The same wood stove your grandma and grandpa may have had is not the same wood stove available today. Today’s wood stoves incorporate the latest technology to make them safer, cleaner and more efficient.
This guide will help you understand your choices. Whether you are replacing an existing wood stove, or are a first-time buyer, you will find the information you need so that you can buy with confidence.
Before we get going, let’s make sure a wood stove is right for you.
- Provides warmth and ambiance that can not be replicated by any other heating method
- Extremely cost-efficient primary or secondary heating if you have access to firewood
- Many people do not have access to cheap or free firewood
- Chopping and gathering wood is hard work (but I think its fun)
- Wood gathering requires some expensive equipment, like a chainsaw and a log splitter
- Burning wood creates ash, and you have to empty your fireplace of ash frequently, and then put the ashes somewhere
Wood Stove Types
You might assume that all wood stoves are the same. While this may have been true many years ago, this is no longer the case.
Let’s start with aesthetics, or how the stove looks.
There are modern wood stoves, such as the U39 from Regency. Modern wood stoves fit into modern architecture and even look at home in smaller spaces.
There are classic wood stoves such as the Hearthstone Manchester. Classic wood stoves convey elegance, and sophistication while hearkening back to yesteryear. Classic wood stoves stand out in the room and are an excellent conversation piece.
Heat Output Range
From there, we can look at heat output. As a general rule of thumb, your smaller stoves will output around 55,000 BTUs and can heat a space of 600-1000 sq ft. Larger wood stoves can top 80,000 BTUs. What that means is, it can heat a space up to 3,000 sq ft. under peak operating conditions. The heating output is affected by many factors, such as the floor plan layout and how well your home is insulated.
Every stove is different as is every house. In my drafty cabin, my 85,000 BTU unit will knock the chill off on the coldest days, and run you out when it’s in the 30s.
Modern stoves use a variation of “two-stage” and “three-stage” burns. In a two-stage burn, your wood burns twice, once during normal burning, and again when smoke is burned again. Two-stage burns create greater efficiency and cleaner emissions. In a three-stage burn, the prior two stages are executed, but a third burn happens when remaining gasses are burned in a catalytic combustion chamber. In this third burn, temperatures can reach 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
The modern wood stove has a lot of technology incorporated to ensure that you are getting the best burn possible. If you have easy access to firewood, your wood stove will pay for itself quickly. Make sure you size the stove correctly for the area that you want to heat.