Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19: any of the below is to be read in conjunction with the status given on the Home Page. Most common asked question right now is: “Do you have a stove available for immediate purchase right now?” Answer: only if you’re after a Matriarch! No, sorry.

Ordering
I know I want a Homewood: which model is going to suit me best?
How do I order my own Homewood stove?
So you have a waiting list?
But I’ve only just discovered you today, and need my own right now!
Can I talk to any of your existing customers?
Where can I see a Homewood stove in operation?
How much will my Homewood cost?
How much does a flue cost?
How much is the freight on my stove going to cost me?
How long is my Homewood Stove guaranteed for?
I don’t live in New Zealand, can you send me one to…?

Installation
How do I get my stove?
How will my Homewood stove get installed?
What can my heat shields be built out of?
Am I allowed a Homewood stove where I live?
What size area of my home is it going to heat?
How much hot water is my stove going to give me?
What size hot water cylinder do I need for my Homewood?
Will I be able to run radiators?
Can I have underfloor heating?

Operation
I’ve never cooked on a wood stove before, am I going to struggle?
How do I control the temperature in my oven(s)?
How do I run a good fire in my Homewood?
What sort of wood should I be burning in my stove?
Will my Homewood burn all night?
Can I use my Homewood all-year-around or will I cook in summer?
Is it environmentally friendly or responsible to burn wood?
I’ve purchased a property that already has a Homewood, and have no idea what I’m doing – HELP!

Terminology
Where I’m from a stove is just for heating – you must be meaning cooker?
Er, what’s a ‘wetback’…?
So what’s the difference between a wetback and a boiler?
What’s a hot water cylinder?


Ordering

I know I want a Homewood: which model is going to suit me best?
The Homewood Heritage – our original model – is a very impressive family stove. It remains our most popular model and is my default recommendation.

If the Heritage is just too big for your home or lifestyle, then the Homewood Companion – our smaller and most affordable model – is going to suit you better. It is a charming wee stove with a lot of character, and as the smallest it is also the most economical on fuel.

When unhampered by either space or budget considerations, and you want a real powerhouse of a stove that is going to make a big visual statement in your home, you really need to check out the Homewood Matriarch. It is truly in a class of its own, without peer or rival. To the best of our knowledge, it is the largest cast-iron stove still in production, anywhere in the world!

Please see the bottom of our stoves page for a more in-depth breakdown on the differences between our three models.

How do I order my own Homewood stove?
Send us an email! Let me know when you’re needing your Homewood, and which model you want, and I’ll take care of you from there.

For full ordering information, please see here.

So you have a waiting list?
Yes, we do. But so long as you’re thinking far enough ahead with your plans, we can normally fit in with people’s construction or renovation schedule.

But I’ve only just discovered you today, and need my own right now!
If you have only just discovered us and are needing one right away do still get in touch – it’s possible we might be able to juggle some things around to accommodate you!

We are often storing stoves for people whose own building or renovating plans have hit delays for one reason or another (maybe you can empathise!), and if they’re not needing it immediately they are often happy to swap places with someone in more urgent need. Send me an email!

Can I talk to any of your existing customers?
Absolutely.

Email us with your location and the model you’re most interested in, and we will send you some phone numbers or email addresses of customers who will be happy to talk to you about their Homewood; it’s likely that I may even be able to connect you with someone who lives nearby and is happy to show off their stove to you!

We also have a long (and growing!) list of testimonials (with pictures of various installations) that you can read, right here on our website.

Where can I see a Homewood stove in operation?
We only sell direct, and do not have our stoves in any retail outlets – you’re not going to see them on a showroom floor, sorry!

If you are local or visiting, the stoves can be viewed at our workshop or in our homes up here in Whangarei, Northland – for those of you further away though, they can be seen throughout New Zealand at the homes of customers who have kindly been willing to show off their stove to other people who are interested.

The customers you may visit or talk with are not under any obligation whatsoever to only say nice things about us or our stoves, and receive nothing from us for their service (other than our gratitude), so ask them whatever you like! We want you to get a full appreciation for what Homewood is all about, and believe actual customers who use them can give you a far better idea than any paid salesman in an office or showroom.

So if you want to see a stove in action (and we really do encourage it – photos and even videos can’t quite capture the magic of a warm stove that comes alive with a glowing fire!), send us an email with your location and the model you are most interested in, and we’ll see what we can arrange for you in your area.

How much will my Homewood cost?
Homewood Heritage: $12,600 + GST
Homewood Companion: $9,300 + GST
Homewood Matriarch: $19,500 + GST

All prices are in New Zealand Dollars! Goods and Services Tax is currently 15% and only applies to New Zealand customers. If you are buying your stove as part of a business (eg: restaurant, bed and breakfast, etc), you may have a legitimate way of claiming this GST back.

All stoves come with baking trays, oven racks and stove tools included, and we do not charge extra for the standard water jacket. These prices do not include any flue (requirements vary from house-to-house), nor freight (depends entirely on where you are!), nor any splashback or rack (any that you may be admiring in photos will have been custom built by the end user for their specific install – not something we [yet?] offer).

How much does a flue cost?
The price of a flue kit depends on the height of your ceiling and roof, whether-or-not there are any extra storeys involved and/or severe angles or anything non-standard.

An average price for a straightforward flue kit might be around $600 – 800 NZD; your plumber or local heat shop can sort you out, or you can get one from us.

We don’t manufacture them ourselves, but do have an Auckland-based supplier through whom we can source kits to suit your requirements. Normally only makes sense if you’re in the North Island (any savings I might be able to get you are normally lost in the inter-island freight): just send us an email for a quote.

How much is the freight on my stove going to cost me?
We use Mainfreight to ship your stove to you. We can arrange for them to deliver to your door, or to their nearest depot where you can collect it with a trailer or ute (often more convenient: cheaper, but can also be handy to have the stove already at trailer or ute height for getting it into your house – plus collecting from the depot means you needn’t have to coordinate with a truck driver!).

Please email me your delivery address if you would like a freight quote.

You are most welcome to collect your stove from our workshop yourself, at no charge. We’ll load it on your trailer, ute, or horse float!

How long is my Homewood Stove guaranteed for?
Here in New Zealand, all our stoves are guaranteed for FIVE years against defective materials and sub-standard workmanship, provided all installation, operation and maintenance directions are correctly followed.

This is not to say you should only expect a 5-year lifespan on your stove, far from it! Five years was decided on to give ample opportunity for any manufacturing fault or defect to show up. As some of the surviving coalranges from the 1800s show us, cast-iron is capable of outlasting us all, when properly looked after. Our stoves are designed for you to be able to look after and maintain, and you read more about seasoning and routine maintenance in the later parts of our Operating Manuals.

If you were to run into any kind of problems beyond your warranty period, absolutely still let us know, and we’ll help you to get it sorted. We are most definitely not the sort of company that just wants to make the sale then forget you – we believe in what we do, and want to see you getting the best out of your stove for decades to come.

I don’t live in New Zealand, can you send me one to…?
Yes – we can export! We’ve sent individual stoves direct to end customers like yourself in Europe, the USA, Australia and some of the islands in the near Pacific now, with many more to follow.

Please read this article on the export process for more information.


Installation

How do I get my stove?
You can collect it yourself from our workshop in Whangarei, otherwise we transport our stoves throughout New Zealand using Mainfreight. They can either deliver the stove straight to your door, or to the Mainfreight depot closest to you, depending on which best suits.

To your door is generally more expensive and requires coordinating with the truck driver; depot collections can be done at your convenience and are usually a fair bit cheaper, but require access to a ute or trailer – we provide quotes for either options.

Please read this article for full delivery and manoeuvring advice.

How will my Homewood stove get installed?
Grab a copy of our installation specifications from our downloads page, print it out and give it a full read (and you probably need to give a copy to your local council!): there’s plenty of useful information that will go a long way to help during the planning stage.

The actual installation process is not complicated, but must be done correctly. It’s a matter of preparing the area as needed in advance (any concreting, tiling or brickwork – completely dependant on the type of finish you’re wanting – see our Gallery for inspiration), requesting delivery, moving the stove into place, confirming safe installation clearances, having your plumber connect the water jacket pipes if applicable, and installing a flue.

Installation costs depend on how much preparatory work you can do yourself, the simplicity or complexity of your installation, and the hourly rate of your plumber and his speed! If everything is prepared, it doesn’t take long to manoeuvre the stove into place and have the plumber attach the wetback connections.

We are very happy to offer you individual advice and guidance on your installation, so get in touch if you have any questions.

What can my heat shields be built out of?
Unless you have a non-combustible wall that the stove is being installed against (eg: concrete block wall, earth wall, metal framing lined with non-combustible mineral board), you will very likely start employing shields, in order for the stove to still be allowed to be built in as close as possible to the heat sensitive wall behind (see ‘Safe Installation Clearances’/’Reduced Installation Clearances’/’Heat Shield Construction’ sections of the Installation Specifications).

Many people will opt for non-combustible heat shields that are themselves the final finish: things like brick, stone, or rustic iron/other metal/etc, some types of glass, and so on.

Many others want a tiled finish, due to the ease of wiping tiles clean, or the general aesthetic. Even though ceramic tiles themselves are non-combustible, you can’t just plonk them on a combustible wall, and expect them to act as a heat shield. Instead, they should be mounted on an appropriately-spaced (see air gap requirements in the ‘Reduced Installation Clearances’/’Heat Shield Construction’ sections of the Installation Specifications) non-combustible mineral board product.

There are some misconceptions about what constitutes ‘non-combustible’, so please be aware that anything with a maximum service temperature rating of less than 150º C is still considered to be ‘heat sensitive’ under the AS/NZS 2918 installation standard, would require shielding itself, and certainly would not satisfy the requirements of a heat shield.

Despite it’s name, FireGIB is one such product to avoid – it’s called that for it’s slow burn time, not because it doesn’t burn! It helps build fire-rated walls in areas where slowing down the spread of fire is important, but is totally inappropriate as a heat shield, due to it’s low max service temperature, and the fact that it will still eventually burn. Villaboard/HardieBoard/etc are also sometimes incorrectly believed to be non-combustible (“Maximum service temperature for the Villaboard Lining is 60º C“).

On reviewing some technical documents, here are some [not intended as an exhaustive list!] non-combustible options I am aware of (please let me know of any dead links, out-of-date information, or other alternatives-readily available in New Zealand), links to their datasheets, and ways to source them:

Promatect-H; Pacific Build Supply Ltd; 9 – 12 – 15 – 20 mm thickness options
Source from here: https://www.forman.co.nz/ – centres in Auckland/Wellington/Christchurch; can buy directly from them as cash customers, or they can arrange delivery.
Hebel – 75 mm thick
Source from here: https://www.hebel.co.nz/product/powerpanel-xl/
Eterpan; 6 – 9 – 12 mm thickness options
Source from here: https://www.fibrecementsolutions.co.nz/
PRIMAflex; 6 – 7.5 – 9 – 12 mm thickness options
Source from Bunnings, I think?
(“PRIMAflex™ sheet is considered a non-combustible material and need not be separated from heat sources such as fire places, heating appliances, flues and chimneys.” – BRANZ)

As far as I am aware, they all come in standard sheet sizes/etc. Where only tiling a certain height up the wall, still use one of these products in place of your regular surrounding wall cladding right up to the ceiling (venting as per air gap vent requirements, see ‘Heat Shield Construction’ section of Installation Specifications), and be sure to paint any non-tiled sections with an appropriate high-temperature paint.

Promatect-H I believe used to be called ‘Promina’ and they are happy to sell direct to end users out of their Auckland/Wellington/Christchurch centres. Hebel is an autoclaved, aerated concrete product (coming in both block and panel form) and it’s thinnest panel is 75 mm thick, so probably overkill in most situations, but great where it is actually forming the wall. PRIMAflex I had never heard of, but looks to be another non-combustible mineral board product and while the Bunnings website didn’t list any particular products, it does say it’s one of their carried brands, so may be the simplest to source?

Am I allowed a Homewood stove where I live?
Cooking stoves (all Homewood stoves are cookers) are completely exempt (and actually excluded!) from the emissions testing requirements and associated restrictions under the Australia/New Zealand National Standard, so in theory can be installed anywhere, nationwide, no matter your property size.

However, some local councils (eg: Environment Canterbury!) have imposed extra regulations, over and beyond the National Standard that may restrict your ability to install a cooking stove. It may still be possible to install a cooking stove in some of these stricter urban places, by applying for exemption to the local regulations, probably via resource consent.

If you live outside of Australia or New Zealand, none of our stoves have been tested under your local authorities, though it should be noted that all three of our models have the required features to meet Washington State’s stringent definition of what a cook stove is, meaning they are similarly-exempt from any EPA emissions testing requirement, even in the strictest of USA states.

What size area of my home is it going to heat?
The Homewood Companion will heat a well-insulated area of up to around 125m2 (8 – 10 kW)
The Homewood Heritage will heat a well-insulated area of up to around 150m2 (10 – 12 kW)
The Homewood Matriarch will heat a well-insulated area of up to around 175m2 (12 – 14 kW)

The more centrally-located the installation, and more open plan the area, the more easily heat will disperse by itself. Where installed in smaller areas or non-central locations, you may want to think about getting hot air moving around via heat transfer kits, or encouraged to circulation with a ceiling fan.

How much hot water is my stove going to give me?
In normal use (ie: usable oven temperatures!) and standard plumbing configurations:
– the Homewood Companion has a wetback output of 3 – 4 kW
– the Homewood Heritage has a wetback output of 4 – 5 kW
– the Homewood Matriarch has a wetback output of 5 – 6 kW

Our Homewood Heritage model can instead be fitted with an advanced wetback that increases hot water output to 8 – 9 kW, if you are requiring more hot water capacity.

See our guide to hot water heating for a LOT more information on all things water-heating-via-fire.

What size hot water cylinder do I need for my Homewood?
We recommend a cylinder with a capacity of at least 220 litres, but bigger is generally better. You have a lot more to consider than just size, please see our guide to hot water heating for a full break down on hot water systems.

Will I be able to run radiators?
Yes! There are plenty of Homewoods out there running radiators.

Our stoves are not central heating units, they are first and foremost cooking ranges, so if you are planning large-scale radiator/underfloor heating systems you will want to supplement your Homewood’s water production.

That’s not to say radiators are a bad idea – running a couple of panels can be a great and sensible way to both warm a cooler part of your home, while also giving your water jacket system an overflow for those times when its production is outstripping your hot water usage.

Every set-up is different (size and location of panels); read our water heating guide and involve a knowledgeable plumber or central heating expert during the planning stage!

As a general idea, if you were to set something with them alone, they should each happily run:
The Companion – only really 1, maybe 2 panels at 1 kW ea
The Heritage – up to 2-3 panels at 1 kW ea
The Matriarch – up to 3-4 panels at 1 kW ea
when running a thermostat-controlled system.

As above, the Heritage can instead be fitted with an advanced wetback that increases the output and can run around 7 or so panels at 1 kW ea.

We strongly recommend a thermostat-controlled system (which can have manual overrides), running on a two-step switch, as they regulate the circulating pump to switch on and send heat to the radiators at (say) 80 C, so your cylinder never boils, and then switch off at (say) 65 C, so you’re never caught short of domestic hot water when you’re wanting a shower! Again, read the water heating guide!

Can I have underfloor heating?
Same answer as above, re: radiators. Every 10m2 of underfloor heating you plan to have on at once will require 1 kW of water heating, is a rule of thumb we were once given. Again, see our water heating guide.


Operation

I’ve never cooked on a wood stove before, am I going to struggle?

Not at all! I had never used any kind of woodstove before meeting Zak, and was a bit nervous to try. I shouldn’t have been!
Compared to a conventional oven, I discovered that you can be a lot more relaxed about exact cooking times and temperatures. The indirect heat of a radiating cast iron oven just seems gentler and more forgiving.
One of the best differences that I had never really thought about until I started using one myself, was how much I loved just always having an oven and cooking surface available anytime I took the fancy to do some baking. When the fire is going, and you are enjoying its warmth, you can just cook as much or as little as you please, whenever you feel like it. I can always feel a bit stressed when baking with an electric or gas oven (and don’t enjoy it half as much), just with being conscious that I’m running electricity or using gas, so feeling I need to quickly rush and get everything sorted and in. There’s none of that pressure with a woodstove, it’s just relaxing!
So relaxing that you may have a hiccup or two early on after completely forgetting that you have something in the oven because you’re just enjoying the fire so much, but that’s all just part of the adventure! I’ve loved exploring and experimenting with trying different things, and I’m sure you will too 🙂
On our Feedback page you’ll read plenty of stories of people being amazed at how much more enjoyable their cooking became after they installed their Homewood, and I agree with everyone who says the food tastes better!

Janie

How do I control the temperature in my oven(s)?
Oven temperature is the result of air and fuel. A good fire will see your main oven sitting nicely in the 180 – 200 degrees C range within 30 – 45 minutes of starting your fire, a nice bed of embers established and your air controls closed. To run the oven hotter, you refuel more often and/or give it more air. To run it slower (mostly applicable for the Companion, due to the Heritage and Matriarch models having slower ovens available!), you refuel less often, with minimal air.

You can find full details of all this in the Operating Manuals on our Downloads page.

How do I run a good fire in my Homewood?
A good fire is all in the start-up: doubly true in cooking stoves or anything else with a similarly-large thermal mass. Clean, economical and efficient burning only happens up at good, well-established combustion temperatures.

For this reason, you will really push your stove along when first lighting it up: being very generous with both air and dry fuel (smaller-sized softwoods, ideally!) – letting all the mass of refractory brick material and iron absorb heat, getting up to temperatures that then allow for slower, cleaner and more economical burning.

Within 30 – 45 minutes of start-up you should have a good glowing bed of embers in your firebox, and a fire and oven temperatures than can now just be maintained by the infrequent addition of larger (hardwood) logs.

What sort of wood should I be burning in my stove?
Dry wood!

Having a mix of both soft and hard woods is ideal. Softwoods (harvested from trees that don’t lose their leaves in winter) are lighter and faster-burning than hardwoods – this means they release their energy quicker, making them the best at establishing good combustion temperatures quickly when first lighting, or if you’re wanting to quickly boost oven temperatures. Hardwoods meanwhile are much denser (same-sized piece of hardwood will be much heavier) and burn a lot slower, releasing their energy over a longer period of time. This means they excel at maintaining an already-established fire.

Your softwood does the initial work getting everything up to temperature, and then your hardwood takes over, so you can go long periods without re-fueling.

As for specific types, that deserves its own article! But your number one priority should be that whatever you are burning, it is dry.

A trick (of dubious advisability! You really do want wood that has been allowed to dry and season well in the first place) for those times when you are forced to make do with not-quite-dry wood: try using your oven to pre-bake the next log to be added! Yes, drying that log will still waste heat and energy, but at least it dries without dropping the combustion temperatures of your fire and will not burn dirtily.

Can a Homewood Stove burn all night?
Yes! Sure can, even the smaller Companion runs all night!

Many of our Southern customers keep their stove in constant use, only letting it die down for cleaning. You just need to establish a good bed of embers on which to place a large, dry piece of hardwood for the night. For customers at the colder ends of the country, this is an important asset. For those of us in the North, it’s not so crucial – especially with how easy the Homewood is to light. More details can be found in our Operating Manuals.

Can I use my Homewood all-year-around or will I cook in summer?
While plenty only run their stove in the cooler parts of the year, plenty of others DO run their stove all year around, particularly in off-grid situations where relying on it as the primary (or sole!) source of cooking, heating, and hot water production.

We made a video about this:


This video looks at ways to manage the heat as it becomes less welcome over summer.

Is it environmentally friendly or responsible to burn wood?
Yes, assuming that you’re properly operating an efficient, modern wood stove like any of the Homewood models, with dry, well-seasoned wood. Burning wood is carbon neutral, 100% renewable and more sustainable than almost any other form of energy.

Though the stoves we make can run coal, they are first and foremost designed as wood burners with large fireboxes, and function amazingly on wood alone.

I’ve just purchased a property that has a Homewood and have no idea what I’m doing – HELP!
We’ve been in business many years now, and there are many hundreds of our stoves spread throughout NZ. If you have recently bought a property that already has a Homewood installed I strongly encourage you to:
– read the Operating Manual
– sweep the flue
– follow the full clean procedure from the manual
– run it as per the manual; the key to happy running is really pushing it along (being generous with both air and smaller-sized fuel) in the starting phase (Stage One and Two from the manual). Your Homewood has many hundred kg of thermal mass; you want to get that all heated up as quickly as possible in order to establish good combustion temperatures so that you can then switch to a much more economical way of running: with larger logs of slower burning hardwoods
get in touch with us if needing any parts, missing tools or just extra advice!

If an old-fashioned cast-iron cooking stove was never really something you imagined owning, it may seem daunting having to learn how to run one, but it is actually really simple, and there are many people out there now who have fallen in love with their Homewood after having purchased a home that already had one installed.


Terminology

Where I’m from a stove is just for heating – you must be meaning cooker?
We’re aware that in other parts of the world what we in NZ call a ‘stove’ or ‘woodstove’ is instead referred to as a cooker, a wood cooker, a range, a cooking range or even a cook stove; while plain old ‘stove’ is reserved for solid fuel heaters, which here in NZ we just call fireplaces, space heaters, or simply fires.

Er, what’s a ‘wetback’…?
Here in NZ (and I believe Australia too?), a ‘wetback’ is what we call the thing inside the the firebox that has water cycling through it getting heated (generally located as the back wall of the firebox, hence the name).

Elsewhere, these might get called a water jacket or water heater. Or sometimes a boiler, but really that’s something else again.

So what’s the difference between a wetback and a boiler?
A boiler usually has industrial application, and normally refers to a high pressure system that is producing steam. Wetbacks / water jackets are low pressure systems intended to produce hot water only.

What’s a hot water cylinder?
A hot water cylinder is a storage vessel that holds preheated hot water in it, ready to be distributed throughout the home whenever a tap (faucet!) is turned on.

Read more in our hot water heating guide.


Have a question not on this list? Send us an email – we will be happy to help!