Humans and fire have a relationship going back beyond most people’s comprehension. This love affair has not always been a good one, fire has lifted the human race out of early foraging, but it has also killed millions and been largely taken for granted somewhere in between. But in saying all that having a real fire in our homes is something most people seem to desire. Whether it’s a visit to a friends house who has a fire blazing on a cold winters day, perhaps a holiday cottage stay or just an innate wish to have a fire the drive is there for a lot of people.
However, it is not as simple as just “getting a fire” and this is often what stops people going through with it. Surrey Fireplace experts Wakefords in Woking said “the popularity of fires and burners just goes up and up but with it come the pitfalls of getting the wrong fire and many other issues.” Costs, where to put it, chimneys, types of fires, surrounds and wood storage are all factors that need to be considered so here are some top tips on how to choose a fire and what the reality of having one is like.
Where to Start!
The first thing to do is to decide what sort of fire you would like and then speak to an expert about whether or not that would work in your home. So, if you have always wanted a real open fire then check if that will work. The wood burner is becoming a staple in many Surrey homes these days but before you have your heart set on one you need to see if it is feasible. The best way to do this is to go and speak to a proper fireplace showroom. While reading articles like this online are a great place to start nothing beats the views of someone who has years of experience.
Real Fire VS Stove
While you are thinking about what would suit your home it is worth thinking about some of the pros and cons of the two types of real fire. There is no doubt the lure of a true open fire is a big one, the popping noises, the crackle and light you get from them is wonderful. But, they do make more mess and they are not exactly kid proof. While fire guards are good you may end up covering up so much of the fire it’s barely worth having one.
Stoves or Burners certainly offer a safer option in terms of leaving the fire going when you got to bed for example. They are sealed and provided nothing is left close by they really cant cause any issues if well looked after. They can still be messy because the ash still needs to be emptied but they do look a lot neater. In terms of kids burners get very hot so they can just as easily burn a child. The key is to teach kids from an early age that it is hot! They are not stupid and most have a natural fear of fire and have no desire to touch either a stove or an open fire. Stoves can be very efficient in heating a room because of how the whole thing heats up rather than heat coming just from flames and they certainly smell less like a fire.
For more info about this debate try this article - https://www.countrylife.co.uk/interiors/open-fires-v-wood-burning-stoves-grate-debate-167936
Buying Stoves Online
One of the biggest mistakes people make is choosing a stove online. They go through, pick the one they want, order it and ask a local person to fit it. At no point in this journey have they actually checked the power rating and if it is safe in the room size they have. More often than not people end up with the wrong stove, it is either too small and ineffective in heating the room or too powerful. The later just makes the room sweltering and can damage the walls around the fire. Get someone to measure up the room and check the right fire for the room…its really important. Choose a local showroom rather than online, you will get a better all-round service.
Chimney or No Chimney
If you don’t have a chimney you can’t have a fire right? Well, no not exactly. People often write off ever having a fire because they have no flue but there are ways around it. In terms of a real fire a chimney is generally needed but with burners you can easily have a flue built up the outside of your home or up through the roof. This is something most people don’t know and should be great news for those who felt they couldn’t have a fire. Of course, there is a cost implication to this but often existing chimneys need work anyway so it isn’t always a lot more. If you do have a chimney but it hasn’t been used for a long time then plan in some extra costs. It will need sweeping but it may need liner put up there or similar. Once again, the key is to get expert advice early on to avoid a nasty surprise after you paid for a fire place!
Wood and Wood Storage
This one may seem like a simple issue, but it really isn’t. First of all you cannot burn any old wood, unseasoned wood (green wood) or junk wood like old fencing panels etc will damage your flue. The deposits left in the chimney from the wrong wood can costs a lot of money to clear but also cause dangerous gases to stay in the house rather than going up and out! The key is to buy good quality wood but try and find it sourced from the UK. A lot of people end up buying wood that has travelled from Eastern Europe thus adding a negative environmental cost onto the wood. Buy local, buy seasoned and have somewhere dry to keep it. If you don’t store your wood correctly it wont burn and you will not enjoy your fire.
So to just recap
Once you have done all of that you can put in an order and you will know it’s the right fire for your home, your family and that it will work well. Then you get to enjoy the art of learning how to start your fire and keep it burning! But that’s a story for another day...
This is a collaborative post
Artist, Baker and Blogger. Mum to my two beautiful, cheeky girls. Muddling my way through parenthood with equally cheeky Husband.