Which? Stove User Survey

Which? Stove User Survey

Which? has been championing the cause for consumers since 1957, asking probing questions of businesses and manufacturers, and pursuing the answers that put you in the driving seat.

A recent survey from Which? highlighted the importance of using professional services when it comes to purchasing and installing a wood burning stove. The survey which was sent directly to stove users provided some interesting insights for industry.

Consumer Survey

To find out how much people know about vital stove safety information, Which asked nearly 1,500 stove owners what details they were given when they bought their stove and had it installed.

One are of the survey focused on the stove purchasing process and identified the patchy level of information provided at the point of purchase.

Interestingly, our research also found that people who bought from a big-name retailer were less likely to have been given information than those who went directly to the brand or an independent store, installer or chimney sweep.

This was also the case for people who bought online, as opposed to buying in a physical store, especially when it came to the correct wattage for their stove or the best fuels. Just 43% of those who purchased online received this information compared with 71% of those who bought in a physical store.

HETAS firmly believes it is imperative consumers get expert advice and the right appliance for their home when considering buying a wood burning stove. HETAS Approved Retailers undertake training aimed towards providing consumers with the information they need to make the right choices when purchasing a stove. Stoves have become more sophisticated pieces of equipment, as manufacturers develop appliances with greater efficiency and substantially reduced emissions. HETAS continues to register a growing number of retailers.

Bruce Allen, CEO of HETAS, said: ‘It is imperative consumers get expert advice and the right appliance for their home when considering buying a wood burning stove.”

Allen also stressed the importance of making sure that stoves are installed and serviced by properly trained and registered professionals. Always check the ID card and registration of any trade professional you allow into your property.

In the last year, consumer calls to HETAS have doubled and many callers are asking what must be considered when choosing a stove. At HETAS, our Registered Installers and Approved Retailers advise customers how to operate their appliances effectively and safely.  Even consumers accustomed to solid fuel may need an update on the way that stoves best operate. Getting the right size stove is critical for comfort, efficiency and clean burning. HETAS has seen a growing number of retailers signing up the voluntary retailer scheme to demonstrate that their staff have undertaken the appropriate training.

User Habits

Consumers also admitted to Which? to some bad habits when it came to using their stoves. 14% of the stove owners we spoke to ‘slumber’ their stove – eg setting it to burn at a low output – most of the time, and 5% said they do this every time they use their stove. HETAS recently ran an article on the issues associated with slumbering a stove. The survey identified that more than a quarter of stove owners don’t know what the best fuel is for minimising pollution. A third weren’t told that the best fuel to use and nearly half (43%) weren’t told which ones to avoid – leaving them potentially using the most polluting fuels.

The government’s Clean Air Strategy, published earlier this year, included measures to ban the sale of the most polluting fuels and ensure only the cleanest wood stoves are sold. Industry eagerly awaits an announcement from government on the next steps for the Clean Air Strategy. In the meantime, check out our recent update on the strategy here.

HETAS continues to promote the importance using appropriately trained and registered professionals when it comes to using wood burning and multi-fuel stoves.

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