Can I Install a Log Burner Myself?

A log burner or wood-burning stove has become a popular addition to many people’s homes. Not only do they provide heat but they also create a homely, comfortable atmosphere. If you want to jump in and add a log burner or wood-burning stove to your home, you might be wondering if it could be a DIY job. The answer is that you could, but it is advisable to get in an expert for safety.

What is a wood-burning stove?

A wood-burning stove is made up of a variety of different parts, all of which contribute to either burning the wood or helping to move the fumes out of your home. These include the stove itself, the flue and flue liner, the stove pipe, the register plate, and the chimney pot or cowl. Not to be confused with a stove for cooking.

Chimney flue pipe

The flue system is one of the most important parts of the stove. It is responsible for drawing the toxic fumes and smoke out of your home. These gases can include carbon monoxide, which is an odourless and invisible gas that can be fatal. So it is very important that the flue pipe effectively channels the gas out of your home.

The flue will also ensure that the gases stay hot which will reduce condensation and the build-up of materials that could catch fire.

Flue liner

The flue or chimney liner supports the flue pipe by making it more efficient. It runs the length of the pipe and seals it. It also helps to keep the chimney clear to reduce the risk of fire.

Stove pipe

The stove pipe attaches the wood-burning stove to the flue. This must be a completely sealed system to prevent any gases from leaking into the room, so the pipe is usually attached to the flue liner on one end and the stove collar at the other end with fire cement.

The pipe can get very hot so it needs to be kept at least 425mm away from combustible materials.

Chimney cowl and pot

The chimney pot and cowl sit at the flue exit. They help to improve the draft of the chimney and aid it in drawing the smoke and gases away from the home. They also help to prevent animals and birds from nesting in the chimney liner, stop rain and debris from entering the chimney, and help prevent backflow.

Metal plate/register plate

The metal place is used when the stove isn’t connected to a chimney liner. It helps to seal off the bottom of the chimney.

Wood burning stove installation

When it comes to the wood-burning stove installation, there are a lot of factors to consider as well as a lot of strict regulations that need to be followed.

Can I use my existing chimney?

If you already have a chimney, you can install your log burner or wood-burning stove so that it runs through that chimney. If you don’t already have one, you can install a new chimney or you can run the stove pipes up and out of your ceiling directly above the log burner. A twin wall flue is a system that will create a new chimney that is safe and effective.

What if I live in a Smoke Control Area?

If you live in a Smoke Control Area, you need to be very careful when shopping for a new stove or wood burner. You will need to make sure that you have a DEFRA-approved home stove or an EcoDesign stove to ensure that your wood burner complies with the Smoke Control regulations.

Are there any building regulations to follow for wood burners?

When you install a wood-burning stove, you need to make sure that you comply with the relevant building regulations. For England and Wales, this is Part J, for Scotland, Part F, and Northern Ireland, Part L.

There are a range of specifications when it comes to wood burner installation, which includes each of them needing a fireplace or hearth, that there is proper ventilation in the room, and that it is installed a certain distance from combustible materials.

There are also strict regulations when it comes to carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide alarms must be installed correctly by law. Specifically, there needs to be a carbon monoxide alarm installed in the same room as any wood burner.

A carbon monoxide alarm is important because it can help to detect the deadly gas before it reaches levels that could harm you or your family.

Can I install a wood burner myself?

So the burning question is can you install wood burners yourself? It is possible to do so, but in many cases, it isn’t advisable. Having a good understanding of the regulations around log burners/wood burners can be difficult for someone who isn’t trained.

And to install a wood-burning stove, you need to have a HETAS certificate. If you don’t, you are going to have to bring someone in from the local authorities to check that the stove meets the regulations. This can cost a couple of hundred pounds and, if they do find anything that needs altering, it can cost you even more to redo everything.

So, in many ways, it can be more cost-effective just to bring in a professional to install a wood-burning stove in the first place. There is a government-regulated scheme that can help you find the right person for the installation job: the Competent Persons Scheme. And with this, you will be able to find someone who will easily be able to meet the legal requirements of every aspect of the building standards.

The bottom line

There is something special about having an open fire in your home that can be difficult to replicate with artificial methods. Installing a log burner can easily give you that comfortable homely feeling, and can be cost-effective and relatively environmentally friendly. You can install one yourself, but seeking expert advice is a good idea at a minimum. And bringing in a professional for the installation will give you the best chance of ensuring it is installed correctly.

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