WhatStove?

Review of Austroflamm G3 Multi-Fuel Stove

easy on the eye, more trad than contempory looks..

Angus Murdoch 10 years ago

CAST IRON STOVE WITH STAINLESS STEEL COSMETIC SIDES (OTHER OPTIONS AVAILABLE)

Nominal heat efficiency according to EN 13240 6 kW

min / max output 3.5 / 8 kW

weights and dimensions

h x w x d for steel version (STM) 793 x 453 x 508 mm

combustion chamber h x w x d 380 x 453 x 508 mm

weight 120 kg (moveable by 1 but preferably 2 people)

Flue outlet diameter 130

data for chimney sweep

Total flue gas flow closed 7 g / s

Flue gas temperature closed 330 C

Minimum feed pressure at nominal heat efficiency closed 12 Pa

at 0.8 times of nominal heat efficiency 10 Pa

Having used this for our second winter at time of writing Dec 2009.. (& being used to both open fireplaces & stoves) I'm extremely happy with the heat output, when coupled with well seasoned (2 yrs) or artificially seasoned (under glass in a conservatory over summer) hard & softwoods alike, slumbers well enough to have a good bed from which to re-light most mornings..

As our PRIMARY heat source in a 4 bedroom (1970's) single skin / cavity / block built house with minimal insulation & a large bay window draughts galore & undergoing renovation, this does extremely well in terms of lifting to comfortable temperatures, it is often lit for 18 hours per day, minimal clearing of the ashpan, which is well hidden & expansive. ..under NORMAL conditions namely afternoon thru evening burn times I anticipate only emptying the ashpan of fine particulates only once 5-7 days, dependant upon materials burnt of course.

The riddler is "ok" but then we simply leave it open for cleaning & poke the ash through after a few days of hard burning, riddlers on this model are foolproof (it's never blocked) but don't expect it to solve your ash build up by use of it alone).

For Coal (read low grade Chinese, not uk coal) it's output is surprisingly only on-par with well seasoned wood & let's face it wood is preferable.

One thing that does annoy me the cast iron top of this cast iron stove has a knock through (for initial installation) ...with no spares available if you wish to take the fire with you when moving, we found this to our cost & will have to have an engineering company machine a hot / warming plate infill (which will be handy admittedly) as we have to change the G3 from top flue into a rear outlet..

If / when upgrading or moving this appliance I would consider a firebelly as a cheaper alternative (looking at the double sided 12 kw beast) in order to fire up 2 rooms with flame.

However, since installation we've been able to turn off our central heating (oil) completely & if required merely use a small portable oil filled electric radiator (on 1/3 power) for our secondary room (background heat from the adjoining living room (stove location) makes the large & leaky dining room very comfortable secondary living area. ..with a smaller unit for the infant's bedroom.

Handles can / do get very hot so we invested in a pair of long arm gauntlets from stovax (split the pair with a firebelly owning friend), as a good bed of red hot embers is detrimental to ones flesh when placing a log at the back of the stove for best operation.

Although a few taps of the stove vent will suffice (without gloves) by fingertips, + opening & closing the door is fine ..if done quickly, luckily both vent & door operations are solid & capable unless you are pre-occupied, i'm heavy handed so the build construction is very satisfying to an oaf such as me, the auto close of the door has been disabled (I prefer it this way) which does mean that unless your hearth is 110% level, you will encounter movement of the door (sometimes requiring jamming open with kindling whilst heavy cleaning or prepping for a burn).

For overnight fires, this is not designed to keep a fire in "proper" however after a good firing you will come down to find both glass & cast iron pretty warm to the touch, providing a low level heat store throughout the night.

Please note, my G3 is the stainless steel sided fire NOT the unit with heat storing via soapstone et al.

As far as "contemporary" classification is concerned it's probably due to the fact it ain't "twee" ..the sides can be changed (at a cost),..other than that it is a ruggedly built Austrian beast of which there are cheaper options available.

If your house is super insulated you'll feel the benefit of this efficient burner, if your house needs updating like mine it will struggle on the coldest snowiest / dampest days but ultimately overcome with thought to seasoned fuel being more calorifically able.

(it's altogether cheaper to top up your insulation either overall OR specifically to the room your burner is located in than to keep buying, & stacking & burning seasoned logs, I estimate £100 worth of additional insulation in my living room would improve the heat & therefore warm up time by around 30% ..or realistically the cost of 2/3 of a load of hardwood logs! ..time will tell.

No thick hearths required as this is easily within temp limits!

There are cheaper on the market, however I'm aware of quality & looks versus the "dark" area this stove lives ..a deep recess, we don't have more money than sense & therefore it was a big step to purchase, HOWEVER with oil, gas & electric prices going through the roof, this has been a thoroughly worthwhile investment reducing our oil useage to ZERO, & our winter / spring electricity consumption by 70% based on like for like seasonal bills.

Lastly to give you more of an idea as to reality versus new owner misty eyed review we are based on the edge of a field on the inner edge of the fens, high winds prevail much of the time reducing the core heat of the house, compared to how the house was before the stove, (open fire, oil rads, electric supplemental heat.) we have heat to spare without overloading the stove.

Firebox size is ample (5) in relation to room size & insulation, do buy logs in direct relation to the firebox to avoid extra work (ask your log supplier for appropriate logs).

Air-wash works well (5) when you remember to place logs correctly otherwise expect gradual dirtying of the glass, or far quicker if you burn coal!

It's not rocket science, but it is a very satisfying learning curve, sped up by purchase of a chimney thermometer (guidance only) & a wood moisture reader in order to help get the best from our investment.

Overall rating:

4.5 flames

Build Quality 5 flames (avg 5)
Quality of finish 5 flames (avg 5)
Value for money 4 flames (avg 4)
Ease of use 5 flames (avg 5)
Ease of lighting 5 flames (avg 5)
Firebox size 5 flames (avg 4.5)
How well does the airwash work 5 flames (avg 5)
Controllability 4 flames (avg 4.5)
Handle operation 4 flames (avg 4.5)
How likely are you to buy it again? 5 flames (avg 5)
What is your overall satisfaction? 5 flames (avg 5)