The pros and cons of second-hand stoves: what to consider before you buy

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Posted May 3 2019 by Mark Benson of Bowland Stoves

Unsure where to start when it comes to second-hand stoves? Mark Benson of Bowland Stoves explores the pros and cons of the second-hand wood and multi-fuel stove market and what you should consider ahead of a purchase.


The fact that traditional wood-burning and multi-fuel stoves use natural fuel which can be replaced, such as wood, adds to the eco-friendly element of the industry. To further reiterate its eco-friendly credentials, there is a growing demand for second-hand stoves which are effectively being recycled by their original owners. So, what are the pros and cons of the second-hand stove market?

Durability

Those who have looked into second-hand stoves will be well aware that improvements in manufacturing techniques have increased the life of the traditional wood-burning and multi-fuel stove. These items are made from cast iron, which is extremely durable and long-lasting, not to mention highly efficient for the purpose of stoves. So, while you do have to be wary when acquiring second-hand stoves the durability of the core structure is not necessarily an issue.

Spare parts

On the whole there are spare parts available for each and every stove on the market today and for many which are no longer readily available. There are specific areas of the modern day stove which will need replaced on a regular basis such as seals, fire bricks, etc. You therefore need to ensure that there are still spare parts available in the UK if the second-hand stove you are looking to acquire is relatively old or perhaps no longer in production. There is a buoyant market in non-branded spare parts but you need to be careful that the products are safe and reliable.

Cost

The cost of second-hand stoves is an interesting subject. While there is scope to grab a bargain when it comes to cost, could the best course of action be to acquire a new stove? It is now possible to buy brand-new stoves such as the Firefox and Hamlet for circa £500. In all honesty, it is unfair to call these entry-level stoves because they are well manufactured, offer excellent value for money and are proving to be very popular. Also, the cost differential between a cheap second-hand stove and the likes of a Firefox/Hamlet would be minimal. With a brand-new stove you know exactly what you are getting, while with a second-hand stove there may be some wear and tear and potential problems when removing it from its original location.

For those looking towards the more contemporary/luxury end of the market, there may well be some interesting opportunities to acquire a second-hand stove at a rock bottom price. However, as we mentioned above, you do need to be certain that there are spare parts available and the product itself has no visible damage. At the end of the day, it is only a bargain if the stove actually works!

Safety aspects

While you would hope that nobody would attempt to sell a second-hand stove which was damaged, there may be the odd occasion where the seller is unaware of potential issues. One problem to be aware of is the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning due to faulty seals and general wear and tear. All wood-burning and multi-fuel stoves today are fitted with a carbon monoxide alarm and you should always follow this course of action when acquiring a second-hand stove. There have also been issues with stoves being damaged while being removed for sale. It is quite literally a case of buyer beware, because once you have bought a stove you will have little in the way of recourse if there are problems further down the line.

Efficiency

When acquired from new, many stoves of today are able to offer efficiency ratings in excess of 80%. This means that relatively little energy is lost during the heating process but it would probably be dangerous to assume that second-hand stoves are still able to hit their original efficiency ratings. General wear and tear and loose seals are just two issues which would impact the heat output and the efficiency of any second-hand stove. Even if it still looks like a bargain, if the efficiency has fallen significantly then you will need to burn more fuel to maintain a comfortable heat. This could effectively turn a good value second-hand stove into a very expensive piece of equipment. When acquiring a second-hand stove you need to ask why the seller is disposing of the stove and whether there are any issues you should be aware of.

Summary

Even though the second-hand stove market in the UK continues to grow, there are obvious pros and cons when looking to acquire such equipment. Safety issues, costings, efficiency ratings and the availability of spare parts are just some of the factors you need to take into consideration. That is not to say there are not some good bargains in the second-hand market but you do need to go into any transactions with your eyes wide open.


Bowland StovesAbout the author

Mark Benson works for Bowland Stoves. Based in Todmorden, the company offers an array of wood burning and multi-fuel stoves together with spares and accessories. Find them on Twitter at @bowlandstoves.