Choosing Your Next Wood Stove
Are you looking to update or supplement your heating system? Whether you need to replace an old, inefficient heating unit or you want to add a functional and attractive improvement to your favorite room, a wood stove is the prefect option. Modern wood burning stoves are much different than the stoves our grandparents used. Modern wood stoves are attractive, convenient, and efficient and come in a wide variety of styles & designs that will fit in with any décor. There are a number of great reasons you should consider installing a wood burning stove.
Why Should I Purchase a Wood Stove?
Modern wood burning stoves feature improved efficiency and safety compared to those of a few decades ago. All new wood stoves sold for residential use in the US and Canada are certified by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). With new EPA standards, wood stoves are much cleaner burning and more efficient than old, non EPA certified wood stoves. EPA certified wood stoves will produce very little smoke, minimal ash, and require less firewood than non-certified models. Here are some good reasons to purchase a new wood stove today:
- Burn cleaner – If you are an eco-conscious homeowner, an EPA certified wood stove is a great heat source. Not only do these stoves produce next to no smoke, but using wood as a fuel source is considered “carbon neutral” which means there’s no increase in CO2 when you heat with wood.
- Save money – Overall, wood costs less per BTU than other fuels like gas, oil, or electricity. In fact, The Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Association (hpba.org) has developed a fuel efficiency calculator which will show you how certain wood stove models can actually save you money. Even something as little as supplementing your existing heating system with a wood stove by zone heating certain rooms can save you hundreds of dollars on your heating bill per year.
- Radiant heat – Anyone who owns a forced-air heating system knows that the air inside of your home can actually feel cooler than the temperature that your thermostat reads. Wood stoves are a great heat source since they provide a radiant heat. Radiant heat warms the air quicker and more efficiently than a forced-air system. Plus, heat will radiate from the sides, top, and front of the stove so that heat can be felt in all directions, not just where the vent is located.
- Appearance – Wood stoves today come in many new and attractive styles that can improve the appearance of many rooms in your home.
How to Choose
When it comes time to purchase a wood stove, the number of options may be a bit overwhelming. Before you commit to a particular unit, here are some things to consider. Remember, stoves can vary in size, material, style, and features just as much as the people who own them.
Size– Stoves come is all sizes and shapes, but here’s a good guide for what size you’ll need in order to meet your heating requirements.
- Small – Small wood stoves are suitable for heating single rooms or small cottages. Small wood stoves are a great option for supplementing older central furnaces with extra zone heat. Add to a bedroom or living room to zone heat only the areas of your home that get the most usage so you can then cut back your reliance on your central heating system or furnace.
- Medium – A medium-sized stove is perfect for heating small houses or medium houses that have energy-efficient features like sealed windows, etc.
- Large – If you have a large house that has an open plan or an old house that contains a lot of air leaks, then your heating needs will require a large wood stove. This is especially true of homes that are located in colder climate zones in the northern half of the United States.
Still confused on finding the best stove size for your home? Check out our BTU calculator! The EPA has calculated the BTU output necessary to heat an average-sized home in the northern U.S. will be between 24,000 BTUs & 48,000 BTUs.
Material– Wood stoves can be made from cast iron, steel, or soapstone or a combination of these basic materials. Each material has benefits & advantages, so here’s a quick guide to help you choose.
- Cast Iron – Cast iron wood stoves are the most popular type of stoves on the market and for good reasons. The casting process used to create this style of wood stove was perfected long before the process of welding steel, so the earliest stoves were naturally made of poured iron.
- Steel – Although not as ornate as a cast iron stove, steel stoves have comparable, or better heating performance which is why they have become a popular & affordable choice for many homeowners. Some steel stoves are designed with double wall construction, resulting in convection stoves which are able to be safely placed much closer to a wall than cast iron, or soapstone stoves.
- Soapstone – Soapstone wood stoves are unique wood stoves that not only act as a heating source, but also are a unique, decorative item for your home. Soapstone is a softer material that is easily cut & polished for use in wood burning stoves.
Style– From contemporary and modern to rustic and old-world, wood stoves come in a number of styles. Whether it’s the sleek lines of a tall & rectangular modern wood stove or the curves of an ornate, cast iron wood stove, it’s easy to find a stove that will fit in with your current décor & style. Stop by your local UFS member store showroom to check out some of the different types of wood burning stoves available.
Features– Wood stoves can come with a number of different features that add to both the convenience & aesthetics of the stove. Here is a look at some common features you should consider:
- Top-Loading vs. Front-Loading. Depending on your preferences, you can choose a stove that is either a top loading unit or a front loading unit. Front loading units are generally more popular because they are cleaner & easier to maintain.
- Log Orientation. Log orientation plays a large part in how many logs you can add to a fire in one load. East-west loading units don’t hold as many logs since filling it more than half full can result in logs rolling against the glass door. North-south loading units, in contrast, tend to be best for full-time winter heating because more wood can be loaded without the fear of logs falling against the door.
- Ash pans. Ash pans are also a common optional feature, but may not be for everyone since they can be difficult to empty and limit the amount of ash that the stove can hold.
- Feet/Pedestals. When it comes to appearance, some stoves may come with optional feet or pedestals that can instantly change the style of the stove.
- Fan Systems. To maximize heat distribution, a fan system is a good option. A fan will blow out the heat to distribute it more even and effectively in your room. Plus they have speed controls built in temperature sensors which can turn the fans on and off automatically.
Most UFS member stores offer many brand choices when it comes to wood stoves. A favorite brand of wood stove that is a favorite for many homeowners is the Enerzone brand. Here is a look at some popular Enerzone models:
Enerzone Destination 2.3 Wood Stove
If you like a modern, urban look, then the Enerzone Destination 2.3 Wood Stove is a great option. The smooth shapes of the cast iron are combined with contemporary style. The stove’s black, or optional stainless side shields add to its contemporary look. Logs can be easily stored underneath the large firebox, making the Destination 2.3 a convenient and elegant heating appliance. The Destination 2.3 also includes a fan system at no additional cost.
Enerzone Solution 3.4 Wood Stove
Luxury meets power in the Enerzone Solution 3.4 Wood Stove. This incredible unit produces up to 100,000 BTUs per hour giving you the ultimate in heat output. Its huge 3.4 cubic-foot firebox holds 22-inch logs and provides an outstanding burning time. It’s also one of the quickest starting, large wood stoves made today. It features a baffle molded in C-Cast, a light and revolutionary refractory material that guarantees exceptional durability. The Solution 3.4 wood stove produces less than 3.8 g/hr of particle emissions, making this stove one of the cleaner burning wood stoves in its size. It also features an extremely heavy duty 3/8” steel top and a fan system to help distribute the heat throughout your home. The Solution 3.4 is certainly a benchmark in performance and good value for large wood stoves.