Choosing the Right Size Wood Burning Stove

old style stoveChoosing the right size wood burning stove is of key importance if you want to keep your home pleasantly warm at the lowest cost possible. In order to determine what size wood burning stove or to be more precise, what heat output (kW) you need, you will need to do a little bit of math. But do not worry though, because you will not have to use any complicated formulas.

Too Big Stoves are Inefficient

Just because you have a big room that does not necessary mean you need a big stove to heat it to the desired temperature. In fact, too big stove will make it even more difficult to achieve the optimal temperature at a low operating cost. This is due to the fact that it will emit too much heat most of the time if operated according to the manufacturer’s instructions which among other also foresee operation at full load. Regulating temperature by reducing fuel load or fire-chamber temperature will affect the stove’s efficiency.

If you reduce fuel load, you may get poor heat output and burn more wood as if you would operate it fully loaded. At the same time, you would also be producing lots of smoke. And this could be problematic if you live in Smoke Control Area even if your wood burning stove is DEFRA exempt. By reducing the fire-chamber temperature, on the other hand, you would slow down the rise of flue gases which in turn can cause problems with condensation and creosote.

Too Small Stoves Get Easily Damaged

Too small stove is not a good idea either. In order to achieve the optimal heat output during extremely cold winter days, you would have to load it virtually non-stop. And this could cause potentially serious damage to the stove due to overheating.

Calculating the Right Size Wood Burning Stove

The size of the space is of course the key factor in calculation of the right size wood burning stove. Generally, it is recommended to choose slightly larger stove than you need but no more than 1kW. This will enable you to achieve the optimal temperature, roughly about 22 degrees Celsius when the temperature outside is zero. The size of the room, however, is not the only factor that should be taken into account when calculating the right size stove. Insulation, size of the windows, specific weather conditions such as strong winds, etc. also play an important role in the feeling of warmth.

Considering the many factors that should be considered in calculation of the right size stove, it is a good idea to ask an expert for an advice. But to get a better idea what size (kW) stove you should be looking for, you can also use the following formula:

Volume (m3) / 10 = kW

If your home, however, is not properly insulated, divide volume of the space with the number 15 or 25. Use the latter if your home is poorly insulated. Than add 1 KW and you will get an approximate estimation of heat output that will enable you to keep your home warm and cut the expenses for wood fuel.