News

Hetas Post CO conference

Posted by John Day on May 21, 2013 (0 Comments)

Carbon Monoxide Conference

 

Posted on May 13th, 2013 by Alun

 

Leading experts joins forces in the fight against the ‘silent killer’ Carbon Monoxide

 

The Institution of Gas Engineers and Managers has joined in partnership with gas distribution network Wales & West Utilities supported by the Carbon Monoxide All Fuels Action Forum to host a FREE one day conference to campaign and coordinate action against the unnecessary deaths, injuries and suffering caused by carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

 

Taking place at IGEM House, Kegworth on 11th July 2013 this conference will bring leading experts from diverse fields and industries together to provide the facts and latest research findings on CO Poisoning, with Q&A sessions to bolster learning and dispel myths. Themed breakout sessions will enable attendees to share their views and collaborate with other individuals to recommend ways to raise overall awareness across all industries, improve CO detection and the technologies available which can help prevent Carbon Monoxide.

 

The event is aimed at solid fuel industries, emergency response services, healthcare and educational professionals, Local Authorities, Housing Associations, caravan parks and private landlords.

 

Speakers include Barry Shearman MP, Baroness Finley and industry representatives from Gas Safety Trust, CoGDEM, Corgi and Co+ Savi Group.

 

Peter Hardy, IGEM’s Head of Technical Services, said: “The purpose of the conference is to identify and agree new actions to eliminate deaths from accidental CO poisoning, the leading cause of accidental poisoning in the UK and wider developed world. Our priority is to highlight and tackle the wide array of circumstances which lead to tragedies, for instance all fossil fuels appliances must be safely installed and maintained to avoid tragedies.’

 

David Kidney Chair of the Carbon Monoxide All Fuels Forum said: “This CO conference is a landmark event on carbon monoxide poisoning for 2013. It will be an invaluable resource for anyone looking to gain an understanding of the serious threat posed by carbon monoxide poisoning. I’m delighted the All Fuels Forum is a part of this event and look forward to taking an active role. Carbon Monoxide can emanate from any fuel source and therefore needs to be considered by a wide range professionals, engineers and regulators. We look forward to engaging with all those who will attend the conference. We shall be looking for ideas and initiatives on this complex issue to help inform policy making and stamp out carbon monoxide poisoning wherever it occurs.”

 

Mark Oliver, Director of Business Services from WWU said:  ‘At Wales & West Utilities we are always looking for new ways to engage with key stakeholders to raise awareness of the dangers of CO.  We are delighted to be involved in this initiative; working closely with valued partners to encourage innovation in minimising CO related deaths and injuries across the UK.’

 

It is estimated that CO poisoning still kills around 50 people each year with a further 1,100 recorded cases of admissions to hospital. The real figures are likely to be significantly higher, since awareness levels and detection rates remain relatively low.

 

For your opportunity to get your views heard and join the big debate contact Julie Adcock on 01509 678161 or email Julie@igem.org.uk. For updates and programme information you can also visit the website.

 

Demand for places is likely to be high, with tickets allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

 

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Jotul technical documents

Posted by Gary Maguire on March 02, 2013 (0 Comments)

Here is a link to the full range of Jotul stoves, hope you find what you need

 http://www.jotul.com/en-GB/wwwjotulukcom/Main-Menu/Technical-documentation/

 

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Cleaning Chimney

Posted by Gary Maguire on February 14, 2013 (0 Comments)

Why do I need to have my chimney/flue swept?

Chimneys need to allow free passage of dangerous combustion gasses. Regular cleaning will remove soot and creosote, helping prevent dangerous chimney fires. Cleaning will increase the efficiency of some appliances. Bird nests, cobwebs and other blockages will be removed. 

 

How often does my chimney need sweeping?

The sweeping frequencies below are for guidance. Frequency will depend on a number of factors including: Type of fuel, appliance used, duration of use, moisture content of wood fuel, type of chimney. Your Guild sweep will be able to advise on sweeping frequency during the appointment, the sweeping frequencies below are for guidance. 

 

Smokeless fuel: At least once a year

Wood: Quarterly when in use

Bituminous coal: Quarterly when in use

Oil: Once a year

Gas: Once a year

 

 

 

Why should I use a Guild Registered Chimney Sweep?

Guild sweeps undertake an extensive training and assessment process. Training is based around the most comprehensive training manual in the UK. Guild membership requires members to be insured for Chimney Sweeping and equipped to deal with all standard job situations. Because the Guild is owned equally by all its members it can act like a co-operative, sharing information and solving customer problems. In the unlikely event your Guild sweep is unable help you, they should be able to recommend someone who can. 

 

Does it make mess?

This is a very good question to ask when booking any sweep. The answer should be - very rarely. Guild sweeps are able to draw on the collective knowledge of the whole organisation and have a number of best practice techniques for preventing dust escapes. A rare exception may be when the chimney is blocked with a bird’s nest when it is sometimes difficult to contain all dust. 

 

What should I do to prepare for the sweep’s visit?

Ask your sweep this question when booking. In general they will need a clear passage to the chimney and adequate space to work in. Clear ornaments from the hearth and perhaps from the mantelpiece. In particular, clear the grate of any fuel / ash / rubbish as cleaning up before they start is a pet hate of most sweeps. 

 

Do I need to have my gas/oil flues swept?

Yes. Although burning these fuels does not normally deposit soot there are numerous other problems which can affect chimney function and sweeping can solve or identify these. In countries such as Germany, where sweeping all chimneys and flues is a legal requirement, the number of carbon monoxide poisonings and chimney fires are a fraction of the UK. 

 

Why do I need to see the brush out the top of the chimney?

To demonstrate to you that the flue has been swept throughout its length, and that the sweep has done his work properly. 

 

How much does it cost to have my chimney swept?

How long is a piece of string? Seriously though, there are different types of appliance or chimney and the cost will vary. Some jobs may take longer to complete properly so expect to pay more if extra time is necessary. If you are comparing prices of different sweeps try to make sure you are comparing like for like. Cost may also vary in different parts of the country. Guild sweeps can often supply expert advice on fuels and how to get the best out of your stove or fire. This advice alone could save you more than the cost of a sweep over the course of a burning season. 

 

I have a problem with my fireplace/stove/chimney.

In the UK there is a general lack of knowledge concerning all aspects of solid fuels, solid fuel appliances and their associated chimneys. Problems are therefore not uncommon and it can be difficult to get qualified, independent advice. Guild sweeps are trained to high standards and are usually conversant with the complexities of solid fuel heating and venting systems and the associated building regulations. 

 

I’ve just moved house – do I need to have my chimney cleaned?

Yes! A chimney fire isn’t the kind of housewarming you want. 

 

What is the best fuel to use?

For certain appliances, there is a recommended fuel, and this is the one you should use. In appliances where there are no such requirements, there are several things that need to be taken into consideration. As a general fuel we recommend wood. It is clean, gives good heat and is carbon neutral. However, at the end of the day, some people don’t get on with wood and find coal suits them better. If you are looking at coal, find your local approved coal merchant who will have the expert knowledge to guide you. 

 

Why do I need to sweep a chimney before it is closed off?

If a chimney is closed off, it can get a bit damp. If there is and soot up there, then this soot can turn to a black acidic slurry that in an old chimney can soak into the internal walls causing severe problems. If bad enough this damp can penetrate through to the room where it will cause unpleasant stains on the walls. 

 

Why are there smoke marks just above the fireplace?

This is because smoke is leaking back into the room; call your local Guild Sweep and seek their advice. 

 

A bird has come down my chimney, how do I stop this from happening again?

Seek the advice of your local Guild Sweep who will be able to advise you on a suitable terminal/guard for your chimney. 

 

If I am already a chimney sweep, why would I want to join the Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps?

The Guild is owned equally by all its members and this results in a very co-operative organisation. We are very much one for all and all for one, the newest member having the same share and voting rights as the oldest. You will have the opportunity to pick the best techniques, skills and business and as part of your membership you will be promoted on the Guild website and on Yell.com. You can issue Guild certificates which will benefit you and your customers. A group of likeminded individuals is always more powerful than your lone voice. 

 

Thanks to 'Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps'

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Quick Lighting

Posted by Gary Maguire on December 08, 2012 (0 Comments)

A short video how to best light your stove

 

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Cleaning Stove Glass

Posted by Gary Maguire on December 07, 2012 (0 Comments)

Cleaning Robax Glass

Posted by Gary Maguire on December 06, 2012 (0 Comments)
Advice from Robax about cleaning stove glass

At Home Remedies:

General: Transparent glass ceramic for fireplaces and stoves should only be cleaned while the equipment is not in operation and has cooled down.

Clean: The best and still most cost-effective cleaning agent is the ash itself. To use:

Insert a moist rag or a piece of newspaper into the white ash of the cooled fireplace.

Rub it onto the window insert of the fireplace.

Then, simply wipe it off again with the moist rag and then polish it dry with a clean, soft towel.

In addition to the ash, there are a number of different commonly used commercial cleaning and care products or mildly acidic solutions available. Simply follow the

instructions of the cleaning product as recommended by its manufacturer.

Note: For coated inserts, (glass cleaner is not recommended).

CAUTION: Under no circumstances should you use any abrasive (scouring) cleaning product or scratch pads.

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HETAS Advice

Posted by Gary Maguire on November 22, 2012 (0 Comments)

HETAS Advice

The HETAS advice sheets for consumers cover a range of topics, from Carbon Monoxide awareness, a wood fuel guide through to operating and maintaining your stove. Feel free to download the PDF’s below, or contact the HETAS team if you would like a hard copy to be sent to you. Email info@hetas.co.uk for more information.

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Glass Cleaning

Posted by John Day on October 31, 2012 (0 Comments)
I have been using ammonia diluted with water in a spray bottle to clean the glass. Works pretty well. Any risk of damaging the woodstove glass? I never bought a commercial creosote cleaner, so I have no idea what chemicals are in that. Ammonia cuts right through any buildup on the door quickly. Bob, Chicargo

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How to clean a glass top stove

Posted by John Day on October 31, 2012 (0 Comments)
How to clean a glass top stove Well, I have to tell you, I never thought I'd be writing about something like this, but after weeks of struggle, I've found the need to share my failures and triumphs from Lewisville. I've lived in several homes throughout the past few years. Each one has had it's own unique quirks and special features. Our last two houses however, have had something "special" that I've never worked with before; a little something that I've found challenging when it comes to maintenance and quite frankly, challenging when it comes to cooking. It is the electric stove...dadadum. Can you see my size 6 toesies? hehehe After several years of living in California, where by the way I think they have it right by using gas stoves, I was introduced to the electric stove. First of all, cooking is not the same when using an electric stove. Do I hear an AMEN! Secondly, the mess that it makes is beyond anything I've experienced with a gas range. Add to this the fact that I now live a mile above sea level and have to work with high altitude cooking challenges. Let's just say, it's been an adventure for me when it comes to cooking on this beautiful, shiny stove. Trust me, it usually looks more like this after a meals is produced. Can you tell which is my favorite burner? Pretty gross, right? It's pretty common for this glass top stove to look this messy after just one meal being cooked. Is there any wonder there are so many post about cleaning the glass top stove? These babies get Dir-Tee with a capital D! In the last couple of weeks I think I've tried every cleaning trick ever written about these stoves. First there was the "just use baking soda" trick. You're supposed to sprinkle baking soda and add water to make a paste. Let it sit for a few minutes and it will scrub off all nice and clean. LIE! Then there's the add "baking soda and a little bit of Dawn dish soap to a hot rag" trick. I love Dawn dish soap and I use it for everything, so I thought for sure this will work. Again, let it sit for a few minutes and it will wipe right off. Again, not working! Then I decided to used Dawn dish soap with hydrogen peroxide. It makes a great stain remover for the laundry which I posted about earlier this year, and I thought maybe, just maybe, it will break through the burned caked on food. Nope, not a chance. A few weeks ago I posted about cleaning my oven with a non-toxic method. I came up with my own recipe to clean the inside of oven and it worked beautifully. So of course, this stuff would work on the glass top, right? WRONG! Every time I tried something, I was left with the burned food rings around the burners. These stubborn rings weren't budging. So, for weeks I tried every pinterest and google trick I could find. Nothing was working until I came across this little box opener in my tool box. Seriously, I had never seen it in my tool box before, but when I did, I immediately thought of my stove. My mom had told me they make "scrapers" for glass top stoves, but I had never seen one before; therefore, didn't know where to even buy one. My inexperience with this fine piece of machine is really shining through, isn't it? I'm such a rookie! I took my "scraper" and gently scraped the grime. It was working ok, but I decided to add a little soapy hot water to soften the gunk while I worked. Gunk is a word, right? Now it's coming off! A little elbow grease and some patience got my glass top all nice and clean again. Look how pretty she looks now! You can actually see the letters again. And since we're cleaning the stove, we might as well go all the way and CLEAN the stove. Take off the knobs and make sure to clean behind there. That little opening is perfect for all your homemade goodness to get germified. Next, lets just go for it and pull the stove out so we can clean the side walls. Build in stoves are a blessing for this reason alone. If you can pull it out though, you're sure to find some food that's spilled over from all those delicious recipes you've been trying. I use a 50/50 vinegar and water mix to clean countertops and appliances. Works great. I actually use it everynight to clean the glass top also, but it obviously doesn't do as good of a job. Don't forget to vacuum the floor where the stove sits and mop it if needed. I had lots of little scraps back here. And that's it. My stove is finally clean! To keep it that way, I'll be cleaning it every night with hot soapy water instead of vinegar and water. Also, after something burns and spills over (it's sure to happen here in Lewisville) I know I have to clean it right away after the stove is cool enough to work on. By the way, I did find a stove scraper from a few places. They're about $10 and well worth it I think. Range Kleen 686 Range Kleen Smooth Top Range Scraper (Google Affiliate Ad) Look at the difference again! Now that's what I'm talking about! Do you have a stove that needs some "love". Hope this helps!

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Energy Saving Trust

Posted by Gary Maguire on November 10, 2011 (0 Comments)

 

Wood-fuelled heating systems, also called biomass systems, burn wood pellets, chips or logs to to provide warmth in a single room or to power central heating and hot water boilers.

  • A stove burns logs or pellets to heat a single room - and may be fitted with a back boiler to provide water heating as well.
  • A boiler burns logs, pellets or chips, and is connected to a central heating and hot water system. A wood-fuelled boiler could save you nearly £600 a year compared to electric heating.

The benefits of wood-fuelled heating

  • Affordable heating fuel: although the price of wood fuel varies considerably, it is often cheaper than other heating options.
  • Financial support: wood fuel boiler systems could benefit from the Renewable Heat Premium Payment and the Renewable Heat Incentive.
  • A low-carbon option: the carbon dioxide emitted when wood is burned is the same amount that was absorbed over the months and years that the plant was growing. The process is sustainable as long as new plants continue to grow in place of those used for fuel. There are some carbon emissions caused by the cultivation, manufacture and transportation of the fuel, but as long as the fuel is sourced locally, these are much lower than the emissions from fossil fuels.

Costs, savings and earnings

Costs

A pellet stove will cost around £4,300 including installation. Installing a new log stove will usually cost less than half this, including a new flue or chimney lining.

For boilers, an automatically fed pellet boiler for an average home costs around £11,500 including installation, flue, fuel store and VAT at 5%. Manually fed log boiler systems can be slightly cheaper.

Pellet costs depend mainly on the size and method of delivery. Buying a few bags at a time makes them expensive. If you have room for a large fuel store that will accept several tonnes of pellets at a time, delivered in bulk by tanker, you can keep the cost down to around £190 per tonne in most parts of the UK.

Logs can be cheaper than pellets, but costs depend on the wood suppliers in your local area, as they cost a lot to transport. If you have room to store more than a year’s worth of logs you can save money by buying unseasoned logs and letting them season for a year. Search for wood fuel suppliers in your area at the Log Pile website.

Savings

Savings in carbon dioxide emissions are very significant - around 7.5 tonnes a year when a wood-fuelled boiler replaces a solid (coal) fired system or electric storage heating. Financial savings are more variable - if you replace a gas heating system with a wood-burning system you might save £100 a year, but if you are replacing electric heating you could save as much as £580 per year.

This table shows how much you could save by installing pellet central heating in a typical three-bedroom semi-detached house with basic insulation:

Fuel replaced Expected saving Expected carbon dioxide saving
Electricity £580 a year 7.5 tonnes a year
Oil £280 a year 4 tonnes a year
LPG £720 a year 3.5 tonnes a year
Coal £300 a year 7.5 tonnes a year
Gas £100 a year 3 tonnes a year


These savings assume the house has been insulated, as we always recommend that people insulate their homes properly before considering installing renewable energy systems.  So you could save money from insulating, and then save the money from switching to wood heating too!

Earnings

You may be able to receive payments for the heat you produce from a wood boilerthrough the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). This scheme should be launched in October 2012.

From August 2011, you may be able to get help with the installation costs of a wood boiler through the Renewable Heat Premium Payment scheme.

Pellet and log stoves are not eligible for Renewable Heat Premium Payments, and are not expected to be supported by the RHI.

Choosing a wood-fuelled heating system

  • Boiler or stove? 
    Boilers can be used in place of a standard gas or oil boiler to heat radiators for a whole house, and to heat the hot water. Stoves are used to heat a single room, usually in conjunction with other heating systems, but may also have a back boiler to provide hot water.
  • Chips, pellets or logs? 
    Chips are not suitable for heating a single house, but can be used to heat larger buildings or groups of houses. Pellets are much easier to use and much more controllable than logs; pellet boilers can run automatically in much the same way that gas or oil boilers operate. Log-burning stoves and boilers have to be filled with wood by hand; most pellet and chip burners use automatic fuel feeders which refill them at regular intervals. Logs require considerably more work, and you will need a lot of logs to heat a whole house, but they can be cheaper than pellets if you have a good local supply. 
  • Do you have a local fuel supplier? 
    Some companies now offer deliveries of pellets anywhere in mainland Britain and Northern Ireland; supply of logs is much more variable.
  • Do you have space? 
    Wood boilers are larger than gas or oil equivalents. You will also need space to store the fuel: somewhere that's handy for deliveries but also appropriate for feeding the boiler.
  • Do you have somewhere to put the flue? 
    You will need a flue which meets the regulations for wood-burning appliances: a new insulated stainless steel flue pipe or an existing chimney - though chimneys normally need lining to make them safe and legal.
  • Do you need permission? 
    You may not need planning permission, but you should always check. All new wood heating systems have to comply with building regulations, and the best way to ensure this is to use an installer who is a member of a competent person scheme
  • Do you have a thatched roof? 
    Read HETAS's advice about building regulations (PDF, 741K).

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