Review of Esse 350 stove

Owned since 2008. Saved us a fortune and works great!

Clive Turner 11 years ago

We bought our place in 2007 and moved in during October '07. There was an awful gas fire in what used to be an open fire in the living room.

I found the Esse 350 after a lot of looking, and installed it in the winter of 07-8.

It cost around £800 and another £100 for a red door instead of a plain one. It paid for itself the first winter, including its fuel.

With young children and their mother at home, we would have needed the gas boiler running far more than we do with this stove.

After more than 5 years, I can share this:

We now use a 50/50 mix of small anthracite and homefuel nuts, which give a perfect balance of heat and ease of lighting. We also burn some logs and wood that we get free. The coal costs around £500 a year. We only use the stove to heat the whole house except on the coldest days. Last winter it was only 'out' two or three times, otherwise we kept it going 24/7. This mix of fuel will go 14 or more hours with all air shut-down and around 4 to 5 hours with the air open enough to have the whole 4-bedroom house really warm.

I calculated, based on the use of gas before we got the stove in and running, that we would have used £1500 more of gas to have the same kind of warmth in our house all winter. So £500 of coal saves £1500 gas for us.

I've had to replace the grate once (last year) and this year it needs a new throat plate. Otherwise, its going fine and very reliably. We sweep the chimney once a year with this fuel mix. We also have a carbon monoxide alarm in our living room, just in case. I should also mention our chimney is an 'outside' one, but we've had no problems with drawing or with condensate etc, perhaps because for every run the stove has fully shut down, its also runs fully open and hot.

I'm really pleased with this stove, and with the direct support from Esse and Glynn the designer when first installing it.

I have recommended this type of stove to several others who enquired why our house was always so lovely and warm and enjoyed the cheerful flicker of the fire.

Key points

- anthacite/homefuel mix is best, and only use the bottom air (top/airwash shut) once its alight

- wood, only use the top air (bottom air fully closed) for a proper burn.

Don't use fresh cut unseasoned or wet wood.

Johnsons wet wipes are fantastic for cleaning the glass on the inside (when its cold!).

Stove expert replied: A stove running 24/7 should have at least two short periods of fast burn (15 - 20mins) twice a day to burn off any deposits produced in the slow burning periods. A stove should be let out once a month to check that the airways are clear. A Carbon Monoxide Alarm is a requirement for any stove installation and should be retrofitted if there is not one currently installed. Great review and good savings being made.

Overall rating:

4.5 flames

Build Quality 4 flames (avg 3.4)
Quality of finish 4 flames (avg 3.4)
Value for money 5 flames (avg 3.2)
Ease of use 5 flames (avg 3.9)
Ease of lighting 5 flames (avg 3.9)
Firebox size 4 flames (avg 3.5)
How well does the airwash work 4 flames (avg 3.2)
Controllability 4 flames (avg 3.3)
Handle operation 5 flames (avg 3.8)
How likely are you to buy it again? 5 flames (avg 3.2)
What is your overall satisfaction? 4.5 flames (avg 3.4)