Wood heaters, or wood-burning stoves as they're sometimes called, can be a great addition to any home. These pieces come with their own vent piping, so that you can add one to a room without having to knock back a wall and add a chimney for a fireplace, allowing you to add one to just about any room of your home, as well as to a garage, barn, and the like. Wood heaters can also reduce your utility costs, as they quickly heat up a space, even an entire floor, and reduce your use of your furnace. If you're thinking of getting a wood heater, note a few questions you might have about these pieces, so you can choose the best one for your home.
What is the difference in materials?
Steel will heat up the fastest, so it's good if you want to use the wood heater for cold winter mornings. However, it also loses heat the fastest, so you will need to reload firewood into the heater consistently in order to maintain heat. Cast iron and soapstone are also popular options, and these take longer to get warm, but they also retain heat longer than steel. These choices are the best if you want to use a wood heater into the evening, allowing it to still heat a room even after the fire has gone out and you've gone to bed.
How do you choose the right size?
Wood heaters will note the average square footage that they can heat, according to their own size, but also note how draughty the home is, as windows that allow in cold air will interfere with a smaller heater's ability to heat the space. That cold air can also actually blow out a small fire! Opt for a sufficient size for your home's overall footprint, but go up a size if the home is older and tends to be cold and draughty.
Is smoke ever an issue?
Wood heaters should ventilate any smoke they produce through the piping that is attached. If you prefer to use a heater without a door, or leave the door open, and smoke becomes an issue, you can have a catalytic combustor installed. This recycles smoke from the wood that is burning and forces it to be re-burnt before it is vented through the pipes. This reduces a large portion of the smoke that is produced by the heater, and can also reduce the amount of firewood you use, as smoke is being used to create the heat and flames you want from the heater.