One of the reasons that we chose a main contractor to get us to the weathertight stage was to allow us more flexibility when it came to interior design without having to incur charges for making changes to the plans mid-project.

Leafing through back copies of Homebuilding & Renovating, it’s hard to not be captivated by images of homely woodburning stoves. So quite a lot of time has recently been devoted to researching the subject and calculating the required lengths of twin wall flue pipes (which can easily double the cost of the stove itself, even with trade discounts).

Installing a flue for a woodburning stove

Ian ‘indulges’ in installing a stove flue rather than a chimney breast and works hard to conceal this addition

Without an existing chimney breast, one of the biggest decisions is where to run the new flue, either internally or externally, which of course has a major bearing on where you locate the stove. The trouble is, unless you’re a fan of ‘chip shop’ architectural chic with humongous steel flues running up the side of the building, your options are limited because the Building Regs are restrictive on the position of flues at roof level.

Before ordering the various flue components I had a useful conversation with Philip Steel at Stovesonline. This helped narrow down the options and we finally settled on a discreet position on the inner rear roof slope, within the stipulated 600mm maximum distance out from the ridge and 2,300mm from the nearest roof window. The following week, while we still had access to the freshly tiled roof, I arranged for the upper flue pipe, terminal, storm collar and flashing to all be installed.

extension exterior with roof and scaffolding

As Ian’s extension is steadily coming together, he looks to possible heating solutions

Solar Thermal

Another little luxury I’d been toying with since the design stage is solar thermal (hot water) panels. The evacuated tube panels only take up around 4m² of roof space and running the internal pipework should be a doddle with the new structure exposed.

Energy Saving Trust figures suggested a cost of around £4k to £5k, with the Renewable Heat Incentive paying £2k over the next seven years. Combined with annual savings of around £200 in fuel bills the case in favour just about stacked up financially.

Unfortunately when the quotes came in they were all around the £7k mark so the sums just didn’t add up. As a compromise, we opted to install a simple ‘power diverter’ to make use of surplus electricity from our existing solar electric PV system to boost the immersion heater water for a total cost of £500.

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