This is an overview of the stoves we use every day in Winter to heat our home and produce hot water from firewood.
Modern Wood Burning Stove
We have two wood burners. One of them is a modern 7.5Kw free standing wood-burning stove. It is not designed to burn other fuels like coal or turf, it is meant for burning wood only. It uses air drawn through a duct from outside the house (outside air). It is piped directly to the stove so it is basically sealed away from the room. This stove is very efficient and can be shut right down to burn very slowly once it is up to temperature. Like every stove it has it’s quirks. The draft is not as strong as our other boiler stove and it must to be coaxed to light up compared to the older multifuel stove which has more airflow.
Once the stove is lighting well we restrict it’s airflow. This allows secondary burn (the burning of wood gasses in the smoke) to come into it’s own. That’s when it reaches maximum heat and burn efficiency with surface temperatures of well over 300 degrees Celsius. There is virtually no visible smoke coming from the chimney. There is almost no ash to remove after this process either. We find this stove uses much less wood than our other multifuel stove for the heat produced. Modern wood burners are very impressive once you get used to using them properly and are well worth the investment.
Traditional Multifuel Stove / Boiler Stove
Our other stove is an older multifuel boiler stove. This is a larger stove with an adjustable grate which is left open if burning fuels other than firewood logs. We no longer burn coal or turf etc, in this stove, we only use wood now. The stove has a water jacket wrapped around three sides of the firebox which we use as our principle source of hot water in Winter and Spring. Because it is a larger boiler stove we have found it burns cooler (220-280 Celcius). This is cooler than our purpose built wood burner stove and needs to be managed slightly differently.
The multifuel stove has a better draft and is easier to start up than the purpose built wood burner.
Once it is lit and burning well we allow the first fill of logs to burn down and glow red before filling the stove with wood and shutting it down. Then fire just chugs along, burning slowly, with a flickering, glowing flame, not a roaring fire. Burning with a big draft allows much of the heat simply go up your chimney. This gives you a poor return of heat from your firewood.
This stove does not have a secondary burn airflow above the flame. As a result is less efficient than the new wood burner but heats huge volumes of hot water.
The rooms where our stoves are used have carbon monoxide and smoke alarms fitted. The house is airtight with an active ventilation system. We keep a fire extinguisher at hand in case of emergencies. If you are having a stove fitted you should use a registered fitter and follow the proper guidelines for ventilation.
This is how we manage our stoves. Every home is different. So if in doubt about any aspect of using your stove, seek professional advice.