What are wood burning stoves?
As the name says, a wood burner is one that is specifically designed as an airtight burner that uses wood as a fuel. The air that is needed for burining enters the unit through contrallable vents, and a flue removes the smoke and gases.
There are only a few types of wood that can safely be used in a wood burner, mainly because some wood burns better and more efficiently than others. Ash and beech woods are a favourite, whereas spruce and pine are not a good choice, and the reason for this is that not only do they not burn well, but they also leave a lot of tar deposits inside the chimney, which can build up and become a fire hazard, and they also emit a lot of smoke and sparks while burning.
This is one of the reasons that multi-fuel stoves have become much more popular in recent years. They are not limited to just one type of fuel like the woodburners are, and they are able to efficiently burn multiple types of fuels with less smoke and contaminants being emitted.
Todays multifuel equipment is built to be so efficient that it can also burn peat, coal and wood at higher temperatures and more cleanly than ever before. The design has improved tremendously also, incorporating air wash systems that keep the front glass panel clean, and make the unit as a whole easy to clean due to more of the fuel being burnt. They are also able to burn at a very slow rate, enabling them to be left burning and heating your house overnight. A massive improvement on the inefficient log burners that we are used to using.
With better and pleasing designs, coupled with high tech technology, and more efficient heating systems, it is not surprising that modern multi fuel burners are replacing our old favourite log burning heaters.
What are the advantages?
1. Woodburning stoves are actually more efficient for burning wood, as they are designed purely for that fuel source, and they are especially good for slow burning.
2. Burning wood is a more enviromentally friendly option than other types of fuel, as the trees can be replaced, and carbon dioxide released in the burning process is re absorbed by the new tree growth.
3. From a financial point of view, wood burners are cheaper to run, as wood is generally a cheaper source of fuel.
4. A log fire or log burner is a useful back up to have in the event of a power failure.
5. A wood burner is a cosy and romantic way of heating a room.
What are the disadvantages
1. Coal is a better option for slow burning.
2. Tar build up in a chimney or flue can be a problem, but this can be alleviated with the use of a chimney liner.
3. Wood burners can only use suitable types of wood.
4. Only well seasoned wood can be efficiently burnt.
5. Burning wood means cutting down trees, however many countries offset this by planting an equivalent number of new trees.
Wood Burning V Multi-Fuel
From the outside both types of burners look the same. They both have a grate on which the fuel is set, and there is an air inlet and a chimney or flue for the gases and smoke to escape. In both types, the fire burns inside a glass fronted oven. The only difference really is that one type can only burn wood, and the other can burn multiple types of fuel.
Rapid improvements in the development of fuel for these burners means that peat, wood and smokeless fuels are now much more available and affordable and efficient, making a multi fuel stove an attractive investment for your homes heating system.
Your final decision for your home heating requirement may just come down to how wood burning or multi-fuel stoves will look and feel in your room. There is nothing quite like a real fire, so take your time, consider all the options, and above all enjoy your new modern and efficient mult-fuel heating system.