Choosing The Right Appliance
Wood burning is known to be the most environmentally way to heat properties when lighting a fire. Logs taken from mature trees are also known to contain less carbon dioxide and gases which harm the ozone layer. Trees are also a quicker form of energy to produce, needing up to 20 years to grow; compared to coal, oil and gas which can take millions of years to become productive.
As wood burning is a better option for the environment, the obvious question is – why is it not more widely used as a heat source? The reasons are various. The heat value in some wood is less than solid fuels. Pine, for example, produces just a quarter of the heat value per kilo compared to a standard smokeless fuel. Bulk density involved can also be lower – just a quarter, in fact, of a fine smokeless fuel. Some timbers can take three years to become burn-ready which also requires a big storage area in a homeowner’s property.
More wood material is needed than coal to keep a crackling fire going in terms of bulk density and calorific value – compared to a solid mineral fuel. It can also create a tar build-up on the heat transfer surfaces of a water boiler. Lastly, wood burning also needs solid warm air to distribute into all corners of a home to efficiently heat the whole property.
An exciting solution to the issue of wood burning efficiency has been the invention of wood pellet stoves. These appliances have several advantages such as built-in fuel hoppers to load more fuel; an electric ignition system to control the fire settings; a lower production of ash and a comprehensive thermostat with remote heating controls for some models and even seven day programmes.
Inset heaters and stoves
Inset heaters and wood stoves are built into chimney breasts rather than standing inside fireplaces or in front of chimneys. These stove types are a great way to save space and let an even flow of hot air carry across a room. This will help avoid the creation of hot points near the appliance and colder parts in the corners of the living space. The use of convection chambers allows for this even distribution and they can be built-in so that warm air is ferried to the rest of the home using either fan-assisted or natural convection.
Remember that the style of inset heaters and wood stoves is various and the heat source can also be powered by gas, oil or solid fuel. The latter method can also be tied-in to a high output boiler which supports central heating.