Wood stoves are now more efficient than they’ve ever been. When compared to older stoves, the latest Ecodesign wood burners may achieve efficiency levels of around 90%, which is incredible.
As the price of heating increases, you’ll want to be sure you’re getting the most heat possible from your wood stove.
You can use this tutorial if your wood-burning stove isn’t producing enough heat, or if you just want to get ready for the upcoming cold season.
Are You Getting the Best Heat From Your Stove?
Check the heat output of the stove you’re considering before you buy it or before you get a new one.
If you choose one that is too powerful, you may wind yourself trying to burn it at a lower temperature – which is not a good idea!
How much heat does a wood burning stove produce?
Wood-burning stoves use kW as the unit of measurement for the amount of heat generated. It is possible to calculate the amount of BTUs your stove produces by utilizing a converter after converting to kWh. It would take 10kWh for a 5kW stove to be in use for 2 hours, for example. 34121.42 BTUs would be produced as a result of this.
It’s easy for the math to get out of hand. Using our stove calculator will make it easy to buy a log burner with the proper amount of heat output.
Light the fire properly
Start your wood stove fire properly if you want to get the maximum heat out of it.
As a result, you should always make sure that your kindling bed is ablaze with embers before loading in your fuel. Starting small and slowly increasing the load is the best way to ensure that the fire burns completely before adding a large quantity of fuel.
On our site, you’ll find detailed instructions on how to start a fire in your stove.
Use the correct amount of fuel
The most efficient use of your stove’s heat requires proper fuel management once you’ve got a solid fire going.
A lack of heat in your fire will prevent any more fuel from igniting. Contrary to popular belief, adding too much firepower might be detrimental. Overfilling your stove can result in dangerously high temperatures, sometimes resulting in irreparable damage.
It’s always a good idea to consult your stove’s manual to determine the recommended amount of fuel.
Maintain an efficient temperature
When using a wood burner, it’s common to assume that building a big, roaring fire will result in the most heat.
Overfiring your stove, as we said previously, can lead to injury. Because of its inefficient heating capabilities, you may not have known this. In addition to wasting a lot of your fuel, you’ll also lose a lot of heat through the chimney.
The ideal temperature for a wood-burning stove is between 260 and 460 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you set the temperature any lower, your fire will burn too slowly to produce much heat. Don’t believe that you can extend the life of your gasoline by burning it more slowly. Instead, it will likely produce high quantities of smoke and filth in your chimney, while also generating little heat.
You may be asking yourself, “How can I know whether my fire is burning efficiently?” Thermometers for the stove are an excellent purchase to make! Magnetically attached to your stove pipe, these thermometers allow you to monitor how efficiently your stove generates heat.
Control the air flows
Your stove’s air vents are critical to maximizing the heat output of your wood burner.
Two vents, which are standard on most stoves, allow you to fine-tune the amount of heat emanating from the fire. They’re as follows:
- Primary air flow vent
- Atmospheric Flow Vent
The primary air vent is key to getting your fire going. Once you have your flames burning nicely, the primary air vent can be slowly closed. Then, it is up to the secondary vent to control the airflow into the stove.
Start your fire with the principal air vent. Slowly close the primary air vent once your flames are well established. After that, the secondary vent is in charge of regulating airflow inside the stove.
Try it out for yourself and see what happens. See how much larger the flames get when you open your vent to the fullest extent They should start to calm down after you close the door.
You’re looking for a middle ground. Using a stove thermometer is a good idea here as well. Open the vent a little if it says your stove isn’t hot enough. And if it’s too sweltering, close the vent till it cools off.
As soon as the fire is going, check to see that the door is properly closed. You won’t obtain any additional heat by leaving the door open; on the contrary, it will ensure that the stove gets hot enough to radiate heat into your room.
Use the right type of fuel
In the wake of recent government regulations clarifying which fuels can be burned in stoves, significant confusion has arisen.
This was nothing new, however, for people who have been using a clean-burning stove for some time.
You should always use seasoned wood in order to get the most heat out of your stove.
A moisture level of less than 20% is required for this product.
Dry wood burns cleaner and more efficiently than wet wood, resulting in less smoke and pollutants in the atmosphere.
Make sure you obtain your wood from an established wood provider. Rather than chucking any old piece of wood into your stove, make sure it’s properly seasoned. You may be releasing toxic chemicals into the air if it has been painted or varnished.
Natural wood can be problematic if you don’t know what kind it is. Some kinds contain sap or produce excessive levels of smoke that might damage your stove, while others simply produce minimal heat at an inefficient rate.
Try burning hardwoods like ash, hawthorn, or yew in your stove to get the most heat out of it. Softwoods, on the other hand, take less time to season, which means they are more affordable in the long run. Alternatively, you can purchase a large quantity of “wet” logs and season your own firewood if that is more convenient for you.
We’ve also put together a helpful guide to buying firewood for wood-burning stoves!
Circulate the heat from your wood stove
Considering that many of us are working hard to make our houses more energy efficient, it’s no wonder that we want to use the heat from our stoves in other areas of our homes as well.
To heat their homes, some individuals install boiler stoves, which circulate the heat through radiators or into hot water tanks.
However, this may require a significant amount of time and effort to do. As an alternative, you can use a variety of quick and easy methods to distribute the heat from your wood burner.
Stove fans are a popular way to get the most heat out of a wood stove. Instead of allowing hot air to just ascend to the ceiling, these simply attach to your stove pipe and circulate it throughout the room.
Another option is to install vents in the ceiling above the stove, as some people have done. As a result, the space above can stay warm all winter long. Your wood burner can even be used to cook with!
Keep your stove clean and well maintained
As a last note, there’s a simple but critical approach to maximize the heat output of your woodburner. One of the finest things you can do to keep your stove and flue running smoothly is to keep them clean and well-maintained.
Make sure to routinely wipe away any excess ash in your stove, even if it’s just a few centimeters thick. Make sure to remove any other debris that may cause a clog. Make sure the seal on your stove door is in good shape as well as cleaning the stove glass.
At the very least, you should have your chimney swept annually. In addition to preventing chimney fires, this ensures that your flue is able to produce the best possible draft. Your fire will burn less effectively and produce less heat if it doesn’t have a strong enough pull.
Ensure Adequate Room Ventilation
It’s critical to have adequate ventilation in the room to guarantee that the fire gets plenty of oxygen and improves the flue’s draft.
All doors and vents in the room are opened, as well as the window a few centimeters if the fire appears to need more air.
Keep Your Flue Clean
Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning your chimney. In the winter, when the wood stove is most likely to be used, they should be cleaned annually. The flue may need to be cleared every season if the stove is often used.
The pull on your stove (the suction of air up the chimney) can be reduced by a dirty flue, and this can impact the effectiveness of the fire. The reduced draft that results from a blocked or partially blocked flue will be proportional to the decreased diameter of the flue.
Creosote, a highly flammable byproduct of burning wood, is also released into the air, increasing the risk of a fire due to its ability to adhere to the flue walls over time.
Depending on how well the fire burns the wood, the amount of creosote it produces might be affected. More smoke and higher levels of creosote can be discharged from a fire if there is insufficient airflow or if the wood being burned has a high moisture content.
Regulate the Damper
If you have a damper, it will be positioned near the stove in the flue. The airflow into and out of the stove can be controlled by opening and closing the damper.
When using the stove, make sure the damper is open to allow any smoke or fumes produced by the fire to escape. Keep the damper open at all times, even when the stove is not in use, to prevent smoke or dangerous gases from being pushed into your home.
To get the fire started, the damper should be fully open in the stove, and it should be left open for at least 30 minutes after lighting.
For this reason, the stove’s controls include an adjustment for the damper, which can be used to boost the stove’s temperature.
The amount by which your damper should be closed is determined by the type of stove you have and the quantity of airflow through your flue. It’s a matter of trial and error for each wood burning stove to identify the ideal way to use the damper to maximize the heat output, because every stove and situation is different.
A damper may be something you want to consider installing if you don’t already have one installed. If the heat is pulled out from the stoves too quickly, your home will receive less heat from the stoves.
Keep The Door Closed
In order to get the most out of their fuel, the vast majority of wood stoves are meant to be operated with the door shut all the way. Stove performance is hampered if the door is left open, resulting in lower output.
The air vents allow you to fine-tune the flow of air while the door is closed. The door of the stove should not be utilized to manipulate the stove’s ventilation. By allowing more air to flow into the fireplace, the wood burns faster and more heat escapes out the flue, which is the result of an open door.
Be careful not to feed the fire with small amounts of wood too frequently, as this will keep the airflow and operating temperatures of the wood burner disrupted, so only add one or two larger logs as necessary.
Secondary burn can be achieved by controlling the flow of air into the stove, so that any unburnt gases can be combusted to provide even more heat.
Your wood-burning stove will perform at its best if you keep the door closed, allowing air movement to be controlled by vents exclusively and allowing for higher temperatures to be reached.
Use Room Temperature Wood
When you put in wood that is too cold, it can have an effect on the speed of the fire.
When adding wood to the fire that has come from outside or from a cooler portion of your house, such as the garage, this can be a particular difficulty.
Because cold wood takes longer to warm up to combustible temperatures, the amount of heat your wood burning stove produces is reduced.
We now always bring in the necessary amount of wood at least a day before putting it in a fire in order to give the wood enough time to reach room temperature and ensure maximum heat from our wood burning stoves.
Use Hardwoods Over Softwoods
Over the course of your fire, a fire that uses oak logs instead of pine logs will produce more heat overall.
Using softwoods as kindling or for the initial few logs of a fire is a good idea because they kindle and burn considerably more quickly than hardwoods. It takes longer for softwoods to light and heat the stove, but they burn hotter and hotter than hardwoods.
If a fire is truly underway, hardwoods can replace softwoods as the primary fuel source since they burn faster and longer. Hardwoods are more thick and produce hotter coals that may be used for longer periods of time than softwoods.
To maximize the heat output from your stove for the longest period of time, hardwoods should be used.
Hardwoods are more expensive to burn than softwoods. Because hardwood trees take longer to grow and dry, the chopped wood they produce is more expensive as a result.
Burn Well Seasoned Wood
To get the most out of your wood-burning stove, make sure you’re burning wood that is the proper degree of dry. There are two terms you should keep an eye out for when purchasing wood for a wood stove: well-seasoned and kiln-dried, which describe wood that is suitable for use.
In order for the wood to be properly seasoned, the logs must have been exposed to the elements for an extended period of time. However, depending on the species, it is recommended that softwoods be allowed to dry for at least six months and hardwoods at least a year before they are utilized as fuel.
Wood dried in a kiln takes much longer to dry, but the additional cost can be reflected in the final price.
Your stove should only be used with wood that has been properly seasoned or kiln-dried. High-moisture wood burns more slowly because of the extra effort required to remove the water.
To get the greatest results, utilize wood with a moisture level of 20% or less. Using wood with a high moisture content in your stove will make it more difficult to burn and less efficient in generating heat.
There are numerous advantages to using wood that has been properly dried, such as:
- More powerful flames.
- The blaze is expected to burn for some time.
- The temperature will rise.
- As a result, there will be less pollution.
In contrast, wood with an excessively high moisture content will be more difficult to light, burn more slowly, emit more smoke, and eventually provide less heat.
If your fire is making hissing noises or the glass on your stove door is going black, you’re burning wood that is too damp and it will be difficult to ignite and maintain. In the case of a lot of smoke, the fire is still emitting gases that have not been burned.
A moisture meter or looking for evidence that your wood is dry and ready to use can be used to determine the moisture content of your wood.
- The wood’s ends have splits in them.
- Is a darker shade of brown.
- When slammed together, it makes a hollow sound.
- The bark is flaking off of the tree.
Kiln-dried logs, which have been artificially dried to speed up the seasoning process, can also be used for further assurance. Kiln-dried logs, on the other hand, are more expensive than seasoned wood, but they are more likely to meet the 20% required moisture content requirement.
The lowest moisture content is found in winter, so if you plan on doing the wood drying yourself, cut it then. This wood will dry faster because of the lower moisture content and the fact that it has been harvested during the warmer months.
At least six months for softwood and a year for hardwoods, store any cut wood in an area with a base, sheltered from rain but open to let the air and wind to improve drying times. This will ensure that the wood is thoroughly dried.
How To Get More Heat From Wood Burning Stoves
If you want the most heat out of your wood-burning stove, you need to select the correct kind of fuel. In order to burn correctly, the wood must have a low moisture level.
Moisture content is high Wood is more difficult to light, more difficult to burn, creates more smoke, and is far more prone to becoming smoky and soiled than other fuels. In order to ensure that your stove is providing the amount of heat it was designed to, you must select the correct kind of firewood. Your stove’s heat output is only as good as the wood you’re burning in it, in my opinion.
With the greatest firewood, you’ll be able to control the air vents and figure out how much wood to use at a moment. The stove should be cleaned and maintained regularly, the door kept closed as much as possible, and proper ventilation ensured in the room.
A Guide to Maintaining Your Wood Stove
Cleaning & Inspecting Your Wood Stove
Having your new home’s wood stove inspected before you move in is a good idea. In order to guarantee the stove is safe and compliant with local regulations, a trained chimney sweep can conduct an inspection.
Before using your chimney, get it cleaned if necessary. You can use your stove safely this winter if you have a clear bill of health—a clean chimney and a passed inspection.
You’ll probably want to have your stove serviced once a year after the initial cleaning. Depending on how often you use it and the type of fires you are burning, you may need to get it serviced more frequently. Having it done after the burning season is a good rule of thumb.
If you’re fed up with paying your local chimney sweep to clean your stove, you can also get the necessary tools to do so yourself. It’s critical that you clean your stove on a regular basis and according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Choosing The Right Firewood for Your Wood Stove
You may make a huge difference in the performance of your wood stove by selecting the correct kind of wood. Hardwood and softwood are the two main forms of firewood. Oak, maple, and birch trees yield hardwood, which is denser. It’s conifers like pine and fir, as well as cedar, that make up the softwoods.
It takes longer for hardwood to burn because it is more dense. It generates more heat for a longer time period. As a result, hardwood is commonly used in wood stoves. Softwood works just as well, but it burns more quickly and produces more heat.
Depending on where you reside, you’ll obtain different kinds of wood. Because hardwoods aren’t always easily available, your cord may be made up of of softwood in some regions instead.
When discussing wood stoves, it’s imperative to bring up the subject of creosote, which might pose a danger to the user’s safety. Incomplete combustion of your fire results in creosote, a black material that accumulates in your chimney.
What’s the big deal? A buildup of creosote in the chimney can result in fires and problems with the chimney’s ventilation. Creosote hardens over time, and if heated enough, it can catch fire. Having your stove and chimney cleaned by a professional is essential because creosote is a major cause of chimney fires.
With a wood stove thermometer, you’ll be able to keep an eye on the temperature of your flames (pictured below). One of these can be installed in your chimney to help you keep the temperature of your fires in a safe range for a long period of time.
A couple things you can do to prevent creosote:
Although you can take steps to limit the amount of creosote in your chimney, you can expect it to accumulate over time. If you use your stove regularly, burn different types of wood, and keep things hot while doing so, you’ll need different amounts of creosote.
- Instead of using low, smoldering fires, use hot ones. Slow-burning, smoldering fires produce more creosote, which builds up more quickly.
- Burn the right wood. Only use dry, seasoned wood. Also, be sure that your stove is built of wood and not paper or cardboard, which contain man-made toxins.
- Burn the right wood. Only use dry, seasoned wood. Also, be sure that your stove is built of wood and not paper or cardboard, which contain man-made toxins.
It’s A Wrap!
The correct kind of wood should be used. Only use wood that has been seasoned and dried out. It’s best to avoid using anything other than a wood-burning stove, like a fireplace or oven, as these can emit harmful chemicals.