If you are purchasing a wood burning stove its not only a question of aesthetics and whether your new stove will fit into the space or spaces you have allocated but also its overall efficiency when it comes to wood burning. Sure new stoves are high tech, green and overall a lot more efficient and effective when it compared to older models and technologies. Yet if the stove has had a good amount of use or been abused in its short life – even if relatively new – it may not be all that efficient at heat production and fuel utilizations. Yet to begin with what size and output of wood stove is best – bigger or smaller? Which is the best and wisest choice overall?
Condition of Stove if Used Counts:
Overall it can be said by experienced heating and ventilation mechanics and by trades people involved in the home heat trades that the overall performance of any stove or burning unit will be a great measure overall of how long a length it was used previously and how it was installed and treated. If it was professionally installed and maintained that is a good sign to begin with.
A Proper Sized Wood Stove is One That is Burning at Close to Max Efficiency:
At Close to yet under average conditions a stove will perform and work best when it is burning at nearly full capacity. Many people – initiated in wood burning heating devices might feel that a partially empty stove not pushed to its limit with wood will give the best and most heat overall. This is just not so. If a poor choice of a size of a unit was made – perhaps thinking it was the best economy or perhaps the store was “blowing out” that unit at a hefty price reduction. Yet this bargain stove, that was too large and big for its surroundings, was most likely fired at low settings. With these lower heating settings, most likely dangerous creosote added up in the pipes. Low heats meant that this flammable and dangerous cresol never “burned off” and was left as residue in the stove itself. Perhaps if this stove was installed in a rated setting the heat generated would bring the stove back to a safe condition. Yet overall two things stand of note:
1) Buy a properly rated stove for your heating area. Too big is not a good idea. It’s not like sneakers or running shoes where your mother said 1 size bigger is always safer. Its not
2) If you buy a stove too small – then true it may run at peak efficiencies yet you will constantly refueling the stove and adding wood fuel.
Hence the lesson is take the time to do your homework. Ask experts for your area and area to be heated what is the rated and preferred size of wood stove.
This is your best value overall when buying a new or replacement wood burning stove.
Eddie C. Dixon
Over 50 years experience in the Winnipeg Manitoba heating and airconditioning trades
You can trust Furnasman’s One Hour to meet your heating and ventilation needs – to be at your doorstep in an hour or less even in the 50 below zero frigid Winnipeg coldest of January winters when your furnace or hot water tank does not fire