Saturday, October 31

How to Get the Most Heat From a Wood Burner

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Today, wood burning stoves are more efficient than ever. In fact, with the latest Ecodesign technology, some log burners can even reach almost 90% efficiency level, which is incredible compared to stoves of the past!

With the cost of heating ever rising, you want to be sure you are taking full advantage of this by getting the most heat from your wood burner as possible.

So, whether you’re finding your wood burning stove is just not getting hot enough, or you just want to prepare yourself properly for the cold months ahead, this is the guide for you!

Are You Getting the Best Heat From Your Stove?

If you are yet to buy your stove, or are thinking of getting a new one, always check you are choosing one with the correct heat output.

If you choose one that is too strong, you may end up trying to burn it at a lower temperature – as you’ll find out later in this guide, this is not a good idea!

How much heat does a wood burning stove produce?

The heat produced by a wood burning stove is measured in kW. When converted to kWh, you can then find out how many BTUs your stove would give out by using a converter. For example, a 5kW stove in use for 2 hours would be 10kWh. This would provide you with 34121.42 BTUs.

These calculations can get complicated! So, to make things easier, you can simply use our stove calculator to ensure you buy a log burner with the right heat output.

Now, take a look at the rest of our tips and tricks to maximise the heat you get from your log burner!

  1. Light your fire properly
  2. Use the correct amount of fuel
  3. Maintain an efficient temperature
  4. Control the air flows
  5. Use the right type of fuel
  6. Circulate the heat from your wood stove
  7. Keep your stove clean and well maintained

1. Light the fire properly

To get the most heat from your wood burner, you need to get your fire off to the best possible start.

So, always ensure your bed of kindling is glowing hot with embers before you start loading your fuel inside. Start small, adding a couple of logs and allowing them to fully catch fire before dumping a maximum load in.

We have a full guide on how to light a fire in your stove on our blog!

2. Use the correct amount of fuel

Once you have a good fire going, you need to maintain the right amount of fuel to ensure you’re getting the most heat from your stove.

If your fire isn’t burning hot enough, the extra fuel you add will simply not catch fire. On the other hand, adding too much fuel to an already fiercely burning fire can be dangerous. If you overfill your stove, it can produce extremely strong heat that could damage your stove beyond repair.

Always check your stove manual to see how much fuel is recommended.

3. Maintain an efficient temperature

While you might think a strong, roaring fire will get you the most heat for your log burner, this isn’t always the case.

As we mentioned in the previous point, overfiring your stove can cause damage. But, did you know it’s also highly inefficient at providing heat? Not only will you literally burn through your fuel way too fast, but a lot of the heat will escape straight up the chimney.

To get the most heat from your wood burning stove, the temperature should be between 260 and 460°C.

Any lower than this, your fire will be burning too slow to generate a good amount of heat. Don’t think that you can make your fuel last longer by burning it slowly, either. Rather, it will likely be producing heavy levels of smoke, which will leave your flue dirty, as well as providing you with minimal heat.

So, how can you be sure your fire is burning at an efficient temperature? Invest in a handy stove thermometer! They attach magnetically to your stove pipe, allowing you to keep a strict eye on how well your stove is producing heat.

4. Control the air flows

The air vents on your stove are essential in ensuring you are getting the most heat from your wood burner.

Most stoves should have two vents that help you control the level of heat coming from the fire. They are:

  • Primary air flow vent
  • Secondary air 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.

There is something of an art to controlling your secondary air vent. Your fire will always need some air to generate enough heat. But, if the vent is open too much, the flames can start getting too big, making your fire inefficient.

Test this out for yourself. Try opening your vent all the way and see the flames grow in size. Close it, and they should start to dampen down.

You want to find a happy medium. Again, it’s best to use a stove thermometer here to guide you. If it is telling you your stove isn’t hot enough, open the vent a little. And, vice versa, if it is too hot, close the vent until it is back on track.

Once your fire is going, you should also always make sure the door is closed properly, too. Keeping it open won’t help provide more heat for your room – on the contrary, keeping it closed ensures the stove gets hot enough inside to radiate heat out into your room.

4. Use the right type of fuel

There have been some misunderstandings about the latest government legislation on what fuels you can burn in your stove.

But, for those who have been enjoying the benefits of an efficient, clean burning stove for years, this was nothing new.

To get the most heat possible out of your stove, you should always use properly dried seasoned wood.

This means it should have a moisture content of less than 20%.

Dry wood not only produces less smoke and air pollution, but also provides more heat, more efficiently, than wood that still contains a high level of moisture.

The best way to do this is to buy your wood off a trusted wood supplier. Don’t just throw any old piece of wood you come across on your stove. If it has been treated with varnish or paint, you could be releasing dangerous fumes into the air.

Even wood in its natural state can cause you issues if you don’t know what it is – some types of wood contain sap or produce high levels of smoke which can damage your stove, while others simply generate low heat at an inefficient rate.

To get the most heat from your stove, try burning hardwoods such as ash, hawthorn or yew. The only downside is that as they are denser, they take longer to season than softwoods, often making them more expensive. If it works out better for you, you can buy a large quantity of ‘wet’ logs and season your own firewood.

We also have a handy wood buying guide for wood burning stoves to help you choose the best firewood!

5. Circulate the heat from your wood stove

With many of us doing our best to make heating our homes more efficient than ever, it’s no surprise that we want to make the most of the heat produced by our stoves beyond the room they are installed in.

Some people go down the route of installing boiler stoves to circulate the heat around their home through radiators or into their hot water tanks.

But, this can be a big installation job. Alternatively, there are a few quicker and easier ways to circulate heat from your wood stove.

One of the most popular ways to make the most of the heat from a wood burner is to use a stove fan. These simply attach to your stove pipe and work by circulating the hot air out into the room, rather than allowing it to simply rise upwards.

We’ve also heard of some people fitting vents from their ceiling into the room above the stove. This allows the heat to circulate up to the room upstairs. You can even make use of the heat by cooking with your wood burner!

6. Keep your stove clean and well maintained

Finally, there is one simple but essential way to get the most heat from your woodburner. Keeping both your stove and flue clean and well-maintained is one of the best things you can do to keep them working efficiently.

While a couple of centimetres of ash left on the bottom of your stove can help your fuel burn, make sure you clean up any excess regularly. Sweep away any other debris you see, as it could go on to cause a blockage. When cleaning your stove glass, check the seal on your stove door is in good condition, too.

You also need to get your chimney swept once a year as a minimum. Not only is this incredibly important for preventing chimney fires, but ensures your flue can provide optimum draft. Without a strong enough draw, your fire won’t be able to burn as efficiently, resulting in less heat.

You can shop all types of stoves online now at Direct Stoves!

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 You might also like these posts from the Direct Stoves blog

Why is My Wood Burner Smoking? | Log Burner Ventilation: Why Do I Need an Air Vent? | How to Properly Put Out a Fire in a Log Burner

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