David Knox of Stovax fills us in on what’s what when it comes to the different types of stove
Solid fuel stoves come in all shapes and sizes and heat outputs and can be supplied as wood burning only or as multi-fuel – to run on wood, smokeless fuels, anthracite coals, peat turfs or briquettes. When sold as multi fuel, stoves are fitted with a grate to enable a current of air to flow beneath the fuel, and when sold as wood burning only, there is no grate, as wood burns best on a bed of ash.
Inset or cassette stoves are designed to fit in to a hole in the wall and can generally fit into standard fireplace openings, minimising the construction work and disruption from having to take out the hearth and mantel.
Boiler stoves can provide ample supplies of domestic hot water and can provide heat from just a couple of radiators to your entire house. Combined with a heat store water cylinder, they can even be used to run under floor heating.
Wood pellet stoves run on small pellets of compressed sawdust and, having become popular in Europe and Scandinavia, are becoming readily available throughout the retail market. Pellet stoves have many of the advantages of fossil fuel heating systems, including temperature and timer controls, automatic and remote ignition, but without the associated environmental damage.
Gas fired stoves available in both traditional and contemporary models, Gazco’s gas stoves echo the features of our wood burning stoves, including choice of coal or log effect fires, conventional or balanced flues and manual or remote controls. Some versions even have thermostatic controls that allow you to set the room temperature to your exact requirements – and that’s something you do not even have on a real wood burner!
Oil fired stoves have become a shrinking sector with the high prices of oil over the last year. When used, they tend to feature in rural homes off the mains gas grid and where the whole house may already be heated with oil.
Why choose a stove? Here are some persuasive reasons:
- Independent research shows that stoves are three times more efficient than open fires. Designed to radiate heat through the use of materials like steel and cast iron, advances in technology also mean that the latest models put around 80 per cent of their heat into the room, whereas an open fire would put the same amount up the chimney.
- As well as providing an excellent room heater, stoves with an integrated boiler also double up as secondary heating sources capable of powering up to ten radiators, as well as meeting household hot water requirements.
- Stove converts say that the fuel they burn lasts much longer than in an open fire and that it seems to burn at a higher temperature.
- Because stoves burn fuel right down to a very fine ash, disposing of the by-product is also less harmful to the environment.
- Tougher economic times have spurred a re-think about home heating costs and efficiency and there has been a significant increase in solid fuel cast-iron stove sales in particular.
Top tip when buying a stove!
To get the right size of stove for the size of the room you want to heat, you will need 1kW of heat output for every 14 cubic metres.