Heating with wood stoves might seem the same as heating with any other type of fireplace. In fact, closed combustion fireplaces require a little bit more thought in order to get the optimal level of heating. While that doesn’t mean that they are overly completed or fussy, it simply means that you will need to prepare a bit to ensure that your fire burns properly.
As the name suggests, closed combustion means that the fireplace is closed rather than open. This means that the heat radiates from all surfaces of the fireplace rather than large volumes of air escaping the chimney like with an open fireplace. The carefully controlled air inlets provide just enough air to give the fire room to grow. Unlike an open fireplace, which can burn coal and wood, wood burning fireplaces should only be used with wood. The large combustion chambers can be overloaded by mistake with coal, thus resulting in overfiring.
How to Heat With Wood Stoves
What are the most important things to remember when heating with wood stoves? Let’s take a look…
- Choosing the right wood. Firewood is vital to a good fire, whatever type of fireplace you are using. With a closed combustion wood stove however, it is even more important to choose your wood wisely. The correct wood to use in a stove should be between 15% and 20% humidity. It is best to search for wood during the off-season when the fireplace is not in use. Buying wood in the middle of winter increases the risk of wood being damp or too freshly cut wood. When freshly cut or wet wood is used in a stove, energy is used to evaporate the water from the moist wood rather than being converted to energy. Not only does the hot vapor escape up the chimney as lost energy, but also this moisture can cause premature rusting and wear on your stove.
- Preparing and storing the wood. Once you have purchased or cut your wood in summer, it’s time to prepare it for the upcoming winter. You will need somewhere dry to store your wood. A storage rack that is big enough to hold enough wood to see you through the winter is vital. These don’t have to cost the earth. You can even make a wood storage unit yourself with minimal DIY skills.
- Starting the fire. Now that you have your wood ready and dry, it will be perfect for getting your fires started. Kindling is the best way to start a fire in a wood burning stove. You can use small, dry sticks and a firelighter to get things going while you are still learning how to use your fireplace. Firelighters will ensure that your fire starts the first time. The idea is for the initial start to be quick with lots of flames from the kindling. This will help the chimney get hot quickly, which in turn will assist the draw and help the larger logs get started.
- Try to avoid piling up too many large pieces at once and using little kindling. This type of start will result in lots of smoke and a slow start. Starting your fireplace like that could even get some smoke into your house if you open the door to reshuffle the wood.
- Once you are comfortable starting your fireplace successfully every time with lots of flames, you may try doing it with a newspaper.
- Maintaining the fire. The great thing about this type of fireplace is that the fire burns long and hard. As it is closed, you don’t have to worry about sparks. You can even leave it with embers glowing without worrying about fire hazards. If you notice the fire begins to die down, simply add another log or two. You can then close the fireplace again and continue to enjoy its warmth.
- What to avoid. As we mentioned above, you should never use coal in your wood stove. You should also avoid pine or chemically treated wood. Such kind of wood can create a lot of harmful smoke and also create soot up your chimney.
For more tips on using your stove, visit the Hydrofire blog. Alternatively, for questions on purchasing your own fireplace, contact the team today for more information on our high quality imported European wood stoves.