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Wood Burning Stove Selection

With our current economic crises much of our thanking has changed for the way we do and how we relate to our needs and wants. One very important thing that we are looking at is the cost to heat our home, and what we can do to reduce the cost. Many families are considering alternative heat sources as a means to reduce cost and enhance their home and their quality of life. The three most popular alternatives heating have been gas, pellet, and wood. Gas and pellet fuel has faced higher price increases where as wood fuel has been more stable. More and more families are returning to wood heat as their preference.

The modern high tech stove has been redesigned from the early days of wood stoves, which were primarily a metal box with a door on it; sometimes a simple baffle was added to slow down the exhaust a little. These stoves where inefficient and environmentally polluting with it’s toxic smoke and ash. Contrasted to the new wood stove that have a very restrictive baffle, that is designed to become very hot to help burn the smoke and ash before it exhaust into the air, or they will have a catalytic converter has been added to complete the burning process.

With the redesign of the new high tech wood stove, which was brought about to meet the stringent requirements of the EPA, wood stoves are one again becoming popular option as an alternate heat source for homes. Higher efficiencies and cleaner burning have made the wood stove an attractive option to reduce the cost of heating homes.

In preparation, before you go out to purchase that perfect wood stove, there are several things that you consider to be better prepared to make the best purchase possible.

First consideration whether the stove will be a primary heat source or just a backup heat source. Will the aesthetics of the stove be important, or just trying to get some heat into a room? Wood Stoves come in many sizes and shapes as well as looks, all trying to appeal to the consumer. Some stove are very well built and others are more economy built again trying to fit any budget. So as you begin your search, if you write down some of your needs and goals, you should be able to get exactly what you need at the price you are willing to pay for the stove.

Next think where you want to locate the stove. Wood Stoves come in basically three different styles. Stand-alone, wood stove inserts, and wood stove fireplaces. And all three of these categories can be purchased in catalytic and non-catalytic models. (See our article on catalytic vs. non catalytic).

A free standing stove as it name indicates can be place anywhere in the room as long as you are able to vent the stove. Every stove has certain restriction related to how it was built and tested for clearances. Every stove must not be to close to combustibles so as not to become a fire hazard. The chimney vent pipe must terminate above the roof so that a correct draft can be established to help prevent down drafts and smoke coming back into the room. Your hearth specialist can help advise you on how to vent the stove.

A wood stove insert is a stove that is designed to fit into an existing fireplace. Existing fireplaces are usually made from masonry material such as bricks and or concrete blocks. More and more of the newer homes have installed a manufactured fireplace made from sheet metal and has an air flow system that is engineered to integrate with the unit to keep it cool. Fireplaces come in a large variety of shapes and sizes so it is critical to understand any size restrictions that might be inherent with your unit. The manufactured fireplaces are the most difficult to measure as parts of the unit normally has to be removed before an insert will fit. Normally it is wise to have a professional installer measure the manufactured fireplace, before trying to purchase a stove.

The wood stove fireplace is a manufactured fireplace that typically is installed during a remodel or new construction. The advantage of the wood stove fireplace is that the unit will look very realistic as well as produce a lot of heat. Most of the wood stove fireplace can also be vented into different rooms to have more of a central heating effect. Again proper framing and venting requirements must be adhered to.

Additional consideration will be your local building codes for your area. In addition many area have solid fuel burn restrictions that may apply to you. Definitely be aware of these restrictions as they can limit how you use your new stove, and help you avoid any fines that may be passed out. Learning how to operate your new stove will take a little trial and error, but mostly have a source of dry wood is the most important factor. (See our article on preparing for winter fuel)

Doing your homework before purchasing your stove can save you time and money, not to mention after market satisfaction. Your goal should be to get the right unit to meet your present and future needs. You do not have to buy from the first dealer you encounter. Shop around and talk to different dealers, as each dealer may have a different selection and prices to choose from.

Additional Articles you may be Interested In.

Installing your wood Stove