The return of the enamelled Stovepipe
After years in the doldrums, stovepipes have started making a striking comeback.
Why? The answer is technical innovations, market evolution and changing tastes. And what only enamel can add is the combination of durability, beauty and safety.
Just recently, you have had to start being a bit more careful before launching into a joke about stovepipes and stoves in general.
Although it must be said that the product spent a fair time doing nothing to fend off defeatism: the way we have always seen it is as a rather thin, brown or white feature, clasped on one side, looking just a bit fragile and somehow rather neglected.
The change that has come about now is that stovepipes have been revamped and renewed, as their market has grown immensely. Concerned at the increase in the price of crude oil and petrol, diesel and natural gas, as well as at forecasts of shortage and even that the world will run out one day, many families have converted to wood-burning stoves and heating systems.
Equipment has now been perfected that guarantees an excellent degree of combustion and heat for all the rooms in the house. Plus, about fifteen years ago the Canadians first developed the convenient system of fuel pellets, little cylinders of compressed sawdust that can be used to make up the fire and keep it burning, sometimes for more than a whole day.
Looks have also evolved, upgrading stoves and fireplaces from the weakest features in the home to items of décor that are beautiful – and functional – enough to be made into conversation pieces.
Because they expel smoke under pressure and also for safety reasons, pellet stoves in particular required the development of thicker stovepipes, between 1.2 and 2 mm, together with special fixings and seals.
The market for them is growing all the time. And enamel is doing its part, ensuring resistance to everything and so durability, safety, luminosity and colour.
Well equipped and ready to face the competition, enamellers have developed thicker stovepipes that are welded along one side and enamelled with different colours and with a choice of shiny or semi-matt surfaces; as a result, they have taken the market by storm.
They are also enamelled inside, which means that they really are made to last far longer than other coatings. High temperatures do not change their colours by one iota, they are immune to corrosion by the acidic condensation of smoke and fumes, they do not scratch and they can be cleaned by just using a little common detergent and wiping a damp rag over them.
They are also ideal for chimney flues, another application where they guarantee an extremely long working life and enduring safety.
Additionally conventional stovepipes are holding their own and actually doing some catching up of their own, as the demand from the emerging markets of Eastern Europe grows more relentless.
All in all, stovepipes are making a comeback on all sides – and vitreous enamel has a lot to do with their return.
That is no mean feat: on the contrary, it is a triumph. The smoke issuing from these stovepipes is white, because they have won their battle.
Chimney flues and stovepipes are subject to the EN 1856-1, EN 1856-2 and EN 1859 standards.