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14 October 2016

Cotswold Preview Magazine September 2016




Manufactured in Warwickshire, the Ecco Stove is one of the most unique masonry heaters on the market today. Its high efficiency and very low carbon emissions make it the ultimate alternative to a traditional wood-burning stove…

As autumn creeps in, thoughts turn to creating a feeling of cosiness at home. The Danes call this “hygge”, but it was their Nordic cousins, the Finns, who provided the inspiration for Ecco Stove.

After many years working in the heating industry, Warwickshire based David Ashmore had significant experience of building Finnish polished soapstone appliances, manufactured by a company named Nunnaunni. David says, “Nunnaunni, with their competitor Tulikivi, shared opposite sides of a mountain in Finland, producing high quality soapstone polished masonry heaters from the raw material they excavated. We had, as individuals, been building these appliances in England for the English marketplace and we were extremely happy with the style of heat these appliances produced. They work by quickly charging with heat and then releasing that heat slowly over a long period of time. The mass masonry on the appliance retains the heat charge very efficiently.”

However, the Finnish units were too large and heavy for the English market, so David decided to invent a masonry stove that could function in the same efficient way but be more compact and cost effective. Using contacts within the ceramics industry, David researched whether there could be a far denser product, with better heat absorption, reflection and emission than the typical clay, brick, concrete or soapstone from which masonry heaters were and are still constructed.

He says, “It was very important that we shrink the size and weight of the appliance to make it more acceptable within the home, whilst retaining those features of high heat absorption, very high combustion temperatures and slow heat release.” After much investigation and rigorous testing, silicon carbide (found in meteorites but also man made from carbon and sand) was found to offer these properties with only half the surface temperature of a conventional stove, making it safer for a family environment.

The company’s Business Development Director, Pete West, describes his personal experience of owning an Ecco Stove: “I wanted an alternative heating system. I didn’t want a boiler but I wanted something efficient that I could rely on. To test my Ecco Stove, over a four month period I turned the central heating down to 10 degrees and fired the stove twice a day for about two hours early in the morning and again at 8pm at night. I found none of the rooms in my house fell below 18 degrees – I had effectively heated my house without putting on the heating.”

The Ecco Stove achieves this by conserving its very hot initial charge and then releasing it slowly over a long period of time. Unlike a conventional burner, which gets very hot and quickly bounces this heat off walls, the Ecco Stove’s stone construction has a slower transfer of heat which passes around walls very gently. This allows for acclimatisation and equalisation of the temperature between the floor and ceiling. In this way, the heat never feels oppressive or is confined to one room.

Unlike soapstone appliances that can be fired only once a day, the silicon carbide can be fired all day, every day, allowing for an initial charge that distributes heat throughout the day but also allows for throwing on the occasional log if you like to keep the flames flickering.

The market for Ecco Stove has developed rapidly over recent years as people become aware of its existence. Pete West says, “There are lots of people in the UK who are now going from an open fire to a wood burning stove, due both to concern for the environment and a desire to reduce heating costs. We’ve seen more growth in the last 12–18 months than in the previous seven years as it’s suddenly caught people’s attention. Ecco Stove has been quickly picked up in Belgium and is starting to make waves in USA and Canada, too. We also have importers in France, Germany and Japan. Overall, it’s been an easier sell in Europe because there is more customer awareness of the technology.”

The stove is mainly British made, using imported glass, silicon carbide manufactured in Leicestershire and castings produced in Derbyshire. The units are then assembled in Warwickshire. They come in various sizes (580 – 678, denoting their width) and nine colour options. In terms of maintenance, the stoves simply require a similar programme to that of a conventional wood burning stove.

Ecco Stove is available locally from the Heat Store in Warwickshire or from the company’s other dealers throughout the country. The team are committed to raising awareness of their product and they attend a number of regional shows and exhibitions throughout UK, including the Moreton Show in Moreton-on-the-Marsh. You can learn more about the Ecco Stove at this year’s Moreton Show on Saturday 3 September.

Ecco Stove statistics:
•88% efficiency rating.
•Only 0.07% carbon output.
•Radiates 25% of its stored heat up to 12 hours after the fire has gone out.
•Heats the home for 12 hours from 7–10kg of wood logs.


Cotswold Preview