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Why buy 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 do you need?

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.
RADIANT CONVECTION
  • Intense effect
  • Heats objects
  • Ideal for high ceilings and rooms with poor insulation
  • Softer, ambient heat
  • Heats surrounding air evenly
  • Ideal for lower ceilings and well-insulated homes

 

  • Inbuilt fires (also known as insert wood fires) 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.
  • Ultra Low Emission Burners (ULEB) are wood fires that are able to meet the most stringent air quality standards and are allowed in all areas of New Zealand. Some feature a catalystic combustor allowing a more controlled and steady heat that can keep your home warm overnight.

 

 

What can I install in my region?

New Zealand has strict air quality guidelines that determine which wood fires can be installed by region. The country is split into two zones: Clean Air Zones and Non-Clean Air Zones which have specific requirements and restrictions. Talk to a Team Member or local authority to see what is right for your area.

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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.

How much heat?

Heat output from wood fires could range around 12kW to 20kW but can be affected by several factors. Talk to a Mitre 10 team member to discuss the different elements that might influence your requirement.

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 big is your home? As a guide – 

  • Small: under 120m2
  • Medium: 130-160m2
  • Large: over 170m2

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.  Some fires are able to be upgraded to Eco flues which have greater heating efficiency in the home.

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.

Installation

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.

Finishing touches 

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. 

 

 

Maintenance

How to maintain a woodburner

Maintaining your woodburner will ensure your unit is safe, efficient and clean-burning.

It is recommended that the woodburner should be serviced at least every 12 months. A regular service will ensure the important aspects of your unit are functioning correctly. Service your woodburner during Spring or early Summer - this minimizes the corrosive effects of creosote residue and condensation during the off-season.

Here are a few pointers on the best ways to clean some of the easy to access parts of the heater yourself:

Interior Cleaning Tips

  • Once the fireplace has cooled down completely, remove the ash from inside the fireplace using a shovel and brush. Use a brush with Coco Fibre or Tampico bristles, or metal tools to keep yourself and your equipment safe. If there is a lot of hot ash, move it around to give it space to cool down. 
  • Leave a 25-40mm ash bed in the base of the firebox and set your fire on this. The ash bed enables air to be drawn from below the fire, to improve combustion. 
  • Do not place any hot ash in a plastic bag or a plastic bucket as it will burn straight through. The best way to dispose of any ash is by placing it in a galvanised bucket. This will hold the ash well without forming any form of rust. Once collected, spread it across your garden to use as soil, or dispose in accordance with local council guidelines.

Exterior Cleaning Tips

  • To clean the glass door exterior of your heater, when the glass is cool, use the Wood Heater Door Glass Cleaner as it is fast effective non-liquid/dry cleaning, guaranteed scratch-free and reusable several times.
  • Buildup of products of combustion can be an indicator of an issue – wood may be too damp, or air flow inside fire may be compromised. Generally, a well-functioning fire will burn itself clean during the combustion cycle.

While cleaning out ash is all very well, instructions for most fires will say something like “leave a 25-40mm ash bed in the base of the firebox and set your fire on this. The ash bed enables air to be drawn from below the fire, to improve combustion.

The Flue

How do you maintain the flue?

The flue is one of the most important components and maintaining it well is crucial. In extreme cases, when not maintained, a flue fire caused by creosote buildups becomes the cause of a house fire. It is best to get the flue of the woodburner cleaned by a trained technician annually to be safe and worry-free. 

To clean it yourself, use a flue brush to scrub down the flue to remove/ loosen any built-up soot. Soot-Loose chimney and flue cleaner may be used regularly (every 3-4 weeks) during the winter. This reduces the build-up of tar, creosote and soot in the flue, and increases the efficiency of the woodburner and reduces smoke emissions. 

Obstructions to look out for:

Inspecting the inside of the flue and external exit cowl for obstructions is also important. Wood fire flues operate at extremely high temperatures and making sure that there are no blockages or obstructions is vital for the safe operation of your woodburner.

  • Ensure no overhanging trees or branches have grown into the clearance zone.
  • Make sure the installation has not been affected by wind damage or other natural events.
  • Check for birdsnests in or near the flue system in the roof cavity.
  • Visually check if all the firebox, baffle plate, tubes, bricks and the door glass are aligned and sitting in the correct position. There may be cracks but this does not necessarily mean it must be replaced. It only needs replacing when it will not stay in place.

Fibreglass door rope and tape seals

Over time, the fibreglass rope seals on your wood burning or multi fuel stove door will either compress sufficiently so that they no longer effectively seal the door, or they will begin to pull away or fray. 

Check your door seals with the paper test.

Take a piece of paper, similar size to a $5 note is ideal. Open your woodburner’s door, place the paper between the door and the stove body. Close the door and then attempt to slide the paper out. The paper should either stay locked in place or slide out slowly with resistance. Work your way around the door and check each point, just because it seals by the hinges doesn’t mean it will by the latch. 

If at any point the paper slides out easily then assess if it is time to replace the rope or adjust the door. 

How to replace Fibreglass Door Rope:

  • Make sure the woodburner has cooled (not in use), remembering that embers can stay hot for some time after the flames have died down.
  • With leather gloves, carefully remove the woodburner door and place it on a soft padded surface.
  • Using a screwdriver, pry out and remove the old door rope
  • Thoroughly clean out the channel, making sure to remove all the old adhesive with a wire brush
  • Apply Pyrogrip hi-temp adhesive or similar high hear sealant into the door channel.
  • Insert the new door rope into the door channel.

 

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