Frequently Asked Questions

If you have a question that you cannot find the answer to here please email or call us.

What size Stove do I need?

This is not an exact science and can be affected by factors including:

Size of the room (length x width x height) in cubic metres.

  1. How many outside walls.
  2. Windows and doors.
  3. How well insulated.
  4. Draughty or airtight.
  5. Open plan to other rooms.
  6. What other heating is in there.

Many people fit too big a stove which results in loss of efficiency and the room becoming too hot and too many logs being used. Woodburning stoves are much more efficient than open fires, but too big a capacity stove will mean that it will burn below its optimum level, thus creating more smoke, soot, and creosote.

Too small a stove can also mean a less efiicient stove as you will be cold and end uptrying to burn more fuel and constantly tending it in an aim to increase the output.

How do I calculate the size of stove I need?

To calculate the size of stove that you need use the formula below and then adjust up or down slightly to take into account all of the points mentioned above. all measurements should be in metres.

Length x Width x Height x 0.07 = kW

Wood or multifuel?

This is really down to personal choice, but you may find it useful to consider the following when making your choice:

  • Multifuel - you can choose to only burn wood, but you also have the option to burn a combination of wood and coal and other smokeless fuels. coal does burn hotter, but it also creates more waste.
  • Where do you live? Can you burn coal where you live? Are there any environmental restrictions?
  • Purists prefer wood only.
  • If you run out of logs a bag of coal will get you out of trouble and can be purchased from lots of different outlets.
  • Coal does not spit - but the door of your wood burning or multifuel stove should be shut anyway!
  • Logs burn best on a bed of ash takin gair from above, coal prefers air underneath it. Most multifuel stoves have a removable grateso you can choose.


Using a woodburning or multifuel stove requires proper ventilation. Burning anything requires lots of air and your stove, like an open fire, will draw vast amounts of air from the room. Therefore, it is vital to get the ventilation right. By employing a registered HETAS fitter you will ensure that the fitting is carried out safely and correctly.

I don't have a chimney - can I still have a wood burning or multifuel stove?

No problem. There are many ways to get your smoke out.

  1. Through an exterior wall and up an external flue. This is the most common method.
  2. Straight up and through the roof is popular in barns, bungalows, and Scandinavia!

Nearly all houses can accomodate a stove, but we strongly advise consulting a HETAS approved engineer for professional advice and fitting.

Southdown Stoves recommends if you are using an existing chimney that it should be lined, regardless of the age of the property. It should also be cleaned regularly, preferrably annually, in the Spring.

Benefits of a well maintained chimney include a better draw, better safety, and it is easier to clean.

Flue and fitting.

We strongly recommend that you consult an expert to fit or assist with the fitting of your wood burning or multifuel stove.

Hetas registered installers are recommended. Click here to be connected to the HETAS site to read more about them.

The final connection and testing of any stove should be done by a professional installer. However, a proficient builder or even a confident DIY'er can prepare openings, tile grates and hearths, enlarge or reduce fireplaces, install air bricks and so on.

The opening around a stove should be at least 15cm wider than the stove on each side and at least cm above.

Hearth size.

A stove must stand on a non-combustible hearth which extends a minimum of 225mm in front of the stove and 150mm out from the stove on each side. If you are installing a stove that is designed to be used with the doors open you should have at least 300mm of hearth in front of the stove. The hearth must be at least 250mm thick if it is to be placed on a combustilbe floor. If you are placing the hearth on a non-combustible floor, for example concrete, then the total thickness can equal 250mm. For example if the concrete is 100mm thick then the hearth thickness can be reduced to a thickness of 150mm.

If you are installing a stove into a room with no chimney you must ensure the hearth is at least 840mm x 840mm. Please bear in mind this is the minimum dimensions and if you have a large stove you should check that the hearth has 150mm on all sides of the stove with 300mm to the front.