If you are the kind of soul who prefers the good old golden glow of the hearth to be your ally on cold winter days, and you let yourself to be allured by the crackling sound of the wood and the smell of the smoke, and the warmth of the embers over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, wood-burning fireplaces are definitely your thing.
Wood burning stoves need bulks of logs for burning and need a chimney to let out the smoke. Unlike other fireplaces, this stoves heat up the place more directly and has more heat output comparatively.
There is a huge demand for wood burning stoves in the market today and a good number of varieties are available varying in design, technology, size, material, etc.
More than a fireplace it has now become a fine piece of décor adding to the ambiance of any room that is placed.
So when it comes to buying the right one, the job can be a bit difficult. So before you light up the first fire of the season or buying a new wood stove, there are a whole lot of things about wood-burning fireplaces you should know.
Let us start with the very question that has popped up in your head right now?
- 1 Is Wood Burning Harmful to the Environment?
- 2 Advantages of Wood Burning Fireplaces
- 3 How to Find the Best Wood-Burning Fireplaces?
- 4 Installation and Running Cost
- 5 How to Find out Your Heating Requirements?
- 6 How to Keep Your Fireplace Well Maintained?
- 7 Top Five Best Wood-burning Fireplaces Reviews
- 8 Did You Find the Best Wood-burning Fireplace for Your Home?
Is Wood Burning Harmful to the Environment?
Unfortunately, yes it is. The smoke burning wood creates contains a complex mixture of gases and particles leading to particle pollution which may cause health problems. In addition to this air pollution is also caused by benzene, formaldehyde, acrolein and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).
The improper use of the appliance may affect the quality of the air inside. If the wood is not burned completely, the smoke may contain a number of particles including Carbon Monoxide (CO). Studies indicate that more than 150 people die from CO poisoning caused by the improper use of home appliances every year.
Installing a CO dictator and smoke alarm, using well-seasoned woods, maintenance of your fireplace from time to time are a few ways to ensure your safety as well as a safe environment. The secret to green (or greener) fireplace is in how best you keep the hearth and chimney clean and safe, how responsibly you burn. What’s the best thing you can do here is to buy an EPA certified fireplaces fireplace. We have explained at length about EPA Certification below. Complete burning of wood is ensured by EPA certification, thus minimizing the damage done to the environment.
Advantages of Wood Burning Fireplaces
The tedious task of taking care of conventional wood fire and the mess after is now an easier task because of technological advancement. The gaining popularity of wood-burning fireplaces is a proof that people find wood stoves convenient and beneficial. As compared to other heating appliances like gas or electric fireplaces, wood stoves are more efficient in heating up the place directly and give a higher level of heat output. You wouldn’t have to endure another cold night if the electricity runs out or the boiler is broke. All you need is, some wood neatly packed in the log rack, ready to use, ready to use.
There is a huge choice in design, heat output, size, compact, etc. to suit the varying needs of the customers who prefer wood-burning furnaces. The total ambiance of a wood fireplace; the dancing flames, the golden glow, the crackling sound of timbers, the subtle scent of the smoke, cannot be replaced by any other fireplaces. Moreover, it would make an amazing display to any interior. It is no lie that the aesthetic appeal alone makes people prefer wood burning fireplaces over modern heating methods.
How to Find the Best Wood-Burning Fireplaces?
Do not let those many products and consumer options available in the market to leave you in a dilemma. Going for the most sought after or the most expensive one wouldn’t be a good idea. The price doesn’t always reflect the quality of the product as you can assume it. The best wood-burning fireplaces for you is the one that suits your home and chimney the best. Here are certain things that will help you figure out what makes a fireplace good enough. Make sure you consider the following features of wood fire furnaces before you make up your mind.
Factor 1: EPA certification
The first thing to check when you are in store to buy a wood stove is whether it is certified by the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA certified fireplaces are emission tested and meet a set of requirements set forth by EPA.
The certified stoves will burn more cleanly and efficiently than the uncertified ones. These stoves burn more completely using the provided wood. That is you get the maximum heat out of the wood and less smoke.
The emission of airborne particles will be less ensuring a safe atmosphere. Also, there will be less creosote which is a byproduct of burning wood that can build up in the chimney and cause a fire.
However, the efficiency level of EPA stoves also depends on the wood used for burning. The use of substandard woods may affect performance and heat output. It’s important to make sure the quality of the wood being used. It will save you time, money, fuel and resources.
Factor 2: BTU output
The most wood stove has its heat capacity marked in British Thermal Units (BTU). By definition, it is the overall capacity to heat a space. That is, the BTU of a specific stove denotes its heat output per hour. The BTU rate of all the popular stoves falls in between 24,000 to 80,000 range. The larger the BTU, the more capability it has to heat large spaces. An average medium-sized house needs only 5,000 to 20,000 per hour in the case of continuous burning. Using the full output of a stove for a long period can damage the stove’s innards.
Factor 3: Which Combustion Technology to Opt for?
There are two combustion technologies available; catalytic and non-catalytic combustion. Catalytic combustion can produce a long and steady heat output. At the operational level stoves using catalytic combustion are a little complicated. These stoves /need proper maintenance and with careful use, it can last more than six years.
Non-catalyst combustion is preferred because of the high heat output and the beautiful fire they hold. The internal parts of the ‘non-cats’ need replacement from time to time as they deteriorate with heat easily.
To pick the better one is a bit difficult; both proved to be equally effective and will burn up about 90% cleaner when compared to traditional conventional stoves. However, the market trends are slightly in favor of non-catalyst stoves.
Factor 4: Burn time
Most manufacturers care to specify their burn time as per the EPA test. Burn time refers to the length of time a specific stove can burn with one full load of logs. Longer burn time ensures quality fire and saves you the time you need to find to keep up the fire or refill the firebox.
However, the burn time largely depends on the quality of the wood used for burning. It is advised to use ‘seasoned wood’ that has been cut and dried before 6-12 months. The seasoned wood will have very least moisture content that will help in clean burning. Using green wood will lead to spoiling the fireplace, chimney, atmosphere, and lungs as well. The split logs burn more efficiently than whole logs.
Factor 5: What is the Ideal Log Length?
The length of the log that can be used for burning depends on the size of the firebox and varies from one stove to another. Generally, the long length of a particular stove will be mentioned by the manufacturer. The standard length for firewood is 16 inches, which is practical for handling.
However, there are stoves that offer up to 22 inches. The larger log lengths are convenient as it spares you from splitting the logs over and again.
Factor 6: How to Select the Size of Fireplace?
The size of the fireplace must be chosen in accordance with house type, the size of the house, climate zone and standard fuel. It is important to choose the apt size because the heating capacity, burn time, etc varies with the size of the stove. The major size in which wood burning stove comes is small, medium and large.
Small stoves have fireboxes with a volume less than 2 cubic feet and would be proper for large rooms. Medium ones come with a firebox volume between 2 and 3 cubic feet and are proper for small-to-medium-sized houses. Large stoves have firebox volume greater than 3 cubic feet and are suitable for heating a large area or leakier houses. It would be wise to seek the advice of an experienced stove dealer in your area, always.
Factor 7: Material- Cast Iron or Welded Steel?
Cast iron and welded steel are the two important material options available. Since the heating performance is the same as those two materials, the decision should be made depending on the convenience and the cost.
Cast iron fireplaces are mostly a work of art. It would fit in the home like a fine piece of furniture and would the job of heating up your place. It is of premium price and needs to be rebuilt every few years to seal the joints between the panels. If not rebuilt, there are chances for air leakage which will cause the fire to burn out of control. Welded steel stoves are comparatively of low cost. And it is plainer. Steel stove makers leave you with the option that their highly stressed internal parts are replaceable.
Installation and Running Cost
The price of the stove varies considerably from one stove to another. So its installation and running costs. Installation costs add to the initial expenses significantly. If you don’t opt for a stove that goes with your chimney, getting the chimney right for the stove can cost just as much as the money you pay for the stove, if not more than it. Most of the stove comes with a warranty of a limited lifetime and at least 5 years.
Most companies guarantee to replace the parts that are prone to damage within the warranty period. So check out which and which parts come with the warranty.
Running cost can be tricky to calculate. The stove needs wood for burning. And as you know, wood is a bulky fuel and the cost involves transportation from the store to your place other than the price. It is best to buy in bulk and store for a period of time.
These are a few things to consider when buying a wood fireplace. Other features like whether the stove includes an ash pan, cooking surface, what kind of blower system and air inlets it features, and aesthetic matters like design, color, door frame, glass windows, etc. are to be considered if you are looking for stove that meets not just your heating needs but also the total ambiance of your home.
How to Find out Your Heating Requirements?
The stove that proves to best in efficiency or heating performance or the one that offers the longest burn time definitely will be a good stove. But on the other hand, it will not the best, or even the right, stove for you. A stove that doesn’t match your heating requirements can either under heat or burn down your place, let alone the loss of money it can cause you. So how do you find your heating requirements?
Most heating products come with their heat output and optimal area noted. You only need to see which one matches the best to the size of the space you need to heat. Burning your stove at full blast constantly will cut down its performance in the long run.
And yeah, unless the cold is hard and calls for it, you will not be burning the stove at its maximum all the time.
So it is a good idea that you add 25% extra to the total area and then look for the matching stove.
How to Keep Your Fireplace Well Maintained?
- Install Smoke detector and Carbon monoxide alarm. Safety first!
- Keep the ashtray clean every once in a while.
- Burn seasoned woods for a clean and hotter burn. Avoid softwoods and moist logs that can cause pollution.
- Avoid burning at the stove’s maximum capacity constantly.
- Don’t use slow-burning woods. It expels more smoke.
- Make sure the opening to the firebox is closed safely after a fire is lit.
- Have your fireplace inspected once in a year by a certified sweep.
- Keep the glass windows clean and clear for a better view of the firebox.
- Never ever burn trash or any other material other than logs inside the fireplace.
- Has your log rack topped up from time to time? Make sure you never run out of wood and get stuck in cold.
- Do not keep the necessary repairs and replacements of fireplace pending.
- Keep the chimney clean of creosote and other build-ups.
Top Five Best Wood-burning Fireplaces Reviews
After considering the variables like price, functioning, efficiency, heating performance, durability, customer feedback, etc., of various wood-burning furnaces that are in demand in the market, these are the five wood stove that tops the list of best wood stoves available.
Your search for a big wood stove ends with this XL sized stove. Drolet HT2000 is one of the largest high-efficiency wood-burning fireplaces available in the market. It will burn up to ten hours without requiring a refill and can heat up an area of 24,00 square ft. sufficiently. This extremely reliable, easy to maintain fireplace is noted for
- 78% Efficiency –The stove has been rated 78% at efficiency level by EPA, which makes it one of the top high-efficiency wood stoves.
- 4 Cu. Ft. Firebox-The firebox size of Drolet HT200 is 3.4 cubic ft. which can hold a good pack of logs that are up to 22 inches long.
- Ash Drawer – The ash drawer beneath its chamber makes cleaning up your fireplace an easy job.
EPA certified, Bond 66594 is an unbelievably sturdy outdoor fireplace than can
ensure the quality of outdoor times during the cold winter with your family and friends. Being hassle-free, excellent in design and heating performance, this wood burning stove is definitely worthwhile for your money. What makes it special is,
- Quality Build- The durable steel construction of Bond 66594 makes it extremely durable and suitable for outside use.
- Poker, Log Rack and Cover- This wood stove provides poker, log rack, and the cover as it is specially designed to suit the outdoor use.
- Mesh Screen Doors-Most wood fireplaces sport ceramic glass windows. But Bond 66594 features mesh doors as it is an outdoor fireplace.
Timberwolf Economizer is admired for its amazing looks and sleek touch and unbeatable heating performance. It is one stove that works with majority of the chimney types and easy to install. It does not take up much space and fits neatly to the wall. Considering other wood stoves that fall in the same price range, Timberwolf Economizer is sublime.
- 86% Efficiency- The fairly high efficiency makes it cost-effective and worth every penny you spent on it.
- 9 Cubic Feet Firebox- large capacity of the firebox makes it possible to burn logs as long as 18 inches.
- 8 hour Burn Time- The 8 hour burn time with one stack of firewood is more than good enough.
Designed to suit small to medium houses Vogelzang TR001 is economical in aspects of buying, operating and maintaining. It comes in welded steel material and offers burn time up to 12 hours which makes reliable all the more.
- 75% Efficiency – High efficiency makes it possible for the stove heats up 12,00 square feet with ease in a couple of minutes as soon as the fire is lighted.
- 17-inch Log length- Vogelzang has the kind of firebox that is spacious enough to hold logs as long as 17 inches.
- Excellent Air Inlet – Technically well-designed air inlets ensures a quality fire and maximum heat output.
Napoleon Ep13Cis EPA certified, cast iron, high-efficiency appliance. It offers unbeatable performance and maximum heat output lasting 8 good hours. Moreover, its design and looks make it an all-time favorite of the users.
- 8 cubic feet Firebox – The size of the firebox Napoleon features is large enough to hold a good pack of 18-inch logs and keep it burning for several hours without fail.
- Air Tubes – Napoleon EPI3C features 3 air tubes that help in speeding up the burning process by supplying sufficient air for the burning.
- Design- This wood stove is cast iron in the material. It has a contemporary flush front. The fireplace is available in painted metallic black finish. It also features a handsome glass window.
Did You Find the Best Wood-burning Fireplace for Your Home?
In short, buying a wood stove involves much thinking. First of all, you have to be certain about your heating requirements like how much heat you need, how much space you need to be heated and if the wood stove is only a secondary heater etc. as well as what type of chimney you have, how large is your home, etc and then opt for the best stove suiting your needs.
The stove that can meet your requirements and aesthetic sense is not very hard to find. Such a stove, more than being economical and cost-effective can potentially save you on wood, energy, money and time as time pass by.
Keeping the stove well-maintained is as important as choosing the right stove. Cracks, leaks, warping, baffle gaps and creosotes are unavoidable to a certain limit and can cause fire hazards. Regularly cleaning the ash out of your fireplace may take a bit effort but to maintain proper airflow, it is required.
Installing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors can give you alarms in case of danger. It is important that the wood stoves and chimney are inspected by a chimney sweep or an experienced stove dealer at least once a year.
Proper upkeep your stove will ensure you clean and safe burning and will change the whole experience of the drastic cold season. Be ready to sit back and be cozy this winter and the winters to come by investing in your stove wisely.