The Right Stove for your Home
In this day wood burning stoves are available in many different shapes, sizes and styles. Each stove contains the following an;
- Airwash System; this is for the window
- Cleanburn System; this has secondary air
- External Air Facility; an integral boiler is to provide domestic hot water and run radiators
First and foremost before any installations occurs, your home will need assessing by a professional installer. After the initial first steps are chosen you can then begin to decide which stove is most suited to your home and your personality. A simple guide to keep in mind is that for every 14 cubic metres of space you will approximately need 1kW of heat output in order to achieve a room temperature of 21 degrees. Along with this there are many other factors which are important such as; the age of your home, the insulation, how many rooms need heating and whether or not your living space is open plan.
Some key points to consider before choosing your stove are:
- Style/aesthetics you desire
- Heat output appropriate for the room/space you want to heat
- Fuel type – wood burning only or multi-fuel
- Do you wish the stove to heat water as well as the room?
- Are Clean burn, Air wash and efficiency important to you?
- Do you wish to burn wood in a Smoke Control Area?
These aspects should all be carefully considered before you make your investment, a stove should not just be an aesthetically warming or welcoming feature but an asset to your heating system.
Types of Stoves
Multi-fuel stoves are easy to clean and offer the greatest flexibility, burning a variety of authorised fuels, such as coal, wood and smokeless fuel. As well as providing an efficient heat source, some models also heat your water and some radiators. Multi-fuel stoves have a grate inside for the fuel to sit on, making them ideal for coal, which needs air to reach it from below to burn effectively.
Wood, on the other hand, burns best when sitting on a bed of ash, with air circulating from above. Because of these differences, a multi-fuel stove may not be optimised for burning both fuel types at the same time. Work out what type of fuel you want to burn and what you have access to first, then base your buying decision on that.
Wood-burning stoves burn all types of wood. Hardwood logs are denser than softwood, giving more heat output, which is measured in kWh per bag.
Be aware that burning wet wood is inefficient and creates a lot of smoke which damages the chimney and blackens the appliance as well as contributing to air pollution. You should use dry wood that has been properly sourced and seasoned or kiln dried.
Avoid burning the below as they can release toxic gases and cause a build-up of resin in the hearth and flue.
- Spruce (and other conifers)
- Salvaged or treated wood
- Chipboard offcuts
Look out, too, for pellet-burning stoves, which use compressed wood or biomass pellets as fuel. Some can be controlled by a mobile phone and timer.
As an alternative central heating solution, you can specify a stove with a back boiler, although this may not be the cheapest option. This combines a boiler function with the stove to provide space heating and domestic hot water, as well as spot heating. These products, known also as boiler stoves, can typically provide between 5 and 20kW of water heating as well as the equivalent in output to the room.
A HETAS-registered installer can advise you on how to link a boiler stove to your system, which will likely be by plumbing it into a hot water cylinder.
Gas & Electric Stoves
Gas and electric stoves provide flames, or a flame-effect, and heat, without the mess and storage requirements of other fuels. Electric stoves are an easy, plug-in choice for homes without a chimney or flue.