My energy saving project

Wood burning stove

bird nestSo I had this idea of saving a few quid on my crazy energy bill. You would think an energy advisor would have more sense than to live in a house which is at the bottom of the energy efficiency scale. With the house being over 150 years old, there is no chance of cavity wall insulation. And there is no access to the loft to insulate that. I don’t have a particularly large house, but my bills are in excess of £2500 per year. The problem being, I have no gas. All electricity, with useless storage heaters!

First things first. Lets get that chimney cleaned.

I’ll have a go at this myself. I mean, how hard can it be to shove a brush up the chimney?

So I got this and this I then got an old sheet, and made a hole in the middle. The idea was to keep any soot contained within the fireplace.

It went something like this:

brush through chimneyConnected the first rod to the brush, then taped the sheet to the fire surround. Connected more rods, and proceeded up the chimney. Before I reached the top, I hit a solid object. Pulled all the rods back down, unscrewing each as it came out of the fireplace. I then connect a drain cleaning attachment. Connected all the rods again to reach the top of the chimney.

I managed to dislodge a few twigs this time. By now, I had removed the sheet, as I wasn’t getting enough push up the chimney via the sheet. A few hours later. A mass of birds nests sat within my fireplace. And my living room was covered in a fine layer of soot!

Stove in the room, not in the chimney

I wanted my stove to protrude from the fireplace, I had this idea that the heat would enter the room instead of escaping through the chimney. So I got a large metal plate. A neighbour got this for me. It was the back off a metal storage shelf.

Then I had to work out how I was going to cut a circle in it. A bit of internet research for cutting the circle produced varied results. Ideally, I could have taken it to an engineer. But, I thought, “No” This is a project I had decided to do myself, so I will resolve this problem myself!

Whilst shopping in Aldis, I spotted a router. I always wanted one of those. Now I’m sure I can work out a way to cut a circle using the router.

The tools which come with the router are suitable for wood. But I picked out a V shaped bit, thinking, that should cut through this thin plate okay. So I got to work setting up the router. The attachments would only allow for the cutting of a larger circle than I needed. So I took the base off the router and drilled a hole in the base plate. I then put a screw through the base plate, which would give me the correct arc for cutting my circle. It worked a treat!

Ready to slip the stove in place

I read somewhere that you don’t really need to line the chimney. So I haven’t bothered. You need to have vents in the room. But believe me, with these windows, I don’t need a vent.

stove in placeI had a real problem getting this to stay lit. I used kindling under the logs which have been seasoned for 2 years. They came from a tree which fell down in my garden. The instructions which come with the stove, recommend that you don’t use coal and logs. Because one burns from the top, and the other burns from the bottom. The only way I achieved any success, was by putting some coal on the bottom to generate enough heat to keep the logs alight. This has worked.

I haven’t fully committed to it being installed permanently yet. As I am keeping an eye on the safety of it at the moment. If all goes well, I will paint the metal plate, and finish off with something decorative!

Has it been worth it?

This will save me about £600 on my energy bill. Whilst I am writing this, the outside temperature is minus 3c. I’m nice and warm.

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