In spite of the fact that you can have a great time away in your caravan, sometimes it can get a bit too chilly to stay comfortable.
If you prefer not to use electrical or gas heaters in your caravan, why not opt for a wood-burning stove, the ultimate in cosy, traditional heating?
However, is it actually possible to install a wood-burning stove within your caravan? Discover how to install a wood-burning stove and chimney flue in your own caravan.
Insurance, regulations, and permissions for a wood stove
If you intend to install a wood-burning stove in your caravan, you need to get the necessary permissions. If you have time on your side and it is a speculative move, then probably email is your best starting point. Councils do take a while to get back to you, but sending an email takes you two minutes, rather than spending half an hour in a queue on the phone where there is still a very low chance that someone can genuinely help you with your query. If you are in more of a rush than a phone call, showing your urgency is advised. Be sure to get case numbers and chase down the person on the other end of the phone to give you a clear timescale for any follow-ups. We love our local councils in the UK, but sadly underfunding means that it is easy to get put in a queue and forgotten about, so be prepared
In order to keep this permission for future reference (for example, in case the landowner sells the property to another person), you should obtain it in the form of a written letter or email. You don't want your wood-burning stove to cause any inconvenience to you or the person you may sell your property to. It might not be a bad idea to photocopy the document or print it out and have it on hand at the property. This is a small time investment that could save you a lot of hassle.
The second thing you should do is verify whether or not your caravan is located in a smoke control zone. If it is, you must use a DEFRA-approved, clean-burning stove. Otherwise, you could encounter difficulties with neighbours and local authorities.
Make sure to check your local council's website for a list of smoke control zones. If you are uncertain, contact the local authorities for clarification.
Take a look at the caravan's chimney
To install a log burner for firewood, you will need to inspect your chimney. Make sure that your chimney has sufficient room for the logs as well as log burners. If the chimney is not functioning properly, it may need to be repaired before you can have a log burner or hobbit stove.
Finally, you should inform your insurance company that you own a caravan (if you own one). Even though you may have to pay an additional premium, you should advise your insurer of the fact.
It is important to remember that the insurer must be informed of any changes to your policy.
A guide to installing a wood-burning stove in a caravan
In spite of our recommendation that the installation of wood stoves be left to a professional, it is worthwhile to know the fundamentals involved in installing a wood-burning stove in a caravan.
Our guide illustrates these steps in detail. Here are our top tips for camper vans and mobile homes where stoves are concerned.
In accordance with the Building Regulations of the UK government, you must ensure that your stove is situated on an appropriate hearth.
A hearth is a piece of furniture intended to facilitate the safe isolation of a combustion appliance from people, combustible parts of the building fabric, and soft furnishings.
The exposed surface of the hearth creates an area where anything that could cause a fire can be prevented.
If you intend to install a wood-burning stove in your caravan, you must make sure that you have a hearth in place before you install it.
In order to ensure that people are aware of the areas where combustible items and materials should not be placed, it is crucial that the hearth is 'visually apparent'.
The hearth should be large enough to contain any small stoves or embers that may escape from the log-burning stove. It should also be made of non-combustible materials such as stone or bricks, and be properly sealed.
Which type of hearth is needed for your wood stove?
So, what type of hearth will you need? That of course depends on what type of stove you have.
A hearth must be of the following dimensions if the heat from your stove does not raise the temperature above 100°C:
Make sure that the extension extends at least 300mm from the front of your stove and 150mm on either side.
The thickness of the material must be at least 12mm.
Non-combustible materials must be used.
A minimum area of 840 x 840 mm should be covered.
The hearth needs to be at least 250mm thick if the stove heats the hearth above 100°C (or if you are unsure of what temperature your stove can reach).
The hearth should be made from firebrick or other refractory material. If the hearth needs to be replaced, it should be done by a qualified engineer.
The hearth should also be inspected regularly for signs of damage, and cleaned of old soot.
The use of fireproof materials
It may seem obvious, but it is certainly something you should not overlook.
Your stove should be placed in a fireproof environment. Any potentially combustible materials should be removed from the immediate vicinity of the stove.
A properly ventilated stove will perform more efficiently - not only at the front but also at the sides and rear. A heat shield can help keep the fire, logs, and combustibles separate.
Making a chimney hole for your wood burner
If you wish to run the chimney from the stove directly upwards (which will provide the best draw for the fire), you will most likely have to cut a hole in the corner of your van or caravan's roof.
To create a seal around the chimney flue on the exterior of your caravan roof, you will need a closing plate that seals any air gap around the chimney flue where it exits the roof.
Once the plate is in place, use a quality sealant to ensure a watertight seal.
Then, use a caulking gun to apply a bead of sealant around the edge of the plate.
You can also use support and lashing like the ones below. Check out our range of these here to find a great option.
Choose a chimney flue that is appropriate for your wood stove
It is important to use a twin-wall chimney flue when you are using a mobile home or caravan roof that contains wood and other combustible materials.
As a result, the chimney will remain cool where it passes through the roof, thereby preventing any combustible materials within the lining from becoming too hot and igniting.
To ensure maximum safety, it is essential to choose a twin-wall chimney flue when installing a mobile home wall or caravan roof. Check out our flues here.
Optimizing airflow and combustion in a small space
A wood burner installation in a caravan requires proper airflow and combustion, particularly due to the limited space available. Adequate ventilation is essential to maintain a healthy indoor environment and promote efficient burning.
In addition to the installation of an external air intake, the stove can draw air directly from the outside rather than solely relying on the air that is already present inside.
To eliminate any harmful byproducts, such as carbon monoxide, it is also important to provide adequate exhaust ventilation.
By strategically placing vents or grilles within the static caravan itself, you can allow for the distribution of heated and cold air while maintaining a balanced atmosphere and ensuring proper air circulation within static caravans.
In the compact space of a caravan, air flow and combustion are prioritized so you can enjoy the cozy warmth of a wood burner while maintaining safety and comfort.
Can a log burner flue have more than one bend?
Unless the bend is manufactured to 90 degrees, if bends are inconvenient, it is best to avoid them at all costs. Having multiple bends in the log burner flue can cause a build-up of soot and creosote which can lead to a chimney fire.
This is why it is best to avoid having more than one bend unless it is a 90-degree bend that is designed specifically to reduce creosote build-up in a log burner.
Stove size selection for your caravan wood burner
You should not install just any wood stove in your caravan. There are several factors you should consider before purchasing a new wood stove or log burner.
Size of the stove
The first thing you need to consider is whether or not the stove will actually fit in the caravan. Caravans are often cramped in comparison to a house, so make sure the stove isn't too large. A log burner is a good alternative.
It is important to measure the space where you will be putting a stove and factor in some breathing room for the stove.
In addition to being dangerous, the stove won't have enough air supply to function properly if it is placed too close to the wall or other furniture.
Weight of the stove
Your caravan's footings, wall, ceiling, and floor may need to be reinforced depending on the type of ground or base it is situated on. Just make sure that you do not buy a stove or log burner that's so heavy that installing it damages the caravan. So, small wood-burning stoves can be better.
Heat output of a stove
Thirdly, it is important to consider the stove's heat output.
Considering that your caravan is likely to be smaller and more compact than your living room, you don't need a stove whose output is extremely high - otherwise, you and your static caravan might end up far too hot.
Safety tips for your wood burner
As long as your wood-burning stove is properly installed (especially if you hire a HETAS-approved installer), it will be safe. However, you should ensure that your caravan is equipped with a carbon monoxide alarm.
Additionally, you should check that your stove is functioning correctly and is regularly serviced.
Having a carbon monoxide detector can give you some peace of mind when it comes to safety, especially where burning and gases are concerned. If you’re in search of a trusted device, we recommend this detector for you.
Regular inspection and cleaning of the chimney are also essential for safety.
Finally, always remember to never leave your wood-burning stove unattended, and avoid using damp wood in a log burner to minimise pollution when you keep your caravan warm.
Invest in a wood-burning stove for your caravan
Discover our range of Twin wall flues today if you’re ready to add a traditional, trusted form of heating to your caravan -- ready for the winter months!