What are Wood Stoves?
Wood stoves are small appliances that people use to generate additional heat in homes or any other indoor space. Ideally, people place wood stoves in rooms that are very difficult to heat or in cold spots at home.
Wood stoves burn wood fuel to produce heat. The heat from the burning of the wood fuel spreads across the room to increase the ambient temperature.
Although there are several types of wood stoves, all of them have standard features. notably, wood stoves have a firebox, ash bin, a large screen, and other components.
The firebox is the space where the combustion process takes place. The firebox is made of materials that cannot catch fire, so it can withstand the massive heat that the burning of fuel generates. The larger the firebox, the easier it is to use your wood stove because you can place inside large amounts of wood fuel for a time.
The ash bin collects the byproducts of the process of burning wood. You can then regularly remove the ash from the ashbin before refiling your wood stove with new fuel.
The large screen lets people view the combustion process. Thus, one can use a wood stove to generate additional heat and create a beautiful ambiance in the home.
How do Wood Burning Stoves Work?
Wood-burning stoves generate heat by directly burning wood fuel in a highly controlled environment. The environment where combustion takes place is highly regulated to ensure that there is an adequate flow of air into the firebox.
The wood-burning process requires a lot of oxygen to be efficient. Also, the environment is controlled to ensure that the combustion process’s unwanted products find their way out of the house.
Fresh air containing oxygen gets to the firebox through the inlet vents. When you switch on the manual ignition system, the wood in the firebox begins to burn. You can regulate the rate at which it burns to ensure that the combustion process is clean and takes long.
As the temperature inside the stove rises rapidly, its surfaces get quite hot. They, in turn, heat the air that is near the stove. Thus, the heat that the stove generates is spread across the room by the natural flow of air.
The unwanted byproducts of the combustion process escape to the outside of the house via the chimney. This explains why you need to vent your wood-burning stove. The ash is collected in the ash bin for emptying during the regular cleaning and maintenance processes.
Types of Wood Stoves
There are several types of wood stoves. The categorization is based on how they function, installation procedures, and the specific type of wood fuel they use to burn to produce heat. Here are details of a few types of wood stoves that are available for use in indoor spaces.
Standalone wood stoves versus wood-burning fireplace inserts
Unlike standalone wood stoves, wood-burning fire inserts are installed in the natural fireplaces found in many homes. You need a technician to complete the installation of your wood-burning fireplace insert into the existing fireplace.
Apart from the installation, there is not much difference between the wood-burning fireplace insert and a standalone wood stove. In most cases, you will have to vent both types of wood stoves using the chimney.
Pellet stoves versus wood stoves
Pellet stoves produce heat by burning wood that has been compressed into pellets. Unlike traditional wood stoves, pellet stoves have a hopper. The hopper is used to feed the pellets into the burning area for the combustion process.
Furthermore, most pellet stoves have a blower for aiding the distribution of heated air across the room. Also, pellet stoves have either a manual or an automatic ignition system.
Benefits of Wood Burning Stove
The following are some of the most common benefits of using a wood-burning stove. The benefits are based on a comparison of other alternative sources of additional heat for indoor spaces.
- Effective heating. Wood stoves can generate enough heat to warm spaces as large as 3,000 square feet. The smallest wood stoves with little heating capacity can generate enough heat for spaces that do not exceed 1,000 square feet. Therefore, wood stoves can be the best appliances for warming rooms that are difficult to heat as well as dealing with cold spots in your house.
- Easy maintenance. Compared to space heaters and other appliances that utilize electricity, wood stoves are easy to maintain. You do not have to check cables and other internal components now and then. Besides electric fireplace inserts, wood stoves require very little maintenance, mainly cleaning the firebox and removing the ash bin.
- Wood stoves have large screens that let people view the fire in the firebox. The view of the flames enhances the general atmosphere of your house.
- Energy efficiency. Wood-burning stoves are more energy-efficient than other sources of heat. Notably, whereas open firepits have an efficiency rate of about 25%, wood stoves have a rating of over 80%. Furthermore, operating a wood-burning stove is more affordable than using an appliance that either burns gas or utilizes electricity.
Gas Stoves vs. Wood Stoves
Gas stoves, unlike wood stoves, burn either natural gas or propane to produce heat. The fuel is supplied through a complex system of vents and pipes. Gas stoves may either be vented through the chimney in your house or vent-free.
Both gas stoves and wood stoves are reliable sources of additional heating at home. You can easily rely on your gas stove to provide warmth if you have natural gas or propane cylinders at home. Similarly, you can always use your wood stove if you have the wood pieces of pellets ready.
Installation and maintenance
Nothing much is needed if you are using a standalone wood-burning stove. However, if you choose a wood-burning fireplace insert, you will need a technician to complete the process for you. The good news is that the costs and technical requirements of getting a wood stove or gas stove running are lower than those of other methods of heating a home. More so, it is cheaper and easier to maintain a g wood stove than a gas stove.
The heating capacities of gas stoves and wood stoves are almost similar. You can effectively heat spaces that range in size from 1,000 square feet to 3,000 square feet in both cases.
Wood Stoves vs. Space Heater
Space heaters are common heating devices that utilize electricity to generate heat. They are usually placed at strategic positions to ensure that heat moves to where it is needed most. This approach of using space heaters is called zonal heating.
Space heaters are more environmentally friendly than wood stoves. Wood stoves and any other appliance that burns carbon-based fuels produce many unwanted substances, including carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide gases. Electric space heaters do not produce any of these byproducts because no combustion process occurs in electric heaters.
Although modern electric space heaters are designed to enhance rooms’ look, they still cannot match traditional wood stoves. Wood stoves have large screens that allow people to view the flames. The flames’ clear view makes woodstoves better than electric space heaters in terms of creating a beautiful ambiance in the home.
Electric space heaters come with advanced inbuilt safety features, including cool to touch, overheat protection, and certification from relevant authorities. Wood stoves do not have such advanced inbuilt safety features.
If there is a steady supply of electric power, it is more convenient to use an electric space heater to warm your rooms than a wood-burning stove. You can conveniently move your electric space heater to any place in your house.
Moreover, electric space heaters have multiple settings that let you tailor their performance to your preferences. Some electric space heaters have remote control capabilities to make it easy for you to operate them.
How to Install a Wood Burning Stove
Installing a wood-burning stove is a highly technical process. This is the reason why you should let a trained and certified technician carry it out. Nevertheless, there are a few things about the installation of such stoves that you should know.
- Get the ideal location. Your wood stove should in a central place on the floor. This positioning enhances the distribution of heat across the entire indoor space or even cabin.
- You can vent your wood-burning stove through the chimney that is already in your house. If there is no chimney, get a certified technician to install one for you.
- Keep combustible materials away from the stove. Ensure that the floor on which your stove stands is made of non-combustible materials. Also, keep any other combustible material at least 15 inches from the wood-burning stove.
How to Use a Wood Stove
Although using your wood stove may sound like a walk in the park, this is not always the case. There are a few tricks that you need to master to use this appliance successfully. Here is a step-by-step guide on using a conventional wood-burning stove.
- Open the damper fully. A fully open damper maximizes the amount of air that passes through your wood stove. Excellent air circulation is critical for sustaining the combustion process that takes place in your stove.
- Start a small fire. If you are using a traditional wood-burning stove, you will have to start a small fire using dry twigs. Keep the small fire burning by methodically adding small twigs.
- Build the fire. Once you start seeing small glowing embers collecting at the bottom of the fire, it is time to keep building it. Add smaller logs methodically to keep the fire going.
- Add the big logs. You should do this when you are certain that the fire is growing and will not go out easily. Add the number of logs that the firebox of your stove can accommodate. Shut the door of the stove carefully so that the fire does not go out.
Woodstove Safety Tips
Although wood stove burners are an excellent source of supplemental heat, using them poses a certain degree of danger. The most common risk of using wood-burning stoves is fire outbreaks.
Here are certain tips to help you prevent fire outbreaks and any other accidents related to using wood stoves.
- Keep combustible materials away from the stove. Things like clothing, papers, and plastics can easily catch fire if they get into contact with your working stove. Ensures that you keep such combustible materials as far away from your stove as possible.
- Use proper fuel on your stove. Ensure that you get firewood, which is from a mature tree and that has been dried for at least a year. Using low-quality firewood in your wood-burning stove can cause a lot of smoke.
- Carry out routine cleaning and maintenance procedures. Regularly remove the ashes that collect in the ashbin. Let the ashes cool down first before you dispose of them outside correctly.
- Install smoke and carbon monoxide sensors in your home. These sensors are critical because they will trigger the alarm if the indoor air is full of smoke or carbon monoxide gas.
Wood Stoves Maintenance
Proper maintenance of your wood stove will enable you to reap all the benefits of purchasing and installing this appliance. An adequately maintained wood-burning stove will last longer and perform better than one which is neglected.
Here are a few things that you should do to keep your wood stove in perfect condition.
Empty the ash bin regularly
Most modern-day brands of wood-burning stoves come with a removable ash bin. Take advantage of this feature by regularly removing the ash bin and emptying all the ash outside. If ashes accumulate inside the bin, they may interfere with the functioning of the grates.
Thorough-clean your chimney once per year
Get professional technicians to sweep your chimney at least once every year. This helps to prevent the buildup of creosote inside the chimney. Creosote buildup in chimneys is one of the biggest risk factors for chimney fires.
Leave the door of the chimney open when not using it for prolonged periods
The inside of your chimney needs an adequate air supply even when no combustion is taking place. This prevents the onset of the process of corrosion. Therefore, leave the door of the stove open to allow sufficient air circulation.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Wood Burning Stove
Getting the right wood-burning stove can help you save on heating costs, have a warm indoor environment, and enhance your house’s overall look. But choosing the right wood-burning stove is not a walk in the park.
Here are a few important features that you should consider before settling on the perfect brand for your home.
The heating capacity of a wood stove determines how well it will serve you. Go for wood stoves that have high heating capacity if you need to warm large indoor areas.
Some wood stoves can effectively heat spaces that are 3,000 square feet in area. Also, wood-burning stoves that have blowers have higher heating capacities than those which do not have blowers. The blower distributes the heated air across the room to ensure rapid and uniform heating.
The size of the firebox of a wood stove determines the amount of fuel that the device can take at a time. Wood stoves with large fireboxes are more convenient than those with small ones. You will not have to refill the box with fuel every often if it is large enough to accommodate massive amounts of wood pieces.
Pellet wood stoves burn compressed carbon fuels to produce energy. Such stoves use electric power to operate the control board and auger. Traditional wood-burning stoves burn wood pieces to generate energy. They do not utilize electric energy because one can control them purely using a manual means.
Best Small Wood Stoves For Cabins
1. Pleasant Hearth 30,000 BTU Vent Free Gas Stove
If you are looking for a robust and highly reliable small wood stove for providing additional warmth in your indoor space, consider using the Pleasant Hearth VFS2-PH30DT. With a BTU rating of 30,000, this device can provide extra warmth in areas that measure 1,000 square feet.
Besides, its pleasant flame provides heat instantly. The addition of a blower helps to rapidly move the hot air around the house to create a comfortable environment. Besides, the stove’s flame can play a significant role in enhancing your indoor space’s overall look and ambiance.
Another great feature of this stove is the Oxygen Depletion Sensor. This safety system is included in the safety pilot of the stove. It helps to keep you safe by giving out a warning when the oxygen levels in the air are way below the safety levels.
The only drawback of owning this stove is that you will need a technician to install and maintain it for you. Installing and maintaining it are very technical processes that may be well beyond what you can do yourself.
- Ideal for heating large areas of up to 1,000 square feet
- It has enhanced safety features, including an Oxygen Depletion Sensor
- It provides instant heating and a beautiful indoor ambiance
- The installation process is highly technical and requires professional-level skills
2. Ashley Hearth 1,800 Sq. Ft. Wood Stove Insert
The Ashley Hearth 1,800 Sq. Ft. Wood Stove Insert is built to last long and provide a lot of additional heat for large indoor spaces. This stove has a rating of 69,00 BTUs, which is enough for large areas of up to 1,800 square feet.
Moreover, this stove’s inside walls are made to maximize the amount of heat that it produces. The brick-lined walls help ensure that all the heat is reflected and projected outside to warm the surrounding air.
Thanks to the large size of the firebox, you can use this wood stove very conveniently. The large firebox can accommodate pieces of wood that measure 18 inches. Thus, you do not have to repeatedly refill the firebox of your wood stove if you use it for a long time.
Although the installation process of the Ashley Hearth 1,800 Sq. Ft. Wood Stove Insert should be easy, this is not always the case. You may experience some difficulties affixing this wood stove insert to your existing fireplace.
- Convenient for use for a long time because it has a large firebox
- The insert is built for durability using reinforced steel plate
- It has various industry-specific certifications, including UL and EPA
- The installation process takes a long time
3. Dickinson Marine 00-NEWSF Newport Solid Fuel Heater
The Dickinson Marine 00-NEWSF can be your ideal heating companion if you are keen on getting a device designed to produce supplemental heat for small spaces.
Thanks to its compact design and small size, you can easily carry this heating appliance from one place to another. This is a significant advantage because traditional wood stoves are quite bulky.
Operating and maintaining this device is a breeze. It has a damper and a removable ash drawer. When cleaning it, you need to remove and empty the ash drawer often. Carrying out this procedure helps to keep your appliance in excellent shape.
The Dickinson Marine 00-NEWSF gives you value for money. Its body is made of reinforced stainless-steel plates. Besides, the latches of the door are strong enough to last for a long time.
However, this heating device is unsuitable for use in large spaces. The maximum heating capacity of 8,000 BTUs is too little to heat standard-sized spaces properly.
- The fuel heater has a compact design and is highly portable
- Easy to operate because of the removable ash drawer
- The use of stainless-steel material makes it very durable
- It has a limited heating capacity of a maximum of 8,000 BTUs
4. US Stove 6041i Multi-Fuel Insert
The US Stove 6041i Multi-Fuel Insert is ideal for delivering personalized heating in mid to large-sized places. It has all the settings that you need to adjust its heating performance.
You can change the blower speed across five settings according to your preferences. Also, it is possible to adjust the heating temperature across five options.
Moreover, the US Stove 6041i Multi-Fuel Insert has all the safety features you would expect to find in a high-quality fireplace insert. The hopper switch ensures that the door is locked correctly before the insert functions.
The overheat protection prevents fire accidents while the power outage system ensures that the insert goes off if there is no power supply.
Sadly, to get the best from this insert, you must maintain a steady supply of pellets. If this is not maintained, then this insert will not serve you best. The quality of the flame and heating will decline rapidly.
- It has five heating settings and blower speeds options for personalized heating
- Advanced safety features: hopper switch, and a high-temperature switch, and power outage system
- The large arch glass provides a clear view of the flame for great ambiance
- One must maintain a constant flow of pellets to get the best heating performance
5. Guide Gear Outdoor Wood Stove
Several features make the Guide Gear Outdoor Wood Stove a perfect choice for heating large spaces for a long time. It has a large firebox that can accommodate big pieces of wood that measure up to 18 inches. Thus, you do not have to refill the firebox often when using the stove.
Additionally, it is relatively safe to use this wood stove. The chimney, which comprises six interlocking pieces, is cool to the touch. Therefore, you can touch the chimney of this stove without worrying about getting burnt.
You can use the adjustable vent to personalize the heating performance of this stove. By changing the extent to which the vent is open, you can control the rate of burning of wood according to your preferences.
You will have to spare a lot of time to carry out maintenance procedures to get the best from this stove. Although the firebox is large enough to accommodate large wood fuel pieces, you will have to clean it and other parts often. Also, it is necessary to clean the chimney regularly.
- The coiled handle is cool to the touch
- It has a large firebox for easy operation
- The adjustable vent allows one to personalize its heating performance
- The stove requires heavy maintenance processes to remain useful
6. Osburn 1700 Wood Burning Stove
The Osburn 1700 Wood Burning Stove has a massive heating capacity of about 65,000 BTUs. This heating capacity is enough to provide supplemental warmth in spaces that are as large as 1,800 square feet. Therefore, you can rely on this wood stove for heating large-sized spaces.
The Osburn 1700 Wood Burning Stove has a high level of efficiency of 78%. This efficiency rate is high enough to not only deliver adequate heating but also save you money that you would otherwise have used to purchase additional wood fuel.
This woodstove has all the relevant certifications that you would expect a high-quality device to have. The UL and EPA certifications guarantee your safety when using this wood stove.
Although the Osburn 1700 Wood Burning Stove has a large firebox, its burn time is relatively short. When set on the high heating mode, this wood stove will serve you for only six hours. This means that you will have to refill the firebox if you intend to use it for long periods.
- Massive heating capacity of 65,000 BTUs; perfect for heating 1,800 square feet spaces
- High level of efficiency of 78%
- It has all the relevant certifications, including UL and EPA
- It has a relatively short burn time of six hours