Frequently Asked Questions
At Grate Expectations we are more than happy to assist you with any initial questions or concerns you may have. If you do not find the answer below to your question, then please contact the showroom by phone or email and we will do our best to answer your question.
Q: How do I calculate the kw required?
A: Use the chart below to help you estimate the heat output in kws you require to adequately heat your room or home.
• Well insulated (floor and walls)
• Central heating
• Is reasonably insulated (floor or walls)
• Has partial double glazing
• Central heating
• Poorly insulated
• Has no double glazing
• Has no floor and wall insulation
Q: Do I need a flue liner for my stove installation?
A: There is information stating it is ok to install a wood burning or smoke exempt stove without a flexible liner. If a chimney can be declared sound by carrying out a smoke test and providing it is the correct dimensions specified for the stove as stated by the manufacturer, then you do not have to fit a chimney liner.
For this reason and to guarantee manufacturers warranty we install a flue liner with all stove installations. In the UK Chimneys were not designed for stoves but for coal fires. The large square flues are too wide to ensure smoke will travel up without a flexible liner. When the stove is first lit the chimney will be cold and could have draft issues making it difficult for the chimney to draw the smoke that the stove initially makes. The smoke will travel into the room, this is called smoke spillage and can lead to Carbon Monoxide poisoning.
Q: Why do I need a survey?
A: At Grate Expectations Ltd we strongly believe that it is important for our customers to choose the correct fire to adequately heat the space required and that the appliance is installed correctly. We recommend popping into our cosy and newly refurbished showroom to see the fires, grab some brochures and get some expert advice. Our survey is completely free of charge, all we ask is that you have an idea of cost prior to the survey appointment through our showroom team. After which you will be submitted with a final quotation and detailed plan of installation.
Our site surveyor is also the company director and has the complete skill set and knowledge to specify what is and isn't achievable for every installation - "He is not a sales man... they are in the showroom."
Q: What is the current lead time?
A: The lead time can vary throughout the year like most businesses we have peak and off peak times. We do try our best to ensure all dates given however these are dependent on the chosen manufacturers and whether their delivery dates change.
Generally once you have spoken to the showroom, the next stage is to book an appointment for a site survey. Our surveyor will contact you within 2 days and can usually book the appointment within the next 5 working days. A formal quotation and plan is drawn up and sent via email within 2 working days. If you are happy with the quotation, product choice and plan a 50% deposit is required to confirm the order and book the installation dates. During the winter months our lead time from this point is 6 weeks.
Q: How long will my installation take?
A: Our fitting teams consist of two qualified installers employed by Grate Expectations Ltd. We do not use Sub-contractors for any of our installations as we are a family run business with many years of experience. Majority of installations can be completed in one day.
Q: There is no mains gas in our village so can I still fit a gas stove?
A: LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) consists of gaseous hydrocarbons, produced from natural gas and oil extraction (66%) and from oil refining (34%). Many of our gas fires are available in LPG versions and can be operated from either bottled gas or a larger tank. LPG is readily available in most rural areas.
Q: How safe is Natural Gas?
A: Natural gas is the fuel of choice for many consumers across the UK. All gas appliances should be correctly installed by a Gas Safe registered installation company and should be checked on an annual basis.
Q: Smell Gas?
A: Gas is a clean, convenient and versatile fuel. However must be handled wisely to ensure its safety and efficiency. If you think you smell gas, you should contact the showroom immediately and our team can advise you.
Q: What is a DEFRA Approved Stove?
A: DEFRA (Department of Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs) state that certain areas in the UK usually cities and built up areas are not allowed to burn wood as a fuel due to the smoke and pollution created. However if you install a DEFRA Approved Stove that has been tested by DEFRA you are able to burn these exempt fuels (i.e wood). It is highly important to remember that each stove contains a list of exempt fuels, so please check that wood is listed and safe to burn on your stove. 90% of our stoves are DEFRA approved.
Q: What is the difference between conventional flue and balanced flue stoves?
A: Conventional chimneys rely on the natural circulation of heated air to expel the products of combustion up your chimney. Balanced flue appliances rely on a pair of co-axial tubes to draw in air from outside for combustion through the outer pipe whilst the inner pipe removes the combustion gases to the exterior of your property. The twin-walled pipe may exit horizontally through an external wall or vertically through the roof. The Balanced Flue option is an extremely economical heating system.
Q: What is Open and Closed Combustion?
A: Open Combustion is when the air is drawn in from within the room that the appliance is installed and flue gas are extracted via a single flue. Having good ventilation within the room that the fire is installed in is a necessity.
Closed combustion systems draw the oxygen required for the combustion of the gas from outside the property through a combined inlet/outlet system. The advantages are that you do not require an existing chimney and you are granted a lot of flexibility in the positioning of your fire. The modern home is more than likely mechanically ventilated, which makes this type of fire a suitable solution.
Q: What is Airwash?
A: Airwash is a simple and clever design feature that uses a vent(s) to draw in cool air from outside to wash the inside of the glass. This helps to keep the glass clearer and gives you a clear view of the glow and flames.
Q: Does my wood burning or multi fuel stove require a service?
A: After the cold winter months on an annual basis, as well as having the chimney swept, your stove should also have a service. This includes stripping, inspecting and cleaning of the appliance. This is best carried out by a HETAS registered engineer.
Q: How many kws?
A: To calculate the kw you require to heat a room to around 22ºC when the temperatures are at freezing point outside you simply multiply the height width and length of the room, you then divide this by 14. So, a room measuring 6m long by 5m wide and with a height of 2.5m is 75msq. Divide this by 14 and you will require a 5kw stove.
Q: What type of wood should I burn?
A: Many issues regarding lighting a wood burning stove and achieving the required heat output can be down to the wood being burnt. We recommend to all customers that they strictly burn only Kiln dried hardwood logs. Kiln dried wood is dried to an average moisture content of 20% and suitable for immediate burning on your wood burning stove.
Q: What is a Balanced Flue Gas Fire?
A: Balanced flue appliances are sealed from the room and a pair of co-axial tubes draws in air from outside for combustion through the outer pipe whilst the inner pipe removes the combustion gases to the exterior of your property. The twin-walled pipe may exit horizontally through an external wall or vertically through the roof. The Balanced Flue option is an extremely economical heating system.
Chimney & Flue Installation
Q: Do I need to have my existing chimney lined?
A: This entirely depends on the condition of your chimney. We install a flue liner with all wood burner installations. You should avoid the assumption that a chimney works correctly simply because it is there. Carrying out tests may unvale problems that you were unaware of as they are internal and out of sight.
Q: What size of chimney or flue do I need for burning solid fuel?
A: For burning coal or wood, the size of the chimney or flue required will be dependant on the fire or stove choice and specified to us by each manufacturer.
Q: Will I need to get my chimney swept?
A: Yes. We strongly advise you get an existing chimney or flue swept and checked before the installation of a new stove or fireplace. Contact us for contact details of your local chimney sweep.
Q: Why and when should I have my fire serviced?
During the combustion process air-borne particles are sucked into the appliance and cause dirt and dust to form.
This can result in your appliance not functioning correctly or perhaps not at all as can hinder the fire or stoves ignition over time. Components may also over time become subjected to wear and tear. We strongly recommend you have your fire or stove serviced annually by a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer. Contact the showroom when you are due your service and we will put you in touch.
Wood The same applies to wood burning appliances. To ensure the air supply does not become blocked by ash and other particles, it is important to clean regularly. This is easy enough for the owners to do themselves in many cases as a general maintenance. However flue and chimney cleaning must be carried out by a professional. The amount of wood burnt will determine when the service is to be carried out and how often.
Q: How much is a service?
A: For regular open fronted DFE gas fires (non-faulty) the basic service cost is between £85 and £105 excluding VAT. A glass fronted gas fires basic service is between £120 and £140 excluding VAT. Further costs are applied if your fire is faulty or for fuel replacement. We can only carry out a service on a fire or stove that has been installed by our team.
Q: How often should I have my chimney swept?
A: For gas fires and smokeless fuels (i.e. coal) this should be done once a year. For wood we recommend every three months the fire is in use. Busy periods tend to be March/April and September/October and wait times may increase.
Q: How much will it cost to sweep my chimney?
A: Around £85 excluding VAT. This will depend on the type of chimney you have. If you're unfamiliar with your system, have a certified sweep to carry out an inspection, make recommendations and provide info about its maintenance or operation.
Q: How much dust is likely to be caused by chimney sweeping?
A: Very little dust or soot should escape as the chimney aperture should be sealed prior to starting and whilst brushing.