When we bought the cottage, it was in need of a new kitchen, and as we were starting from scratch, we decided to invest in a reconditioned Rayburn solid fuel cooker which would also run our central heating.
It wasn’t cheap, almost four thousand pounds in total for the appliance, pipework, hot water storage tank and relevant fittings. Hubby was able to do most of the preparation work, but we had to call in an expert plumber which set us back another £900, even though we already had all the necessary copper pipe.
The cooker was beautiful though. We’d installed a heavy concrete slab to stand it on, and it looked the business. Our colour of choice was aquamarine green and we loved it.
We realised it would take a bit of getting used to from a conventional cooker, but once we got the firebox going and the oven up to heat, we were ready to go and I cooked some pretty decent meals, though cakes were iffy as as soon as you opened the oven door, you lost all the heat!
Come winter, with the firebox going 24/7, the kitchen and dining room (first room in) were lovely and warm. The hall and bathroom were OK, but we were glad we’d installed a mulitfuel stove in the lounge as that kept the chill off and also provided heat to the three bedrooms which were off the lounge.
That first winter we took as a learning curve, and invested in a small 2 burner electric stove for the summer rather than cook needing the firebox going.
The second year, guests didn’t take their coats off, and the cold made us all feel sickly.
Research on the internet suggested that basically we had been had as our model’s burner output was 5kw, and to run the central heating for the house required at least 15kw.
We contacted the company, who didn’t understand, even coming to the house to ‘balance our radiators’. None of it helped. The heat outage was insufficient for the house, so we complained about misrepresentation and being sold something inadequate to the task. We had all the supporting paperwork before committing ourselves to the purchase, and the company response was that they were sorry its requirements had been ‘misjudged’.
We requested compensation, and said they were welcome to buy back the appliance for the price we’d paid and leave it at that. It all went very quiet.
We ended up contacting Trading Standards who were very helpful and we had a course of action to take before they could officially become involved.
We followed this, finally getting a response from the company who agreed to remove to cooker and reimburse us. Result we thought.
Then they decided to fold the company and with it any chance of us getting our money back.
History suggested this was not the first time they had done this. Oh, hindsight is such a wonderful thing, and we would NEVER consider having one again. The only good thing about having it was that it had dried the house out a treat, and as the property was built in 1847, there were no cavity walls.
We had to heat the cottage, so went with oil, having a new boiler and the contractor was able to connect to all the existing pipework. He did a good job and we were very pleased.
The Rayburn was moved into the garage where it stayed for about 3 years as we tried to sell it for whatever we could get.
Eventually, we let it go for £500 to a guy who wanted it just as a cooker and heater for a small four roomed property.