How often do I need to have my chimney swept?

This really depends on how hard your stove is working. The HETAS recommendation is that you have the chimney swept at least once a year, dependant on the quality of fuel you are burning and how frequently you use it.

We offer a ‘Sweep & Service’ package for all M Davies stove customers which includes sweeping the liner and servicing the stove. Servicing the stove basically means checking all seals, fire bricks, the baffle, glass panels etc . If the stove is looking a little tired, we also offer a re-spray option - so it will look like new again!

My chimney is lined with clay liners - are these ok to use with a stove?

Possibly, yes. We can carry out a smoke test to check that the clays are in good condition and not going to leak fumes etc and also check that a solid connection can be made from the stove flues to the base of the clay liner.

We would point out though that clays aren’t necessarily the best liners to use with a stove. They are very cold, with no insulation, which is not conducive to the rising of flue gases from the stove to the top of the stack. This can also sometimes be a contributory factor with tar problems.

We would in fact nearly always recommend that you have your chimney lined with an insulated liner (ie. flexible stainless steel). No two jobs are the same however and we will discuss your particular chimney situation in detail, covering all options, whilst carrying out the stove installation site survey.

What stoves do you have on display in your showroom?

We display Clearview, Charnwood, Westfire, Dunsley, Esse, Stuv and Jetmaster stoves.  ‘Our Collection’ page will give details of the exact models, although please bear in mind that we do change these every now and again so always best to phone and check if you're planning to come over to see one in particular.   During the winter we have at least 4 or 5 stoves lit......when it gets really cold we might even light the 6th as well!

How do I know that the logs from my local log supplier are truly seasoned?

‘Green’ or ‘unseasoned’ logs will feel heavier and denser than properly seasoned ones. Dry seasoned logs feel bone dry to touch and have a light, airy feel to them. They can sound almost hollow when you tap them.

Logs which are delivered on an open truck, in the rain, will often turn up looking very wet. If a seasoned log gets a soaking however, it will dry out very quickly as the moisture is only on the surface.  Point out the condition of the logs to your supplier and get his assurance that if they don’t dry out once stored under cover, he will refund you. Bring them in, a basket at a time, to dry out by the fire. If they still feel heavy and damp after a day in the dry, and they cause problems when burning, call your log supplier back.

A Moisture Meter is a good investment – it takes all the uncertainty away as you, and your log supplier can immediately see what the moisture content of each log is – no argument there! Alternatively, purchase kiln dried logs which have a guaranteed very low moisture content, burning incredibly cleanly and providing a super high heat.

I have a multifuel stove which can burn smokeless fuel as well as wood - what exactly is smokeless fuel and where can I get it?

Examples of smokeless fuel are anthracite (a naturally occurring smokeless, deep mined coal) or any of the ‘ovoids’ (a fuel manufactured for purpose). Avoid ‘ovoids’ with a high petroleum coke base or high sulphur content as they can sometimes damage your liner, particularly if you tend to ‘slumber’, (ie. burn the stove at a very low temperature) for long periods of time.

We are happy to discuss fuel options in more detail and can supply the full range, in convenient 25kg plastic bags. If you do not live in our area, contact the Solid Fuel Association to get details of our local coal merchant – www.solidfuel.co.uk or telephone 0845 6014406.

Why does the glass go black on my stove?

Either it doesn’t have a decent airwash system, or maybe you aren’t using it properly? Or, more likely, it could just be down to the quality of the wood. If wood has a high moisture content (ie. not properly seasoned), when you burn it in a stove the moisture will leak out of the wood, in the form of a tar like substance. This ‘tar’ is carried by the flue gases, solidifying as soon as it makes contact with a hard surface .

This means that not only is your glass blackening up, but also ‘tar’ is being deposited on the inside of your flues and liner. Not a good move. If you are having a problem with blackened glass on your stove, give us a call – we’ll help you ascertain what the problem is and talk you through the solutions.

Which is better - cast iron or steel stoves?

Both have positives and negatives. A cast iron stove is bolted together and the joins sealed with fire cement or similar. This can deterioate over time, bascially creating weak spots within the body of the stove. Another negative is that cast iron can crack if the temperature rises too high. The main positive for a cast iron stove is that it will often hold its heat for longer than a steel one. – but then again, it will often take longer to heat up when you first light it.

Steel is more flexible – modern manufacturing methods allow a stove body to be formed into one piece, which means no weak spots. Steel will heat up quicker than cast and although it won’t retain the heat for as long after the fire has died down, it will still stay warm for many hours. Most of the top quality stove manufacturers are now making their stoves out of steel – it’s cheaper than cast too, so weighing up all the pros and cons, we think steel probably comes up trumps.