Wood Stoves and Wood Burning Heaters
If you're in the market for a wood burning heater stove then we have some great information and advice to consider prior to purchasing. The good news is that nowadays wood burning stoves are not only powerful enough to heat an average-sized home, but they are also a cleaner alternative than a traditional fireplace that may be burning a large amount of air pollutants. In fact, on the average open-masonry fireplaces can have efficiencies ranging up to 15 percent. This efficiency is even worse if there is no fire and the damper is left open, a fireplace can actually have a "negative efficiency" because warm air will escape through the chimney. Another thing to look for are stoves certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These stoves allow combustion gases to burn at lower temperatures, thereby cleaning the exhaust gas while generating more heat.
Know your Space
For a wood burning stove to be most effective it should be the proper size for the space you're trying to heat. People with oversized wood stoves tend to burn fires at a very low smolder to help prevent overheating. While this is great in theory, it's actually inefficient because you're wasting fuel, the biggest cause of pollution. Any reputable seller will won't let you buy an oversized heater. A good rule-of-thumb is that a stove rated at 60,000 B.T.U. (British Thermal Units) can heat about a 2,000 square foot area.
Wood Stove Types
Multi-fuel Stoves only burn solid fuels, including wood, wood pellets, coal, corn, peat, wheat, rye and cherry pits. Also available are stoves that can switch from wood fuel to oil or gas sources.
Catalytic Stoves have a catalytic device built in. This device helps to re-ignite smoke from the fire as it rises. It generally takes a temperature of approximately 1100 degrees for smoke to catch fire, the catalyst lowers that temperature to 500 - 550 degrees. This results in catalytic stoves maintaining fires longer and having advertised efficiencies of 70%-80%.
Non-Catalytic Stoves use an "air injection" method to ignite smoke. This works by injecting jets of pre-heated air into the fire to ignite the smoke and creosote. The draft pulls hot pre-heated air into several tubes running across the top of the fire-box. Pressurized heated air runs through tiny holes in the tubes, creating jets that fan the smoke into active flames.
A lot of people are drawn to wood burning stoves on durability alone. Most models are constructed from cast iron or steel, two very strong and lasting materials. Wood stoves with a solid construction will literally last decades. They also contain a fire brick base and some sort of adjustable air control. To help regulate the air flow, there are damper devices built into the stove, flue, and stove pipes. These are especially important for keeping the air flowing correctly, which is essential for safe and efficient operation.
Although it's next to impossible to quantify the level of comfort a wood burning stove gives you it's even harder to argue with the thousands of those who swear by them. It serves as a beautiful centerpiece to any living room, most are designed for timeless style and they provide instant, visible heat. All of these factors are grounds for why a lot of people are lifelong wood burners.