prefer an open fireplace so I can “feel” the fire and listen to the
burning wood crackle. Am I making a mistake choosing this option?
would choose an old fashioned
open fireplace, if it didn’t involve a
greater fire hazard and if it was more efficient. While it heats up its
vicinity, an open fireplace tends to cool down the remaining rooms of
the house. These losses can be minimized installing a direct air intake
connected to the exterior of the house.
But if you rather
have an open fireplace, but with safety in mind, you can choose a
fireplace stove with a recessed (guillotine)
mounted door. When opening the door, it
will conceal itself, and it will look just like a traditional fireplace,
with the added advantage of greater efficiency.
When choosing, you
should consider that the stove energy consumption is greatly decreased
when used with its door closed. Also, its safety against falling sparks
is guaranteed only if the door is closed.
who chooses to buy an open fireplace decides, later, to install a
fireplace insert, restricting their choices to models that fit in the
existing fireplace. This only benefits the seller, which ends up selling
twice, first the open fireplace, and later, the insert, increasing the
expense for the customer.
Choosing to get a
fireplace stove right from the start (
), will also increase your chances of
getting a better job done.
Where should I start if I want to get a fireplace stove?
Well, from our perspective
we first have to analyze the client’s profile. Over the years, we’ve found some
curious situations, as, for example: people that are happy with their low
efficiency stoves, feeling pleased simply by sensing the heat near the door and
by not having any smoke in the room, and, costumers with similar models, where
some love their efficiency and others are disappointed with its heat output.
A great deal depends on
the installation procedure, on the use (or not) of the heat freed by the smoke
exhaust duct, or, on the fact that lots of people like to cover the heat with
Excluding the cases of
poor installation jobs, dissatisfaction is more common among those who choose
large fireplace stoves, due to the increased wood requirements.
The high outputs mentioned
in the catalogs are only reached through wood consumption (approximately the
equivalent to 3500 Watts for each kilo of wood).
A larger stove requires
more time to start heating; nevertheless, it will also take more time to cool
There are displeased
clients due to the fact that they have to carry the wood, or due to its price.
It’s obvious that one who doesn’t enjoy watching the burning fire shouldn’t
think about using stoves as the only heating system, but as an alternate or
auxiliary one, for a stove won’t heat up without the effort (or pleasure) of
Furthermore, a lot of
people think they’ve got the best open fireplace in the whole world, just
because it vents the smoke very well. This is a widely spread misconception, as
the more air it vents, the more heat the house loses, and, therefore, the colder
What really matters is the
global heating of the house and not just the heat in front of the fireplace or
in the room it’s located. It’s of little use to have only one room heated and
the rest of the house cold.
If you don’t like fire,
the best option for you (in Algarve) is air conditioning. In the rest of the
country (in the really cold areas) you might want to invest in a hybrid system,
with a diesel or gas boiler (which has a more expensive energy consumption, but
it’s eco-friendlier). You should take electric heating into consideration, if
you have a dual-timetable tariff (your electricity tariff is lower during night
There is also, currently,
heat pumping systems similar to air conditioning, but using water to distribute
the energy, being able, in this case, to be used together with wood, diesel,
solar panels, pellets, etc. These systems are
heat pumps and can be aero thermal (water/air), and
If you really like fire,
if you enjoy watching the burning wood and if you want to break free from the
monotonous routines, than think about purchasing a fireplace stove, and don’t
forget, you shouldn’t start choosing by the price, unless you have a set amount
you cannot exceed. Instead you should choose a stove that fits your needs.
You shouldn’t forget that
the larger the stove, the more wood it requires, and also, that if you want to
heat a large house, it may not be viable to only use wood as fuel for the
heating, though it can be used as a support system or to get rid of the dampness
inside your house.
Demand someone with the
experience and the know-how to do the job. If the vendor isn’t an installer,
don’t be misled by the “do it yourself because it’s easy” talk – the
responsibility will be your own and the vendor won’t be able to fix possible
future problems. There are some easy installation models, that anyone can
install following a few pointers, but never forget – if you have a problem, even
a small one, it may become a serious one if you don’t resort to an experienced
technician, even if by email or telephone.
there any major differences between cast iron stoves and steel plated
The durability of a cast
iron stove of good quality and little porosity is similar to a good quality
steel stove (st, 370 or superior steel), however, steel doesn’t crack when
exposed to water.
Good quality cast iron,
due to its thickness, would only last longer were directly exposed to the fire.
To prevent steel
degradation, some producers protect the fire exposed areas with refractory
materials, like chamotte (aka grog) or clay, or with detachable iron cast parts.
It’s, also, often used,
boards of vermiculite as protection, for it reflects heat efficiently and
shelters the steel. In spite of being less resistant to wearing, its replacement
is fairly simple.
Even superior cast iron
stoves have protection on the fire exposed areas, by means of a replaceable
slab, for even unprotected cast iron isn’t everlasting.
Cast iron requires special
care. The fire can’t be extinguished using water, or it may crack. Steel won’t
crack with water, but if it gets wet, it’ll rust and, hence, shorten its
Steel models are produced
by companies which design more modern looking models, special models with sealed
housings or bigger sized models. Smaller companies also choose to use steel
plates due to the large investment required to set up an iron foundry.
There are also some
companies that rely on external foundries to manufacture their models, and,
nowadays, several companies have cast iron, steel or mixed models.
Cast iron is cheaper when
produced in large quantities. Currently, there are many companies which order
their models from China, therefore reaching a much lower price.
Cast iron stoves aren’t
all the same, as some are made from recycled steel or virgin steel, as well as
poorly made and extremely porous cast iron.
In short, your choice
should not be restricted merely to the type of material the stove’s made of.
The models with higher
output are the ones with higher heat exchange capacity, due to the use of fins,
or, to greater areas in contact with the fire.
know there are fireplace inserts and regular fireplace stoves. Which
ones generate more heat?
It depends on the
model and its installation. A
regular fireplace stove , correctly
installed, generates more heat than an
fireplace insert , due to its
larger amount of iron located at the upper part, which allows a greater
exchange of heat.
inserts are easier to install, as you just have to place a stainless
duct along the chimney, as well as an appropriate chimney with the right
height, thus achieving a proper installation. Anyone can do it.
regular fireplace stove can be installed with or without a blower. All
these variables factor in the output of the stove. It also depends on
the model and its size.
If it’s a small
model, it might not have enough space for wood, and if it’s a very large
one, you can only reach higher outputs using large amounts of wood; just
as a powerful car requires great amounts of fuel to reach its maximum
If you want a
great output and efficiency, you’ll need to choose a
regular fireplece stove modified, properly installed.
You should also
use blowers to vent the air, if possible autonomous from the stove.
You can choose to
acquire an installation with an
regular fireplace stove or a
regular fireplece stove modified
If you choose an
insert, in most cases, you won’t be able to turn the ventilators
off, while in regular ventilated stoves, you can always turn them off.
insert fireplace can only send the heated air to nearby places. In a
regular fireplece stove modified you can choose among different
types of ventilation with several outputs, which will allow overcoming
the friction caused by the air ducts.
are common solutions when you already have a fireplace, or if you want a
simpler set up.
type of stove delivers more heat, with or without ventilation?
A ventilated model
always delivers a greater amount of heat than a regular one. The
difference is greater when you use the stove with a lot of wood, as the
ventilators force a faster cooling of the exchange area, generating a
lot more heat.
However, if you
use the stove just for the room where it’s located, with small amounts
of wood and for long periods of time, with a good heat recovery from the
flue pipe, ventilation won’t be as important, as the heat recovery is
accomplished slowly over time.
Remember that with
turbines must not be turned off, as they would
melt (in most models). You may set their speed to the lowest, so you can
barely hear them; however there are less noisy and noisier turbines,
even of the same brand (it’s always a good idea to ask to turn on the
turbines before purchasing a fireplace stove).
choose to buy a non-ventilated stove, and later decide to install a
turbine as a ventilator, you can always turn it off if you want.
there any stoves (with heat recovery) which don’t heat up well, or are
they all alike?
Any stove (with heat recovery), recovers part of the heat that otherwise
would be lost through the chimney.
speaking, any close fireplace or stove would be better than a
traditional open fireplace. However, its installation can be poorly
executed, its quality may range from good to bad, it can have a better
or worse efficiency, or, strong , weak or no ventilation.
other differences, like the model lifespan, total output, or more
importantly, the wood consumption/energy produced ratio.
There are models
which may not even last 3 years. Several brands are creating inferior
product lines, and even its installers don’t know where they are made.
Sometimes, a good
stove, which was badly installed, may not heat properly, letting the
heat leak through an
improperly sealed duct.
What kind of
fireplace stoves are there?
speaking, there are two kinds of stove:
fireplace insert, with or without ventilation, is the best solution
to adapt to existing fireplaces. It can also be used in new fireplaces
if you want simple setups. Its price ranges from 600€ to 2.000€. It’s
the most commonly sold type.
regular fireplace stove usually without ventilation. Or a
regular fireplece stove modified, with ventilation.
Most of these
models can be installed with or without ventilation. To obtain greater
heat recovery, especially if you want to heat the bedrooms, you should
choose a model with strong ventilation. The price for these models
ranges from 1500€ to 6.000€.
You can choose
from regular opening doors, which are cheaper, or
guillotine doors, which have a higher cost.
What are the
benefits of installing a stove in my fireplace?
are several benefits, among them:
Greater security and protection – You prevent falling
sparks from igniting your furniture or carpet. If a child falls on top
of hot glass, it might get a mild burn, but if there isn’t any door,
it’s easy to imagine what might happen to someone who falls into the
Much greater efficiency – Any stove, regardless of its
quality or installation, generates more heat than a traditional open
Lower wood consumption
– By controlling the fumes exhaust
or the air intake into the combustion chamber, you can lower a fireplace
consumption by 75%
there any benefit in, firstly, installing a new traditional fireplace,
and only later a
When you’re installing a stove new, you can choose a bigger model with a
higher output and a lower price, and you can adapt an
internal turbine, autonomous from the stove, obtaining benefits from
noise reduction, increased output and efficiency. In other words, you’ll
have greater freedom of choice!
fireplace insert with a good efficiency, but it’s cheaper to install
one when you’re setting up your fireplace.
purchase a traditional open fireplace so to have a better viewing of the
fire, or to save money, and only later will they choose to have a safer
fireplace, with higher efficiency and lower consumption – a
is the greater difficulty in properly connecting the stove duct without
breaking the hood (“hotte”)
of a previously built fireplace.
By choosing to
install a stove right from the start, you’ll also able to chose one with
retractable lifting door
regular fireplece stove modified
a stove efficient? Is it possible to use a stove as a source for central heating
by air ?
It’s simple to use a stove
for central heating by air. We just have to pump the air from the exterior or
interior of the house, which will pass by the outside of the combustion
chamber, drawing its heat and sending it to the rest of the house. This
recovers the heat from the chamber, that otherwise would be wasted through
the exhausted fumes.
Using a good quality stove,
you get more heat, you lose less energy through the fumes and you get more
heat from the fire by 70% to 80%. If the duct goes through along the inside
of the house and we can also recover that heat from the duct, the total heat
recovery can reach 90%.
As for if it can be used as
central heating, that’s harder to answer. For some, it might be enough, as
for others, it might not be. In the middle of the night there’s no one to
feed the stove with wood and, evidently, the rooms will gradually cool down.
You also have to consider that the farther the rooms are from the heat
source, the more energy will be lost along the way. If the rooms are next to
or above the stove, its efficiency is a lot higher, and the farther away
they are, the less efficient it will be, and people will feel dissatisfied.
We advise to always have an
alternate heating system, even a cheap and simple electric system, which, if
used in a low setting, during the low-cost period (dual-timetable tariff),
represents the cheapest energy source at the moment (only during the
low-cost period) without the need to invest large amounts of money.
The greatest benefit you get
for such a system is that, as well as heating, you can renew the air and
remove the moisture from the house. These facts make its installation
worthwhile, even if the rooms won’t heat up very much. Presently, due to EU
imposition, the new air quality and ventilation regulations demand an air
renewal rate of 60% per hour, inside the rooms. A system using a stove with
heat recovery using outside air, will contribute to a better air quality
inside the house, helping, at the same time, to fulfill the new regulation.
If you are setting up a
heating system, you like fireplaces and you’re thinking about using it, you
should install a good quality central heating system with a stove. If the
room where the stove is located is large and the bedrooms are far away from
it, we recommend installing it having in mind the heating of the room itself
and nearby (and directly above) rooms.
In a house with a mezzanine
or an open staircase, where the air in the room is in direct contact with
the other rooms, you don’t always need to pump the air through ducting to
get the heat to the rooms, as it will naturally rise through the heat source
I choose to get a stove with ventilation, to heat all the house, will
there be any danger regarding carbon monoxide or smoke leakage into the
With a fully
sealed system, connected to an exterior air intake, it’s virtually impossible.
However, that might happen if
we’re dealing with poorly designed and/or installed systems, namely, stoves with
retractable doors which might not have a fully sealed housing.
A well installed stove, with a
retractable door and sealed housing, renders any leakage risk next to
impossible, as long as you use an exterior air intake and not a regular intake,
which will draw the air around the stove.
We’ve seen some cases where, by
quickly opening the door of an insert, with turbines located under it, some
smoke would get drawn and got to the rooms, but only for a few seconds, and only
enough to gradually blacken the walls around the heat outlets.
If you use an internal air
intake system to deliver the heat to the rooms, it may also draw any smoke, in
case of leakage. By acquiring an exterior air intake, you can prevent such
Our company only provides
exterior air intakes, and we give you our 100% guarantee
that you’ll never
have any fumes inside your rooms (only applies on the models selected by
heat recovery system more efficient if one uses water (boiler stoves)
instead of air?
We don’t usually
provide or install boiler stoves, since it inhibits the renewal of the
air inside the rooms; and as one of the main issues in Algarve is
moisture, by renewing the air we prevent the common mold and mustiness
that usually appears inside the rooms and closets.
However, boiler stoves
bring about some benefits, like distributing the heat a lot farther, and
requiring less height of the floor screed filling.
It’s also possible to
renew the air in the room using a boiler stove, heating the air coming
from the exterior as it passes by the flue pipe. The air will enter
under the pipe (or at the back of the stove) and it will rise through
convection into the depressurization gratings located on the stove hood
We can easily add
another heat source when using boiler stoves, like a diesel or gas
boiler, or even a heat pump, and why not a solar panel system to
strengthen the whole set!
boiler stove is always more expensive, but it pays up if you set it
up together with the aforementioned systems, and its, evidently, more
useful in colder regions, where the heating necessity is continuous.
What’s usable energy ?
Usable energy is the one which you use, i.e., usable energy equals
produced energy minus lost energy.
What that means is, if
you have a stove with a high level of heat output in a house with no
thermal insulation whatsoever, the house will lose a lot of heat. No
matter how much the stove heats up, the usable energy (the heat that
remains inside the house) will always be quite low.
Hypothetically, if we
imagine a house with no energy loss (which is impossible), it would
suffice to heat it once and it would remain forever warm.
Thus, if a stove
generates more heat than the amount lost by the house, the house will
get increasingly warmer. On other hand, if the house loses more heat
than the amount generated by the stove, even if the stove keeps working
nonstop for a week, the global heating of the house will never exceed
the level reached in the first days.
Of course it will always
heat the surrounding area and any heat obtained increases the comfort
When one speaks about
usable energy, one should refer to the energy used in the global heating
of the house, and not just of a single room.
To assess the required
energy to heat a house, we simply have to add up its heat losses.
Usually it reaches 70 Watts per hour per square meter.
Each burnt kilo of wood
reaches about 3.500 Watts per hour (in a well executed setup).
In a well insulated
house, with good window frames and double glazing windows, is it
possible for a stove or fireplace to have poor fumes extraction?
An insulated house is
quite different from a sealed one (i.e., airtight, as not to let the
cold come inside through any openings and/or cracks).
Also different, is a
thermally insulated house, which aims to increase the efficiency of any
heat sources and prevent any loss of energy through contact with the
ceiling, walls, windows, etc.
Evidently, to have a
well sealed house is very useful; however one mustn’t neglect the need
to renew the air inside through ventilation, so as to increase the air
quality, although it has to be done in a controlled manner and in the
July, 2007 every house built in Portugal has to comply with the new air
quality regulations, thus, rendering ventilation inside the house
But newly build houses
hitherto, well sealed and without any kind of ventilation, have shown
problems when poorly installed fireplaces are used.
Many fireplaces are
inadequately installed without any type of air intake for combustion. If
the house is properly sealed, by the end of an hour, an air depression
(less air pressure inside than outside) is formed in the room forcing
the fumes and smoke to come back inside through the flue pipe.
Any fireplace or stove
should always be assembled with an exterior air intake for combustion or
to feed the recovered air, which will in turn feed the combustion air.
If you are unable to
place an exterior air intake, you can always set a grate in a wall near
the stove, as to compensate for the used up air. Be aware that between
that grate and the fire, there’ll always be an air flow, so the grate
should be set near the floor in a wall, rendering the air flow as
inconspicuous as possible.
Why aren’t some
fireplaces and stoves able to exhaust the fumes adequately?
There are several
possible causes, the most common being:
The flue pipe small size
– the bottlenecking of the flue pipe is very common, due to the use of
undersized ducts, much smaller than ideal size.
Inadequate chimneys – the chimney of a fireplace ought to be
designed with special precautions, as being located higher or lower than
a near obstacle (adjacent buildings, trees, walls, etc.) will affect its
Contrary to what its
stated by many entities, a fireplace can function properly with its
chimney next to a wall, without having to be higher than it, as long as
the chimney is designed to that end, which seldomly happens.
Usually, it should be 50
cm higher, or more, than the wall or house, if it’s within a radius of
up to 10 m. Nevertheless, each case has to be assessed individually.
Can I purchase a fireplace in an unspecialized shop
Lately, we have been witnessing
the proliferation of fireplace vendors as if it were handicraft shops.
Buying a vase at a handicraft
shop doesn’t incur any danger. The same can’t be said about buying a fireplace,
where, sometimes, they don’t even know what products they’re selling. Currently,
everyone sells and assembles fireplaces and stoves, endangering entire families.
Any construction material vendor
sells stoves, as if they were harmless if improperly installed. To purchase a
fireplace, a stove, solar energy equipment, etc., is not the same as to buy
amounts of sand or a few square feet of tiles…
At the shop where you’re buying
your fireplace or stove, they may even sell vases, nails, screws… but above all
else, they’ll have to be specialized fireplace technicians with experience in
the area, for only then will you be assured of the quality of their job.
Sometimes, due to bad setups,
problems can come up with the chimney, the paint job, the sealants, the mastics,
the ducting, the turbines and thermostats, etc., and with fumes that start
coming back when you expect it the least.
And what if you break one of the
glasses? Who’s going to replace it? The vendor who merely sells them? Some
models calcify after a few years and it is not possible to replace the glasses
if they break by accident. Also, who will pick the best quality models for you
to choose from?
You shouldn’t purchase a
fireplace or stove in a shop which doesn’t provide customer assistance, except
if you are capable of repairing it by yourself.
Is there any advantage in using double insulated ducting, or is it
preferable to use a regular stainless one?
You’ll only benefit from it if the duct is placed on the exterior of the wall
and the risk of cracking the wall plaster, due to high temperatures, rises. If
it’s subject to low temperatures, you may also want to
insulate the ducts, as to prevent the formation of moisture.
interior stainless steal duct, you should try to cool it by means of grates,
so as to induce air convection, retaining, this way, more recovered heated air,
in both the upper floors, as in the fireplace room. Due to the much lesser
cooling of an interior duct, moisture formation is highly improbable to take
place. However, you should always have special care with ducts longer than 6
meters and with the ducts of freestanding stoves, as these may form moisture.A
well executed setup is able to remove the heat even from exterior ducts, by
means of a double pipe and pumping the air in the house through this hollow
formed between the two pipes.
every technician recommends using rock wool to protect the “hotte”. Is
it safe, or is it dangerous for you?
We do not use it.
However, if there’s no contact with the air inhaled in the rooms, there
is no danger.
But, unfortunately, that’s not what usually happens. We’ve inspected
several setups in which
the air goes through the rock wool, it heats up and then goes to the
various rooms, making you breathe rock wool particle laden air, which
hazardous to our health. If you’re lucky and you’re allergic to it,
you’ll easily recognize the situation, as you’ll spend the days
coughing. Still, it’s a rare thing to happen, and most people don’t
realize the air they are breathing is harmful.
Mineral rock wool and
glass wool are carcinogenic, although this fact is hidden by many,
unknown to some, and others simply don’t care.
There are European
Committee directives (Article 1 of the directive 67/69/CE) which render
the display of information in these products packaging, regarding its
hazard level, mandatory (This directive hasn’t yet been transposed to
We have even inspected
installations, where even the aluminum protection in the wool itself
cannot be found, even if with the protection, its placement would be
very hard, so as to prevent any leakage.
To do it properly,
either you install an air recovery system, rendering the rock wool
unnecessary, or you use the wool, but placing it only inside double
You may not have to
build double walls and use rock wool to insulate the “hotte”, if it’s
high quality wool and with good aluminum protection. Nonetheless, you’ll
have to install a door in the “hotte” for inspection purposes, so you
can easily repair any damage in the aluminum liner that might appear
over the years. This door can be covered with a large painting.
Don’t get fooled by
simplistic answers, and remember – the present regulations aren’t always
the best, if you can have better ones…
Don’t forget that a
great building was demolished, in Brussels, which complied with the
regulations at the time of its construction. Despite that, the rules
evolve and change, and we’ll still see a lot of people, who built their
fireplaces according to the recommendations and regulations of some
manufacturers, tear them down.
If I install a stone fireplace, will it crack? Why does that happen?
setups are common.
There are several
reasons: often, the stone fireplace itself is used to support the “hotte”,
which is made using heavy bricks. This is incorrect, as its weight ends
up by making the stone sag – this should be done by building independent
walls to support the brick “hotte” own weight (this won’t be necessary
if the “hotte” is made of plasterboard).
Often, it’s caused by
the heat emanated by the fireplace or stove, due to the proximity of the
door or opening to the stone arch. However if the stone is protected,
namely in its upper area, with a strip of refractory bricks, that’s much
harder to happen.
The major cause of the stones cracking is its poor bonding, which
doesn’t allow the expansion of the stone. If the stones subjected to the
heat are able to expand, they will not crack.
If your fireplace was set up in just one day, it probably wasn’t
make my fireplace “hotte” out of plasterboard (Pladur®)? Is
there an appropriate type to withstands heat?
you can. Plasterboard (Pladur®)
is made of plaster and paperboard (it acts as a support structure for
the plaster), and it can withstand much higher temperatures without
cracking than bricks.
Currently, there are people selling pink tinted plasterboard claiming it
to be fireproof, but it’s just a scam. Due to the paperboard content,
that’s simply not possible. Its heat resistance is the same as regular
plasterboard. The paperboard is the same; the only thing that’s
different is the color.
The only difference is that, inside the plaster, there are fiberglass
strands which reinforce the slab in case of fire. They are specially
manufactured slabs for false ceilings of discos, or similar public
venues, for in case of fire, instead of taking 15m to fall down, it
takes 30m. If the paperboard burns up, the ceiling falls down, where the
plasterboard with fiberglass strands holds a few more minutes, until the
There are other more expensive products for “hottes”
that are indeed fireproof
but they are unnecessary for most installations.
For all the stated reasons, you may apply any plasterboard you like,
however you have to depressurize the heated air inside the “hotte”,
setting a few
convection grates (below and above). Personally, we like to use
regular plasterboard, as it expands less, and it can be applied by
I know of several “hottes” that got deformed and even twisted the
support frame, and others that cracked its joints.
Can this happen?
for cooling the interior of the “hotte”,
can be detrimental.
Situations like the aforementioned can happen mainly with low efficiency
stoves which are poorly installed. When trying to compensate for the low
heating of the stove, one can overload it with wood, which can lead to
the overheating of the “hotte”
and its deterioration.
Sometimes, it’s necessary to insulate or ventilate the frontal area of
the stove, which, often, is not done.
As for the joints, when found against the walls, you have to use a
flexible material (mastic polyurethane or other flexible paintable
paste) and not the usual fixative constituted by paste and paper.
In the front joints, you shouldn’t use
bands, as these expand with the heat and eventually fall off.
Even badly set Pladur is preferable, due to its easy repairing.
Is the chimney an important part of the fireplace, or any chimney will
The chimney is an essential part of the whole setup. A poor quality
chimney can put your house at risk and it can also let water in, ruining
Actually, the most common
exhaustion related problems, regarding stoves in houses or buildings, are due to
See more (+)
some recent house designs, we can find modern chimneys, which, in spite
of not being sanctioned by the present regulations, are made still,
which is a menace to the dwellers.
Besides creating complications in the fireplaces, it puts the air
circulation at risk in other rooms, i.e., toilet, pantry, kitchen, etc.
Whoever thinks it has an unsafe chimney, should ask the authorities for
See more (+)
think I saw the same stove with very different prices. Is it common for
the price to vary so much from store to store?
Usually, there’s a small
price range, as the more honest importers keep a stable price and provide
recommended price lists for retail sellers. However, an increasing number of
importers, and even manufacturers, desperate with the low profits obtained,
offer better deals when they have too much products in stock or during specially
difficult business periods.
Due to this
distortion in the market, from time to time you might find a good
quality stove cheaper than other of lesser quality. We find a growing
number of poor quality models, manufactured with the sole purpose of
being sold as cheap as possible.
technician oughtn’t to acquire equipment lacking quality to sell his
customers, as he will spend a lot of time fixing problems created by
The customer has
to be careful as, sometimes, he may pay a high price for purchasing
inferior equipment, sold to him as if good quality one. You might even
purchase a cheaper model of nice quality, but never have access to the
support or help of a professional technician to fix whichever problems
might come up later.
You should always
check for the prices in two different shops. The price of the stove
shouldn’t be the only element to consider. You should also keep in mind
the customer support, as well as the assembly cost and the price of
other parts not included with the stove, like stainless ducts,
Always try to get
the full setup cost, because if you purchase all the equipment in the
same supplier, you’ll probably get a better price. And don’t get fooled
by sneaky technicians who usually don’t even provide receipts, for they
will be able to deny any accountability.
these back door sellers, sometimes even working in large commercial
areas, almost always have an “associate” ready do deceive the buyer,
through poorly set installations, which can even put your house in
danger. Always choose to purchase your equipment at specialized shops.
Shops that just sell the equipment are not suited to solve future
problems, which, sometimes, could be solved through a phone call.
Evidently, they don’t even have certified staff, which, by itself, and
due to not having any customer support expenses, enables them to reduce
their market prices, creating unfair competition.
Nonetheless, if you intend to purchase and install the system yourself,
by buying at a specialized shop, you’ll probably get a lower price, as
the equipment won’t require setting up; additionally, you’ll always
benefit from customer support.
Is the glass safe? Won’t it break? I heard about cases
where the glass has shattered
Vitroceramic glass will never shatter due to heat
exposure, as it withstands temperatures up to 7000 ºC and regular wood
burns at approximately 4500 ºC (at its core), with a few higher
temperature surges. In a rather hot stove, the glass maintains a
temperature around 2600 ºC.
There shouldn´t be any company who risks using any other kind of glass.
However, you should be careful when replacing the original glass by
another, if broken by an accidental knock or blow, as the seller,
unknowingly, may sell you a tempered glass instead of the right kind.
Tempered glass (used in kitchen ovens) shatters into hundreds of bits
when exceeds 200 º C.
Instances where shattering has happened:
You should not use green wood in your fireplace,
as the resin quickly sticks to the flue pipe, and being flammable it
might ignite, burning the whole duct. If the chimney, that exhausts the
fumes, has a large size, there’s no danger of the duct coming down
inside the house; but if the chimney set for the fireplace is
small-sized and has small openings.
, then, when the duct catches fire, the flames might
descend and blow the glass up, and if there’s no glass, the fire might
be hurled several meters inside the house. One has to choose a good
chimney as to prevent accidents.
You should also clean the flue pipe whenever you burn 4 tons of dry
wood. Remember that after burning 200 Kg of green wood there’s already
risk of fire. Some people say that the ducting should be cleaned every
year or every two years, but, evidently, the timespan has nothing to do
with it. What you should be concerned about with is the amount of
accumulated soot, and people who barely use the fireplace just need to
clean it after several years.
There are products (tablets and chemical powder) used to prevent soot
from adhering to the ducting. These should be purchased and burned
regularly in the fireplace.
The ducting should have a uniform shape all along its length to
facilitate its cleaning. It should also be made of stainless steel as to
Always demand large size chimneys, because if the flue
pipe catches fire, the heat and pressure generated by the fire will
easily exit through the chimney. That’s the reason all the old chimneys
How can I tell apart vitroceramic glass from other types of glass?
It’s not that hard,
glass is more irregular; if you look against the light
(with lateral lighting) you can see that vitroceramic glass is much less
smooth than regular glass. It doesn’t seem to have a perfect finishing,
like normal glass. It also has a yellowish tint, but to see it you’ll
have to take the glass off and view it from above.
the temperature that the inside of a stove and its glass usually reach?
After, approximately, one hour, the back of a stove well loaded with
wood reaches slightly above 450 ºC, the glass 260 ºC, and the sides
(farther from the fire) around 300 ºC.
If you’re using smaller amounts of wood, the glass reaches 180 ºC, the
back 300 ºC, and the sides 200 ºC. These measures were taken by us.
While setting the fireplace, should I have any
special care regarding the kitchen exhaust fan?
In new houses with insulated doors and windows frames,
you need to be careful due to the high yield of modern exhaust fans.
Usually, they withdraw 600 to 800 m3 per hour from the house.
If that amount of air is not compensated for, the exhaust fan will get
it from the fireplace and toilets. The odors from those ducts will fill
In certain occasions, not even the mandatory 100mm X 100
mm air intake is enough.
The problem gets worse when you have open areas; then you
should choose exhaust fans with compensated hottes, or add exterior air
intakes in the kitchen. For instance, placing additional air intakes
under the oven or in the surrounding area; but even so, sometimes you
will need a mechanic compensation system to prevent unwanted odors from
coming inside the house.
The placement of a good quality insulated door between
the kitchen and the room where the fireplace is set, prevents the stated
problems, as long as there’s compensation for the air extracted by the
exhaust system. You have to be even more careful in kitchens with
islands, as they have exhaust fans which draw over 1000 m3/h.
When the house is poorly insulated, the air will come in
through the gaps of the doors and windows frames, cooling down the
What are the advantages and disadvantages of the stoves
and freestanding stoves that use pellets as fuel?
The advantages are:
It has automatic fuel feed. it’s easy to use, you can connect it to a
domotics system (e.g., running it using your phone).
It’s easier to use, as the fuel comes in bags easy to store.
It’s getting increasingly cost effective – the price of pellets is
lowering due to the opening of new plants producing this type of fuel in
The disadvantages are:
It cannot be used as a grill.
It doesn’t work without electric power – if there’s a blackout, you’ll
be without your heating system. A wood stove works even without power
for several days in a row; (See pellet stoves)
Equipment with a lot of electronics is more susceptible to malfunctions.
It’s an expensive system, rendering it accessible only to a few.
Do the pellets stoves or freestanding stoves require a
Unfortunately, there are some sellers saying that pellet stoves don’t
require chimneys (i.e., flue pipe extending to the chimney), but such is
not true, as they release carbon monoxide which can kill any person
within a few minutes, if you a flue exhaust system is not set.
Nonetheless, they work fine even with small sized ducting, and due to
almost every pellet stove having a forced exhaustion, they even work
with horizontal ducting. See pellet stoves
Is fresh air ventilation in the bedrooms and living room important?
Yes, whenever possible you should ventilate fresh air into the bedrooms,
or, if that’s not possible, at least into the living room.
The European “air quality” regulation requires exterior fresh air
intakes in the bedrooms. To learn more, go to
ADENE site (+)
If possible, you should always choose to install a stove which heats and
renews the air of the rooms, since it will heat the air and
substantially reduce its humidity.
Types of stove with fresh air ventilation:
Systems with retractable lifting doors (+)
Systems with regular opening doors (+)
What are the advantages and disadvantages of gas
Personally, where not keen on gas fireplaces installations, as they are
quite expensive as well as not being very cost effective regarding the
fuel used – in Algarve it’s about 5 times more expensive than a wood
It’s a safe system if properly installed, but, if the installation is
poorly set up, it breaks down or if its maintenance is not observed, it
can become rather dangerous.
There are regular and sealed systems, being the latter ones the only
systems allowed to use in bedrooms; however, we know of some individuals
who have brought “kits” from England and have illegally installed them
in bedrooms without any regard for safety.
There are several illegal installations in Algarve, and if you ever see
one, you should never use it and immediately close the gas valve.
The duct for a regular gas system (open, which uses the air from the
room) must have between 200 and 350 mm (depends on the size of the
For a sealed system (which only uses exterior air) a duct of 100 or 120
mm is enough, depending on the model.
Its advantages pertain to their ease of use when the client has large
containers of gas, and its appealing fire appearance which emulates
burning wood quite well.
Ten years ago, when we realized that customers were not satisfied with
its consumption, and after replacing some gas installments for wood
setups, we ceased to install and support gas systems.
We are aware of situations where wood stoves, which were malfunctioning,
were removed and replaced by gas stoves. However, for the gas stoves to
work well, their
thermocouple security system had to be removed.
Are there beautiful round or oval freestanding
stoves/fireplaces which hang from the ceiling? Are they safe and
That kind of freestanding stoves/fireplaces
see here are efficient and heat well, but are only safe if they have
glass doors. We sometimes see pictures of stoves without the glass door
hanging above rugs and wooden floors…
sellers say it’s safe, but actually, any stove without a glass door
isn’t safe at all, and it just takes one spark for a house to catch