“ Manufacturer: Hunter Harold / Power Source: Wood burning / Top or rear flue installation options / Single brass door knob / Flue damper helps to reduce excessive chimney draw and aid overnight burning / Spark guard / Matt black finish with optional dark green or metallic blue „
When hubby and I got the keys to our cottage we decided that we wanted to get rid of the gas fire that was in the lounge. The fireplace is a small inglenook and when you add to that the fact that I LOVE the smell of wood smoke it had to be a multi fuel burner. We decided to go for a multi fuel burner as opposed to a straightforward wood burner so that we would have the choice to burn solid fuel should we need it.
We did a lot of information gathering, changing our minds a few times, getting frustrated and cross but we wanted to make sure that we got the best stove for our needs.
I won't go into the detail of the search here or you'll all loose the will to live but there were one or two things we had to bear in mind. We had to stick to a stove giving out a maximum of 5Kw in heat output otherwise we would need some kind of ventilation put through the wall. Since our walls are about a metre thick and made of solid stone we thought better of it! We also decided to go for a stove that would burn safely overnight and keep the chill out in the winter.
We ultimately decided on the Hunter Herald Slimline 5 and then began to check where we could get the best price. The stoveman on EBay won this contest with a price of £505 with free courier service to addresses in the UK. Delivery was easily arranged and the fire arrived ready to be fitted. We also bought a flue damper for a further £21.
We employed a local firm to come and fit it for us which involved using a cherry picker to remove the old flue liner and insert another one. They made a great job of fitting our new stove and charged us about £878 which included a companion set and some cleaning products. This sounds a lot but the other estimates we had got were well over one thousand pounds.
The stove is made of 5mm thick steel with cast iron components and measures 567mm high, 575mm wide and 344mm deep and has a flat top with either a top or rear five inch flue outlet. It can also be purchased with a canopy if required.
The size of the stove and the fact that it is the slimline model means that it looks good in our hearth without dwarfing it and it still gives a good wide view of the fire inside.
The output of this stove is 4.5w with an average area heated of 45 cubic metres which is fine for us as our lounge is quite small, although the stairs do go up from the lounge as well which makes the area to be heated a bit larger.
Our intention is to use the stove during the summer months when we get cool evenings instead of putting the central heating on, and to use it as well as the central heating in the winter, meaning that the central heating can be used on a lower setting.
The Hunter Herald has a removable throat plate on the flue which gives easy access for sweeping the chimney. This is silver and the rest of the stove is black so I thought it looked a bit odd at first but we soon got used to it.
The stove also has something called the Hunter Airwash System which involves air being drawn into the top of the stove, heated in a large air chamber and then directed down behind the glass doors. This creates a screen between the fire and the glass meaning that the smoke and stuff being burnt doesn't come into contact with the glass and so the glass remains clean so that you can see our lovely log fire.
I have found that this works reasonably well but I have had to clean the glass a couple of times; having said that it is very easy to clean the glass.
The stove also uses the Cleanburn System which means that air is heated in a cavity before being sent into the stove, thus increasing the efficiency levels of the stove.
As I said earlier the stove is a multi fuel burner and to change between solid fuel burning and wood burning there is an external nut on the right hand side of the stove which can be turned to change the layout of the grate.
The grate needs to be solid with a bed of ash on it for wood burning. For solid fuel burning it needs to be clear and to have holes through it. The turning of the nut does exactly that. It can also be moved back and forth for riddling the grate as the ash then falls through into the ash pan below. Since this is done with the door closed it creates little dust.
The fire is safe to be burned overnight by reducing the airflow to the minimum and the fire will smoulder and remain alight during the night. It can then be reignited by just increasing the airflow again.
The fire itself is a handsome looking beast with twin doors each with removable crosses so you can have clear doors if you want them. You can also get this stove in a single door version. Our stove is black with black knobs but you can get brass knobs and the stove is also available in dark green and metallic blue.
There is an opening at the base of each door and another one across the top of the fire. When the fire is first lit all the openings are open so that the air will help to get the fire going. As the fire develops then the bottom two openings are closed and the top one can be partially closed to make the fire burn more efficiently rather than roaring away!
We also have a flue damper which is fitted to the flue which comes out of the top of the fire and this can also be open or partially or fully closed.
Living where we do on the North Wales coast means that we can go for a walk along the shore and collect driftwood to burn and we also keep our eyes open when we are out in the car for any piece of wood lying around. We would NEVER damage any trees but if there are any dead branches lying on the ground having fallen from the trees then we do scavenge one or two.
This of course means that we are burning wood that is already dead and lying around rather than actually buying wood at the moment, which is good for our bank balance and not harming the environment.
The fire looks wonderful with the wood burning and of course the smell is great!
Incidentally wood cannot be burned when it is newly cut as it would not burn efficiently until it has fully dried and would also cause a build up of soot in the chimney.
We have already sourced a supplier of logs ready for our winter stock. They are tree surgeons and so we will be buying wood that will be chopped down anyway rather than buying perfectly good wood that has been chopped down specifically for selling to be burnt.
I also make fire lighters from newspaper by rolling a sheet VERY tightly into a tube about 3mm across and then wind it round itself. My grandmother taught me to do this almost 50 years ago and it works extremely well when lighting the fire. We just put a few bits of screwed up paper in the bottom of the stove a few of the firelighters on top and then a few twigs. We just light the paper at the bottom and off it goes - no problem. Once it is burning then we just add more wood.
We also have a couple of log makers to make either newspaper bricks or logs made from rubbish like paper, sawdust, tea bags, dry leaves etc. - so more logs costing nothing!
All in all we love our new stove and we use it on most evenings at the moment while it's a bit nippy!
AND of course we won't be victims of indentity fraud as we can now burn all our old bank statements, utility bills etc.!