Help and advice

Choosing, buying and installing your fireplace or stove does not need to be a daunting or complicated process. Here at Ampthill Fireplaces we can help you with any questions you may have regarding fireplace requirements or installation.

We have seperated this page into the following sections:

Tips for choosing and installing your fireplace or stove

There are many factors to be taken into consideration when choosing a fireplace or stove perfect for your home and that's why we have devised a list of tips to help you:

  • Come to the showroom prepared. Take a photograph of your existing fireplace or opening and the measurements of your room. This will help us to advise you on which fireplace or stove best suits your needs.

  • Have your chimney swept ahead of choosing your fireplace. The chimney sweep will be able to check for any obstructions and verify whether your chimney is sound. Please call the showroom if you would like a recommendation for a chimney sweep.

  • The type of chimney you have usually dictates which type of fireplace or stove you can choose. You can identify your chimney type by looking at your roof and referring to our flue-type guide. If you don't have a chimney there are still many options available, please visit the showroom for more information.

  • Ensure your fireplace or stove is correctly installed by qualified tradesmen. They should be Hetas registered for wood fires and Gas Safe certified for gas installations. At Ampthill Fireplaces, we offer a full installation service and all our fitters are either Hetas or Gas Safe registered.

  • Beat rising fuel prices and save money on your gas bill at the same time. Burning wood is environmentally friendly and a wood burning stove or fireplace will ensure you won't be hit by the rising price of gas and electricity.

  • Go green by burning Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood harvested from a sustainable source, or choosing a high efficiency gas fire which is better for the environment and combines high heat output with lower running costs.

  • Find out whether you live in a smokeless zone on www.uksmokecontrolareas.co.uk and ask us which fuels and wood burning stoves are authorised for use in these areas.

  • Modern designs may date more quickly than classic styles. Make sure you choose a fireplace in keeping with the time period of your home that will last for years to come.

  • If you are buying a wood burning or gas stove, take into account that your chimney may need lining. While this can be an expensive process the liner will protect your chimney and make your stove more efficient.

  • Thinking of moving? A good quality stove or fireplace will create a focal point in any room and can add value to a property.

Why line your chimney?

Lining your chimney is something that we always recommend. Installing a flue liner isn't always compulsory and as part of our no obligation site survey we will be able to advise you whether or not your chimney requires a liner.

A traditional brick chimney was not designed for the modern, efficient stoves that we see today and in some cases installing a liner is necessary to make your chimney sound and help you get the most out of your fire.

Lining your chimney makes your chimney safer and increases efficiency because a flue liner:

  • Creates a continuous, smooth surface area with less surface area for tar and soot to condense onto.

  • Prevents smoke and tar from leaking out through cracks in the masonry.

  • Protects against carbon monoxide leaks, this is especially if your chimney breast runs through a bedroom.

  • Improves the draw because it is designed to exactly fit your stove and it increases the temperature of the flue gases allowing them to travel faster.

  • Prevents a high level of ash build-up in large chimneys which occurs when flue gases are able to cool very quickly.

Stove terminology explained

What is Cleanburn technology?

Stoves equipped with cleanburn technology burn logs or wood with outstanding efficiency. This means that more heat will be delivered into the room with less going up the chimney. It works by introducing pre-heated, secondary air just above the normal height of the fire to burn the excess of hydrocarbons in the smoke. Cleanburn enables you to get the most out of your stove, providing a 'cleaner burn' (less soot particles going up the chimney and into the atmosphere,) and generating a much higher level of efficiency whilst giving you the best possible view of your fire.

What is Airwash?

Airwash is a design feature that uses specially placed vents to draw cool air over the inside of the window to prevent flames and combusted particles having contact with the glass. Airwash air will therefore help keep the stove glass cleaner for longer, allowing you to enjoy the flames to the full.

Cast iron or steel?

Originally, all heating stoves were made from cast iron. Today, in spite of the expansion of commercial steel production, cast iron still remains the material of choice for many premium quality stoves. This is because of the way cast iron diffuses warmth giving maximum radiant heat over a period of time. Moreover, the iron can be cast more thickly in areas where greater strength is needed, whilst additionally allowing attractive designs to be cast into stove panels.
However, modern manufacturing methods now permit the use of heavy gauge steel for the body of the stove to be complemented by cast iron doors and firebox components. Thus, steel stoves combine the advantage of both materials to offer exceptional performance and value for money.

What type of flue do I have?

Brick/Stone Chimney (Class 1)

brick

Conventional chimneys are easy to recognise; the stack rises well above the roofline and is topped by a traditional chimney pot. This type of chimney allows a great deal of flexibility when choosing your fireplace or stove.

Pre-fabricated Flues (Class 1 & 2)

prefab

You will see a metal flue cowl on your roof if you have a pre-fabricated flue. Some are all metal whilst others may terminate through a short rectangular pot (but without a chimney stack.) These flues also allow for a great deal of choice when it comes to selecting the fireplace or stove right for you.

Pre-cast Flue (Class 2)

precast

Many modern homes have been built with these flues. You can easily identify them by either a metal flue cowl or a raised ridge terminal on your roof. These flues tend to be very shallow in depth, although suitable deeper appliances may be able to be installed with the use of either a spacer kit or deeper rebate on the fireplace.

Balanced Flue (no chimney required)

balanced

Balanced flues work in conjunction with glass-fronted gas fires. The appliance is completely sealed into the room in which it is installed (so there are no draughts and heating efficiency is actually increased), and a twin-wall pipe vents directly to an outside wall. Depending on the fire selected, the twin-walled pipe may exit horizontally through an outside wall or vertically through the roof.

Powered Flue (no chimney required)

powered

Powered flue fires are available for new homes built without a chimney or older properties where the flue is no longer sound. The fire is an open-fronted gas appliance with an electronically driven fan system either semi-recessed or surface-mounted on the exterior wall to expel the flue.

Flueless (no chimney required)

flueless

Flueless fires incorporate the latest in gas fire technology. They use a catalytic converter, which the combustion gases pass through converting all harmful gases into carbon dioxide and water vapour. The fire therefore, does not require a flue. The result is an appliance which is 100% efficient with low running costs. Flueless appliances can be easily installed into most rooms providing there is a gas supply, excluding bedrooms & bathrooms and the room meets the minimum size and ventilation requirements. A useable window is also required in the room into which the appliance is installed.

Maintaining your stove

Cleaning

We stock a wide range of cleaning and maintenance products to help you keep your stove looking as good as new.
Follow these simple steps for a cleaner stove:

For matt black stoves, wipe clean with a lint-free cloth or use a soft brush to remove dust. When the finish is starting to look dull we recommend using Collodial Black, a liquid paint which is easy to apply and will make your stove look new again.

Keep enamel stoves looking fresh by cleaning the surface with a damp cloth and buffing with a soft cloth to bring out the shine. A suitable multi-surface polish can be applied following manufacturer's instructions. Touch-up paint is also available to repair any small chips in the enamel.

Stove glass can be cleaned most effectively with Stove Glass Cleaner, designed to remove even the most stubborn ash build-up on your glass.

For wood burning stoves it is imperative to burn well-seasoned, dry wood to ensure that your stove burns cleanly. Using 'green' or damp wood will decrease the performance of your stove and cause a build-up of creosote on the stove glass. We stock convenient-sized bags of good quality hardwood and boxed kiln-dried seasoned hardwood to help you get the most out of your fire.

We can also arrange for sustainable wood to be delivered direct to your door, please call the showroom for more information.

Maintenance

For any wood burning or multi-fuel stoves we've installed we offer an annual stove maintenance service. We recommend having your stove serviced annually to ensure your stove is kept in the best possible condition to maintain the efficiency of your fire.
The stove service includes:

  • Sweeping chimney to ensure it is still sound and not emitting any harmful fumes into your home

  • Thorough cleaning of all internal and external parts

  • Checking for wear and tear and replacing any damaged parts*

  • Replacing the glass edge seal

  • Fitting of a new door rope seal

  • Cleaning the outside surface of the stove

  • *The cost of replacement parts is not included in price. These will have to be ordered and charged accordingly.

  • Please note: having your stove regularly serviced is particularly important if you live in a thatched property as failing to do so can invalidate your household insurance.

How to maintain your fireplace

How you clean and look after your fireplace will depend on the materials and style you have selected.

At Ampthill Fireplaces we stock a wide range of fireplace cleaning products and we have put together the following guide in order to help you clean and protect your fireplace appropriately.

Slate
Slate should be treated with slate dressing to protect it from spillages and maintain the shine. Between applications, keep the area clean with a lint-free cloth, or use a soft brush to remove dust and debris.

Limestone
Your limestone hearth, surround or fireplace will have been sealed at the manufacturers, thus allowing you to maintain it using a clean cloth and warm water. It is recommended that stone sealant is used periodically to provide continued protection of your stone.

Marble
Treat as above and polish using a marble polish.

Granite
Granite can be cleaned with a general household spray glass cleaner.

Wood
We sell a wax treatment that cleans, protects and polishes your wood, available in clear or coloured stains.

Polished Products
Do not use water based cleaners on polished surfaces. Instead, wipe with a dry cloth to remove dust and treat periodically with slate dressing to avoid surface rust appearing.