With the fluctuation and unpredictability of energy prices, homeowners are looking for ways to stabilize and reduce their heating bills. Woodstoves, pellet stoves, and fireplace inserts or fireplace stoves are fast becoming a popular way to to do so. Simpler to install and repair, Woodstoves are the most popular of the three.
Just like all Wood burners, should there be a power outage, woodstoves continue to provide a source.
Types of WoodStoves
There are two main types of stoves that meet Environment Canada’s smoke emission standards. They are non-catalytic and catalytic combustion. Both are effective but each possess significant performance differences. The majority of the stoves on the market are non-catalytic, while some high-end stoves use catalytic combustion.
1) Firebox insulation
2) A large baffle to produce a longer, hotter gas flow path
3) Pre-heated combustion air introduced through small holes above the fuel in the firebox.
The baffle, as well as some other internal parts of a non-catalytic stove will need replacement as they deteriorate with the high heat of efficient combustion. This can be confirmed with regular safety inspections of your wood burning stove and chimney.
The newer more expensive stoves today usually feature catalytic converters that actually burn the smoke the wood produces before it ever enters the chimney. The newer catalytic woodstoves have efficiency ratings of up to 83%. In catalytic combustion, the smoky exhaust is passed through a coated ceramic honeycomb inside the stove where the smoke gases and particles ignite and burn. Catalytic stoves are capable of producing a long, even heat output while also reducing or eliminating creosote and thereby the need for frequent chimney cleaning.
The catalytic honeycomb will degrade over time and must be replaced. With proper care, the catalyst can last more than six seasons. However if you decide to burn non-seasoned fuel, overfire your stove, burn garbage and/or treated wood, and if regular cleaning and maintenance are not done, the catalyst may break down in as little as 2 years.
Woodstoves use radiant heat to warm the air, however, most of woodstoves today are combination heaters. In other words, most radiant stoves have built-in convection tubes or chambers and/or at least one convection panel such as a rear heat shield, and most convection stoves have one or more direct radiant surfaces such as a top plate and/or loading door). These combination models will lead to savings in fuel costs.
As discussed, some newer woodstoves include a catalytic combuster which is better for the environment by producing cleaner exhaust gases. but even the most basic wood stoves are often more efficient than older models.
Choosing the Right Size and Model
Since manufacturers’ performance specifications are not standardized and can be misleading, selecting the right size of woodstove for the heating load is challenging. Before visiting anyone to actually purchase a wood stove, take the time to educate yourself by perusing different blogs, and web sites. Become familiar with woodstove terminology. After learning what you can, you should then seek the advice of a professional who can speak with experience and authority about their wood stoves. Always take a floor plan of your home with you when you meet with them. This is so they can customize their recommendations to your specific living space and heating needs.
Size is the first aspect to consider when evaluating wood stoves. Stoves are available in different sizes, with each dependant on the size of the area it will be installed and the amount of heat you expect the stove to produce.
Small woodstoves are good for heating a single room or a small seasonal cottage. A small stove can also complement any furnace system by heating rooms that have a more difficult time reaching the comfortable temperature you may prefer (everyone has one). By adding a small stove, you don’t need to raise the temperature of your entire home just to heat that one room. Woodstoves can decrease your fuel consumption, thus saving you money.
Medium woodstoves are recommended for heating smaller homes, medium-sized energy-efficient homes, and winterized cottages.
Large woodstoves are mainly for larger, open floor plan homes or older, not-so-efficient homes in colder climates.
Once you have determined the appropriate size of wood stove for your space, you can then turn your attention to all the different styles and features available.
The styles are plenty! There are historic styles, contemporary styles, modern styles. All sorts of colors from black to bright red. I am sure that whatever you fancy, you will find.
When it comes time to look at the features, one may consider wood stove equipped with an ash drawer or a blower.
Ash Drawer – The ash from the fire falls into the ash drawer. Once the ash drawer is full, you remove it and throw away the contents. Most wood stoves equipped with ash drawers top the drawers with a lid so that the ash will not spill when emptying.
Blower – You can also get a blower installed with the woodstove. The blower works to quickly circulate the hot air produced by the fire to heat your home more efficiently and evenly. This is especially true if the room you are attempting to heat is large or has high ceilings, a blower can get the heat out of the firebox and into your living space.
It is also a good idea to research the wearable wood burning stove parts and any subsequent expense related to these parts.
Whatever choice(s) you make, woodstoves are affordable, will save you money, and will add loads of character to your home!