Crianlarich Multi-Fuel Stove Case Study
Multi-fuel stove with boiler running 9 radiators. A Stratford Ecoboiler 16 HE with a 210l hot water tank, primarily running on self-sourced wood (Sitka spruce).
Generating Capacity (kW):
14kW to water, about 5kW to room (installed in an alcove)
Property Type and Size:
3 bed stone cottage with timber frame extension. The stone section had internal insulation added at the same time.
What is it replacing?
The new system replaced the old storage heaters and a small multi-fuel stove. The old storage heaters did not effectively heat the house but were expensive to run and the stove was quite small, only suitable for heating a single room rather than a house. There were damp problems in various places throughout the house, especially the bathroom, which had no heat source.
Who installed it?
Grant/Funding Received/Will Receive (FiTs /RHI etc.):
No funding available, RHI does not apply to log stoves.
Any issues encountered?
- The hot water tank is required to heat up before the heating comes on, leading to a long time between lighting the stove and the radiators warming up, especially if it hasn’t been lit for a couple of days.
- Our wood store had to be replaced, taking up our time and leading to a delay in getting wood in to dry, so we have been using some smokeless coal over winter.
- The installer reused the flue from the old stove, which was too small for the new boiler stove, so a lot of smoke escaped into the room. This was replaced after 3 months but was a significant and unnecessary disruption.
- There is no timer and little control on the system.
- No frost protection in the system so we have to leave electric radiators on when going away.
- Using just Sitka Spruce is hard work. The wood burns quickly and doesn’t leave many embers so the stove needs to be topped up very regularly. We also had some oak, which was far better.
Time from planning to installation?
A couple of weeks.
General Advice for those interested:
- Decide if you want multi-fuel (more flexibility if you can’t source dry wood) or wood-burning only (slightly more efficient for burning wood).
- Check if a thermal store or some way of prioritising radiators could be installed.
- Ensure you have the fuel storage space available, expect to have at least a years’ worth of wood and get this organised prior to the system being installed or you will be playing catch-up for a long time
- Think about frost protection of the system
Would you recommend the technology?
Mostly, it could have been better installed but it does enable the house to be heated effectively, something we were unable to do before.
As an upgrade from storage heaters or open fire then it is a significant improvement, but is more work and less controllable than an oil boiler or similar system. A better planned system including a thermal store and a control system would have been preferable.
If taking a long term view then the ability to connect in other heat sources such as an oil boiler or air source heat pump should be considered, in case future residents do not want to be reliant on the manually loaded stove.