Tuesday 6 March 2012

How To Size A Woodburning Stove

 When it comes to sizing a woodburning stove for your home, there are numerous factors to consider – but with a few simple steps, you can be sure you account for these and buy the right burner for your heating needs. The physical size of your stove is key, but its heat capacity matters also. Make sure the machine you want will work in your house, and more specifically in the room you’ve designated for it. This spans its shape and bulk as well its power and efficiency.
Stove size
Firstly, decide where in your home you want to install the woodburning stove. Normally this is the kitchen or living room, but any suitable room is an option. Then think about the space in this room, how large it is and what it’s like in terms of warmth – whether it is well insulated, open, cosy, prone to drafts, or easy to heat and keep warm.
You need to also consider the specific spot you want to place the stove, and whether there’s enough space to do this safely, sensibly and to meet any necessary building regulations. It will depend how you intend to install your burner, but you’ll need to leave room at the sides and surrounding area too.
If you plan to use an existing chimney or fireplace, then a good size guide to remember is you’ll need space for the hearth, where the stove will rest on, and the relevant gaps. As a rule, the hearth should be at least 25cm in depth and there will need to be a gap of at least 5cm between the back of the burner and the hearth. Plus, the hearth needs to extend from the stove by a minimum of 15cm at the sides and front.
If it’s a freestanding stove you plan to install, then as a guide you’ll need a hearth that is at least approximately 85cm by 85cm in size. And don’t forget the flue – ideally, this should be as straight as possible so make sure there is enough space above the stove or behind it to install this.
You will also need to install ventilation in the room if you select a stove with a heat output of 5kWh (Kilowatt) or above.
In addition to these practical considerations is the design of your stove. There are so many different designs to choose from nowadays, spanning contemporary and traditional, that you’ll need to decide if you want square, rectangular, tall, short, etc.
Heat size
The heat capacity of a stove is measured in kWh (Kilowatts). It is easy to calculate the kWh needed to heat your chosen room, once you’ve established the physical area and have the measurements to hand.
Other factors to consider in addition to heat output of your woodburning stove include its efficiency rating, type of wood you’ll use, and what you want the stove for. Modern stoves come with high efficiency ratings, with many exceeding 80%, and when you compare this to an average open fire which has a maximum efficiency of 25% you can see how much more heat you get from the same amount of fuel. When it comes to fuel, be sure to use seasoned hardwoods where possible, as these have a better burn rate and provide greater efficiency than unseasoned logs or softwoods.
Many people invest in a woodburning stove as a source of heat for their home. But you can buy stoves that let you cook on them too and even heat your radiators. The more you want your stove to do, the more powerful it will need to be – and it will of course be a different type and shape, so bear in mind all these different factors when sizing a burner.
Finally, remember that your stove will perform most efficiently when it’s run at maximum capacity, so opt for a stove size just below your heating requirements, rather than buying a masssive woodburner that just smoulders away, this will offer very little heat and could cause a build-up of creosote

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