Sweeps gives your flue the thumbs up Flue Lining isn’t essential.

However all manufacturers as well as ourselves do recommend lining as;

  1. It prevents leakage of smoke if there are cracks or gaps in the existing flue.
  2. It reduces the time taken for gases to pass through the flue because of the smaller diameter and has smoother inner surfaces. This reduces the likelihood of condensation in the flue.
  3. Aluminium is a much better heat conductor than bricked flues, meaning you wait even less time for your flue to heat up.

The draw you receive is much more efficient and likewise your stove becomes much more efficient not needing to use up as much fuel to keep the flue hot.

Free standing stoves in fireplaces need a gap around them of at least 100mm to the sides and 150mm at the top but ideally there should be 150+mm clearance to each side and 250+mm to the lintel. Some

Often it comes down to the age of your house how big your chamber will be. Some chambers were built to a substantial size and bricked in as the means of heating homes changed over the years. It is possible to return a Chamber to its original brickwork and this may give you more room than anticipated. Alternatively we do have a selection of freestanding and inset stoves that will fit into all Class 1 openings. Please do Contact Us for more details.

All stoves have a quoted minimum distance requirements to combustible materials including wooden fireplace surrounds, timber beams, plaster-board and wallpaper. These distances must be maintained in order to comply with UK Building Regulations.

The stove does need to sit on a non-combustible hearth. This material choice can range from slate, granite or concrete and need to be a required thickness depending on the stove type and material chosen. An existing hearth can be reused provided it is the required dimensions as well as compatible with solid fuel as a solid piece of natural material can crack if exposed to the heat generated by a solid fuel stove.

If the stove is over 5kw (Kilowatt) in output, a permanently opened air vent is required. This is usually a vent put in a suspended floor or through an external wall. Homes built post 2007 require an air vent regardless of the heat output from the stove; this is due to the new process of better insulating the homes built post 2007. Depending on the fireplace position and stove type it may be possible to connect a vent directly to the stove.



A fire can be started rapidly by using a natural firelighter or scrunching a few sheets of lighter paper and placing them beside a small log then covering this with a large handful of small dry kindling. Prop the kindling against the log to stop it collapsing. Include a few thin pieces of wood in the kindling which will catch fire easily and help the fire to build.

The first time you light the stove the paint on the stove will undergo a curing process. This process produces a thin haze of smoke and a hot smell. It is best to keep the fire small for this initial burn and it’s also worth opening a window to allow more smoke to escape. Do not touch or wipe the paint surfaces while this curing process is taking place.

This is either due to not establishing your fire before adding a larger log or that your wood is not seasoned enough. To establish your fire, at the lighting stage open all the air slides/spin-wheels according to the stove’s instruction manual. Light the fire lighter and wait for the initial quantity of kindling to blaze. Add a good handful of kindling sticks/small logs and allow these to set alight fully. At this stage you should be able to close the primary air supply and then control the burn-rate of the secondary air supply for the remainder of your fire. We suggest that you build the size of the fire steadily until a good operating temperature has been achieved then slightly close the secondary air supply until a steady burn rate is established. It will take some time to get to know your stove but you will soon learn what air slide positions work best. A fire allowed to build gradually will bring the stove to the correct operation temperature and will burn efficiently and larger logs can then be added – a couple/few at a time is fine. Your wood should be under 18% moisture content.


This is simply due to the moisture content in your wood being above 18% or that your stove is not hot enough to allow a good draw. This is easy to clean using a specific Stove Glass cleaner.

Make sure you have read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and that you know which position is closed for the air controls. Check that the stove rope is intact and creating a seal around your stove door and glass. When the air vents are closed the fire will take some time to burn through the existing fuel. This may take several minutes depending on the quality of fuel and how much fuel is in the stove during the cool down period.

At least once per year, twice per year if you are burning coal. If you have your chimney lined it is recommended to have it swept once a year if it’s in frequent use.

If burning just wood and not coal allow a bed of ash to build up on the grate and maintain it at a manageable depth (3-5cm) wood burns better when it’s in a bed of ash. When starting a new fire rake it back down to the manageable depth then make a small hole through the ash-bed in the centre of the grate. If you are burning wood in a multifuel stove this allow will air from the primary air supply to draw up from under the grate and provide as much air to the fire-lighting stage as possible. If you’re burning coal, riddle all the ash from the grate. Empty the ash pan when full.

This is called “downdraft” or “reversal” and indicates that the air in your flue is cold and heavy and it happens in very cold still weather, if your stove has not been used for a long time or in warmer weather. It is an atmospheric condition and does not mean there is anything wrong with your stove or flue. You know if your flue is in reversal if you can feel cold air when you put your hand inside your stove. To avoid smoke coming into your room, you will need to warm the flue. We recommend burning firelighters on their own. Then light the fire using kindling to coax the airflow.