Woodburning stoves are one of the most popular means of
heating our homes, but while you undoubtedly appreciate a stove’s design and
energy efficiency, do you know how it actually works?
With a wide range of options available, designed to suit
the interior design and heating demand of every home, wood burners are a great
way to stay warm and save some money in the process. A great alternative to the
open fireplace, wood stoves reduce heating bills and a home’s carbon footprint
too, thanks their ability to burn logs more slowly.
Compared to the average open fireplace which has a
maximum energy efficiency rating of 37% with the Aga Rembrandt, modern woodburning stoves start from
around 70% and many exceed 80%. This means you’ll effectively get three-times
more heat from using the same amount of logs.
We all love a roaring fire, and there’s nothing as cosy
as gathering around the burning logs on a winter’s evening, keeping warm and
entertained by the dancing flames. There is something mesmerising about log
fires, and they’re great for toasting marshmallows and chestnuts too.
Today’s woodburning stoves have certainly come a long way
since the pot belly stove of the eighteenth century, both in terms of
aesthetics and energy efficiency. Provided stoves are professionally installed
in the most sensible spot and correctly connected, you should be able to enjoy
clean-burning fires and environmentally-friendly heating.
Heat rises so it makes sense to position your wood burner
centrally so that as the wood burns, and the heat comes from the top and sides
of the stove, this is radiated throughout the house.
Most stoves have a primary and secondary air supply, to
enable you to control the flames and, in turn, the intensity of heat emitted.
When you first light the wood logs inside the firebox primary air is drawn
inside to aid combustion, normally controlled through vents at the front of the
stoves that can be adjusted according to the desirable heat output. Once the
fire is burning brightly, a wood burner tends to rely on secondary air instead.
Pre-heated, secondary air boosts combustion and helps
ensure any unburned particles which may be in the smoke are burned cleanly
(this is known as the clean burn system). This system keeps your chimney clear
of too many unburned particles as well as ensuring the logs burn with bright
Stoves with a heat output over 5kW may also have a
provision for external air installed into the room they’re located. This
facility enables air to come from outside your house rather than from within
the room, boosting heating efficiency further.
The glass of a stove door is usually kept clean thanks to
airwash technology, which uses a specially placed vent to draw in cool air from
the room. This air is then heated and ducted to wash over the glass and clean
away any particles – ensuring you keep a clear view of the fire inside.
There are other factors to keep in
mind to help ensure the smooth running of your woodburning stove. These include
wood type and size. You need to burn seasoned logs in your stove or you’ll
reduce its heat efficiency, and by using hardwoods you’ll boost efficiency even
more as these burn more slowly. It’s important to cut the wood to the right
size for your stove, too. And of course, installing the right stove in the first place is essential if you
are to maximise on the many benefits of the heating device.