When most people think of buying a wood burning stove, they envisage logs crackling away, giving off warmth and creating a cosy ambiance on a cold winter’s night.
For other buyers, aesthetics may be less important than the heat that is generated by their stoves. Or they may want the flexibility to burn different types of fuel, depending on what is available to them at the time. And let’s not forget people that live in smoke control areas but who don’t want to miss out on the joys of stove ownership.
In each case there is stove that is just right your requirements. It makes sense to do your research and buy one that is optimised for your property and the fuels that you intend to burn. With increased efficiency you get lower fuel bills, less maintenance and less environmental impact. Let’s look at the main contenders.
The traditional log burner is probably the most popular type of stove. Logs are readily available and are considered a carbon natural fuel source as the carbon dioxide that is released on burning is offset by what the tree absorbed while it was growing. More trees can always be planted to continue the cycle.
Logs burn best when the air that drives combustion is ventilated from above. Log burners are therefore designed so that the logs sit on the base of the stove with vents above them. This type of stove is designed solely for burning logs and should never be used to burn coal or wood pellets, which could damage the base of the stove with their very high heat output.
Logs will reduce to ash as they burn, which will need to be swept out after use. Using high quality kiln dried logs will reduce the amount of ash that is generated making cleaning even simpler. As long as logs containing less than 20% moisture are used, the only other regular maintenance that is required is to wipe clean the front glass to keep your wood burner looking its best.
Multi Fuel Stoves
These stoves are suited to households that want the flexibility of burning different types of fuel, particularly smokeless coal which is one of the few fuels allowed in smoke control areas. Unlike wood, coal burns much better when it is ventilated from below. These stoves have a raised grate that allows air to pass below to drive combustion. To help with maintenance they usually have an ash pan below which can be easily removed when cleaning.
As well as smokeless coal you can also burn peat briquettes, anthracite and man-made heat logs. You can still burn wood logs, but they will not burn as efficiently as they would in a log burner.
Wood pellet stoves
If your main aim is to heat your room or property as efficiently as possible then you may consider a wood pellet stove. Wood pellets are a compressed biomass fuel derived from sustainable wood products. They generate a very high amount of heat with almost no smoke. To burn them you need a very specific type of stove which cannot be used with any other fuel types. With a wood pellet stove you may not get the classic view of logs reducing to embers, but you do get fantastic heat output and advanced features like automatic ignition and temperature controls that you would normally associate with modern boiler systems.
As you can see there are many different types of stoves to choose from. We hope that we have given you enough information to make the right decision about which one is just right for you.