Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Buying a Poêle

Monsieur Douady the mason came round yesterday morning to discuss the wood fire we were thinking of buying and how we want it fitted. He will rebuild our chimney, fit the flue, and install a salvaged fireplace surround. As is customary in France, he will not connect up the stove itself though. That is a job for the plumber.

We have opted to buy our own poêle (wood burning slow combustion stove) and we went off to do that yesterday after checking with Monsieur Douady that the one we favoured was suitable and would fit in the fireplace. I have spent a long time - days and weeks of research - trying to decide which stove was right for us. There are many temptingly cheap poêles easily available, but after discussion with others who have installed slow combustion wood stoves, we realised that there was a reason they were so cheap. They just aren't as good quality, made of steel plate rather than cast iron, often single skinned with poor door seals and annoyingly small fireboxes .

The Invicta Carolo model we have bought is made in France of cast iron, takes 50cm logs and will burn 2 logs for 10 hours unattended overnight. It comes with a 5 year guarantee and we can choose to have the flue exit from the top or the back. We are going to have the flue come from the top so the stove sits almost flush with the front of the fireplace surround, and we are going to have a 30cm gap between the top of the stove and the mantelpiece, so we can put a saucepan or kettle on the stove if we want to. Best of all it was on offer at half price and only €399.

We purchased the stove at Bricomarché. To our amazement, the store actually had one in stock (it's pretty standard for French stores to advertise a good special, but have so few of the item in stock that if you are not there beating down the door on the first day of the offer you will miss out). Susan filled out the paperwork for the guarantee and paid, then we drove round the back of the store for the stove to be loaded into the car. The stove was on a pallet and they used a forklift to get it into the car as it weighs 118kg.

The Poêle in the car. It is also wine fair time at
the supermarches
When we got it home, John came down to help unload it. There was much discussion about how to get it over the rim of the car boot. After about an hour of theorising about how to slide it down a ladder (reminiscent of the bath episode) and what size lumps of wood we would need to jack it up, we decided to see if we could lighten it by removing some pieces such as the door and the fire grate. At this point Pierre-Yves arrived home from work and was able to provide extra muscle.

Once we had three people lifting a considerably lightened stove the job was an easy one. Easy, of course, being a relative term!

Now we await M.Douady's arrival to measure the flue so he can make sure he buys the right diameter tubage and then his return to do the chimney.

Next move for me is buying wood - and a chainsaw. Vroom vroom!!



Jean said...

Simon, all this just so you can use a chain-saw !!

Simon said...

Nope. This is all about being toasty when it's minus a billion degrees outside.

I have used chainsaws before. They're ornery beasts.

Jenny said...

2 logs for 10 hours...amazing. We have a iron wood stove and we must be doing something wrong. 2 logs usually last only 4 hours. Must tell hubby. Enjoy anticipating a toasty winter!

Ken Broadhurst said...

Simon, does your stove qualify for the 40% back from the French tax authorities the way ours did? You'll have to file taxes in France for 2009, so keep it in mind.

wcs said...

The one mistake we made with our stove was that it doesn't take 50 cm logs. I have to cut my meter long logs twice instead of once.

Otherwise, we love our stove and I'm sure you will, too.

Simon said...


I really wanted a stove that took 53cm logs, on the grounds that then I wouldn't have to be so precise with my chainsawing.

Ken Broadhurst said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ken Broadhurst said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ken Broadhurst said...

OK, trying for the third time, sans link: Have a look at Interesting site about burning wood.

NickL said...

Well done Simon, that looks like a bargin!

Apparently the flue is quite a scientific double sleeved conical inside type of thing - I'd have liked to have been there when ours was fitted for a look, but there was blooming cold at the time and thinking about it, perhaps not that exciting.

Don't forget though to get the chimney swept (by the plumber) evey year for the house insurance.....


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