Wood burning stoves are still one of the most popular ways to provide your new living room with that extra ‘wow’ factor, and with good reason. Not only do they add a focal point, and provide the aesthetic appeal of living flames, but they are an excellent and economical way of providing auxiliary heating, which can often have a reducing effect on home energy costs.
There are however, a number of things to be considered, to make sure you get the most efficient wood burning stove for your needs. The following points will help you decide which wood burning stove will be most effective for your requirements.
Which wood burning stove do you want
Wood burning stove types are classified as freestanding, inset and cassette, and you need to take the time to be sure you have picked the right type for your project. Free standing is just that, and can be positioned against a wall or stood in the centre of the room. Inset models are designed to fit into existing or purpose built fireplaces, while cassette stoves are fitted off the ground, often with log storage under the unit. Stoves are also available in a large range of styles from traditional to contemporary.
Currently, wood-burning stoves have to be from 65% to 80% efficient, (those old coal fires used to be less than 25% efficient). From 2022, all new stoves in the UK will need to be a minimum 80% efficient. However, having an 80% efficient stove counts for nothing, if the unit output in kilowatts, is too small for the job it has to do.
Wood burner considerations
Once you’ve picked the style of stove, you need to be sure what you want it to do. Do you want to add a little additional heat to the living room, or do you intend to leave a door ajar, and allow the extra heat to permeate the rest of the house. To get an idea of the output you need, work out the cubic metres of air in the room, (measure length by width by height, in metres), and divide by 14. That will give you the kilowatt output needed to heat the room. Other wood burner considerations for kilowatt output include whether the room/home is well insulated, whether there is much glass in the room, and is it single, double or triple glazed.
To further enhance the efficiency and economy of your new log burning stove, include an automatic control device. This unit automatically adjusts the air supply to the burner, thus ensuring you get optimum burning of your logs, while producing the maximum heat from the type of wood being burnt. All this breaks down to reducing the fuel needed, while providing maximum heat output.
Adequate fuel storage space
Of course, there’s not much point in having a log burning stove – if there’s nowhere to store the logs. You need to make sure that you have storage for your logs that keeps them protected from the elements. The logs you burn need to be well seasoned for at least 2 years and also have less than 15% moisture to burn efficiently. In order to make sure that your logs can become well seasoned you need to make sure you have the correct storage set up, traditionally open racks outside are used. These open racks allow the air to flow around the wood to promote the drying process.
DEFRA approved log burners
Do you know whether you live in a DEFRA smoke control area? Most of these areas tend to be the cities and large towns, and if that means you, your wood burning stove will need to be approved by the department. Because of the smoke control tests required, a DEFRA approved wood burning stove will be more expensive, but will ensure you have no future problems. If you live in rural areas out of town, a standard wood burner should meet your needs.
Do you need a chimney?
No, but if you have an old-style open fireplace and chimney, it makes installation a lot easier. With no chimney, your installer will discuss with you whether you prefer the flue pipes to exit through an outside wall, or through the ceiling and out the roof.
If you are prepared to pay out for a log burning stove, you want to be sure you get the most economical and efficient unit your money can buy. Taking into account the above, your local stockist will be happy to visit you at home, get a first-hand account of what you want to achieve, and discuss the best way to go about it. Remember, installing the most effective wood-burner now, can help reduce the future worry of ever-increasing energy costs.