How to Make a Wood Stove More Efficient?

Purchasing a wood burning stove is a great way to keep your home warmer on cold winter nights, but how do we make them more efficient?

If you use your wood stove correctly, it can be highly efficient.

But when used incorrectly, they can be inefficient, bad for the environment, and cause more problems than they’re worth.We’ll look at the best ways to ensure you get the most out of your wood burning stove.

How to Make a Wood Burning Stove More Efficient?

What is a Wood Burning Stove?

Wood burning stoves are self-contained heating appliances designed to produce indoor heat through wood combustion.

The fire warms the body of the stove, which radiates heat into the surrounding space and the smoke then leaves your home through the flue. They’ve been around for hundreds of years at this point, and remain popular to this day for a combination of heat output and aesthetics.

How do Wood Burning Stoves Work?

Wood burning stoves work by creating a controlled space for wood to be burned so that it heats the area surrounding it. They are primarily powered by the person using them.

If you’ve ever tended to a stove fire, you’ll know that this involves building the fire with paper, kindling and firewood and then regularly adding more logs to the fire if and when you want it warmer.

When this wood is added inside the stove’s firebox, it is is surrounded by fireproof walls. The air vents on the stove control the amount of airflow to the firebox and this allows the wood to burn slowly and efficiently. The enclosed environment allows the fire to burn hotter and the metal body of the stove radiates heat out from the stove and into the surrounding area. Therefore, heating up your home.

How to Make a Wood Burning Stove More Efficient?

Like every type of fire, whether in a stove, open fireplace or outdoor fire pit, you can build a fire in a number of ways.

Performance (heat, strength and longevity) will depend on a number of factors including cleaning, maintenance and the type of wood you burn.

Using the tips below should help ensure your wood stove runs as efficiently as possible.

Replace your current stove:

One of the best ways to make your wood stove more efficient may simply be to replace it with a newer model.

If your stove is a certain age, you may want to ask yourself whether it’s still properly useful. Wood burners manufactured before 1990 burn wood less efficiently, which wastes fuel, pollutes outdoor air, and creates excess dust in your home. Replacing an old wood stove with a newer model will not only increase efficiency but can also protect your and your family’s health. 

Clean and repair chimney:

Another potential issue could be your chimney setup as having clogged chimney walls will disrupt the smooth airflow and can be a reason why your wood burning stove isn’t working as efficiently.

In many cases, you can clean the chimney yourself and save a few hundred dollars. Removing ordinary chimney soot is simple. However, if you have heavy creosote build-up, you may have to call a professional. The National Fire Protection Association recommends that chimneys should be cleaned at least once a year.

Before you start using your stove, get your chimney swept, clean out the airways connected to your stove and if you notice any cracks in your chimney, get them repaired.

Light the fire correctly:

If you want to ensure that you get the most heat from your wood stove, you need to get your fire off to a good start.

To do this, ensure that your bed kindling is glowing hot before proceeding to add larger, heavier pieces of wood. Make sure you only add a couple of logs and wait until they are fully on fire before adding more.

Without adequate airflow, the fire won’t start quickly so make sure you keep the air vents and door open when you’re getting the fire started.

Only use dry wood

The less moisture in the wood, the more complete the combustion.

If you choose to burn wood from your garden, you need to be patient as it can take as long as two years for wood to air-dry naturally. You can use a moisture meter to confirm the moisture content of wood before using it. 

Whilst freshly cut wood may be cheaper, always opt for dry wood with a moisture content of at most 15-20%. This will burn faster, longer, and does not produce any undesirable gases or excess smoke. You can buy pre-dried wood from a trusted wood supplier, or you can dry it yourself at home.

The fire will burn less efficiently if the wood you add is too wet. This is because more energy is required to burn off the excess moisture in the wood.

Add a catalytic combustor

Adding a catalytic combustor insert can help increase efficiency for older wood burning stoves.

Catalytic combustors promote the combustion of pollutant gases and particulates released from burning wood. They operate at very high temperatures and therefore provide more heat and fewer emissions.

Maintain the supply of wood

Keeping the supply of wood on the fire maintained at the right level will help ensure your fire is burning more efficiently. Each model of wood burning stove has a different capacity, and this amount should not be exceeded, or the stove can eventually run too hot to be efficient.

To find out how hot your stove’s design capacity is, check the manufacturer’s guidelines. 

Wood burners can be a great addition to your home, keeping you warm and cozy during those cold winter nights or cold snaps.

However, if they aren’t used correctly, they can be inefficient, bad for the environment, and cause health problems for you and your family.

By following all the tips listed above, you can help keep your stove burning as efficiently as possible, and therefore, help you get the most out of your stove.

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