Listed below are some of the more frequently asked questions we receive about our wood fires. If you can not find an answer to your query, please call our helpful Customer Services team on NZ Freephone 0800 161 161 or email us for assistance.
Will a wood fire heat my whole home?
The correctly sized wood fire for a home is important.
Too large and it will be forever run on low causing poor combustion and creosote problems restricting the flue updraft.
Too small and it will fail to generate sufficient heat to warm the area.
Kent always recommend a site check of the home by a certified fire installer before installation. Bear in mind that while the wood fire may generate sufficient heat it then has to be circulated throughout the home. If the house doesn’t allow natural dispersal of heat (e.g high ceilings, long hallways etc) circulation can be improved with a ceiling fan or heat transfer kit.
Do I need heat resistant board behind the fire?
While heat resistant boards, e.g. brick, sheet metal and promina board, were common with radiant fires, Kent wood fires fitted with a flue shield do not require such materials to reduce rear clearances to the standard servicing restriction of 100mm, and as little as 50mm in a corner installation.
What length of flue should be used?
A standard flue kit is 3.6m in length. Additional lengths can be purchased as required.
Can wood fires be used to burn coal?
This is not recommended - too high a temperature is achieved and this can damage your fire and void warranties. We advise the use of dry softwood during normal operation, with the use of dry hardwood for an overnight burn.
Do I need a new fire permit?
All installations requiring a new or different model of wood fire require a fire permit. A fire permit will not only satisfy local councils, insurance companies but also grant the homeowner peace of mind. We recommend that smoke alarms also be installed for additional security and a safety guard considered where young children or frail/unstable people occupy a home. Smoke alarms are compulsory when installing a new wood fire. We recommend all homes have smoke alarms.
Do I need a flue shield?
A flue shield is fitted in almost 90% of all freestanding wood fire installations. This allows installation closer to the wall as it reflects the flue heat back into the room.
How much wood will a fire use in a night?
This depends on how much heat you need to produce, as feeding a fire with lots of wood naturally increases heat output and wood use. Correctly operated, using dry wood of consistent size, a Kent wood fire will consume approximately 1/2 to 1 average sized wood basket of wood per night.
How often should I empty the ashes?
Due to the high efficiency of Kent wood fires, ash removal should only be necessary every few weeks. Ashes can be scooped up and removed easily through the door opening. Kent wood fires work best when a small amount of ash (approximately 20mm deep) is left in the firebox after cleaning. This insulates the bottom and prevents the base of the wood fire overheating and burning out. In fact, building up the ash bed helps extend the long burn cycle, while reducing the ash bed encourages greater heat output.
Does your fire have a waterbooster or wetback?
Yes - our Tui Rad and Barker II are waterbooster capable and within the NZ guidelines to operate in clean air regions. All other fires can accommodate a waterbooster, however, as the warm air efficiency drops below the required 65% they cannot be installed in clean air zones (even though heat transferred via water is a more efficient use of energy). Our rural non-clean air fire can be used (for properties greater than 2ha). For efficient hot water supply we recommend the cylinder be located no further than 3m away and no lower than the hot water outlet on the fire. A rise of at least 1:12 is advised.
Strictly speaking a “wetback” is a water tank fitted onto the back of a fire. The copper pipe systems found in modern wood fires is more correctly called a “waterbooster” and will still supply an abundance of hot water provided that the appliance is correctly installed and operated.
What advice is provided by the Ministry for the Environment?
How do I know this fire will fit?
All relevant measurements can be found in the Kent wood fire specification sheets found in the Product Range section of the website. Kent recommends that before purchasing a wood fire a site check is carried out by an approved installer (NZHHA has a list of these) to verify selection.
Does this fire come with a fan option?
A correctly designed and sized wood fire should not require a fan to assist heat into the room. In addition, fans require moving parts that wear out, can become noisy over time and require electricity to operate. For this reason Kent does not offer a fan option.
Is burning wood a clean option?
Yes - if the wood is correctly dried and burnt in an efficient, correctly sized, operated and maintained wood fire. Wood is renewable and we have plenty here in NZ. As wood burns the CO² produced is absorbed by plants, grasses and trees through photosynthesis - which then produces oxygen. Wood left to rot in the open produces more CO², so we should not waste wood - we should cleanly burn it. 1kg of dried pine wood holds 18MJs of energy ready to be converted into heat energy. This means 1kg of pine can produce 3.5kW of heat energy using a 70% efficient wood fire (30% of the heat energy is combined with the flue emissions).
How do I ensure I fit the correct hearth/floor protector for my Kent wood fire?
Provided the overall hearth dimensions shown on the Kent specification sheets are met, all modern Kent freestanding wood fires can be installed onto a hearth/floor protector that safely copes with hot ash. When in doubt refer to the fire specifications that are supplied with the fire.
These guidelines specify the requirements for a safe hearth/floor protector. The floor protector must extend under the wood fire with minimum distances in front of the door and to the sides and rear the wood fire. There are minimum floor protector sizes for wall and corner installations. There are minimum depths specified for freestanding fires and only suitable materials can be used. Kent inbuilt fires require an insulated hearth of at least 50mm concrete or equivalent thermal protection material.
Your installer will assist you in ensuring the right choice of floor protector.
Why do I get smoke into the room?
There could be several reasons, you need to act quickly as this is very unhealthy and unsafe.
Cool flue temperature is the main reason for puffs of smoke coming from your wood fire into the room. Other contributing factors could be:
Wood quality: Wood with a lot of moisture can cause more smoke than the chimney can take away.
Air systems: Fans used for air conditioning, bathroom or kitchen extractors might take their air from the chimney (negative draught). In these cases you must bring outside air into the wood fire.
Operating errors: Always open the damper and primary air control before you reload the wood fire - open the door slowly.
Flue pipes: Remember that elbows and horizontal flue pipes make restrictions on the draught. Too short a chimney gives not enough draught for the wood fire. Too cold a chimney can cause none - or negative draught.
Flue liner: This must be correctly installed and have the right dimension.
Are Kent wood fires approved under the EECA Energy Wise Fund scheme and Clean Heat project?
The Ministry for the Environment has published a list of approved wood fires. Kent Clean Air wood fires are included in this list and, as such, are approved for use in these EECA initiatives.
For any clarification, please call Kent Customer Services on 0800 161 161.
Min for Env Authorised Wood Burners