Wood Burning Stoves to Warm Your Life

By Charles Hopkins Published 05/27/2007 | Home Improvement

Perhaps you've entered a warm, cozy home on a chilly evening and smiled broadly when you realized that a wood-burning stove was heating the room you entered. The room immediately radiated a comfortable atmosphere.

A wood stove is a great addition to a home's overall heating system and has several advantages over other heating systems. For example, a wood stove is safer than gas heating because it is not a source of dangerous fumes. In most parts of the country wood fuel is more economical than oil, gas, or electricity. Further, wood fuel is ecologically responsible because it is renewable and easy to find.

A freestanding wood stove can be an attractive addition to a home. Many stoves and their platform are ornamental and command attention in the room. Of course, several considerations need to be made regarding the wood stove's installation. The platform beneath the stove should be ceramic or cement and needs to extend around the stove by at least 18 inches. The stove must be set away from any combustible walls, and the stove pipe, which should not rise too close to the wall, should be double walled for safety. Finally, the stovepipe must be well protected in areas where it passes through a wall or the roof.

A more modern type of stove is the catalytic wood stove. These stoves contain a catalytic combustor that is honeycomb in shape and coated with palladium. The palladium metal is the catalyst that causes the gasses given off during combustion to burn at much lower temperatures. The addition of the burning gasses to the heat of the burning wood makes the catalytic wood stove even more efficient. A catalytic wood stove is more expensive than a regular wood stove, but many existing wood stoves can be retrofit with a catalytic combustor to increase their efficiency and heat producing ability.

Many homes have large fireplaces where a wood stove insert makes a warm, wonderful, and attractive addition. The insert has several advantages over the fireplace. The metal stove radiates heat back into the room, preventing large amounts of heat from escaping up the chimney, which makes the wood stove insert much more efficient. The insert has a glass door that contains ashes very well and prevents drafts and heat from escaping to the chimney. Further, the wood stove insert is much easier to clean out than a fireplace.

The choices of wood burning stoves are numerous, but the satisfaction of entering a warm, cozy wood heated room makes it a great choice.