Types of Burning Stove
Log-burners typically come in two variations – radiant and circular. Circulating stoves heat air internally before sending it out into the room, whereas radiating stoves simply generate and radiate heat as they go. They are traditionally made from an outer shell of cast iron or steel. Though not as efficient as a modern boiler, they are a marked improvement on previous generations of wood-stoves.
Pros and cons of having a log-burner
In most places in the world, burner-wood is fairly easy to come by. It is an affordable and renewable resource, and if you do a little scavenging, sometimes you don’t have to pay for it at all. Any that is untreated and free of infestations makes great kindling for your fireplace. And if you want to neutralise your carbon footprint, why not plant a few trees along the way?
The downside with burning wood is that despite being a natural material, you are still releasing a lot of chemicals into the air – carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, etc. It is not a clean fuel, by any means. For this reason, it’s vital to make sure that you buy your wood-burner from a reputable source, who will ensure that your stove is correctly sealed to avoid smoke seeping into your home.
Heating appliances in the UK are now required to meet a minimum efficiency rating of 65 percent. Of course, some are higher than that, and the higher they are, the more efficient they will be. Most fall somewhere between 60 and 80 percent. By comparison, the efficiency of something like an open fire or gas fire is around 30-50 percent, so by choosing a wood-burner you are certainly selecting a more efficient option.
To get the maximum efficiency out of your stove, look for one that has a high efficiency percentage and that uses ‘cleanburn’ technology to help disperse gas and smoke. Some models of log-burner use a catalytic converter – an item which should be replaced every few years – to help make the most out of your fuel.
Choosing the right size
When it comes to log-burning stoves, one size doesn’t fit all. You should choose the size of your stove based on where it will go in your home, and how much space it has to heat. The heat output of log-burners is measured in kW and usually ranges between 3 kW up to 15 kW or more.
Getting a unit that is too big or powerful for your home means you will always have to run it at a low temperature or your house will quickly overheat. This is not the most efficient way to operate a log-burner. The ideal kW output will be determined by the size and layout of the room in which the wood-burner will go, building insulation, the age of your home, and the size and quality of your windows. To get a very rough idea of what heat output is appropriate, try this formula:
(Room height x room width x room length) / 14
In theory, these appliances eventually pay for themselves because your energy bill will be reduced. While there is an initial investment to pay for the stove and installation, plus the ongoing costs of kindling, over time it is possible to make some savings.
Installing your Log-Burner
When it comes to the installation, it’s always a good idea to hire a professional, unless you happen to be one yourself! A log-burner that hasn’t been installed correctly can be a real hazard, both in terms of fire risk and smoke or gases being released into your home. It’s always a good idea to speak to your home insurance company before buying or installing your appliance, to see what their terms are, so you know you’re covered. You may find that your premium slightly increases, but of course it’s worth it should something go wrong.
Wood-stoves should be placed against interior walls rather an exterior ones where possible – this will help to minimise heat loss. Ensure that any leaks or lack of insulation are addressed beforehand, and that you have all the necessary precautions in place to run your burning-stove in a way that is safe and efficient.
Are you thinking of buying a wood-burning stove? Hopefully this article has helped to address some of your questions. Which stove do you like the look of and why? Let us know in the comments.