fireplace stove

Fireplace Stoves Pros and Cons in 2021

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The large amount of radiant heat produced by fireplace stoves suits many of our houses – especially older, poorly insulated, and draughty homes with high ceilings.

A properly sized and installed fireplace stove can heat the whole home.

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Many people also like the toasty radiant heat a fireplace stove produces. Some models can heat hot water, and all of them can be used during a power cut. Many have a flat top surface for heating a kettle – or even for emergency cooking.

Burning wood is carbon-neutral because it’s a renewable resource, but burning it cleanly is the key to making it enviro-friendly.

By burning dry wood in a clean-burning fireplace stove you win 3 times over:

  • Wood is a sustainable heating fuel.
  • You get more heat from a clean-burning (non-smoky) fire.
  • Cleaner burning means fewer smoke particles lodging in all our lungs.

That’s the positive stuff. The flip side of fireplace stoves is their contribution to air pollution and their relative lack of convenience.

If you burn wood carelessly or burn wet wood, you can create a health hazard through ultra-fine pollution lodging in people’s lungs.

Modern fireplace stoves can burn much more cleanly than older models. But our tests have shown that clean-burning only occurs if the fire is carefully tended – and with the right-sized dry wood.

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Air pollution is not inconsequential. The ultra-fine soot particles in wood smoke are a health hazard.

They can lodge deep in the lungs causing premature death, hospitalization, and respiratory illness.

Fireplace stoves aren’t as convenient as heat pumps or central heating systems.

You “regulate” the room temperature through the amount of wood you burn, and there’s no timer-controlled automatic starting system. You also have to buy firewood in advance and store it.

If you’re about to buy a fireplace stove, here’s what to consider:

Type

Freestanding models are generally the most efficient (for a given firewood load, they return the most heat to a room). They’re also the cheapest to install.

But if you have an existing open fireplace, an insert model is most often the way to go. Although insert models are not as efficient as free standers, they’re way better than an open fire.

Heat output

If you have a non-draughty well-insulated home, then 10kW should be plenty. A larger house – or the same-sized but less-well-insulated and draughty house – further south will require 12-14kW.

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In non-open-plan houses, there’s no point in overheating the lounge while the rest of the house stays cold. Install a heat-distribution system to help spread the heat throughout the house.

Be careful about manufacturers’ heat-output claims – some grossly exaggerate what you’ll get. Always check the compliance plate.

This has to be on every fireplace stove that’s sold – and it states the tested heat output, along with the efficiency and emissions rate.

Convector vs. radiant

All fireplace stoves both heat the air and radiate heat onto objects that are within a few feet of them. But some fireplace stoves are marketed as predominantly one type or the other.

It depends on the external design of the firebox. Convectors are best for well-insulated non-draughty houses with low ceilings. Radiant-type models suit older and less-well insulated (or draughty) houses with higher ceilings.

A convector heater heats the air immediately around it. Hot air is lighter (less dense) – so it rises away from the heater and gets replaced with cooler air, which is in turn heated.

This convection air-current means that the warmest air in the room ends up near the ceiling, with the coolest air near the floor. Convector heaters are air warmers.

A radiant heater “shines” heat on to anything in its path. That could be you if you’re near the fire or furniture within a few feet of the fire.

Controls/cleaning

The controls should operate smoothly, and it should be relatively easy to clean the outer surfaces and empty the firebox.

Flue system

The flue must have a larger diameter outer shield around it where it passes through the ceiling and attic space.

Some of the newer designs have this air-gap vented outside rather than into the room (outside venting stops hot air escaping from the room).

Some other fireplace stoves get the air needed to burn the wood from outside the house rather than from within the room: this improves efficiency and reduces drafts.

Emissions

The lower the particulate emissions from your fire, the less of a health hazard you’ll be causing. You can find this out from the fireplace stove’s compliance plate.

Wetbacks

A wetback uses copper pipes to circulate water from the fireplace stove to the hot-water cylinder and back. They’re expensive to install, and the hot water cylinder needs to be placed reasonably close to the burner.

The payback period for a wetback depends on how you use your fireplace stove. If the fireplace stove’s not used every day, a wetback is unlikely to be cost-effective. 

Safety guards

Fireplace stove’s surfaces can get very hot and can be a danger to small children. Protective guards are available and highly recommended.

Building consent

Before you buy a fireplace stove, make sure your local authority will allow you to install the model you want: some councils will only allow the installation of models from their recommended list.

You will also need to get a building consent before installing your fireplace stove (you’re unlikely to get one retrospectively).

If an illegally installed wood-burner causes a fire, it may invalidate your insurance cover.

Installation

A poor installation job can ruin the heating and emissions performance of the best of fireplace stove.

Heat transfer

A heat-transfer kit usually removes warm air from the lounge and ducts it to a colder part of the house.

Alternatively, it can be set up to cold duct air from elsewhere in the house and deliver it to the lounge for heating.

Either way, the doors must be left open or ajar so that the air can circulate and even out the temperatures.

SIMPLIFIRE Allusion Platinum 60-Inch Electric Fireplace - SF-ALLP60-BK
  • Install flush in the wall for a clean and sleek look
  • Safely place a TV or artwork directly above the fireplace
  • Four flame color themes, 14 ember bed color themes for complete customization
  • Up to 5,000 BTUs of two-stage, supplemental heat
  • Enjoy the ambiance year-round, with or without heat
R.W.FLAME Infrared Electric Fireplace Stove, 16" Freestanding Fireplace Heater, Realistic Flame Effects, Adjustable Brightness and Heating Mode, Overheating Safe Design, 1000W/1500W, Black
  • DIMENSION & PORTABLE: 16.3"L X 12.2"W X 22.8"H; Classic design with steel construction, compact and durable. The traditional and lightweight freestanding fireplace stove is the best choice for family and daily use. Two heating modes of 1000W and 1500W can meet every heat demand.
  • Realistic Flame Effect: Gorgeous realistic dancing flames and burning log design make the effect of true flame of fireplace, which can embellish your room when enjoying the warming. Clear Glasses on three sides give 180 degrees of observation. Any angle is available for enjoying the realistic flame effect.
  • Multi-Function: Flame effect can be controlled independent without heating. Thermostat control makes the room temperature adjustable. Flame dimmer control for the brightness of the flame effect. Overheating safe device and 180 degrees of observation
  • Effective & Economical Heating: Far infrared heating method make the heating more effective and Speedier. Heating quickly just in one second, and this stove can heat up to the room of 400 Sq. Ft. The heating and capacity factor can be controlled to fit any heat requirement and weather.
  • Safety : Overheating safe device will make the stove heater more safety and reliable. Air outlet is designed at the bottom of the stove which can effectively avoid overheating and high temperature hazard of the fuselage.100% satisfied solution towards any problems of the product.
HEARTHPRO 5-Sided Infrared Stove Fireplace Heater | Electric Fireplace Stove Heater Freestanding Indoor, Realistic Flame Logs Effects and Overheating Safety (Black)
  • Classic & Innovative Design: Beautiful Electric fire place heater Wood Stove is compact and durable. The traditional 5-sided Electric fire place logs are lightweight design, better than wall mounted electric heater and best choice for your home.
  • Reliable : This large electric fireplace stove is made with strong and durable material and gives gorgeous look of fire crackle logs. Clear glasses on 5 sides are Safer and give 180 degree view of Realistic Flame.
  • Cozy & Comfortable : Realistic flame effects and Infrared heating technology provides indoor comfort. your small fireplace in comfort of your home.
  • Economical & Faster : This portable fireplace heater is for indoor or outdoor use and Infrared Flame quickly warm up to the 1,000 Sq. Ft.
  • Manual Controls
Real Flame Foster Stove Electric Fireplace, Black
  • WARM YOUR HOME: Enjoy a realistic, cozy fire in your home with the Foster Electric Fireplace Heater by Real Flame! This exclusive electric stove heater has a heat output of 4700 BTUs that is perfect for warming rooms up to 1000 square feet.
  • BEAUTIFUL AND REALISTIC: With mission-style glass doors, this small electric fireplace has glass paneled sides for maximum beauty and light distribution. Our indoor fireplace is designed to look like a built-in wood stove with an optional chimney!
  • EXCEPTIONAL QUALITY: Crafted with high-quality, powder-coated steel, you will be able to enjoy this fireplace space heater for years to come! This freestanding electric fireplace is CSA certified and includes thermal overload protection.
  • ADJUSTABLE FIREPLACE HEATER: Our unique fireplace heater has adjustable thermostat settings of 68, 77, 86, and 95°F for the perfect temperature in living rooms, bedrooms, and more. You can turn off the heat to enjoy this fire place all year long!
  • EVERYTHING YOU NEED: These fireplace electric heaters come complete with all the mounting hardware needed for setting up anywhere in your home. They are compact and have a power cord with a lay-flat plug for any standard outlet. Assembly required.
Duraflame 3D Infrared Electric Fireplace Stove with Remote Control, Black & Crackler - DFI-5010-01 & CS-FC
  • Durable, metal construction
  • Powerful infrared heater warms up to 1,000 Sq. Ft.
  • 5 adjustable flame brightness settings
  • Use with or without heat for year-round operation
  • Multi-function remote control included
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Last update on 2021-06-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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