Next on the list of big jobs to be done, came the installation of the wood burning stove. Or more accurately the completion of the installation because the stove itself had been purchased and installed in January and basically sitting in the fireplace ever since. It was time to get the flue sorted. Time to get our act together and decide on what flue kit to purchase and get it sorted.
With the flue kit ordered, and collected from the store (special order only) and the extra 2meters of flexible flue piping also ordered and delivered, it was finally time to bite the bullet and try to install the kit. I am made sure that we had the correct 6 inch internal kit with a cowl and down draft excluder. And we had 2 of the flexi flue kit to standard flue adaptors just in case (I was positive we only needed the one, but someone else wasn’t and once we had confirmed that special order items could be returned to the store for a refund, it really didn’t matter if we had 1 or 2… provided we actually had some!)
The old fireplace cleaned up and ready for the woodburning stove – or slow combustion stove as they tend to be called here.
So the big day arrived, Stuart set about installing the flue and more or less ran into problems from the word go. It all came down to the very reason we needed the woodburner in the first place. That darn chimney again. Why or Why could the person who built the house not have put a straight chimney breast in? There is no reason what so ever as to why they could not have done so. Instead they made the chimney with a bend in it. A narrow bend as well. One that didn’t give enough space for anything to happen as it turns out. Even smoke had had issues going up it. The wind often came down it and smoke frequently returned to whence it came from! It was a pain. The fire place wasn’t designed with anything other than taking up a stupid amount of space. It is too large, too deep and gives off no heat. It returns all the smoke it can and you know what? It also isn’t 6 inches wide… that is the chimney isn’t 6 inches wide all the way up. and that is a problem… the problem that Stuart ran into almost straight away. He couldn’t just construct the flue and post it down the chimney, attach it to the wood burner and be done with the matter. Curiously though, it was only about 1cm out… odd.
He also couldn’t chip away at the bricks inside the chimney breast because it turns out that they are ‘ornamental’ fire bricks. I say ornamental because whoever put them in was using gravity only to keep them in place, nothing more. The weight of the bricks on top is the only thing that keeps the internal set of bricks in the chimney in place….
A plan B was needed and that meant a re-think. And so the brand new flue was battered into a new shape where necessary and then forced into one of the adaptors and it sort of worked.
And so, eventually and with a slight change to the instructions on how we were planning on using it, the flue kit was installed, up and running. It was even secured into place, cemented in. It fits the chimney place at the top and extends at least 1m above the height of the top of the chimney itself. It has 4 stays on it, anchoring it so that it can’t wobble around and after words with our builder earlier in the month, a plan for anchoring those stays on the roof had been devised without affecting the waterproofing of the roof at all. Everything was now in place, we just needed to let the cement (?) on the chimney plate to the chimney breast itself (there was a 1cm gap on either side where things didn’t quite fit… the 10inch square chimney plate was great except for the fact that our chimney was 10inches and 2cm wide on its internal width measurement… nothing every really goes easily, does it?
Getting the fire lit was initially an issue, but now that things have been heated up many times, it is a lot better. It guess it has bedded in somehow and all the grease inside it has now burnt off as well. The fire was exactly the same, getting it lit was a major headache. One curious feature of Australia is that although they have some of the best and most efficient coal in the world, the use of coal here as a means of heating is banned. Yep – consumers can’t buy or use coal. You can only burn wood. That’s the law. Its taken a while to get the hang of not using coal on a fire, but it was something we were reasonably used to be what with having lived on the road for 12 months and our survival/bush craft training.
And so the first firing on the slow combustion stove came the very weekend that the temperatures started to drop and drop and … yeh…
very welcome indeed.
Now I just have to cement in those 4 brocks across the front… spot the fireproof cement in the corner of the photo?
Actually, can I add as a footnote, that this stove is very efficient and almost too good for its own good. There have been times when we have both been in T-shirts sweating wondering if there was a way of putting the fire out, or at least getting it not to be quite so darn HOT! Perhaps a smaller one would have been better…