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Cosy, warm and invaluable
Berkshire Wood Burning Cast Iron Stove
Member Name: madeindevon
Berkshire Wood Burning Cast Iron Stove
Advantages: Very warm, central focal point to our living room
Disadvantages: Having to clean it out each day before you can use it again - but that is to be expected
So, we live in a very rural area, a semi-detatched house with fields all round, totally open and exposed and absolutely freezing!! and the only heating we had was night storage heaters, on economy 7, the heaters are donkeys years old, pretty quickly we realised that we needed to do something about this. We moved into our house at the end of March, a particularly warm March as it turned out, fortunately for us.
We thought about having an open coal fire, as we have a large stone fireplace, but with further thought we decided we would rather have some sort of log burner. So research started..
On Ebay and Amazon, we soon realised that there are a large amount of these burners for sale, brand new - our budget wasn't large at all, so eventually we opted for this "Berkshire" model, multi fuel burner.
This model is 8KW - which we were advised would be good enough to heat the whole house from. I have to say, that truly, that is not the case - as to heat upstairs you would have to have all the downstairs doors open, so to have some warmth from the stove go upstairs it would not be very effective in keeping our downstairs rooms warm. So, we consider that this stove is fine for heating two adjacent rooms (our home is a very typical sized small house - Our kitchen and living room are connected by one door, so these rooms are kept beautifully warm by our stove. When the weather is not totally freezing overnight, as it has been this December and January, then certainly you can keep the living room door.
We bought the stove from Ebay, from a reputable trader and employed the services of a local company to install it and fit the Flu and deal with all the sundries involved - Many companies offer an inclusive service, but at the time it suited us to pay for the two amounts as seperate transactions.
This particular stove conforms to all the current, required safety standards.
It is black, cast Iron and weighs 86kg
470mm high, 625mm high and 390mm deep.
I could quote all the specifications direct from the web site, but to be honest I think that these reviews should be a personal insight of individual products:
The Stove has a door at the bottom with a brass handle - this handle is extremely hot when the fire is on, and even some hours after the fire appears to have gone out, this door also has a variable vent in it.
Inside the door is the ash pan, where all the ash from the fire falls into. This ash pan needs emptying every day - be aware that the ash pan can still be very hot the next morning, so please be careful when you lift the ash pan out to empty it. The ash pan is just a metal box that sits in the very bottom of the stove, it has a detachable handle.
The main stove is also opened via a twist action brass handle, again this is very very hot. The door is framed with black cast iron, with a brass hinge and has a special made German "Schott" brand high temperature glass. Inside the Stove is a removable grate, it is the grate apparently that makes the stove a multi burner, as without the grate you should not use coal, only wood.
At the top of the Stove is another variable vent, again with a brass handle/knob.
When lighting the fire you are advised to use rolled up newspaper and kindling wood underneath your coal or your logs - or both. You would have both the vents fully opened to allow the oxygen to flow through the fire. We have found that it is actually better to have the ash tray door slightly open for a while, as this allows maximum oxygen to get through - after the fire is roaring, then close the door and leave the vent open for another five minutes. This then gets the fire going nicely.
The top vent is variable and once the bottom vent is closed, then the top vent is to be used for allowing the heat out - if the vent is closed (once the fire is fully established) then the fire will smoulder for a long time, if it is open then you will need to add more wood or coal more regularly.
This stove cost us around £250 two years ago and spare parts can be ordered for it, if required. The fire came with a manufacturers one year guarantee. Two years down the line we have found no particular problems with the fire, the brass handle on the main part of the stove does become loose every now and again, but when the stove is cool then it is just a matter of tightening it up. Possibly this handle may need to be replaced at some point in the future.
It is a very attractive stove, very much in keeping with our old house. We are very pleased with it, and without it our house would be freezing! It is cosy and adds character to our room.
Given the choice I would love to still have central heating! But I would still have the woodburning stove, as it is just such a lovely focal point to our living room
Summary: Effective, attractive form of heating