Saturday, 30 October 2010

Burning decisions

I have made some PROGRESS…. Note the majiscules. 
After what seems to have been several months of ongoing, from-time-to-time-research, I have, at last, decided to buy two woodburners from a new company, who being only one month in business with their shop still not consumer ready, and having visited two other woodburner businesses in one day, we were pleased to have stumbled upon.
In addition, I have surfed the net to research woodburner companies in France, woodburner companies in our region of France and woodburner companies in UK and those with websites of particular brands / marques of woodburner stoves as opposed to multifuel stoves, gathering useful information so as to at least have a little knowledge!
Now, there is a difference in woodburners and I don’t just mean wood pellets or oak logs! 

I am not a technically-minded-creature so I cannot possibly re-iterate all that I have learned but I will say that whatever I HAVE learned is just the tip of the iceberg and I would like to learn more, but,  just as I cannot afford the chateau when I can only afford a garden shed, I cannot afford the type of woodburner my heart desires, therefore and of course with some things in life one just has to compromise.

What is it about buying AND INSTALLING a woodburner in France that is so difficult?
Well, for me, nothing is simple in my life! So, that is an aforesaid! Now to the practicalities, procedures and facts!

1.      One has to invite the company to one’s house to study the chimney / fireplace to measure dimensions and to verify that it will accept the woodburner and to establish how the company will install it.  That appointment has to be made several weeks ahead of when one wants to install the woodburner, because 
      a) it will take several weeks before they can to do ‘l’etude’,  
      b) it will take at least two weeks after that for the estimate of the works to arrive!  
      c) it may take several weeks for the woodburner to be ordered and installed!  
      So be prepared to say Goodbye to at least one to two or months and pray that life continues!
2.     IF as a law-abiding English person living in France on a full-time basis and therefore registered to pay French taxes one wishes to apply for the 40% or 25% tax rebate, one needs to buy the woodburner from the installer!  This precludes buying a woodburner online!  As a result of this knowledge we did sums to compare the costs of buying a cheaper and/or more expensive woodburner online and not gaining the tax rebate with buying a cheaper and/or more expensive woodburner from a buyer/installer and applying for the tax rebate.  The difference can be and has been surprising! Please note also that France may well reduce this tax option at the end of December of this year, hence the fact that all woodburner companies are fully-booked!
3.     Other complications set in!   One cannot find out the price of a woodburner from a French company because they want to come to the house to do the ‘l’etude’ so you have to enter the game!  I have not been able to find out the sale price of a particular brand of woodburner from one establishment without this farce.
4.    When we came across the new company, I was amazed.   The proprietor was prepared to give an estimate according to Captain Sensible’s plan, diagram and measurements AND within a few minutes of enquiry we had a devis / estimate as opposed to a 4 week wait!  More importantly, whereas from one company we had been quoted 650 euros to install each of the two woodburners we were now being quoted 150 euros to install the two woodburners. Subsequently, from a different entreprise, I have been quoted 200 euros to install one woodburner if they come and install the two!     We realise the profits have been added to the cost of the woodburner but I have also gained a 15% reduction on the cost of each woodburner.   
  5. Another shop will not tell me how much a Jotul or Dovre woodburner will cost me because they have to come and do the study which will be in 2 weeks time!  NO, I cannot wait further at this time of year.
6.     An Englishman and his company working in France for over 10 years sounds to be a reputable company and eventually after some mystery and hesitation he agreed to work from the plan with measurements. However, I discovered that their website does not suggest that they can get me a certain  brand of woodburner that is not advertised on their site!  A telephone call does suggest this! Of course I have chosen the upper end of the market with the Jotul range and because I wanted two woodburners with side doors and in enamelled Ivory colour, one with  12kw or more and one with about 9kw he can order these. If I had known this back in June I might have been more tempted!  
7.     Also.... there is a requirement that the installer is responsible for the chimney, and in the case of any impending unwanted "fire in the chimney", the insurance company makes a claim against the installer and obviously, the installer has to guarantee his installation to the house insurance company.   Hence, most probably these are the reasons for the installer to inspect the chimney, maintain the mystery and assume all expertise. If without someone who has previously installed woodburners then I think one is under their spell. I am lucky. My partner has a technical and practical mind and has installed woodburners before.
8.   By now I have sussed out that certain companies purchase e.g. the Dovre model and market it under a Franchise brand name.  
9.   Now, that is where I have ended my research because of the restrictions, mais bien sur, on the pocket and wallet!  The company which we stumbled upon now has my confidence and order within two days of correspondence.   I have paid 30% for the installation of two Dovre-models of woodburners to be installed at the end of November, when I will pay the balance of 70%.  The designated wood burners have flat waffle-patterned beds and are not for multifuel.  The proprietors did not encircle me with magic and mystery of woodburners for they quickly realized we had gained our knowledge from our research and were prepared to gain a sale realising that our measurements were adequate for a devis / estimate.  Voila! They have succeeded where others have prevaricated!
10.  I hope this story ends successfully and that the woodburner mystery saga will be solved after some more hard work on our part, so that logs and luxurious comfort compared to the current cold ambiance will be welcomed at my new house.
11. Meanwhile the Nestor Martin at Village de Vaux beats out the heat in almost November and keeps us as warm as toast on a  Sunday morning.

1 comment:

Carolyn said...

It's at times like these that I appreciate having two heads to work out these tricky things. (On re-reading that, I want to clarify--I don't have two heads! The second head is my husband's). Your buying/installation process is incredibly complicated. But your perseverance will pay off. Don't you love wood heat?