Consumers ‘not being informed’ about how to use wood burning stoves

Many people buying wood-burning or multifuel stoves are not being given enough information about how to take care of them, a survey has revealed.

A survey of stove owners and members of the consumer magazine Which? found that a quarter of people weren’t told how to use their stove safely and effectively, while almost half of them were not told which fuels to avoid.

7% of respondents reported that when purchasing their stove, they had been given no information at all.

‘Our research also found that people who bought from a big-name retailer were less likely to have been given information than those who went directly to the brand or an independent store, installer or chimney sweep,’ Which? writer Liz Ransom-Croker said.

‘This was also the case for people who bought online, as opposed to buying in a physical store, especially when it came to the correct wattage for their stove or the best fuels.’

The survey asked 1,413 stove owners and Which? members what details they were given when they purchased the stove and when they had it installed.

While showing that people were not being given vital information about their stove, the survey also revealed they were not being informed about complying with building regulations or being given maintenance and usage advice.

Around half of people didn’t discuss building regulations while their stove was being installed, while a whopping 99% of respondents were not told about the need to inform building control.

Meanwhile, half of stove owners weren’t advised how often they should get their stove checked and maintained.

The results of the survey were welcomed by HETAS, the organisation representing the wood-burning stove sector, who said it highlighted important gaps in the service being provided.

Bruce Allen, CEO of HETAS, said: ‘It is imperative consumers get expert advice and the right appliance for their home when considering buying a wood burning stove.

‘We welcome this research from Which? which shows how great it can be to have a modern, clean and efficient stove, and also the dangers of solid fuel appliances when installed or used incorrectly.’

Allen also stressed the importance of making sure that stoves are installed and serviced by properly trained professionals.

The government’s Clean Air Strategy, published earlier this year, included measures to ban the sale of the most polluting fuels and ensure only the cleanest wood stoves are sold.

Consumers are being encouraged to purchase dry wood or low sulphur smokeless fuels for their stoves, which will help their stove burn more efficiently and produce lower levels of PM2.5.

To learn more about the climate benefits and pollution worries related to wood-burning stoves, William Costa has produced a podcast featuring interviews with industry experts, which you can listen to here.


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