No Poele by Noel

I am having a major problem with getting a wood burning stove installed in my lounge. The open fireplace which presently exists is very attractive, but it produces a heat efficiency of 2%.

Now then. At first glance the French rules governing installation of a poele seem very favourable: you get a significantly reduced VAT rate on labour, a 30% refund on the cost of the unit when you next pay your property tax and insurance protection against fire. BUT... this presumes that your fitter is the same person who sells you the unit, even though there is nothing in the rules which stipulates that he should be. The fitters - French, English or Kwazulu - all hide behind the myth that work cannot proceed unless they have supplied the product. With this ridiculous caveat they are fully booked into January, 2015, and there is no chance of installation before Christmas.

I want a Thornton Dale stove manufactured by Town & Country Fires of Yorkshire. This is because a) I like it and b) it fits within the intended space, whereas other available models do not and would necessitate the knocking about of walls. The Thornton Dale can be sourced in France, but not within my catchment area. Thus far, all fitters approached have refused to install it. If it's not in their shop window they don't want to know. But wait a minute... the stove carries a 12 year guarantee, exceeds emission requirements and conforms with all other European specifications. So why should the French 'go green' inducements be void? I could actually give someone the purchase price of the unit in order that he might buy it on my behalf - thereby becoming both supplier & fitter and consolidating my entitlements. The reason this won't happen, of course, is that the greedy buggers want the profit margin on the sale of the stove for themselves and perpetuate the red tape myth for their own ends. This practice should cease immediately.

If you are a qualified fitter who is prepared to work without the absurd precondition that you sell me a stove which I do not want, and you are able to offer all the benefits of the French scheme, my telephone number is 0626123880.

Let’s hope you achieve a happy ending too

It's always great ho hear stories with happy endings.

We decided, for the same reasons as you, to have a poêle fitted instead of our open fire. We initially wanted an English one, but were convinced it would be more sensible to buy one from Brisach, as they have a factory down the road at St Maximin and the salesman seemed to know exactly what he was talking about. We had a chimney problem too, with there being a fuite in the chimney sleeve.
It has been the best decision we we ever made. The poêle was fitted on the agreed day, the new chimney liner installed, and an air vent near where we had had problems upstairs - though the fuite is now fixed by the new liner. The stove looks great, it gives out an immense heat, with no dust to speak of any more. The whole thing came to €3600, I think the poêle itself was €1500.
It has changed our lives, we do have underfloor heating, as we built the house ourselves, but now it’s turned right down.
However… we did have to wait a month before installation, as they were so busy. Good luck!

Ahh yest fully understood, boy that is low!

You're right of course, Chris, and it is already ordered & paid for. When in Puylaurens, please give regards to my friend Graham Sanders :)

If you are anywhere near Puylaurens, we have an excellent fitter who will install it for you. Forget the tax breaks, just get the stove!

Yes. Space is an issue - maximum headroom is 59cm and the smallest locally available models are 60cm, apart from the Stovax Brunel. But when you come down to a stove that small, output is inadequate and you find that maximum log size is only 25cm... and I have no desire to go though two tons of firewood with a chainsaw!

David, you have obviously fallen for this stove and now are suffering the French stick in mud ideas of service. I had similar with Euro heat so eventually bought someone else s stove. Not sure exactly which model but they don't look too dissimilar to others and the Thornton Dale doesn't exactly set new standards of efficiency, in fact at 74% on wood it's a rather poor performer. If it does pass the standards? then will it continue to pass them as time goes on? Not a cheap purchase for such low efficiency and being a multifuel you are not getting the best performance if burning wood alone.

Maybe time to take another look at others available which maybe the locals will install. Sadly a lot of the French stoves show flam vert stickers and only achieve 74% ish efficiency but there are better stoves out there. 85-90% is the sort of standard from a good wood burning stove so you get a lot more heat from each load of timber, less tar and creosotes in the chimney as they are combusted is secondary burning and that produces more heat so saving logs.

Have you looked at Burley stoves and Jotuls?

We had our existing stove reinstalled by the local wood burner specialist after rebuilding the house. No problem with getting them to fit a stove which they hadn't fitted in the first place. We got the reduced TVA on the costs of fitting but not of course any rebate from the impôts. There was never any threat of "dire consequences"

I've had a couple of replies and there may be some movement. They try to frighten you into buying product from stock, not just by raising the tax/VAT issue, but by threatening dire insurance consequences. It's all about profit, innit?