Last winter saw record sales of wood stoveas homeowners faced with rising utility prices attempted to take a firm grip on controlling their heating costs. Wood burning stoves are obviously one of the most natural forms of alternative heating system available and for those with a wood supply can be one of the cheapest ways to heat a home. If you are looking for a low-tech localised space heating solution for your home then why not consider a wood burning stove. Despite progress in modern technology, wood stoves are still one of the cheapest and most popular solutions for heating homes today. Sales of wood stoves boomed for this very reason. Wood stove heating is even more economical if you have your own supply of logs maybe from your garden or nearby woodland. Wood burning stoves are space heaters which are mainly used to provide relitively localised space heating in the immediate vicinity of the stove. Standard wood stoves are not suitable for ducted central heating systems. If you wish to heat a home with ducted central heating by burning wood, then you should look at a wood burning furnace or a wood pellet furnace.
Before installing a wood stove, you should give a lot of consideration about the best location to install the stove. As wood stoves provide localised space heating, it follows that the wood stove appliance ideally needs to be installed at the center of household activity. The ideal location for most wood stoves to be installed is centrally in the main living area, providing there is an existing chimney which can be used to route the flue or if it is possible to install a dedicated flue. This installation design will provide the best performance with the fewest problems. The idea of positioning the wood stove in a central area is that the heat generated will be of most benefit to the occupants of the household, plus the heat emmited will dissipate to reduce the chill in other rooms in the house. A house with an open plan central kitchen and living area, a chimney and maybe a stairway leading to upper floors would be an ideal location for a wood burning stove as it the stove would heat the kitchen, living area and upper floors.
Sizing your wood stove
One of the most important factors when deciding upon a wood stove is to select a wood stove that best meets the demands likely to be placed on it. The optimum heat output range of a wood stove is measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs). When buying a wood stove, you should always take into account the size of the area it needs to heat. In very basic terms, small rooms needs a small wood stove and a big rooms needs a big wood stove. Frequently over-loading a small wood stove struggling to keep up with heating too large a space could cause permanent damage to the wood stove, so a large stove would be a better choice since operating a large woodstove with a small smouldering fire is wasteful on fuel and damaging to the environment.
To work out the best size of wood stove you need to know the size of the room and the home that you need to heat. You could get a floor plan and discuss this aspect of your requirements with a knowledgeable wood stove retailer before selecting and buying your stove. An experienced wood stove salesman will usually know the BTU output ranges of each stove they sell and they also have a good idea on the BTU requirements for a size of room taking into account its location in the home. The construction type of your home is another factor that needs to be taken into account. Most recently constructed properties have better levels of thermal insulation than older properties, and the better insulated a house or room is the less heat it requires to be kept warm.
Wood Stove Design
Wood stove design is goverened by two main factors - heat shielding requirements and asthetics. A cast iron wood stove may look much nicer than a cheap enamelled wood stove but looks have very little affect on heat output or functional performance of the stove. Every wood stove requires heat shielding to protect the floor and any combustible wall surfaces but some stoves have shielding all around the stove in order to minimize the heat on the stoves metal surfaces and to channel the heat through the viewing window as convection heat. The viewing window itself can be small but is usually larger on expensive wood burning stoves. There is nothing quite like the apperance of a beatiful living flame as a focal point in an attractive wood stove for bringing a room and a house to life especially in the Christmas season.
Wood Stove Fuel Supplies
Before deciding to install a wood stove it obviously worth considering how readily available your supply of wood to burn is. If you have a large garden or maybe you have some land with plenty of trees, or maybe a neighbour has some dead wood to clear, then you probably just need to get yourself a chainsaw and an axe to split the logs up. If you don't have a ready supply of wood to burn then you will need to find a reliable local log supplier. In many area logs are in plentiful supply and so wood burning stoves are one of the cheapest forms of heating with less fluctuation in prices than with other fuels.
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