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Rayburn 355 SFW and full time work.

by Podes


We have just bought a cottage (awaiting completion). 

There is no gas at all in the village. Most of the locals use oil. Some run on electricity alone.

The Rayburn 355 SFW has caught our attention, we think it will look just right in the cottage and the idea of going back to solid fuel is appealing.

We will only have 4 smallish radiators to heat and there are only two of us for hot water so I am certain this model is more than up to the job. I even thought of using an immersion and installing an electric shower rather than thermostatic mixer for the warmer months.

I think I understand how the Rayburn works and also can appreciate the level of extra work that will be involved after leaving behind the Glow Worm installed in the flat we currently let.

The only two worries I have for this system not being completely compatible to our lifestyle is that Mon-Fri we are both out of the house from 8:30 till 17:30 so will I be spending all of my free time in the evening preparing fires and waiting to cook my dinner?

Also what do people do during the Summer? If you don't need to heat the house or the water it seems silly making a fire to heat your baked beans. I've read of some people having a separate oven and hob for this purpose but for such a small cottage this setup feels like overkill!

Thank you for taking the time to read. I hope you can help.




last edited on
by JW

Hi Podes

Sorry don't recommend a solid fuel Rayburn if you are out all day. You might manage to stoke it up in the morning and then damp it down to keep it in all day, but to rev it up again when you return and get it hot enough to cook on is going to take too long unless you like midnight feasts? We had a solid fuel one when we first moved to our cottage and it was hopeless as an only source of cooking. We changed over to oil with a (well 2 in fact) pressure jet - very quick to get up to temp. We have a small (500) electric cooker for summer use. It is a practical solution and as it's just half a unit wide it doesn't take up much space and for the kitchen fashion conscience, it is black to match the Rayburn. An electric immersion heater is also a 'must' for back up.

Oil versus bags of coal in terms of costs? well much the same we found anyway.

If you do go for a solid fuel Rayburn, there are loads about 2nd hand, don't by new, but watch out for rusted out boilers.

If we were more at home and in the market now, then we would probably get a wood or pellet burner to qualify for the government grant. 

Maybe helps????

by doniv

Grant ? Surprised 

Where ? - gimme, gimme Cool 

You got a link to that JW ? - Pretty please Smile 


'Tis the time's plague, when madmen lead the blind. - Shakespear - King Lear
by lowlander

I've got a solid fuel Rayburn, and we are regularly away from the house for those sorts fohours, sometimes longer. We bank up the fire and leave the top lid down; when we come back, it should just be  a case of a gentle riddle with the poker in the fire itself, and open the dampers, ready within half an hour or so for cooking. The other option is to use it as a slow cooker - leave a pan of something on the end to cook while you are out, then just up the stove to finish it off. Mine does no radiators, but plenty of hot water, and is the main source of heating for the house. I have no other cooker, and mine stays on 365 days a year,burning British coal at the moment, but will be over to wood in the not too distant future.

I would never have anything else now, bar a wood burning stove.
by alchemist

Whether you decide to go for a solid fuel cooker or not, it is often an advantage to have a solid fuel stove with a flat top so that you can cook on it in emergency if you rely on electricity. Unless an oil cooker is gravity fed, it will need an electric pump.

last edited on
by davecook

Hi all, just a quick pop in as I'm around!

A couple of my thoughts on this:


Posted by: Podes


The only two worries I have for this system not being completely compatible to our lifestyle is that Mon-Fri we are both out of the house from 8:30 till 17:30 so will I be spending all of my free time in the evening preparing fires and waiting to cook my dinner?

Also what do people do during the Summer? If you don't need to heat the house or the water it seems silly making a fire to heat your baked beans. I've read of some people having a separate oven and hob for this purpose but for such a small cottage this setup feels like overkill!

If you do go for the Rayburn, and are installing a system from scratch, consider getting solar hot water for the Summer. Combined with an immersion heater and the Rayburn, you should get cheaper hot water than if you went with one system alone. And remember, there will be a few Spring and Autumn months when you get some heat from the panels as well as the Rayburn for your water, cutting your fuel consumption down a bit. And fuel consumption is something to consider. If you are going to run one through the Summer to heat a can of beans, you will be looking at about £2 worth of coal to get your system hot enough to heat some beans. Cheaper to get a portable electric hob like this:

Also comes in handy if you want to cook something when the Rayburn is not that hot, but you don't want to fire it up all the way. If you rigidly use the Rayburn alone for your cooking all Summer, you will have a huge coal bill and a lot of open windows, complete waste of energy when you just want that tins of beans heated.

If you do want another source of heat, I'd go with Lowlander, wood stoves are brilliant for the living room. One would also fit very neatly into an integrated heating system if you are planning from scratch. You can get a lot of heat out of a wood burner and if you get home from work, fancy a tin of beans in front of a hot fire, well, you have the best of all worlds without being a slave to one form of heating and cooking Smile 

All humans should be free range and never kept in offices!
by davecook
Posted by: donthre

Grant ? Surprised 

Where ? - gimme, gimme Cool 

Link here:

Sadly, they have not updated the site recently, as the grants are no longer available in England and Wales.

£100 towards a wood stove wasn't worth the effort anyway.

Better to polish that speedboat of yours Don, make up that £100 another way wink

All humans should be free range and never kept in offices!
last edited on
by alchemist

As far as I remember that Dave, it was to encourage wood chip and pellet. Wood chip is less useful for home heating as you need to have a store and the room for fill ups. Pellet can be bought in bags like coal, but it has only just started to be made in this country, so a lot will be imported. Logs and coal are easier to deal with and to obtain.

There are some other initiatives through the English Woodland Grant Scheme (and presumably WGS in other parts of the UK), but these are more suitable for people looking at assessing unmanaged woods and providing infrastructure.

Would definately agree with you about the solar water heating if you are putting in a system from scratch.


I would love to have a blank canvas as regards a heating/cooking system. We have a solid fuel rayburn(space heating only as the distances are too great for gravity and this place was originally going to be a holiday home) and a back boiler wood burner that adds to the hot water/heating via an old chestnut of mine; the Dunsley Baker neutraliser along with a standard oil fired boiler.. 

With hindsight I would have all possible heat sources going into the DB, rayburn included, via a  22mm pumped circuit and add a couple of solar panels to boost it.

As for cooking; you can get combination microwave, grill and convection ovens for less than £100 and similarly a single induction hotplate for £50.

With those two alongside your rayburn you have the best of both worlds. Easy to do a roast as well as boil a tin of beans on the days when you just cannot be bothered  to fire up the solid fuel.

by alchemist

We looked at the DunsleyBaker neutraliser, but when (if ever) we get the solid fuel cooker installed, we will probably use a large storage tank. We have the room, and for us it makes sense. Just two options for the same answer. We are also looking at a Warmsler cooker/water heater again. You can raise the grate on that so only have a small fire for cooking in the summer.

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