No matter what the time of year, it can be great to get away from it all in your caravan. But sometimes it can get just a bit too chilly to be comfortable. If you don’t want to heat up your caravan with electric or gas heaters, then why not opt for the ultimate in cosy, traditional heating - a wood burning stove? But, is it actually possible to fit a wood burning stove in a caravan? The answer is yes. Read on to find out how you can fit a wood burning stove and chimney flue in your caravan.
Permissions, regulations and insurance
Before you start the installation of your wood burning stove in your caravan, you first need to seek the appropriate permissions.
Firstly, if your caravan is situated on a campsite or caravan park, then you will need to get permission from the landowner. It’s worth getting this permission in the form of a written letter or email, so that you have it for future reference (for example, if the landowner sells the land to another person).
Secondly, you should check if your caravan is located in a smoke control zone. If it is, you will need to ensure that you buy a clean-burning, DEFRA-approved stove. Otherwise, you could find yourself in trouble with your neighbours and the local authority.
Finally, you should notify the insurer of your caravan (if you have one). This may mean you have to pay an additional premium, but you should let your insurer know, otherwise you run the risk of invalidating your insurance in the event of a fire or accident.
Use a qualified installer
Whilst there are no legal restrictions to stop you from installing a wood burning stove in your caravan yourself, we would strongly recommend using a HETAS-approved installer.
HETAS-approved installers are experienced professionals who have undergone training in the safe installation of wood burning stoves. A HETAS-certified installer will also be able to ensure that the installation complies with any relevant regulations.
We know that many people enjoy the challenge of installing their own wood burning appliances, but when it comes to small, enclosed living spaces such as caravans, we strongly recommend that you leave the installation to a professional.
How to install a wood burning stove in a caravan
Although we recommend leaving the installation to a professional, it’s worth knowing the fundamental steps involved in the installation of a wood burning stove in a caravan. We’ve detailed these below.
You must ensure that your wood burning stove is situated on an appropriate hearth. The UK Government’s Building Regulations define a hearth as follows:
“A hearth is a base intended to safely isolate a combustion appliance from people, combustible parts of the building fabric and soft furnishings. The exposed surface of the hearth provides a region around the appliance that can be kept clear of anything at risk of fire.”
A hearth isn’t an optional extra. You should ensure you have a hearth in place before you install your wood burning stove in your caravan. It’s important that the hearth is ‘visually apparent’, so that people can see the area in which they must not place combustible materials or items.
What type of hearth do you need?
Hopefully we’ve hammered home how important a hearth is. So, what type will you need? That depends on what kind of stove you have. Let’s take a look.
If the heat from your stove doesn’t raise the temperature of the hearth above 100ºC, then your hearth must be of the following dimensions:
- Extend at least 300mm from the front of your stove and 150mm either side.
- It must be at least 12mm thick.
- Must be made from a non-combustible material.
- It should cover a minimum area of 840mm x 840mm.
If your stove heats the hearth above 100ºC (or you’re not sure what temperature your stove can reach), then you will need to use a hearth that’s at least 250mm thick.
This is an obvious point, but one that you certainly don’t want to overlook!
You should ensure that the area in which your stove will sit is fireproof. Any potentially combustible materials should be removed from the immediate vicinity of the stove.
Use the hearth as a guide to the area in which combustible materials should be removed.
You should also ensure that you have plenty of ventilation around the stove - not just at the front, but around the sides and rear too. This will help your stove perform as efficiently as possible.
Creating a hole for the chimney
It’s generally recommended that you run the chimney from your stove directly upwards (this will provide the best possible draw for the fire). However, this will in most cases mean you have to cut a hole in the roof of your caravan.
Naturally, you’ll want to measure and measure again. You don’t want to get this wrong! An approved HETAS installer should be able to undertake this work for you if you are anxious about doing it yourself.
You will need to buy a closure plate (which seals any gaps around the chimney flue where it exits your caravan roof, stopping old soot from falling into the caravan etc). You’ll also need lead flashing to create a seal around the chimney flue on the exterior of your caravan roof.
Use an appropriate chimney flue
The roofs of many caravans contain wood and other combustible materials, so you’ll need to make sure that you use an appropriate twin-wall chimney flue. This will keep the chimney cool where it passes through the roof, preventing any combustible materials in the roof lining from getting too hot and igniting.
If your stove hasn’t come with a flue (not all of them do), then check out our Single Storey Garden Shed/Outhouse Chimney Flue Kit which is perfect for caravan stove installations.
Choosing the right size stove
You don’t just want to install any stove in your caravan. There are few different things you should consider before buying a new wood burning stove.
First of all, you want to buy a stove that’ll actually fit! Caravans can be cramped at the best of times, so you want to buy a stove which isn’t too bulky.
If you’re measuring the space where you’ll be placing a stove, remember to factor in some ‘breathing room’ for the stove. You don’t want it to be placed up close to the wall or other furniture. Not only is it dangerous, but the stove won’t have enough air supply to function properly.
Stoves can be heavy. Depending on the type of ground or base your caravan is situated on, you may want to get a lighter stove and/or reinforce the caravan’s footings. Just make sure you don’t buy a stove that’s so heavy it’ll damage the structural integrity of your caravan...
Stove heat output
The third major consideration is about the heat output of the stove.
Remember, your caravan is likely to be smaller and more compact than your living room, so you’re not going to need a stove with a massive heat output - otherwise, you run the risk of turning your caravan into a sauna!
Get a carbon monoxide detector
A properly installed wood burning stove will be safe (especially if you use a HETAS-approved installer). However, it’s essential that you have a carbon monoxide detector in your caravan.
Shop Now - Fire Angel Carbon Monoxide Detector
Our Fire Angel Carbon Monoxide Detector is the perfect option. It features an internal power pack which will keep the detector working for 7 years. It features an alarm and LED display to make you instantly aware of dangerous build-ups of CO. It’s also Kitemark certified to quality standard BS EN 50291-1: 2010, so you can be assured that this is a high-quality detector.
The best small wood burning stoves for caravans
Having read all of that, you’re probably now thinking about what type of stove will be best for your caravan. Well, here at Trade Price Flues we stock a fantastic range of compact, quality wood burning stoves that’ll keep your caravan warm and comfortable even on the coldest of days.
What’s more, our stoves are DEFRA-approved, so you can use them in smoke control areas with no problems. We’ve set out two of our best and most popular small stoves below.
Woodford Lowry 5 Wood Burning / Multi Fuel Stove
The Woodford Lowry 5 is suitable for any installation - including caravans - and is a quality appliance that’s designed and manufactured in England.
It features a lifetime warranty on the body of the stove and comes complete with a riddling grate, removable baffle, air wash and clean burn system and the option of adding a rear heat shield.
With a heat output of 4.9kW, this is a great option for caravans. It’s also compact, at 585mm in height, a width of 457mm and a depth of 350mm.
Woodford Lowry 5XL Widescreen Wood Burning / Multi Fuel Stove
If you’ve got a little bit more room to play with, then the Woodford Lowry 5XL Widescreen stove is a great choice. It comes with all the features of the standard Lowry 5, but with a ‘widescreen’ viewing window.
As you’d expect, the ‘widescreen’ viewing window adds to the overall size of the stove, with a height of 600mm, a width of 522mm, and a depth of 350mm. Nevertheless, this is a great stove for larger caravans such as statics.
Fit a wood burning stove in your caravan this year
We hope our guide to fitting a wood burning stove and chimney flue in your caravan has been useful. If you’ve decided the time is right to add a traditional, trusted form of heating to your caravan, explore our range of stoves and chimney flue liner kits today.
Shop wood burning stoves at Trade Price Flues now
Read more stove and chimney advice on the Trade Price Flues blog…