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Renew-Reuse-Recycle
23rd Apr 2019 Login  
Wood Burning Stoves
by Stuart at 2006-04-22 10:03:16 (Blog::Stuart)
We for the last winter have partially heated our house with a wood burning stove. This blog shows what we did and what we learnt.
I bought a wood stove for a number of reasons – firstly because I have had an antique anthracite burning French art deco stove which I increasingly felt guilty about using, knowing it wasn’t greatly efficient and pumped out significant amounts of CO2 and secondly because I have a large garden and wanted to make use of the land.

Using a wood burning stove has given me a largely carbon neutral and sustainable heat source – growing trees take in carbon dioxide which is then released when the wood rots or is burnt. Unlike my coal stove therefore it doesn’t release new CO2 into the atmosphere and contribute to global warming.

What Stove To Buy?

Efficiency

Stove technology has really moved on since my Art Deco Deville “Crystal” Anthracite stove. The “Crystal” was probably only about 50% efficient whereas modern stoves are closer to 80%.

Modern stoves get the most out of your fuel by burning smoke. To achieve this hyper efficiency and best smokeless performance go for a stove with a turbo baffle or similar mechanism which creates a process called tertiary burning. The baffle directs the smoke through the fire again and again, creating an internal circular gas flow that continually mixes the exhaust gases with fresh oxygen. This mix is drawn through the base of the fire allowing the gases to reach temperatures that wouldn’t normally be reached, and then they combust further adding to the heat of the stove. You get remarkable bright blue, green, red and orange flames as this process occurs.

Model

We went with the Clearview Stoves Pioneer with baffle, providing a good 4-5kw output of heat. I purchased the stove direct from Clearview and I cannot fault their service.

Installation

I installed the Pioneer myself which was straightforward. In our experience all the local dealers insisted on having a chimney liner. Having candidly spoken to installers and our chimney sweep we concluded this additional liner was not required. However each situation will need to be assessed and it is vital to ensure you have a good draft and fit a really good registry plate at the bottom of the chimney.

Having used the stove for a season, I have concluded the flue temperature is good and it is not creosoting. For us this means it saved us about £600 on a chimney liner. We will review the situation regularly and I will of course stop if there is significant creosote gathering. As a matter of safety I have the chimney swept twice a year and inspected. I also ensure that I run a hot fire which keeps the flue temperature up and stops the Creosote condensing. A stove with tertiary burn will produce little creosote as a lot of the gases are burnt before going up the chimney.

Rotational Coppicing

The stove we bought, although efficient, gets through fuel. Clearview estimate a small Pioneer kept in all the time would take 3 or 4 tons of wood a year. When you have to cut and chop this amount you really know about it.

I needed about three full wheel barrows of wood a week to run the stove. At the start I tried to saw it by hand but soon bought a chainsaw and protective clothes.

If I am going to make this project work I had to work out a way to grow enough wood to supply my stove. Luckily I have five of six Hazel trees that are mature and coppiced. Coppicing is an ancient way of renewing woodland and generating a supply of fire wood. Coppiced trees have many trunks and by cutting the larger trunks each year and planting Ash and hazel I plan to get a 10 year coppice system going that will give me a supply of wood for my stove. When you cut a trunk many small shoots then sprout in its place, sustaining the wood resource.

To supplement this I have also spoken to local tree surgeons and the local council about them dropping off their unwanted wood free of charge. They responded positively to my initial proposal, and I will keep you posted.

Stuart

Attachments...
JPEG image (1Mb limit) Wood pile stacked to season
JPEG image (1Mb limit) Partially Coppiced Hazel Stand
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