Beat the cold with a wood burning stove. As they say on Game of Thrones “winter is coming,” and if you are already struggling with the November chill the chances are you have considered investing in a wood burning stove.
Together with Charnwood who make state of the art, sustainable wood burning stoves on the Isle of Wight, we have come up with some great tips and advice to help you buy the right wood burner for your home.
1) Why should you buy a wood burner?
Wood is the most environmentally sound fuel. It is classed as CO2 neutral as a tree will absorb more CO2 when it is growing than it emits when burnt. Wood is renewable and can also be sourced locally (unlike gas, oil and wood pellets). Gas is best for convenience – heat at a flick of a switch – but cost and supply is unstable at times. Wood pellets are a relatively new technology, however electricity is required to produce them and most wood pellet appliances need an electricity source to operate (not much use in a power-cut!).
2) What heat output do you need to heat a room?
The general rule is 0.5kW of heat is required per cubic metre – but also take into account what fuel you are burning, how well insulated the room is and if there are any other heat sources feeding into the room. Visit www.hetas.co.uk
3) What are Charnwood Wood burners made from?
We use a mixture of cast iron, plate steel and ceramic glass. Cast iron (used for internal parts of our stoves and the doors) is good for durability and heat retention. Plate steel (used for the stove body) is best for air tightness, expansion and contraction as the stove heats and cools. Ceramic glass (used in the windows) offers a clear view of the fire and radiates heat to the room. We believe this to be the best combination of materials when building our stoves.
4) What should you look for in a wood burning stove?
Look for stoves with clean-burn airwash, not only are these more efficient, but they also keep the glass clean so that you can enjoy the fire. They work by re-circulating the air within the stove resulting in double combustion, more heat for less fuel.
A good grate system also essential; Look for a multifuel grate that switches from a flat bed-to an open bed. A flat bed which is the most effective way of burning wood, whereas an open bed is the most effective way to burn solid fuels, a combination of the two will ensure you get the most out of the fuel you choose to burn. The Charnwood grate system is also very good at riddling and cleaning.
5) What features should you look for to make cleaning your stove easier?
The clean-burn airwash will mean you will have less ash to clear up and less volatiles as much of it will be burnt when the fire is lit. Also look for a good riddling grate and ashpan to dispose of the waste effectively.
6) Are there any practical concerns you should be aware of when choosing either single or double door design?
Double doors tend to restrict the view of the fire slightly but take up less space when you open them to reload. Single doors are great for an uninterrupted view of the fire.
7) What are the main issues to consider when siting and fitting a stove?
The chimney or flue is like the engine of the fire but it must rise above the apex of the roof to prevent any downdraft. A well lined and insulated chimney with good draft is also key to helping your stove burn efficiently. Pumice liners are especially good for thatched properties as they are extremely well insulated and chimney-fire-safe.
Traditional stoves work well in the fireplace, but the more contemporary models can work just as well in the centre of the room – they are becoming more like pieces of furniture.
Coloured stoves also make a great feature for a room during the summer.
8) The most important tip of all:
Only burn well seasoned wood (1 year seasoning minimum). www.nef.org.uk/logpile is a very useful site for woodburning and also gives details of local wood suppliers.
Also it is worth mentioning that it is best to buy your stove from a reputable stove dealer who can offer advice on the best stove to suit your needs, an installation service and an aftersales service. A stove is a long term investment – Don’t be tempted by cheap deals on the internet.