Frequently Asked Questions
Could you tell me what the p and s tabs are for at the base of the door / how do I use the air controls?
The P and S tabs are the primary and secondary air controls. They are usually labelled 9 and 10 on the diagrams.
Open both controls fully when lighting (pushed in).
Wood: close the primary when when fire is burning well, adjust the secondary to suit the burning rate (heat) required.
Coal: keep the primary open, but adjust both controls to suit the burning rate (heat) required.
For the airwash to work effectively, you need the secondary control sufficiently open to produce a good flame, as well as dry wood, of course.
Why is smoke coming out of the wood burner door?
TIP: Modern European stoves are used differently to an old style stove: the stove is stacked with firewood and the fire left to burn until there are only glowing embers at the bottom of the firebox. Only then should the door be opened to refill the stove.
It is important that you let the fire die down to just glowing embers before you fill the stove, this is especisally true of the tall contemporary stoves.
If smoke comes out of the stove when the fire door is opened, it can be due to a number of causes:
1. An insufficient draught in the chimney - you may want to get your chimney sweep to measure the draught in the chimney. Manufacturers recommend at least 12 pa.
Reasons for this can be:
a. The temperature difference between the outside and inside the chimney is too low, i.e. a poorly insulated chimney.
b. The chimney is not tall enough, with the result that it sits in the lee of the roof surface or tall trees
c. Air entering the chimney in undesired places, e.g. through cracked joints or leaks in the cleaning door or the flue pipe.
d. The flue pipe and chimney are clogged up with soot due to inadequate cleaning.
e. Check for blockages at the baffle
2. The house is too tightly sealed. An air vent will need to be installed in the room near to the stove - mandatory for solid fuel stoves with an output over 5kw, but also for stoves under 5kW if the house is well sealed, e.g. with modern double glazing, which currently means most houses in the UK will require a vent.
3. Use of Extractor Fans in the house. UK building regulations forbid the use of extractor fans 'in the same space' as wood burners, and many will take that to mean the same room. In the era of well sealed uPVC doule glazing, it could be that the whole house is one space. Some will point out that closing an internal door creates a separate space, but of course there is usually air flow under the door. An extractor fan in a bathroom for example, can suck the smoke out of a stove's air inlets regardless of whether the bathroom or stove door is open or not. European regulations regarding ventilation require that the stove has its own air vent, but also that each extractor fan (wherever located in the house) has its own air vent capable of providing the same volume of air that the extractor fan can extract.
Bear in mind that a new steel contemporary stove will be more efficient than a traditional cast iron stove. This means that it is sending less heat up the chimney, so even if your old stove didn't let smoke out of the door, the cause could still be the chimney or draught. Open the door slowly so that the smoke has time to clear. You may have to reduce the size of the baffle plate slightly (a few millimetres) in order to allow more smoke i.e. heat up the chimney.
A good draught is achieved when:
1. There is a big difference between the temperature in the chimney and outside.
3. The chimney is at full height. A minimum of 4 metres above the stove is recommended, as is termination above the ridge line of the roof, if poor conditions are encountered.
Why is smoke coming out of the air inlets (when the door is closed).
In this case you might have a seriously malfunctioning chimney or blockage. Please perform all checks as above and consult a professional!
Also try: When you make a fire, use kindling and ensure it has a good flame for a couple of minutes, so that a good amount of heat goes up the chimney, before adding the logs. Don't smother it and produce a mass of smoke from the beginning.
I have purchased the Arctic 5kW and I was wondering what coal I can burn on it? In the book it says brown coal but I haven’t come across this before.
Brown coal is also known as lignite and is available as Union Briquettes in the UK. It is what the manufacturer recommends, simply because that is the coal commonly available in central Europe. It has characteristics in between black coal and peat which is more readily available.
As it has a grate, the stove will technically also burn ordinary house coal. But be prepared for the dirty glass, smell, smoke, loads of ash, and possibly dust all over the house. As the stove does not have a riddling grate, it is not specifically designed for house coal and the large amounts of waste produced, and you will be manually cleaning out the stove quite often. If you do use house coal, don’t mix with wet wood ('seasoned') under any circumstances as the smoke will produce sulphuric acid when mixed with water.
Far better to use kiln dried hardwood, just a few logs a day will work exceptionally well in your stove.
Do I have to use the External Air Connector?
No you don't, but it's much better if you do...
All wood burning and multifuel stoves require air for combustion. Most cheap stoves draw air from the room, usually through vents at the top or bottom of the door.
However, taking air from in front of the fire pulls the warmest air from the room, which you have used valuable fuel to heat. It's then wasted up the chimney. This is replaced by cold air sucked into the room from the outside, causing cold draughts through gaps around windows and doors, cooling the entire house.
Higher quality stoves draw all their air through a vent at the bottom of the back of the stove, where the air is cooler. If you attach ducting to the back of the stove so it only draws its combustion air from outside, all the heat stays in the room.
British building regulations dictate that any room with a stove rated greater than 5kW must have an air vent fitted. With modern PVC doors and windows, even stoves with lower kW ratings will also require venting. With the external air duct fitted to the stove, this cold air is directly vented into the stove, increasing efficiency of the appliance, reducing cold draughts, and saving you money.
What if I have an extractor in the room?
Unfortunately this is not covered very well by the British building regulations, but in Europe the stoves with external air inlet connections can be used in this situation if the extractor has its own vent capable of providing all the air that it is capable of sucking out of the room.
In the past we have had this setup accepted by HETAS inspectors and building control officers.