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Steven P

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  1. Steven P


    They've always been appealing
  2. Steven P


    Pensions? Here are my thoughts for what they are worth. The savings side of things are good value: - You get tax breaks with them, so every £1 you see in your pocket at the end of the month is worth more in a pension - Companies will pay into a pension on top of your salary. For example, mine will match up to 7% of my salary as a pension contribution. I'd be a fool not to pay in and loose out on this - The investment is compounded, so you earn £1 in interest this year, next year that £1 also earns interest. Over time this all adds up, I forget what the sums are but something like every 10 to 15 years (not sure might be longer) your money doubles because of this. - You cannot touch it, so a bad month and you still get a pension with what you have saved so far. So as a savings scheme for retirement a pension scheme works good. BUT at the end of it when you want the money. Mine are offering me 1/33rd of the pension pot back every year. So I have to live for 33 years before I use up what is in the pot.. retire at 67, pot will be empty at 100.. or well after I anticipate being dead. I can take it all out and hope for the best, die at 80 and the kids get the leftovers and all the interest it has earnt in those 13 years.. but the government want their cut out of that and taxes. For affordability, when I pay off the mortgage I reckon I can nearly give it all up, sell my car, (and save its tax and petrol and so on), stop the odd ork treats - the snacks, coffee, bacon rolls, the commuting - life can be cheaper
  3. Thanks for the info So for efficiency I need (and I think in the order of importance): - Limit the air going up the chimney, use a door then - Insulated fire box, hotter fire = more efficient - Make sure the flame can burn fully before its extinguished and goes up the chimney. In a stove this is using a baffle plate, I might be wrong but isn;t this so they can increase the flame length and make the stove shorter? In a traditional fire the flame fully burns out but part way up the chimney first. - Air gap around the stove lets heat get out by convection currents and not just by radiated heat Is that about it? So thinking to my small upstairs fire, I could get a local blacksmith to make a suitable door on a hinge (complete with vents and clips to hold a glass window in), bolt that on and the open fire might double its efficiency? A door would be god because it can be kept closed and stop draughts up the chimney when not in use? After that I would want to get a builder in to open up the fire place to install a stove
  4. This is something I have been wondering and Google is being no help at all. So what in its design makes a wood burning stove so efficient compared to an open fire? The door I think helps a lot by limiting the amount of warm air the chimney can draw up it, but if that was the main factor for efficiency, then why not bolt a glass sheet on hinges to the fire place? Smaller flue size than traditional brick chimney? all that does is keep the gasses warmer so they don't condensate as much creosote Is it the baffle plate? or the stove bricks, maybe the air gap around the stove? I am not sure. So what design feature makes a wood burning stove so efficient? (The reason I was wondering is that the upstairs fireplace is small, fits a 12" grate, and would be nice if it was a stove.. but would need some work doing first, but if I could work something out to make it more efficient that could be good)
  5. I reckon Easter is a good time to end the wood stove season. Or...about 3 weeks more than I have dry wood every year As for mild weather, the stove has been off the last couple of days, been doing other jobs and not feeding it
  6. |Hate to brag, but.....
  7. Christmas morning with the fires, can't beat it... First thing I'll light the bedroom one and poke my feet out the end of the bed before the boys come through, then downstairs to fall asleep with and the afternoon film
  8. Steven P

    Planting trees

    If waterlogging is going to be a an issue then is it possible - given the layout of the site - to dig a trench out of the garden with gravel in and to use that as a drain / soak away. If not would a land drain to the house drains be a possibility (I am not sure if you are allowed to do this)
  9. Steven P

    Safe loads

    Years ago our windscreen was hit by a brick that had bounced out of a pickup carrying rubble. Similar cause and effects I guess
  10. I'd also (maybe wrongly) assumed that stove manufacturers used this because, it is easier for them to produce (just cut them to size with a band saw) and cheaper.. and we, the consumer just replace like for like
  11. My issue with the board is its life.I have a multifuel stove so will burn logs and coal.. and the vermicullite crumbles (3rd set of bricks in 5 1/2 years now). They re a consumable but original manufacturer costs quite a lot. This year I was going to buy a full vermicullite board and cut it to size (get 2 or 3 sets from that for the same price as the manufacturer sells), but a chat with the girl at Victas she recommended a castable screed for a more durable option - so thats what I am trying this year - I'll let you know in 18 months how it goes. Making the molds was easy - I had measuerd the last lot of manufacturers bricks to get the sizes right last time round, 1/2 hour in the garage and I was ready to cast them. I have also patched vermicullite bricks with clay.. to find the bricks kept crumbling behind the clay and it fell off, but the clay lasted quite well. Note as for fire temperature, I tend to run the stove on full power.. if its cold enough to have the fire on then it needs to be getting hot.
  12. Steven P

    oak for next winter

    I've always gone with getting them cut and split as soon as possible as a general rule of thumb. The more surface area the better and the less nark on each piece is better too if you have time on your hands
  13. Steven P

    Stihl HS81 hedge trimmer problem

    Just a thought going back years - mum ran out of petrol in the car (once and only once...) - last few drops of petrol sucked up all the gunk in the tank with it needing new filters and things. So when you said it warn out of fuel for the first time my thoughts go back to that. Ignition system doesn't make sense, so look to the fuel system. Gunk sucked into the carb needing a clean / carb kit makes sense (OK I Know there won't be much gunk in the tank but thats how my thinkng works).
  14. I'm with the 'free' answer for the best wood for my stove, I will burn different things depends how I feel. Pine and softwood for a flames and decent heat output.. so long as its dry outside and I can get to the garage what feels like every 5 minutes to bring more logs in without pulling on (worn out) boot. \i'll go for thorns any day of the week
  15. Steven P

    Leaf “vacuum” recommendations

    I did mine with the mower at the weekend, blades set on highest setting to keep the grass OK it did the job, and it works on flagged areas. Remember you're not cutting the grass you're using the blades to suck up the leaves (I often 'mow' things off the drive and often wood chippings where I have split logs too).


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