Wood Stove Fan Placement

Wood Stove Fans (Explained With Pictures)

In Multi Fuel Stoves, Wood Burning Stoves by James O'KellyLeave a Comment

Wood burning stoves can often be seen being accompanied by a fan located on the top surface of the stove.

Wood stove fans don’t typically come with a wood burning stove but are commonly bought by owners of wood stoves as an additional accessory.

We’ve recently bought two wood stove fans to use alongside our wood burning stove and multi fuel stove.

One of these fans is a 3-blade model while the other one is a 4-blade version.

Our two wood stove fans

We’ve been using and testing out these fans with both our stoves and so we’ve put together this complete guide to wood stove fans to explain:

  • What wood stove fans are and what they do.
  • Where to place a wood stove fan and whether you need one.
  • Whether wood stove fans actually work and are worth it.
  • How wood stove fans work.

What Is A Wood Burning Stove Fan?

A wood burning stove fan is a fan that sits on the top surface of a wood stove and used to help force warm air out into the room. Wood stove fans are made from metal and typically contain two to four blades, with some models offering dual sets of fans in one unit.

We own both the 3-blade and 4-blade models of a wood stove fan from the same manufacturer.

The fans are made almost entirely of metal and, like almost all other wood stove fans, are finished in black.

Our 3-bladed wood stove fan
Our 4-bladed wood stove fan
What the back of a wood stove fan looks like

What Does A Wood Stove Fan Do?

A wood stove fan works like any other fan and, as the blades rotate, forces air through the front of the fan from the back. Wood stove fans use the heat from the surface of a wood stove to power the blades and don’t require an electrical supply.

Wood stove fans typically come as one unit and there’ll typically be no loose parts. You’ll often find that a wood stove fan can be used straight out of the box.

We could use our wood stove fans straight out of the box

A wood stove fan uses the heat from the surface of a wood burning stove to power the blades. As the blades rotate, air is sucked in from the back of the fan and forced out the front in the general direction that the fan is facing.

A wood stove fan forces air through the front

We discuss how exactly a wood stove fan can use the heat from a wood burning stove to work further in this article.

What Is The Purpose Of A Fan On A Wood Stove?

The purpose of a wood stove fan is to help transfer the heat produced by a stove more uniformly across the room. As heat rises, a fan can create a warmer environment more towards floor level, and help prevent warm air from being trapped around the stove or on the ceiling.

The illustration below found on the side of the box for one of our wood stove fans provides a visual explanation of why a fan would be used on a wood stove.

A wood stove fan can help to circulate warm air further into the room

Without a fan, the heat from a wood stove can often simply rise straight up and become trapped at the top of the room.

Many wood stoves, like ours, are located in existing fireplace or alcoves where it may not be so easy for the warm air to escape.

Through using a wood stove fan, this heat can be pushed out into the room before rising up, therefore helping to make the most of the heat generated by a wood burning stove.

Wood Stove Fan Placement/Installation

A wood stove fan should typically be placed on a flat and smooth area on the top of a wood burning stove and located near the back area of the stove. For wood stoves with the flue sticking out the top, the fan should be placed to the rear of the stove and to the side of the stovepipe.

Wood stove fan manufacturers typically state that fans should be placed towards the back of the stove and not near the front.

They’ll also recommend that the fan is placed on a flat and smooth surface so that the heat can be absorbed more efficiently by the fan.

See the images below from the boxes of our two stove fans that give a better idea of where to place a stove fan.

Wood stove fans should be placed near the side or back
A stove fan shouldn’t be placed in front of the stovepipe

Here’s how we place our two fans:

Our fan place to the back and side of the stove
Again, placed to the back and side away from the stovepipe

A stove fan shouldn’t ideally be placed in front of a stovepipe and should typically be placed as far away from the stovepipe as possible.

A stove fan shouldn’t be placed in front of the stovepipe if possible

If the manufacturer tells you to place your fan differently, then always follow their guidance.

Do I Need A Fan For My Wood Stove?

A fan isn’t always a necessity for a wood burning stove but can help make a room feel warmer in certain situations where a wood stove may not be pushing warmth out into a room as much as it should be.

Whether you need a fan for your wood stove can depend on your situation, your stove and your setup.

For newer, more efficient models of wood stove that can transfer the heat from the fire to the room very well, a fan may not be a requirement, and using a fan may only make a slight bit of difference to the warmth you can feel.

For older, less efficient stoves, or where situations such as high ceilings, or where a stove is set back in an alcove or existing fireplace, it can make it feel like a stove isn’t throwing out much heat, and so a wood stove fan can make a noticeable difference to the amount of heat you can feel when sat or stood away from the stove.

We find that our stove fans do help make our wood stoves feel hotter when we’re sat across the room from them, but our stoves are relatively new and quite efficient in the first place and so do a great job at heating the room even without a fan.

Are Wood Stoves Fans Any Good (Do They Really Work)?

Wood stove fans use the heat from the stove to power the fan blades and the hotter the stove is operating, the more heat the fan can move. The increase in heat felt within a room can often be noticeable when using a wood stove fan.

For single room heating a wood stove fan can work very well in making you feel the warmth more efficiently.

For whole house heating, a standard stove fan may not be sufficient to move the air around the house and so the use of a floor fan or other means may be more appropriate.

We find that our stove fans do help make our wood stoves feel hotter when we’re sat across the room from them, but our stoves are relatively new and quite efficient in the first place and so do a great job at heating the room even without a fan.

Our stove fans help to circulate warm air right across the room

Are Wood Stove Fans Worth It?

A wood stove fan can be worth it in situations where a wood burning stove is recessed into the wall or located within an alcove or existing fireplace, and where the stove isn’t as efficient as more modern stoves at distributing the heat further into room at floor level.

Wood stove fans can be a valuable accessory in situations where the heat output is being restricted from the stove, either through less ideal placement of the stove in a room or the age and efficiency of the stove being old and poor respectively.

How A Wood Stove Fan Works

A wood stove fan works by using a Peltier device to generate electricity that powers the motor to drive the fan blades. The heat from a wood stove is conducted through the bottom half of a wood stove fan and the temperature difference compared to the top half creates an electrical current.

Wood stove fans are powered by heat.

Wood stove fans don’t have a dedicated source of electricity (no power cord or plug) and so are self-sufficient and rely on generating the electricity themselves needed by the electrical motor to turn the fan blades.

Wood stove fans therefore use a Peltier device to generate their own electricity.

A Peltier device can generate a voltage through a difference in the temperature between two objects.

A wood stove can achieve this because the lower half of the fan is separated from the top half by the Peltier device, as shown in the pictures below of our own fans.

The peltier device separating the two halves of the fan

When a wood stove fan is placed on a stove and a fire is started in that stove, the body of the stove absorbs that heat and is transferred to the bottom half of the stove fan through conduction when the fan is placed on the surface of the stove.

This is why stove fan manufacturers often request the fan to be placed on a smooth and level surface to promote maximum heat distribution to the fan from the stove.

The underside of our wood stove fan where heat from the stove is conducted through

The heat travels up the fan to where the Peltier device is located around halfway up a typical stove fan. As the Peltier device transfers the heat from the bottom (hotter) part of the fan to the top (colder) part, an electrical current is produced due to this temperature difference.

You’ll therefore see wires sticking out of this Peltier device on a wood stove fan (the device is the typically white pad located between the bottom and top halves of a stove fan).

These wires will connect into a standard electrical motor located just behind the fan blades.

Wires from the peltier device connecting into the fan motor

Therefore, the heat conducted through the base of a stove fan from a wood stove creates an electrical current as its transferred across to the top part of the fan through a Peltier device, where the electricity generated provides power to the motor that drives the fan blades.

Wood stove fans will typically only be able to work within a certain temperature range, and the hotter the stove is running the more air can typically be distributed by the fan.

For example, our stove fans are designed to work within the 175-650 F (80-345 C) temperature range.

The fan won’t turn on until the stove has reached a certain temperature.

If the stove is running too hot, then it can damage the fan. Our fans have a built-in safety device (simply a piece of metal) at the base of them so that when temperatures reach too hot the fan lifts slightly off the stove and cools down.

To help prevent temperatures getting too hot in stove by overfiring, it’s always beneficial to use a stove thermometer to keep an eye on temperature levels. See our guide to stove thermometers here.

Types Of Wood Stove Fan

While wood stove fans are typically black in color, they can also come in a number of sizes, shapes and designs, and can also be specifically designed to work on either the top of a wood stove or on the stove pipe sticking out the top.

The main types of wood stove fan can include:

  • 3 or 4-blade fans (but 2-blade or 5-blade fans, or even more blades, can be found)
  • Single or dual fans
  • Stove-top fans or stovepipe fans

You’ll typically find that most wood stove fans have 3 or 4 blades, but you’ll also be able to find fans that have 2 blades or even 5 or more blades.

As an example, we have two fans; one of which has 3 blades and the other of which has 4.

While single fans (one set of blades) is the most popular, there are some models that have two sets of fans within one unit.

Finally, stove fans that sit on the top surface of a wood stove are the most common, but there’s also fans that you can stick directly onto the stovepipe/flue of your wood stove.

Our 3-bladed fan sat on top of our wood burning stove works very well

Wood Stove Fan Pros & Cons

Wood Stove Fan ProsWood Stove Fan Cons
Typically quite quietMay not be as effective for modern wood stoves
May be more effective when used with older wood stovesWon’t work until stove gets warm/hot
Can help a room feel warmerWon’t help heat a whole house
No external power requiredUsually no guard against blades

Are Wood Stove Fans Safe?

Stove fans are typically safe and effective to use as a means of getting more heat distribution into a room from a wood stove. However, wood stove fans should always be used as per the manufacturer’s guidelines, which typically includes keeping small children out of reach of the fan while in use.

The manual to our own wood stove fans state:

Please keep yourself and particularly small children away from hot parts of the fan and the rotating vanes.’

Tomersun

What Are The Best Wood Stove Fans?

See our essential gear page for the best wood stove fans you can buy right now.

Further Reading

Parts Of A Wood Burning Stove Explained

How A Wood Stove Works

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