DEFRA approved stoves are big news in the solid fuel heating market, with more and more manufacturers racing to introduce clean burning woodburners and multifuel stoves suitable for urban use. Many people thinking of buying a stove have heard of DEFRA approved stoves or think they might need to get one, but there still seems to be a lot of confusion amongst consumers about what it all means.
Smoke Control Areas
Smog was a big issue in the 1950s and 1960s. Caused by widespread domestic and industrial burning of coal, smog was blamed for the early deaths of hundreds of people in the UK. The government response to this problem was the Clean Air Acts of 1956 and 1968. The Clean Air Acts granted local authorities the power to create “smoke control areas” where smoke emissions from domestic properties were banned, and to control industrial emissions such as grit, dust, fumes and dark smoke. There are many smoke control areas across the UK, especially in major towns, cities and industrial areas. The introduction of smoke free zones had a huge impact, causing smog levels to decline and making gas increasingly popular as a domestic heating fuel. In recent years rises in fuel prices have triggered interest in alternate energy sources, as more and more people find they cannot afford to heat their home properly using gas or oil.
Advanced Combustion Technology
There have been significant advances in the design of solid fuel stoves since the age of smog, resulting in a new generation of clean burning stoves. Wood burning stoves started off as little more than boxes containing a fire, offering increases in efficiency, safety and controllability over open fires. In a basic stove the fire burns inside and the smoke vents up the chimney. The burn rate depends on how much fresh air reaches the fuel, and this is controlled by adjustable sliders or spinners located on the front of the stove.
Manufacturers of clean burning stoves have developed advanced combustion systems such as secondary and tertiary combustion which increase efficiency and reduce emissions. These systems direct air flow within the stove to get a hotter burn, and reignite tiny unburnt fuel particles in the smoke. People using clean burning stoves benefit from reduced fuel bills because more of the fuel put into the stove is turned into heat, while the environment benefits from more eco friendly emissions.
Stoves for Smoke Control Areas
Anyone in a smokeless zone wanting to use solid fuel to heat their home has two choices. The first option is to burn only authorised smokeless fuel. The second option is to use a DEFRA approved stove. At a national level, responsibility for air quality lies with DEFRA, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. DEFRA is responsible for legislation relating to smoke control areas, and holds a master list of woodburning and multifuel stoves capable of complying with legal guidelines. A DEFRA approved stove is simply one which has been independently tested and proved to burn wood so cleanly that it meets the strict standards for smoke emissions set by DEFRA.
DEFRA approved stoves are available as woodburners, as multifuel stoves (for burning wood and smokeless fuel) and as boiler stoves to provide hot water as well as heating the room directly. At Stores Direct we have been helping customers choose the right stove for years. Our website has a lot of general information about multifuel and woodburning stoves, and you are also welcome to call for advice on 01484 434320.