The wood burning stove, also called a wood stove, is a free standing unit generally constructed of steel, cast iron or soap stone.
The units consist of a closed fire chamber where the fire is contained, a fire brick base and adjustable air control.
The smoke generated by the stove is then carried outside though a chimney.
Air flow is one of the most important factors to generating a safe, efficient fire with a wood stove.
The fire in the fire chamber needs a constant supply of fresh air or the fire will smother itself out.
The air supply to the fire chamber is regulated by the use of dampers. Most units have several dampers to allow the user to adjust or dampen the fire to a safe burning temperature.
Choosing the right stove for your home is extremely important. The square footage, ceiling height, number and efficiency of windows and amount of insulation all play a factor in choosing a wood stove.
How much of your home do you want to heat? Where do you want to install your stove?
Most stoves are installed near the main area of the home where you spend the most time, like the family room. However, if you don't have an open floor plan in your home, the heat may not effectively reach a distant bedroom or bathroom.
Most stoves contain a blower which will circulate the warm air throughout your home, increasing the heating capabilities.
Installing a wood stove should be done by a qualified professional. The wood burning stove should be installed on top of a fire resistant material like tile, stone or brick.
Any stove more than 20 years old should be replaced with a new high efficiency wood stove. The newer stoves contain a catalytic device built into the stove pipe. This device re-ignites the smoke as it goes through the flue, resulting in fewer emissions and increasing efficiency.
The United Kingdom's Clean Air Act requires certain districts to be a smoke control area. The act makes it an offense to produce smoke from a chimney or other structure.
The United States Clean Air Act requires stoves to be certified by the Environmental Protection Agency or EPA. The EPA regulates the emissions of the stove to help protect air quality and reduce energy costs.
Inspect and clean the chimney to remove any creosote. Creosote forms from damp unburnt gasses that adhere to the inside of the chimney. Over time, this buildup can grow and catch fire, causing a potentially deadly scenario.
Only burn seasoned hardwood inside the unit. Hardwoods will burn longer and hotter and create a nice bed of coals which will generate heat and allow you to easily restart the fire.
Overall, a wood burning stove can be an low cost, effective way to heat your home. With a relatively low start up cost compared to other heating options, a wood stove can offer a lot of heat at an affordable price.