Choosing a wood stove

July 29, 2015

There is a great variety of wood-burning stoves on the market and it pays to take time in choosing the best stove to suit your particular requirements. The following guidelines will point you in the right direction.

Choosing a wood stove

A careful buyer will compare a wide range of models and obtain some advice before making a purchase. Installation usually involves house alterations and permits may be required before any work can begin. Before selecting and purchasing a stove, enquire about such requirements. Also check whether the stove to be purchased complies with relevant smoke emission standards. Air pollution regulations governing the flue may also need to be considered.

What to look for

Things to consider when looking for a stove include:

  • Size.
  • Price.
  • Whether you intend to cook on it.
  • Whether it will power your hot-water.
  • How it will be used in conjunction with other sources of power.
  • Ease of installation.
  • Personal taste.

Choose a slow-combustion stove that suits your purposes. A stove too large for the space being heated will be on a low setting too often, leading to a build up of soot in the flue while a small stove in a large space will be inadequate. Decide whether the stove has to heat one room, several rooms, or a whole house. The retailer should be able to give you expert advice.

Assess the insulation in the house – especially whether the area to be heated can be closed off from other spaces, and how effectively cold is prevented from entering the house. A stove suitable for warming a small dwelling through a mild winter may be quite inadequate in a similar space with a different climate.

Large slow-combustion heaters provide up to 20 kilowatts of home heating. This is enough to warm a small and compact house while outside temperatures are at freezing point. A large, rambling house or a house with several wings may be difficult to heat with only one stove although the problem can sometimes be overcome with a 'heat shifter' such as a built-in fan or a ducting system.

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