Wood burning stoves can be found installed inside existing open fireplaces in many homes, so what is a wood stove?
A wood burning stove is a type of fireplace that burns wood to produce heat. Wood stoves help to increase the efficiency of burning wood compared to open fireplaces by allowing the user to control both the amount of wood in the stove and the air supply to the fire.
A wood burning stove can also be called a wood stove, wood burner or log burner.
A sub section of wood stoves can include pellet stoves and multi fuel stoves.
Multi fuel stoves are slightly different to wood burning stoves as they are able to burn a few different types of fuel as well as wood. You can find out more about multi fuel stoves here, including how to tell the differences between the two.
I’ve explained what wood burning stoves are in more detail below using our own wood stove as an example.
What Is A Wood Burning Stove?
Open fires in traditional fireplaces are very inefficient at providing heat to a room, as much of the warmth generated by the fire can be lost up the chimney. A wood burning stove is an appliance that aims to overcome this problem by burning wood as efficiently as possible to produce as much heat from every piece of wood consumed.
A wood stove is a box-like unit that sits on a flat fireproof slab of material in your home (known as the hearth). Many wood burning stoves are installed inside existing fireplaces.
Here’s what our wood burning stove looks like inside our open fireplace:
Our particular model of wood stove is rectangular in shape, black in color, and has a door on the front with a large glass panel to view the fire through.
What Is A Wood Burning Stove Used For?
A wood stove is used to heat a particular room in a home, or can even be used to heat a whole house by transferring the heat generated by the stove around the house using appliances such as fans.
As wood stoves are much more efficient than open fireplaces, they can be used to provide heat to a particular room without the need for using the central heating.
Residual heat is also stored within the body of the stove that radiates out into the room for a prolonged period of time. A room can therefore be kept warm for a number of hours even after the fire has gone out.
Wood stoves can also provide a focal point the room, and there are many different designs available to suit the décor of your home.
What Is A Wood Burning Stove Made Of?
Wood burning stoves are typically made from steel or cast iron for the frame, with glass panels located on the door of the stove.
Because a fire in a wood stove is concealed behind a metal frame and glass, the stoves need to be made of a material that is a good conductor of heat so that the warmth from the fire can be absorbed and transferred into the room.
Steel or cast iron is therefore the typical choice of material for wood stoves. Our wood burning stove is made from steel, while the door handle is stainless steel.
The inside of our wood stove is lined with a fireproof material on the back, sides and base so that the majority of heat is transferred through the front of the stove and into our living room.
How Does A Wood Burning Stove Work?
A wood burning stove works by burning wood inside an enclosed environment where both the airflow and amount of wood can be controlled to change both the heat output and the efficiency of the stove.
A wood stove burns wood more efficiently than open fires by holding waste gases from the fire within the stove for longer, and at higher temperatures and pressures. More heat is generated by burning off these waste gases through a process known as secondary combustion.
A wood stove also has air vents that can be controlled to restrict the flow of air getting to the fire. This helps to burn the wood more efficiently as the restricted flow of oxygen helps to prevent the fire from burning through the wood too quickly.
Our wood stove has one controllable air vent, which is used to control the rate at which the fire burns and how much heat is generated throughout the duration of the fire.
How To Tell If You Have A Wood Stove
Wood stoves are designed for burning wood only, and so all of the components of a wood stove are setup to only burn wood.
Wood stoves will have a flat base at the bottom of the firebox. The base of our stove is made from the same fireproof material as the back and sides.
Wood burns best with a source of air from above the fire and so wood stoves have flat firebox bases because air doesn’t need to get the fire from below.
Multi fuel stoves however, will typically have metal grates at the base of the firebox so that they can burn other sources of fuel such as coal. Coal burns more efficiently with a source of air from below the fire, and so the metal grate inside a multi fuel stove allows air to get to the fire from below.