Country houses for sale

Wood burning stoves

Winter is not over yet, and forecasts indicate bitter weather yet to come. If your fuel bills leave you cold, it might be time to install a wood burning stove.

A pound of fuel generates three times more heat in a stove than it does in a fireplace, and logs are cheaper than Economy 7, bottled gas or oil. You don’t have to worry about President Putin cutting your supplies off, either.

There are the stoves that look nice, and the stoves that work properly. Clearview makes some of the most economical stoves. They are made of reinforced steel rather than cast iron, which the manufacturers claim is less leaky, and they make so little smoke that you can use one and not infringe the law.

There is the added bonus that, unlike many stoves, as well as wood they can burn peat, turf, straw or coal. ‘I used to sell one hundred different types of stove, but now only sell Clearview as the rest became obsolete,’ says Sandy Walker, who runs a large stove shop in Burford, Oxfordshire.

Others vendors argue that Jotul, Franklin or other stoves are better, because the weight of their cast iron frames retains the heat for longer.But choosing a stove is about heart, as much as heat. They need to look good. For a lighter, more decorative look, the sort of stoves commonly found in Austrian and Scandinavian chalets could be worth looking at.

These tall, ceramic stoves are made to order and are decorated with anything you fancy, including Delft ceramics. Or, for a funkier look, you could investigate the enamelled stoves made by Piazzetta or Vermont Stoves.

Whatever you buy, you must get it installed by someone registered with HETAS, the body that approves solid fuel domestic heating appliances. To increase efficiency, it is a good idea to buy an Ecofan. This device, which sits on top of your stove, circulates the heat 150cu ft in all directions.