Alternative Technology at Home in Suffolk
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There is a nice cosy wood burning stove for heating the lounge.
This really pushes out some heat. We use it mainly at weekends for primary heat in the lounge. There is a thermostatic valve on the central heating radiator to ensure that both sources of heat are not fighting one another. In fact, with no other heating, the stove provides comfortable background heat for the whole house.
It is a Becton 11 multifuel stove made by Aarrow and came from Countrylife Stoves in Ipswich, who also supplied the Chimflex 316 stainless steel liner for the chimney. When first installed the chimney was so efficient that it was impossible to turn the fire down low enough. This was cured by fitting a damper just above the stove. We have a supply of firewood from a small woodland in our garden and neighbours know where to get rid of any timber that is surplus to requirements!
I have now replaced the Becton with a Euroheat Harmony 13 Multifuel stove from Suffolk Stoves. It has less rated output than the Becton but is more efficient, smaller and very clean burning. There is an option for a remote control which can also be used as a room thermostat and programmable timer control. I may upgrade to this later, but for now we are enjoying the benefits of a superbly efficient and clean burning stove.
I made several changes to the installation. I lowered the fireplace hearth by removing the hearthstone and tiling the area instead. This is easier to keep clean and looks neater too. The advantage of a physically smaller stove is that the clearances from adjacent surfaces are much improved, particularly to the mantel stone above the stove. We now have enough space for pots or for roasting chestnuts......mmmm!
All wood burning stoves perform best when burning very dry wood. Their efficiency is optimum when the moisture content or dampness of the wood is 20% or less. This can only be achieved by storing outdoors, but under cover, so that the sunshine and wind can slowly remove as much wetness as possible. It can take over a year to get down to the desired 20% moisture level and this figure can be checked by using a Moisture Meter. Choose the right one giving a percentage readout and ignore the very cheap ones with only coloured LED's. A big benefit of burning dry wood is that the glass on the stove will stay beautifully clear. Check my review of a really excellent moisture meter that reads 0-60%. Make sure your logs are covered from the rain with this Woodpile Tarpaulin.
Woodburning as a source of home heat, has been around for many years. I bought a book back in 1977 which taught me a lot about woodstoves and wood burning. I have reproduced some highlights from The Woodburning Book for you to enjoy. See below for some real bargain woodstoves on eBay.