Review of The Petworth 8kw
Chesney or Clearview
My local dealer recommended either the Clearview Vision 500 or an 8KW Chesney for our 20 x 15 living room which is triple aspect and on a hilltop so quite exposed to the elements. They stated that they were both excellent stoves, it was purely down to aesthetics. I am sure that the dealers are heavily incentivised to push specific models and when pressed they said that in their opinion the Clearview was a bit more controllable, easier to light and kept the glass cleaner, it would also burn overnight which the Chesney would not since it is a more modern design and less air tight to meet emission regulations.So I ordered the Clearview but as we had so long to wait while our fireplace was rebuilt to accommodate it, I had more time to look into the various specifications including the Hetas website which claims that the Clearview is one of the most inefficient stoves just scraping through regulations.. This coupled with the fact that my partner had always preferred the more modern architectural appearance of the Chesney, caused me to change my order. I chose the Flatford (now known as Shipton) purely because it was the lowest in height and would still allow me clearance to use a stove fan (which incidentally does have a positive effect on heat circulation). The dealer assured me that the stove would arrive in two weeks, it actually took over two months as apparently Chesney had not anticipated the demand. This gave me problems with the installer but in the end we got it installed around a week after delivery. Iâ€™ve had open fires for years but this is my first stove and it takes a bit of practise to get the best out of it. Weâ€™ve had it for about 4 months and used it every day, so whatâ€™s it like? Well, itâ€™s easy to light and draws very well, the air control works well and gives good control of the fire from fully open to fully closed (although fully closed would not be recommended). The glass does stay fairly clean, I donâ€™t know about other people but with a good clean burn (dry wood and not closing down the air too much) it is almost spotless. It gets a bit smokey if a log falls to close to the front but needs nothing more than a wipe with some newspaper to clear. Even when shut right down it stays pretty clean. The stove takes a while to heat up, maybe 30 mins to reach optimal temperature during which time it consumes a fair amount of wood â€“ donâ€™t believe the 3 or 4 logs a night stories. Once itâ€™s hot itâ€™s a question of how many logs are put in at a time as to how much heat it gives off. If I load it up it will chuck out a lot of heat, but obviously use more wood but itâ€™s all controllable with practise. I tend to heat it up, let it burn down but not too much, then heat it up again in cycles rather than topping up with a single log continuously. So far so good,and now on to problemsâ€¦ It was not long before the air control lever would seize up completely when the stove was hot, I have since worked out that the stove may have been too hot. Without a temperature gauge itâ€™s not easy to tell, so I bought one but had to ask Chesneyâ€™s where to put it as there is no room on the front of the stove body. They advised left side 2â€ from top and 2â€ from front. I still have to use this to tell if itâ€™s up to temperature or getting too hot, but itâ€™s not easy to read because the fire sits in an alcove. So thatâ€™s the first issue but maybe I can overlook it as when running in the recommended zone itâ€™s fine. The next problem is the handle, because the handle closes inside the stove it is exposed to soot and because the handle is not a tight fit in the thread, that is also exposed to soot. This has the effect of causing the rotation and clasping of the handle to squeak very loudly to the point where it wakes up the kids upstairs! I have tried disassembling, lubricating with copper grease and separately with graphite powder which both work for a short time but then the squeaking returns, so this is a major annoyance. The next thing that happened was that the rope around the door started to fray and had to be replaced. The dealer replaced it FOC but the new rope must be a smaller diameter because when the door was refitted the handle had to be wound so far out to achieve a seal, that the thread is now exposed by about half a centimetre. While the handle is adjustable, it is only adjustable by whole rotations which result in it being too loose or too tight. The door is sealed properly but now the handle is looser than ever and does not sit in the correct position when fully shut â€“ as the stop is now beyond the grub screw. The next problem is noise, when warming up it makes very loud intermittent banging noises and sometimes a loud pop coming from inside. Once hot itâ€™s fine though, just a slight rush of air. I donâ€™t know if this is normal, maybe it is. The next problem is the glass, no matter how much I tighten or loosen the glass it vibrates continuously when hot â€“ sounds like a bee is trying to escape through it, again I donâ€™t know if this is normal but I canâ€™t fix it. Another minor but annoying issue is that the stove sits on feet on a granite hearth, the feet must not grip very well because since the door frequently opened and closed, the whole stove gradually rotates until it is an inch or so out of alignment with the fireplace and has to be eased back. Another very minor issue is that the cast iron plinth that the stove body sits on is made of 3 sections which do not line up with each other with much precision. It is only noticeable when loading so itâ€™s not a problem. Itâ€™s just when youâ€™re told you have purchased the highest quality stove made in the oldest and most experienced foundry in the UK, you have expectations. The rear fire brick is cracked already but I know that it is still ok to use. However I noticed while checking it that the stove lining behind the fire bricks is loose and can be moved around, I donâ€™t know if this is a potential issue. In summary then, it looks good when itâ€™s running or not running and does burn efficiently giving off good heat and is easy to light and control. The glass also stays pretty clean and is easy to clean. However there are minor annoyances as described. As such, since we used the stove daily I feel that the Clearview may have been a better and lower maintenance choice for us. There are a number of reasons why I now think the design and construction of the Clearview may be better: 1. The stove pipe is situated towards the back of the stove meaning that the stove will sit further into the room and therefore radiate more heat into the room, since the heat comes from the front top and sides. 2. The Clearview top plinth is welded to the stove. The Chesney top is not welded it just rests on the body, I think for this reason it never seems to get that hot that quickly as I am sure the heat must be conducted more efficiently to the welded top. 3. The Clearview door glass is double glazed which probably helps it stay cleaner even when â€˜keeping inâ€™ overnight. It will allow overnight burning which the Chesney will not. 4. The Clearview stove has a deeper fire box which makes positioning logs easier. Itâ€™s best to put new logs towards the back but there is not so much room on the Chesney. 5. The Clearview handle mechanisim sits outside the fire box avoiding the issues described, the controls also operate very smoothly, the Chesneyâ€™s are ok but not butter smooth. 6. The Clearview has a chin below the door which catches the ash that will inevitably spill out when loading, the Chesney does not so dumps it on the hearth which consequently needs constant sweeping, 7. The Clearview stove sits quite low in height so you can easily get a bigger fan on top if positioned inside an average fireplace. 8. The Clearview stove is 100% British made, some parts of the Chesney may be but I have heard differing accounts. The Clearview stoves I have seen look exceptionally well made, the quality of the welds and paint finish is amazing. 9. I would not be confident that I will still be using the Chesney in 10 or 20 yearâ€™s time but I am sure that any Clearview is built to last. I hope this review is useful to you, please donâ€™t be put off buying a Chesney because of my limited experience they are probably better than some others out there â€“ at least they look better! I can live with the issues and so we are happy with ours, whether I would have been happier with a Clearview perhaps, I will never know.
Stove expert replied: Some disappointing problems but you seem to have learned to live with them. An alternative to a stove thermometer is a flue thermometer which may be easier to see and gives accurate indication of the best working temperatures. Regarding the glass vibrating, was the flue draw checked at the time of installation, if you have a strong draw this may be causing the problem and can lead to less control of the unit and higher fuel consumption. If this is found to be the case a flue damper or stabilizer can be fitted to rectify this, ask your installer for further assistance.