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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
These two books are the perfect starting place to help you get to grips with one of the most vitally important aspects of our society - our homes and living environment.

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    • CommentAuthorAlbert
    • CommentTimeFeb 11th 2021
     
    Our recently bought house has conventional pumped radiator gas central heating plus a 'fake coal' gas fire in the living room.

    I believe that this type of gas fire is particularly inefficient plus we are not keen on its looks so we want to replace it. The idea is to have a heat source that is not dependent on electricity (we live in the sticks) and that we can use for those spring and autumn times when full CH seems a bit of overkill.

    We don't really have room in the tiny courtyard garden for any kind of heat pump (and anyway, that is volts-dependent) Wood or other solid fuel seem to be a no-no for particulates and as for oil...

    So we are looking at installing a more efficient gas heater. From an aesthetic point of view we fancy something that looks more like a wood stove and I would hope that would also allow for a more efficient setup.

    Are there any options I've missed? Has anybody any suggestions for makes or for suppliers in Herefordshire?
    • CommentAuthorJeff B
    • CommentTimeFeb 11th 2021
     
    Wood pellet stove?
  1.  
    Posted By: Jeff BWood pellet stove?

    A decent gas stove probably cheaper to buy, cleaner and easier to use and certainly less polluting.
    • CommentAuthorjms452
    • CommentTimeFeb 13th 2021 edited
     
    Whatever you put in make sure it effectively closes the chimney when not in use.

    If you have a large hole to outside even when it's not running the 'efficiency' of a rarely used fire is secondary.
    • CommentAuthorowlman
    • CommentTimeFeb 13th 2021
     
    Posted By: jms452Whatever you put in make sure it effectively closes the chimney when not in use.

    If you have a large hole to outside even when it's not running the 'efficiency' of a rarely used fire is secondary.



    I guess closing the flue of a gas fire would have to be of a real fail safe design, do they exist?
    • CommentAuthorjms452
    • CommentTimeFeb 13th 2021 edited
     
    Posted By: owlmanI guess closing the flue of a gas fire would have to be of a real fail safe design, do they exist?


    you close it before the fire rather than after it!

    i.e. a sheet of glass - just like a woodburner.

    There will be a tiny vent somewhere - but huge improvement over a 100mm plus diameter flue
    • CommentAuthorowlman
    • CommentTimeFeb 13th 2021
     
    Ah, I misunderstood when you said, " closing the chimney"; OK, so you're simply advocating a room sealed device, ideally with external air supply.
    • CommentAuthorjms452
    • CommentTimeFeb 14th 2021
     
    Posted By: owlmanAh, I misunderstood when you said, " closing the chimney"; OK, so you're simply advocating a room sealed device, ideally with external air supply.


    Exactly - sorry if that wasn't clear.

    Not having a combustion device at all is probably the GBF purist solution, but I also like the independence of not freezing when the power fails not to mention the occasional atmospheric fire.
  2.  
    Haven't tried it myself, but has anyone got a bioethanol burner for their stove?
    Apparently it burns without soot or CO so it doesn't require a chimney.

    I imagine you'd be mindful of the ventilation anyway, maybe get a monitor and crack open a window. Maybe not good if you have passivhaus levels of airtightness but then you wouldn't need constant heating!

    I have previously used a chimney balloon to block a chimney, it was great as you could deflate it if you wanted to light the fire and then put it back the next day.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeFeb 14th 2021
     
    Posted By: WillInAberdeenHaven't tried it myself, but has anyone got a bioethanol burner for their stove?
    Apparently it burns without soot or CO so it doesn't require a chimney.

    It's listed on our EPC as secondary heating system, but we never actually bought one. We do have a camping gas stove that we keep in case of emergency heating/kettle boiling/soup heating/whatever.

    I imagine you'd be mindful of the ventilation anyway, maybe get a monitor and crack open a window. Maybe not good if you have passivhaus levels of airtightness but then you wouldn't need constant heating!

    We haven't needed to use our camping stove yet, anyway :bigsmile:

    I have previously used a chimney balloon to block a chimney, it was great as you could deflate it if you wanted to light the fire and then put it back the next day.

    +1 we fitted a couple in a previous renatl property and they made a world of difference to comfort.
    • CommentAuthorjms452
    • CommentTimeFeb 14th 2021
     
    Posted By: djh
    I have previously used a chimney balloon to block a chimney, it was great as you could deflate it if you wanted to light the fire and then put it back the next day.

    +1 we fitted a couple in a previous renatl property and they made a world of difference to comfort.


    +2
    People focus on the obvious cold drafts coming in but those open chimneys are often where the air goes out. They are :devil:
    • CommentAuthorAlbert
    • CommentTimeFeb 21st 2021
     
    Thanks, all.
    I've been out of circulation so sorry for the late response.

    I agree about closing the chimney -- our fake coal fire obviously leaves that wide open. We also have a (mandatory?) 6" diameter vent in the outside wall. A closed stove would be a bit of an improvement, I hope.
    Unfortunately the chimney stack is right in the middle of the concrete slab ground flor, so arranging a direct feed to the fireplace rather than taking the air from the room would involve a lot of digging and ducting.

    Ideally I'd like to effectively get a balanced flue by having an air input pipe running down inside the chimney stack parallel to the flue.
    I have found this
    https://www.drufire.com/en-gb/essential-info/general/fire-and-stove-ventilation-and-outlet
    but would like a bit of informed opinion from you,the wise.
    • CommentAuthorjms452
    • CommentTimeFeb 21st 2021
     
    I'd think seriously about if you want a 6" hole in your wall all winter for a few fires in the shoulder months. There are options...

    If you have a small appliance <5kW I don't think you need the hole - see p29:
    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/468872/ADJ_LOCKED.pdf

    Bio ethanol burners don't seem to need a flue at all:
    https://www.imaginfires.co.uk/bioethanol-fireplace

    There will also be electric fires...
  3.  
  4.  
    Chimney balloons can also be used to block up 6" wall airvents when they are not in use and removed when the fire is needed, just be careful there's enough ventilation.

    A load of bubble wrap in a carrier bag also works, as does covering the terminals with cling film. Our landlord never noticed.
    • CommentAuthorowlman
    • CommentTime7 days ago
     
    I once installed a Drufire "hole in the wall" type gas appliance for a client. It was a room sealed balanced flue device, with one smallish flexi liner running inside a larger exhaust one. All up inside a fairly standard clay lined chimney. The appliance was push button remote control, with very realistic ceramic log effect fire, and very expensive.
    I remember the device was surprisingly large, and heavy and I had to build a FR false wall and inserted it from a cupboard at the rear. The picture frame fireplace effect was very good visually, but a bit of a nightmare to install.
  5.  
    I'd fit a gas fire with a balanced flue. This is where the flue supplies air to the fire and takes away the fumes. It'd be room sealed and so wouldn't make the room cold when it's not lit.

    We fitted a stove effect gas fire in our living room (we are on three floors and the living room in on the middle floor. It's so much nicer and cleaner not to have to lug wood/coal upstairs and hot coals downstairs. The room doesn't get cold when the fire the is off and it lights with a touch of a button. Much nicer!!
  6.  
    Can you get balanced flue gas stoves which work without a fan (electricity)? Think that's what he is looking for, Id be interested too :cool:
    • CommentAuthorJohn h
    • CommentTime1 day ago
     
    Have you looked at flueless gas fires? We installed a couple in our last house – they are 100% efficient as all the exhaust enters the room. There’s no need for any chimney or flue.

    The only drawback I found is the room must have a 100mm dia vent – we found these let in too much of a draught. I’m not sure whether this was a problem with just our house or if it’s a common problem.

    In our large kitchen/diner we installed a limestone firewall (by Esse), it was a great centrpiece as it did look really stylish. In our lounge we installed a picture frame type. There are stove and fireplace styles too.

    WillInAberdeen mentioned bioethanol - for our new house we are thinking of either another flueless or bioethanol. I bought a bioethanol one to try out over the winter to see what the heat output was and how regularly you have to fill them up. I bought the 2.5l model here:
    https://www.dekafire.eu/product/small-adjustable-bio-ethanol-burner-stainless-steel-1-2-liters/

    I wanted an adjustable one but didn’t watch to spend too much for a trail run and this was only £100 and I assume I can sell it on. They are designed to sit in a fire surround but you can basically put them anywhere (subject to no combustibles nearby, child safety etc as per instructions) - we just rested it in our empty fireplace for a temporary trial. At about half flame size it lasts for 2-3 evenings, heat output was hard to work out but I estimate about 1kw at half heat, maybe a bit less. The flame looks nice. Advantage was easy installation (i.e. zero work – no vent or pipes). Drawback is lower heat and having to order bottles of ethanol and refill the fire every few days. Plus you need a garden shed or similar to store the stuff (It's well packaged but not sure I'd like it in the house). I’m also unconvinced about the green credentials of bio-ethanol but that’s a whole different subject.
    • CommentAuthorSprocket
    • CommentTime6 hours ago
     
    On the flu inside existing chimney idea...

    We were not able to find a general solution for a gas fire balanced flu and chimney, mainly because of modern flu regulations (around access for inspection) and their interpretation by registered gas installers. There were a couple of manufacturers that did chimney conversion kits but only for use with very specific gas fires.

    We did find it much easier to install a room-sealed log burner. This has a seperate air-delivery pipe below and a chimney pipe above. We would have liked a gas-fire equivalent but it was al very limited and so much trouble that we gave up :-/

    If you have an external wall you can site the gas fire against for a regular balanced flu it would be much easier to do it that way and just block up the chimney.
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