Why a wood fire?
A modern wood fire is energy efficient and a carbon neutral way of using renewable fuel. When the right size wood fire is installed for your space, it will heat your whole home effectively. It is a cheaper way to heat your home with no risk of a hefty unexpected power bill. You’ll also have a reliable back-up source in the event of a power-cut, and some models offer wetback solutions to heat water or an integrated stove top for cooking.
It’s worth getting onto your wood fire purchase well before the cold weather arrives, as you require a building consent to install and installers get booked up closer to winter resulting in waiting lists.
What type of wood fire?
There are two main types of wood fires available which distribute heat differently: radiant wood fires and convection wood fires.
Radiant wood fires are great for draughty homes or homes that have taller ceilings as they transfer heat directly to surrounding objects versus the air that can be quickly lost upwards or outwards, versus heating the air that rises upwards or out with the drafts.
Convection wood fires warm the air and circulate it. These wood fires draw in and heat the cooler air from floor level, which then rises naturally to your ceiling, so they are best for homes with lower ceilings. A ceiling fan or stove top fan helps move this air around the room, or you can use a heat transfer system to move the heat to other rooms.
At Mitre 10 you will also find inbuilt fires (also known as insert wood fires). They become a feature within the wall they are installed in when they are on, and fade into the background when not in use. They are great in rooms where floor space is at a premium.
How to get started
Every home has different needs and having the right wood fire for your home is important to ensuring it works effectively and efficiently. When buying a wood fire at Mitre 10 we’ll ask you a number of questions to determine the heat output you’ll need based on the area you’re trying to heat, what council restrictions you might face and if any additional components will be required.
You can expect questions such as: is this for a new build or a renovation? What is the size of the property? How many storeys does your home have? How high and sloped is your ceiling? Do you have insulation or double glazing?
How much heat?
The chart below will help you choose the correct size fire. As a general rule of thumb, you should aim for 1kW of heat output for every 10 square meter you want to heat. Talk to a Mitre 10 team member to discuss other elements that might influence your requirements (e.g. high ceilings).
Choosing a flue and shield
All wood fires need the right flue system. A flue pipe releases smoke up and out of your home. Heat loss can occur within the flue and a shield is usually installed to either radiate the heat back into the room or prevent it from transferring into the wall.
Getting building consent
All wood fires require a building consent to install and restrictions apply in a number of regions where there are unique local bylaws. If you have decided a wood fire is right for you contact your local council in the first instance. In addition, the Ministry for the Environment has a list of authorised wood fires that meet National standards for wood fires that can be installed on an urban property (less than two hectares). Click here to see the list. If your property is greater than two hectares, your local council may consent for you to install a rural wood fires, these have the added benefits of a larger heat output and ability to burn overnight.
Add floor protection
Ash, heat and sparks may damage the area surrounding your wood fire so be sure to install a floor protector to prevent this. Different size floor protectors are available so check with your installer what size you’ll need. We can also offer you a variety of designs and trims plus options that can be installed directly over your existing flooring.
You’ll need building consent before installation can go ahead and we recommend you arrange for a certified installer to visit your home to determine the best position for your wood fire. They will also advise on any extra components required to ensure your wood fire has the correct clearance to be safe and to make a recommendation on ventilation. Installers can also help you with completing your building consent and laying the hearth. Talk to our staff about site delivery too.
Mitre 10 has a wide range of fireside accessories to help you complete your look including screens to protect children and pets, as well as sets to help you tend the fire and keep it tidy.
Simple steps to lighting your wood fire.
1. Start with a clean wood fire by ridding it of ash build up.
2. In the center of your wood fire place either recycled newspaper or use a handy firelighter which has the added benefit of creating an easy and efficient fire from the get go.
3. Over this build a teepee of softer wood or briquettes (recycled wood, designed to burn hotter) and when ready ignite the newspaper or starter.
4. Once you’ve got a good light going top it up with harder woods.
Please note: avoid using any treated timber as firewood: not only because the burning of the chemicals is toxic and hazardous to the environment and can also damage your wood fire (same goes for coal, unless your wood fire’s manufacturer specifies otherwise).
Proper maintenance and burning the right fuel, will keep your wood fire burning well winter after winter.
- The first and easiest way to maintain your wood fire is to regularly clean out excess ash.
- Check the bricks and baffles, these are two parts that are designed to keep the heat where the fire is, and not where it could damage your fire. Replace these when cracked.
- Get your flue professionally cleaned every year.