Can You Install A Wood Burning Stove Yourself?

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I’ve been emailed this question often enough that I reckon it’s time to write up my take on it once and for all. So, can you really opt for a DIY wood stove installation rather than fork out for a professional installer, thereby saving maybe £1,000-2,000?

Well, actually yes you can, though it should be considered on a par with maintaining your own car, installing your own solar panels (follow the link for why that’s not such a great idea) or even building your own airplane.

Not impossible but not advisable for most people – you definitely need to be what is vaguely referred to as “competent” and there are a whole bunch of caveats to bear in mind, perhaps the most important of which is…

Installing A Wood Stove Is A Lot To Do With Complying With Regulations

First, not only must you follow the manufacturers (not always crystal clear) instructions, but it is absolutely imperative that you also observe the building regulations Approved Documents, specifically Part J (Heat producing appliances) and Part L (Conservation of fuel and power).

These are just the two key ones – there are in fact others, namely B (Fire safety), F (Ventilation) and possibly also G (Sanitation, Hot Water Safety and Water Efficiency).

Additionally, since 2010 the law requires a carbon monoxide detector to be fitted in the same room as the stove (covered by Approved Document Part J – see link above) and only the seriously hard of thinking would neglect to additionally fit a smoke/fire alarm.

You will also be required to inform the Building Control officer at your local council or your intentions, an exercise which can cost around £300 with absolutely no assurance that they will approve your DIY installation (which would then mean further work and another inspection along with the requisite fee – so not exactly “saving” money there are we?).

The council will initially despatch an inspector to discuss your plans and check that what you propose seems reasonable (and that you appear to be a “competent” person – yes, it is very subjective).

When the installation is finished they will return to conduct a survey of the installation and assuming that all is satisfactory you will then be issued with a Building Regulation Compliance Certificate. This link provides a good layman’s guide to building regs (also check out the Technical FAQs section).

Now, you could of course take the cowboy route and simply not tell anyone – after all, who is going to know? Well, you would be surprised and you will also be well out on a limb once they do find out….

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