Review of Ecoboiler seb20

SEB20. A smoker

Chris Ryall

We have had this stove (Model SEB20. Serial No 20 00377) in our home since 2008. It is one of a number we (as builders) installed during 2008/2009.

It is gravity connected to a Dunsley Baker neutralizer which also has an LPG boiler as a backup.

The stove has proved more than adequate to the demands made on it.

In addition to heating a 40sq meter lounge /diner it maintains hot water in our 120 Ltr tank and a heating system comprising 7 radiators with a rated output of 20k Btu+.

In the first year we ran it, we cut our LPG consumption by 75% from an average of 12no 46kg bottles a year down to 3.

We generally run it on timber with a little anthracite nut to see it through the night.

During the severe weather last year we ran it continuously for 41 days. With a charge of anthracite nuts in the fire box the thermostat control put the fire into slumber quite happily overnight until the CH pump came on in the morning.

I cannot fault this fire for heat output, it is excellent given its size. However it does have one major drawback:

The stove belches smoke into the room ever time the door is opened to refill it. I have checked every stove we installed and they all seem to suffer the same problem.

These stoves were fitted into a wide variety of flue systems from 200x200 brick with registry plate, and lined stone flue right through to modern double insulated s/steel systems, all of which have had flue draught measurements checked.

From observing my fire at all the different states: fast / slow burn, just lit, slumber etc the problem appears to be caused by the Flue Exhaust Diversion System (FEDS) which is fitted in place of the more conventional throat plate found in most stoves.

The FEDS, in the form of a forward sloping two part baffle, mounted in the roof of the fire box seems to direct much of the combustion products towards the top front of the fire box with the result the these come out through the door as soon as it is opened!

The manufactures quote for the FEDS is as follows- "All Stratford Ecoboilers are fitted with a Flue Exhaust Diversion System (FEDS) which replicates the throat plate found in dry stoves. The FEDS is specifically designed to improve performance and efficiency of the Ecoboiler stove as well as being quick and easy to remove for sweeping the chimney."

It may well be that the FEDS does all that is claimed of it, and whilst it is undoubtedly efficient it is alas a smoke belcher.

Stove expert replied: As the stove only smokes when the door opened I would suggest further enquiries are made relating to the flue. Also check that there is enough air in the room and possibly install an airbrick.

Overall rating:

3.5 flames

Build Quality 4 flames (avg 4.5)
Quality of finish 4 flames (avg 4.6)
Value for money 5 flames (avg 4.6)
Ease of use 4 flames (avg 4.1)
Ease of lighting 3 flames (avg 4.4)
Firebox size 3 flames (avg 4.4)
How well does the airwash work 4 flames (avg 3.7)
Controllability 5 flames (avg 4.4)
Handle operation 1 flames (avg 3.6)
How likely are you to buy it again? 1 flames (avg 3.6)
What is your overall satisfaction? 3 flames (avg 4.1)