More Frequently asked questions

How do I clean an enamel surface?

The enamel finish should only be cleaned when cool and to keep the enamel in the best condition observe the following tips:

  • Wipe over daily with a soapy damp cloth, followed by a polish with a clean dry duster.

  • For stubborn deposits a soap impregnated pad can be carefully used on the vitreous enamel.

  • Use only products recommended by the Vitreous Enamel Association, these products carry the Vitramel label. Astonish & CIF branded products are approved by the Vitreous Enamel Association and a detailed list of the approved cleaners can be found on their website,


Can I paint my enamel stove or cooker?

If your stove cooker has an enamel finish it would not be possible to paint it a different colour. To change colours of your cooker or stove you would need to change the relevant castings. If you have small marks on the enamel these can be touched up using the relevant colour of touch up paint. It is only advised to use touch up on very small marks.

What causes rust & how to treat rust on a cast iron surface?

Rust build-up on castings is caused by exposure to excessive moisture and it can occur in cast iron ovens over a number of years if it is not treated prior to usage (i.e. applying a light coat of cooking oil). Rust can be removed using a wire brush/fine steel wool pad. Once the surface rust is removed, dry off with a lint free cloth and apply a light coat of cooking oil to preserve the finish to help prevent future rust build-up. Allow the oil to soak into the casting overnight and it may be necessary to ventilate the room when the oven is operated for the first time after applying the oil.

How much can I recess a stove into an alcove?

It is best to have the stove free standing in the room to ensure it is within the natural air circulation pathways around the room. When a stove is recessed into an alcove or fireplace, the heat from it does not tend to natural convect into the room space but rather radiates to the brickwork/walls enclosing the alcove/fireplace thus resulting in a reduction in heat to the room from the stove.

Can I convert a non condensing cooker to a condensing model?

Owing to the fundamental differences between the Brandon condensing and non condensing models, unfortunately it is not possible to upgrade a non condensing model to a condensing version.

Can I run central heating cooker or stove without water?

It would not be safe to use your range cooker or stove without connecting it to the central heating system. 

The boiler shell will overheat due to the absence of water. This will cause potential distortion and fracture of the boiler casing resulting in fume leakage from the appliance into the room. We would never recommend this.


What are the possible causes of oven not reaching temperature?

As the burner is controlled by both the boiler thermostat and oven thermostat, if it is not maintaining the preset oven temperature, either of these stats could be cutting power to the burner before the desired temperature is reached. The two main causes of oven temperature not being reached are as follows:

  • During cooking operation, heat is produced to the boiler which must be vented to the heating circuit to prevent the burner from shutting down. - The cooker must be able to automatically vent hot water to the heat system.

  • Oven thermostat is out of calibration - Operational temperature settings of the oven stat should be checked and the stat replaced if required.


How does a thermostat damper work on my central heating stove?

The 0-4 damper is a thermostatic damper for safety reasons and when the temperature of the water in the boiler exceeds 55 °C the thermostatic damper will begin to shut off the air supply to the stove. Should the water temperature continue to rise the thermostatic damper will continue to close and if the water temperature reaches 85 °C the thermostatic damper closes the primary air supply fully. Therefore when the boiler reaches temperature, adjusting the 0-4 damper will have no effect on the appearance/burn rate of the fire.

To ascertain if the damper is operating correctly, visually inspect that the damper is opening (setting 4) & closing (setting 0) when the unit is cold and when the flow pipe (top water pipe) from the stove is hot check if the damper is either partially/full closed (the closure of the damper will be dependent on the temperature in the boiler but it should allow a smaller opening than noted if the damper was set fully open when the stove was cold). If this proves to be the case, the damper is working within normal operating parameters.


Do I need to line my chimney when installing a stove?

To determine if a flexible flue liner needs to be fitted, the integrity of the clay liner in the chimney should be inspected prior to installation. In the event of chimney not being of sound construction, not capable of withstanding temperatures in excess of 1000°C or exhibiting any cracks or leaks, a clay pot adaptor should not be used and a suitable flexible flue liner should be fitted.

If the clay pot adaptor kit is being used, the fireplace opening & flue gather should be cleaned thoroughly to ensure all soot deposits are removed. If this can not be achieved it is recommended to fit a flexible flue liner to allow any potential fumes from these soot deposits to be vented up around the flue liner when the stove is in operation.


How do I clean the chimney?

You will require a chimney sweep to clean the chimney. It is best to provide a dedicated chimney cleaning soot box.

How do I regulate the heat output?

Depending on which stove you have, you will either have a damper (primary air), thermostat or spin valve, which will allow you to easily regulate the heat output.

What are the causes of condensation in my cooker or stove?

Dampness/water in the firebox of a cooker or stove is caused by condensation (i.e. the flue gases cooling to the point where the gases turn to liquid). This can be caused by the following:

  • Poor or low flue draught - The chimney system to which the unit is connected does not allow for an adequate flow of air through it to allow the fire in the unit to reach its optimal operating temperature.

  • Cold Chimney - Condensation develops on start up of the fire and until the necessary heat is transferred to the chimney system to establish the required draught.

  • Circulating Pump running constantly - The pump should be controlled by a pipe stat attached to the flow (or return) pipe to the cylinder. If the pump runs continuous, the boiler will not heat up causing the fire to be cooler and the flue gases from same to be lower.

  • Damp Fuel - Poor quality or damp fuel will effect the heat generated by the fire and the flue gases from same will be cooler.


What can cause a stove to smell?

From our experience, providing that there is no smoke emanating from the unit the following can cause a smell or odour when a solid fuel stove is operating:

  • Flue pipes sealed with silicone rather than fire cement.

  • If connected to an existing fireplace and a clay pot adaptor was used to connect to the flue liner, soot deposits on the flue gather could possibly burn off when the unit & the surrounding area is heated up.

  • Lacquer/varnish on one of the surrounding materials producing an odour when heated up e.g. coating on fireplace finish.

If you have a carbon monoxide detector in the room in which the stove is and it is not detecting any issue, it should rule out any fumes emanating from the stove during burning. If none of the above is helpful in identifying the issue, it would be best to contact your local service engineer. 


Can I convert an oil cooker for use with solid fuel?

Unfortunately as the design of the oil and solid fuel cookers are very different, it is not possible to convert an oil cooker to solid fuel or vice versa.


Will a stove fix a chimney Problem?

If there is an inherent problem with the chimney such as a down draught unfortunately a stove will not rectify same, and alterations will need to be made to the chimney system to address same.


Can I install a solid fuel model without an existing masonry chimney?

It would be possible to fit a stove/cooker on an external wall and connect it to a twin wall flue pipe system.

When positioning the stove/cooker, consideration must also be taking to the position of the hot water cylinder and maintaining a gravity circuit between the cooker & cylinder so it would be best to discuss any proposed installation location with your plumber to ensure the stove/cooker can be connected to the plumbing system. 


How do I repair enamel damage?

Small impact marks on the enamel finish can be repaired using an appropriate enamel touch up but it should not be used to cover marks greater than Ø10mm or multiple marks on the same casting/area. Unfortunately a replacement casting would need to be fitted if the touch-up paint is unsuitable. 


How to clean a cast iron oven?

The following is the recommended procedure for cleaning cast iron ovens:

  • Use a wire brush/fine steel wool pad for cleaning the hotplate to remove rust or burnt on spills.

  • Dry off with a lint free cloth and apply a light coat of cooking oil to preserve the finish.

  • In the main oven spills and fat splashes are carbonised at high temperatures, occasionally brush out with a wire brush/fine steel wool pad.

  • The lower ovens should also be brushed or wiped out occasionally.


How to clean the hotplate?

Use a wire brush/fine steel wool pad for cleaning the hotplate to remove rust or burnt on spills. Dry off with a lint free cloth and apply a light coat of cooking oil to preserve the finish. 


What causes smoke in an oven?

All solid fuel cookers contain a steam escape (usually a hole in the casting on the top of the oven) which transfers the excess moisture from the oven into the flue pathways of the cooker. In order for the cooker to work correctly, the chimney system to which it is connected must generate a negative draught to remove all smoke/fumes from the cooker. This negative draught is also used to create a suction in the oven which allows the steam escape to remove any excess moisture into the flue pathways and in turn into the chimney system.

Usually when a customer is experiencing smoke in an oven it is caused by a lack of draught in the chimney system resulting in the steam escape working in reverse (i.e. smoke being sucked into the oven rather than steam vented out). It would be best to get an engineer to inspect the unit for you and he will also be able to measure the draught generated by the chimney system with a view to identifying the root cause of the smoking issue. 


What is the best fuel to use in my cooker or stove?

All our multi-fuel cookers & stoves are designed to burn antracite, coal, turf, timber or briquettes. Due to the damp climate prevalent in Ireland, if burning turf, timber or briquettes it is essential that they are stored in a dry environment as they tend to absorb moisture which will affect the heat output they generate. For that reason, from our experience, coal or anthracite tend to be the best fuels to use as they do not require specific storage facilities and produce the highest heat output per kg. 


What is the most efficient way to operate an oil cooker?

How to operate the unit will largely depend on the heat duration requirements i.e. if the house is vacant for periods during the day, it would be best to have the unit timed to come on for a period in the morning and then in the evening prior to the house being occupied.

If heat is required throughout the day it is best to have the ambient temperature set by room stats which bring on the heating as required to maintain the desired temperature. In this case it is best to have the unit available to come on as the stats require as more energy is usually consumed bringing a heating system up to temperature than used when maintaining it at a desired temperature.