When we decided to purchase a wood burning stove, one of the first things that needed to be decided was if we wanted an electric or gas powered model. Wood burning stoves are very popular in colder climates because they provide warmth and also offer an alternative heating source during power outages.
Wood burning stoves are an excellent way to heat your home. They are also a great way to enjoy the experience of wood fires without all the smoke and mess that comes with it. But before you buy one, there are many things you should consider first. Below is a list of 20 considerations we had when buying our stove:
Choosing a location for the stove
- We wanted to put the stove in an open plan living space, next to a wall that wasn’t shared with other rooms. The location would be close enough for us to load logs into it easily but also away from any furniture or carpeting so as not to burn anything!
- We also had to consider where the air inlets would be, as they are essential for drafting properly.
What type of stove are you looking for?
There are many different types to choose from. This can be determined by your budget, how much space is available in the room or even if it has to meet certain building regulations. Some examples include:
- Cast iron stoves which give off a lot of heat and retain their heat well but they’re heavy and take up more space than other options.
- Steel log burners that involve less maintenance as they don’t need refuelling all the time because once again, these aren’t cheap either!
- Pot Belly Stove – this one also takes up quite a bit of floor area compared with others but at least there’s no loading required so fuel will last longer.
- Freestanding – this one doesn’t require a chimney or flue but it does need access to an outside wall and you’ll need the right size room for it, plus there will be more maintenance required with them if they’re not pre-fitted with fans/air flows etc.
Size of the area to be heated
When we were researching wood burning stoves, one of the most important factors was to make sure that it would heat our area effectively. We knew we needed a stove for this reason and ultimately decided on something smaller because my husband has an office in another building nearby which he can use as well.
The one we chose was a smaller size and could heat up to 400 square feet. We knew that would be enough for our home, but I would recommend checking out the manufacturer’s website or asking them directly what you can expect from your stove in terms of square footage.
Heat output of the stove
The heat output of the stove is measured in kW, so you need to do some research if you don’t know what this means. A good rule of thumb is that one kilowatt-hour will provide about 3500 BTU’s over a period of time. However, it may vary depending on how efficient your appliance actually is – for example many stoves are not very effective when they’re just starting up or shuttering down! So, if your stove says it is 30 kW – that means you’re going to be getting rid of about one kilowatt-hour every hour.
Our stove was rated at 11kW which gives us around 40 hours burn time per 20kg bag of wood pellets. We can go through two bags in a day but the fire only runs for 12 hours so we tend to have enough heat stored up most days with just one load of pellet replenishment needed each evening.
The storage capacity or hopper size refers to how much fuel can be loaded into the appliance before needing to refill it completely. This varies greatly depending on what type and size of stove you buy!
How long will our Stove last?
Our stove should last about 30 years. That is a long time to be using one piece of equipment in our house!
- We had to consider how long our stove will last for.
- Many of the options available have a lifetime warranty, but we chose one with a 30 year warranty in case there are any issues down the road.
- The lifespan of stoves ranges from 20-30 years on average depending on where you live and what kind of use it gets. If properly cared for, most modern wood burning heaters should easily outlast their owners!
Efficiency of the stove
The efficiency of the stove is a factor that we considered when buying our wood burning stove. We wanted to know how much heat it would give off, and whether or not it was efficient enough for us. There are different kinds of stoves with their own unique efficiencies so they will emit different amounts of heat depending on what you need in your home.
We installed a chimney liner when we had the house built. So, that was covered, but then I also wanted to have an external vent in case of emergencies and so it didn’t look too unsightly on our beautiful new home. If you can get this for free through your installer or another contributor, great! But if not expect to pay around $300-500 depending on what type is needed (if you don’t go with a direct exhaust).
The most important thing here is ventilation…it must be able to handle the volume of air being released from the stove especially during combustion with high heat levels coming into contact with oxygen at atmospheric pressure speeds up chemical reactions exponentially. This means that all flammable materials surrounding the stove must be flame resistant and able to handle heat.
The hearth is an important part of the stove. It needs to be big enough to accommodate a cooking pot, and it should ideally have a lip around the edge so food does not fall onto your floor. Our old woodburner was in front of a brick wall which meant we could build up underneath if needed, but this wasn’t possible with our new one because there aren’t any walls behind it! We had to make sure that whatever model we chose would fit comfortably within the space available.
The flue is the pipe that pulls smoke and gases from a wood stove through your home, up and out of your chimney. Make sure it’s installed properly so you don’t have problems down the line!
Type and moisture content of firewood
Cannot have too much moisture in the wood, or it will not burn properly. We always go with a mix of hardwood and softwood that is around 20 – 30% wetter than normal firewood.
Storage of the firewood
We knew that we were going to need a place for the firewood. We had already decided on where it would go in our yard, but needed to ensure that when looking at stoves there was adequate room underneath them. We were looking at a few types of stoves and we wanted to ensure that all the sizes were good fits.
A firewood rack needs to be durable and able to withstand weather conditions as well as being strong enough not to break if someone leans on it or puts their weight down. There is nothing worse than buying something only for it to break after a short time! Firewood storage racks should also have some kind of roofing element, so that when it rains any water stays off the wood which will prolong its life too.
If you are using your stove in an open fireplace then storing underneath can work fine because there isn’t going anywhere near as much heat from them, but this might prove more difficult with a freestanding one where it is hot right next to the unit.
Some stoves have built in storage but this might not hold enough firewood or it may be difficult to access when loading up with logs. It can also take up a lot of space and sometimes what you end up having underneath isn’t really any good for anything else, so building your own or buying something that compliments your stove’s design will work better.
If we had bought a wood burning stove with an oven then things would be slightly different because we would need even more room around it! Many wood burners come with their own cabinet which gives extra storage as well as surrounding the stove keeping everything warm too – perfect if someone wanted to use it all year round. This means they are going to need even more room underneath, but also next to it so the oven can be used too.
Wood storage racks come in different sizes and styles depending on how much you want to spend. We wanted something that was going to hold a lot of wood whilst not being too expensive because we knew if they were cheap then there would probably be problems with them later down the line when they fell apart or rusted after just one winter’s use!
Cleaning & maintenance
- You have to clean the stove regularly. This is especially true if you live in a humid area. To get rid of soot and creosote, which can cause chimney fires, use an approved cleaner like Bon Ami (it’s all natural). It works great on glass too! And don’t forget about your exterior; it needs regular cleaning as well. Just be sure to only scrub when the surfaces are cool enough for you to touch without burning yourself or damaging them any further.
- Since wood fireplaces aren’t used very often (at least not in summertime), there could be dust accumulated inside even when everything seems “just fine” outside. If that happens, open up the fireplace, take out the grates and sweep everything using a dry brush. This will remove any dust that might’ve collected inside there.
- You should also check your flue for clogs which could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning if you don’t fix them in time. Fortunately, this is an easy job. Just go up to the roof with some thick gloves on (soot may be very irritating) and clear anything that looks like it’s blocking the way for fumes through your chimney so they can escape properly instead of staying stuck in there building up over time year after year until they’re released all at once into your room when you light up something for heating purposes (and yes, it sounds scary but chances are nothing bad will happen to you). If there’s a lot of soot around your chimney, it might be time for sweeping. But keep in mind that the only way to clean your flue safely is by using heat and chemicals (so don’t try cleaning it with water!).
- Before lighting up anything inside the fireplace, check if everything’s alright outside first because once you’ve set fire to something inside, there won’t be any going back until all fuel has been consumed or stopped burning! And while we’re on the subject: never leave a lit stove unattended— not even when turning down embers as they can easily flare up causing damage and injuries.
It is important that the warranty you are considering has a long coverage period for any defects. You want to make sure your stove will be covered by insurance in case anything goes wrong with it. The warranty should cover repair, replacement or refund of the product depending on what you have purchased. As well as this, there are some companies who offer warranties where they take over servicing and maintenance costs which can sometimes save money down the line if your appliance breaks down frequently during its lifetime.
Firstly, we needed to consider the installation of our wood burning stove. We did some research and found that it is best to hire a qualified installer or get one of your friends who has experience with installing them before you buy the product itself. A new wood-burning stove should be installed by an experienced professional in order to ensure your safety and not void any warranty agreements between yourself and the manufacturer. The cost for hiring someone else will vary depending on where you live but expect around $700-$1400.
We all have different tastes, so I can’t say one design is better than another. What’s important to me isn’t always going to be what matters most to you, but I think the first thing that will jump out at everyone when looking around online are the prices of wood burning stoves these days! It seems like there are new ones popping up every day and it got us wondering just how far we could stretch our budget…
Smoke controlled areas
Having a smoke controlled area is one of the most important factors when it comes to buying a wood burning stove. The reason for this is that some stoves give off more smoke than others and you need to make sure that your neighbours don’t complain about any issues after installation, as well as making sure you comply with legislation around where they can be installed. If there are certain areas or rooms in your house which cannot allow fumes from an open fire then we would recommend not purchasing a wood burning stove unless you know 100% it will work on those particular rooms.
Cost of the stove
- We had a budget, but we did not want to spend more than necessary. We found some stoves that were within our price range and looked good for installation in the house.
- The size of the stove-Stoves come in many different sizes from small ones with room for one log up to larger models which will hold several logs at once. If you live alone or on your own it may be better to buy a smaller stove while if there are two or three of you then a bigger model is probably best as this means less time tending the fire each day. A model that holds four large logs might seem like a great idea without considering how much space it takes up inside your home!
Environmental Protection Agency Regulations
The EPA has strict regulations on the type of wood burning stove you can install. They don’t want any harmful chemicals to be released in your home and so they provide a list of acceptable devices within their guidelines. These typically fall under three main categories: certified stoves, exempt appliances, and unlisted appliances. Certified stoves meet all EPA emission standards while exempt appliances are those that were manufactured before January 1994 when the EPA issued its current air quality standard for residential fireplaces and uncertified stoves (unlisted). Of course if it’s older than this then there is no way to certify that it meets these requirements but we would still recommend having them inspected by an expert prior to installation.
Safety Tips for Wood Burning Stoves
A wood burning stove is a great way to heat your home and save on energy costs. There are some safety tips you should consider when using this type of furnace:
- Make sure the area around your stove is clear of any flammable objects such as curtains, furniture or papers. If possible, place it in an alcove away from combustibles items like bookshelves or cardboard boxes. You can also install fire resistant panels that will help contain flames if something were to catch on fire while near the stove. These often come with doors which keep oxygen out but allow smoke to escape up into the chimney pipe for proper ventilation and processing by natural convection currents.
- Keep anything inflammable at least three feet away from the sides, front and back of your stove. The temperature around the wood burning stove can reach up to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit so you don’t want anything combustible too close for comfort.
- Don’t ever leave a fire unattended or go to sleep with it still lit. Even hot embers that are no longer producing flames could reignite if oxygen were to get in there somehow which would produce an open flame again on any nearby combustibles within seconds of leaving it alone. Just be sure the area is clear before stepping out of one room into another where your furnace is set up because fires spread very quickly!
- Keep some kind of portable fire extinguisher handy just in case something unexpected happens like a fire breaking out or a hot ember landing on the carpet. Make sure to read all directions and follow them carefully before using it, however.
- Don’t use flammable liquids such as gasoline or kerosene for starting your wood burning stove since they can ignite from even tiny sparks which often fly around when lighting fires with these types of accelerants. You don’t want to take that chance!
What are the dimensions of your stove?
All of our stoves have different dimensions, but they usually range from 45-50 cm in height and 50-60 cm in width. A lot also depends on what style you go for. If you're looking at a more traditional design then it's going to be bigger than if you chose something more contemporary or modern styled. You really need to make sure that the size is suitable for wherever you'll put it – both aesthetically and practically!
How much does firewood cost?
The price varies depending where you get yours from, how big each bag is, etcetera. However, we found some places locally which had good prices so didn't have to spend too much money buying wood whe re we were living.
How much does it cost to run?
It's difficult to answer this question with complete accuracy, but the general consensus is that a stove will use about as much wood in one day as you would for a couple of hours worth of central heating – so if your house is well insulated then you won't have too many issues staying warm!
In this article, we have outlined the 20 things you need to consider when buying a wood burning stove. We hope that by doing so, it helps you in making an informed decision when purchasing your perfect stove. Thank you for reading!