Open fires versus Stoves some differences

Open fires versus Stoves some differences

Firstly what is an open fire?

An open fire is just that, it is a fire sat within an opening on a grate/ insert into an open flue/ chimney. The only control you have (other than a damper plate in some kinds) over an open fire is the amount of fuel you use in it.

What is a stove?

A stove is a closed appliance. Therefore, its air intake is controlled by the user by the means of primary and secondary air flow controls which control how quickly the fuel burns.


What are the differences in efficiency? A typical open fire will have an efficiency of approximately 5-35% on a 24-hour cycle; with a maximum of around 60% efficiency. The efficiency of a stove varies with each stove design but must have a minimum efficiency of 65%. Most modern stoves average around 80% efficiency with some exceeding 95%.


The stove is undoubtedly safer when in use, as the flame is contained within a cast iron or steel box and behind a piece of toughened glass. An open fire has no safety features except for maybe an aftermarket mesh spark guard. Perhaps surprisingly,  statistically, chimney fires are much more likely when woodburning stoves are installed. Individual users often over-regulate the air supply causing the fire to slumber or they burn wet wood (>20% moisture).


The initial outlay is more expensive when installing a stove mainly due to the costs of a suitably sized liner but its’ running costs are very much lower due to its’ higher efficiency. This is achieved by being able to regulate the air intake on the appliance and having a physically smaller burning area than most open fires.  Also, less fuel is required to get the same heat output from a stove.


The open fire is a clear winner here. An open fire is seen as a primal thing… you really feel like the fire is in the room with you and it certainly is the focal point of any room.  The smell, crackle, and roar of a true open fire simply cannot be beaten. Whilst the stove has a controlled burn for efficiency,  toast and melted marshmallows taste better on the open fire.

Environmental impact

To put this in perspective open fires burning anything but smokeless coal have been banned from virtually every major city in the UK due to the smog they produced in the 1950s and 60s. There is an argument today that woodburning stoves produce particulate emissions similar to that of diesel cars but this is also true of open fires though and in much higher concentrations than in a quality closed appliance.

Ventilation requirements

An open fire must have an air vent in the room of the appliance and this must have a minimum free air space of 50% of the cross-sectional area of the throated part of the flue. This is indeed a large vent and in most cases brings in lots of cold air. Whereas most stoves under 5kw do not require additional ventilation unless installed in a new build property post-2008.

Flue requirements

Open fires and stoves work in different ways.  Due to the uncontrolled nature of an open fire and the weak draught caused by diluted flue gases from the room.  It must have a large air flow in order to evacuate the exhaust fumes from the room.
This is accommodated by having a minimum 200mm diameter sized flue. A stove, on the other hand, requires a powerful draught to draw air forcefully into the firebox through the small air intakes. This is done by having a much smaller diameter flue, often with a smooth internal surface that often gets hot and is helped by additional insulation around the liner. Both require N2 class flues rated T450 as a minimum.

The stats clearly show that the stove takes the prize for efficiency and economics but you really can’t beat a natural flame fire for the feeling of home comfort.

New Website Upgrades

New Website Upgrades

So I’ve had some new logo’s made as a wee experiment on Fiverr and had some upgrades including style done to the site now and I think its functionality is a bit better too. Lot’s more changes coming this year in everything hopefully, me, myself and I too 🙂  If you want to get in touch for anything,  comment about the new site or anything else, ask questions etc?  the easiest way will be to use the facebook page, either comments or PM if discretion is required.  I’d like to keep the contact page onsite for work inquiries only.
Bom Bolinath Babaji <3

What is a CCTV Chimney Survey?

What is a CCTV Chimney Survey?

A  CCTV Chimney Survey comprises of a professional sweep using a flexible camera system to look up inside your existing flue system. This allows a close-up view of the system, meaning that any damages or blockages can be identified. A CCTV Chimney Survey also allows the sweep to note the measurements of the flue system interior. These are necessary to ensure the correct size of flue liner can be used for your project. The correct size of flue lining is key to preventing any harmful gasses from escaping into the property and other issues such as water and/or liquid emission flows. 

The CCTV Chimney Surveys Allow Us To:

  • Identify the flue system dimensions.
  • Establish the best lining system for your flue, if needed?
  • Check for damages such as past chimney fire damage, extreme weather, or just general wear and tear.
  • View blockages which could arise from fallen debris, animal mess, birds nests or damages by foreign objects/obstructions, bad bends and  all other considerations.

CCTV Inspections are a new service just recently added to our range and are also used most importantly as part of every bird’s nest clearances we do.

How to light my Fire

How to light a Fire

Oh umm i meant a fire , was just my daft attempt an attention grabber, lol.  Not that anyone probably needs this article BUT you never know right , there’s always somebody somewhere starting out at something so, on with the article.

Make sure the damper, throat, whatever ventilation system or plate is open

  • Empty the ash tray. This aids ventilation and draw.
  • You will need either firelighters (expensive) or paper and dry sticks (kindling) if you prefer.
  • Coal or dry logs.
  • If using firelighters then follow the instructions on the packet or…

Step One

Take a sheet of newspaper in both hands and crumple it into a long stick.

Fold it…

…and tuck it into a firm ball.

Place it in the grate and continue until there is a layer across the base of the grate.

If you just crumple the sheets and place them in the grate there is a greater amount of air within it which will result in a quicker burn and the likelihood that the wood may not catch fire. Tighter paper has a slower burn and allows the wood to catch fire.

Step Two

Lay your kindling sticks on top of the paper in a criss-cross fashion allowing the flames from below to get amongst them. Don’t skimp on the wood. More fires fail because of a lack of kindling than any other problem.

Your kindling should be dry and not too thick. The idea is for the paper to light the wood and when the wood has caught to light the coal or the logs.

Step Three

On top of the wood place a loose layer of coal using tongs if required to place them.

Step Four

Make sure the fire guard is to hand and put a light to the paper at two or three points along the front. Long stemmed matched are preferred to prevent burning of fingers. Once you are sure it has taken, place the fire guard in front and watch. As the paper burns the fire will drop slightly but by then the wood should be on fire and starting to heat the coal.

Once the coal has caught fire you may add a little more but don’t kill it under a mountain of the stuff. A little, often, is the way to succeed.  If you are burning logs then the same principle applies. Small sticks, bigger sticks, small logs, bigger logs, simple! BE PATIENT.

If it does start to struggle try adding some more kindling rather than coal or logs.


The importance of decent ladders

The importance of decent ladders


So it had been in the back of my mind for a while now to invest in some decent ladders as the ones left to me by my father were getting on a bit. As with a lot of things these days, it didn’t take me long to find out the price of a decent set of ladders with free delivery wasn’t particularly expensive; after that i couldn’t fail to abide by the logic of getting a new set.

There i sat patiently waiting until finally after 2 days and lots of excuses later, the new shiny ladders finally arrived. Out i went to inspect them and lo and behold , i stopped counting at 6 rungs damaged by significant dents. I know its an out sized item mate but bloody ell you fair been flinging it around in anger ?

I had to laugh at this guy ,  i really did, he who still had the sheer audacity to suggest,” it’s OK mate you can accept them and get your money back so it says so here on my delivery note thingy”.  So i enlighten him that for me to return them to get my money back would cost almost as much as the set of ladders. Moral of the story is always check your deliveries from couriers these days , there’s always lots of stories about them doing this kind of thing these days.

Needless to say after adjusting to ladders that i don’t need to body-pop just to stay upright on was a bit weird to begin with, lol i kept shoogling and …of course it stayed dead still. Ahh i’m so happy with my new ladders , the new stability in my life ..hah, should have gotten some ages back but hey got em now, joy 🙂

Figure 1: LYTE Ladders