Wood burning stoves are, as the name implies, stoves used solely for burning wood. Wood burning stoves have no grate or ash pan, wood is simply burnt on the base of the stove, usually in the bed of ash from the night before. This means that wood-burning stoves can fit more logs inside than the equivalent sized multi-fuel stove (which is what I have).
Wood burning stoves are generally cleaner than using coal and wood is a renewable fuel source which is carbon neutral, so is friendlier to the environment.
It is always good practice to line a chimney when fitting stoves, whether wood burning stoves or multi-fuel stoves, and you need to use registered installers to fit woodstoves as they fall under Building Regulations.
When you are deciding which of the wood burning stoves to buy, you need to work out:
- a) Will it fit?b) Will it heat the space?c) Are you in a smoke control are
- a?d) Which direction is the prevailing wind? If it blows back down the chimney you may need to fit a vent.
So how do you know if your choice of wood burning stove will heat the space? When buying wood burning stoves you need to know how much heat output they need to heat the room you want it in.Our friend at Nature’s Power have a great tool to work out what heat output and ultimately what wood burning stoves you can get to heat your room.
Smoke free zone
Even if you live in a smoke-controlled area, there’s nothing to stop you joining the wood burning revolution. Most wood burning stoves can’t be used to burn wood in smoke-controlled areas - but there are a growing number considered to be so super-clean-burning they are given an exemption from the wood burning controls. Clean burning wood burning stoves are more expensive than standard models, potentially 50% more.
And did you know, they say that the emissions from wood burning stoves are three to four times less than with an open fire. For a list of the councils that impose controls go to - Smoke Control Areas.
Why buy wood burning stoves?
Wood burning stoves are hot property at the moment. From traditional use in country cottages to cutting edge architecture, they are the latest fad in green heat and with the high oil prices and eco concerns there is extra demand for wood burning stoves, but are they really eco-friendly?
Everyone likes an open fire, but the efficiency of burning logs in a grate is very low (20-25 per cent efficient). An open fire has to suck a lot of the (warm) air out of the room, and it is replaced by cold air from outside.
Wood is the original carbon-neutral fuel. It releases carbon dioxide when it’s burnt, but the amount given off is the same as was stored by the tree when it was growing. I found out that if the tree was left to rot in the woods it would produce the same amount of carbon emissions released by burning!
Most firewood in this country comes from sustainable sources, so for every tree cut down another is planted, and the carbon released from the felled tree will be absorbed by another tree.
Both in terms of smoke and the amount of ash produced for the owner to clean up, modern wood burners are very impressive. And if the stove has self-cleaning air-wash glass a clear view of flickering flames is guaranteed.