The evolution of wood-burning stoves
Ever since the dawn of civilization, mankind has used wood logs as raw materials for heating their homes, making the most of the benefits an open fire had to offer. Over the centuries wood-burning stoves or conventional fireplaces became an essential part of the British household culture, representing more than just an ordinary wood-burning process.
The nowadays consumer preferences have considerably shifted from wood-burning towards renewable energy, gas or coal-burning as means for producing heat. However, furnace heating is still relevant despite the rapid development of modern technology in the field of household heating.
On the contrary, wood-burning heating is gaining in popularity once more, as the new emerged technologies which delivered a competitive edge to the modern heating appliances (which function on gas or electricity) can also be employed for improving the process of wood burning, maximizing the heating output a wood stove will be able to supply.
Currently, there are a number of manufacturers who design high-end wood-burning ovens ready to enter the market, which offer fully automated ovens that no longer require people chopping and popping wood into the oven since everything is being taken care of by the ‘fire burning’ machine. Thus, it might make the prospect of buying a wood-burning stove more appealing to customers.
How to exploit the full potential of a wood-burning stove
Generally speaking, there is no practical substitution to wood-burning heating, in that the wood is a unique material when it comes to providing warmth. It has a reasonable price, is environmentally friendly and produces a distinctive flavour while burning, creating a pleasing and cosy home ambience.
In addition to being the focal point of your living room, providing you with an enjoyable feeling of warmth, it has been reported that a wood-burning oven helps in saving on the heating bills by up to 53%.
A wood-burning stove is as good as a standalone room heater or as an addition to the central heating system. In the latter case, the stove can be connected to a boiler, providing hot water which later is spread throughout the house, to radiators, underfloor heating tubes, or used as hot water for the daily household needs.
A stove which includes a water circuit as well is ideal for homes that lack centralized water supply since a stove like this is not only capable of providing heat but hot water too. Using a thermal tank one can establish a sophisticated network of heating systems, combining solar panels, a gas boiler and a wood-burning stove, that will complement each other. Thereby, you can regulate the fluctuating use of the different energy sources - sun for solar panels in the summer, and logs for a wood-burning stove in the winter, making the entire heating process more cost-efficient.
What to be aware of before purchasing a wood-burning stove
The prices for a wood-burning stove usually vary between £500 and £3000 per unit, depending on the type and purpose of the stove. Given its’ somewhat high initial costs, there are a few things you might want to consider before buying one.
- Fuel Type - Given that it is a wood-burning stove, you’ll have the freedom to choose between burning solid chunks of wood (wood logs), pellets or wood chips. Typically, wood pellets or wood chips are cheaper than ordinary wood logs, but cannot deliver the same cosiness.
- Storage Space - If you plan on burning logs, then you’ll have to make sure that you have enough dry space around the house where you can store the wood boles. Typically a three to four cubic meters of space would be sufficient for storing the wood.
- The Square Footage That Requires Heating - If you want to buy a standard fire stove for heating a sole room, then you can opt-out for cheaper versions made from metal, which are quite compact and nice looking and that will not spoil the house’s decor. Still, if you consider integrating the stove with a central heating system you currently operate, then you have to look for a more sophisticated version that will cost you considerably more but will be able to provide hot water and a sufficient amount of heat in a timely manner.
- If You Live In a Smoking Controlled Area - you might want to check first if the town or region you are currently residing in, imposes specific requirements with respect to the allowed levels of smoke. For this purpose, you can visit the DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) web-portal in order to familiarize yourself with the smoke regulations that are found to be in place in your area.
- Building Regulations Compliance - All the stoves must meet UK building regulations. There are specific rules and requirements with respect to the fuel type, size of the hearth and the distance of the oven from other fuel sources or highly flammable materials. You’ll have to seek the advice of a professional installer regarding the way you can accommodate the above-mentioned requirements, before purchasing a stove.
A standard wood-burning stove, as well as those which are connected to a boiler, can easily cope with heating a small size house. These are easy to move from one place to another, and it does not take too much effort to install the furnaces where it is necessary. If you plan to obtain a higher heat capacity from a wood-burning stove, then a brick version of this will be preferable. In order to provide a more equally distributed heat within the house, the furnace shall be positioned between the rooms, with the cooking part placed in the kitchen and the heating part built in the bedroom or living room. This way you will make the most out of your stove, fulfilling a twofold objective: food preparation and house heating.
Additional things to consider when looking for a wood-burning stove
When buying a stove it is important to make sure that it meets the European safety and efficiency standards for wood-burning ovens in the UK and that you have properly weighed the pros and the cons of acquiring one. You have to take into account the oven’s heat output, since a small heating capacity won’t be enough to heat the entire house, and if you get a furnace with a high heating output than you might end up wasting the precious heating energy, whereas you’ll have to cool down the room’s temperature. Thus, before buying a new stove you’ll have to consider the following factors:
- The room’s size.
- The house and room layouts.
- How well the rooms are insulated.
- How old is your house
- The size and type of windows.