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Treacodactyl

Small wood burner

Does anyone run a small wood burner? I looked at a few the other week and was surprised how small some are but wonder how they perform. Do they give out enough or too much heat for an average 12mē room? Are they more trouble than a larger stove, e.g. do they require more refilling and emptying?

I'm seriously considering running a couple of wood burners in our new house rather than central heating but I'm not sure of the practicalities - does anyone have a similar set-up?
Mistress Rose

I would suggest that you look at the size of wood they use. If you are cutting your own, not a major problem as you can cut to what length you want, although 6" logs take twice as much cutting as 12" logs. If you are buying in wood, please try to get a stove that will take at least 10" logs, or you might have trouble finding a supplier.

The other thing to consider is what do you want to heat. Some companies calculate the wood burner needed on the size of the room it is in. Fine if you only want to heat that room, but it might end up being a very small stove. If you want to use the heat for other parts of the house too, get a larger one and let the heat out of the door.

I don't know all the calculations, but we are firewood suppliers, and we have had a wood burner in our lounge, which we use as partial heating for other rooms for about 30 years now.
sean

How small are you talking? We've got a Cleaview Pioneer 400 which does most of the heating for the whole house.
Nick

We've a tiny one, about a cubic foot. It's useless. I suspect it can't burn enough to generate enough heat to shove the cold air up the chimney to allow it to get started.

The only way I get that room heated is the steam iron, and the heat she produces doing her chores.
RichardW

We have a 5kw Aga little wenlock.

You can get a decent sized log in it once its going well. Burning just wood it does not need emptying that often. Using to much paper to get it going does up the emptying needs.

This is my next door neighbors company linky if you are after quite small, dif features or UK made (in wales).
Treacodactyl

What sort of area does the Wentlock heat and are you happy with the output?

We currently have a large multifuel stove in the lounge and oil central heating. The plan is to rip out the rads, put something like an Esse range in the kitchen (cooking and hot water), replace the lounge with a smaller wood burner and then add a small wood burner to the other end of the house.

Log size isn't important really as I'll be cutting my own but some wood burners did seem tiny.

I'll probably go with a popular stove and one a local installer is familiar with, but before I do just wanted to get a few opinions.
pollyanna

The real problem with small stoves is not the length of the logs - that's easy to regulate - but the diameter of the logs. It is a real pain if you can't get good sized logs in. No chance of keeping it in all night if it can only burn small diameter logs.
vegplot

You should work out what your heat requirements are first (ideally you should perform some thermal loss calcs. based on wall area, material, windows etc.).

Smaller stoves have, in general, better thermal efficiency than larger stoves for a given output but the burn requires more attention as the fuel volume is smaller requiring more frequent reloads. A stove that is too small is worse, IMHO, than one that is too large.
wellington womble

We've a tiny one, about a cubic foot. It's useless. I suspect it can't burn enough to generate enough heat to shove the cold air up the chimney to allow it to get started.


We've a similar tiny one, which heats the lounge adequately, and most of my (bog standard, bought) logs fit just fine. You can't keep it in at night, and it only keeps the one room warm, although it does keep the chill off house unless it's really cold. It would be perfect for an occasional fire to sit by of an evening, if your main source was in the kitchen. Having not ironed since I have been here, I don't know how it compares! It does seem to benefit from more regular sweeping, though.

The one in the kitchen on the small side, and worked fine to keep the house reasonably heated last winter, except for the absurd draft because the kitchen door is warped and won't shut. We have a small, terraced stone walled house, which is not hard to heat.

The huge wood burner in our last house was hard to control and also impossible to keep in all night, because it couldn't be damped down to burn low enough. I am not at all convinced it was correctly installed, through.

The clearview in the previous house was utterly brilliant - medium sized, plenty of heat to keep the whole house warm (was situated centrally) and easy enough to keep in at night. It was properly installed, though. I think that makes a big difference.
joanne

We are in the process of getting our woodburners sorted out. They were originally put in by the ex and a friend and are not HETAS signed off.

The one in the front room is very small only 3.5Kw but puts out a decent amount of heat depending if the wind is blowing in the right direction.

The one in the back room is a Dunsley Highlander 7 and is apparently too big so needs to be replaced by one that's running around 5Kw

The installer says that the reason why the small one doesn't draw correctly is most likely due to the chimney shape and adding a liner will make a huge difference!
Ty Gwyn

Adding a liner is not going to alter the shape,but may correct the draw,

Does it have a good cowl?
joanne

Adding a liner is not going to alter the shape,but may correct the draw,

Does it have a good cowl?


It's the draw that's the issue, he thinks that the chimney opens out too large for the fire which prevents it drawing correctly. He may replace the cowl or not depending what he finds
dpack

re burner size based on a variety of commercial and hobo stoves burning wood my most important criteria are

good sized and shaped door/s and fire box .(for all the reasons above and a few more)
about 50%bigger than the desired out put(it isnt always ash and hawthorn)
well made to a tried and tested spec
good ventilation design internally and knobs that dont get hot externally(that last bit has been a sore point on quite a few stoves)

i have used ace ones made out of a cooking oil tin and rubbish expensive ones made out of rocking horse feathers and a hint of sale of goods act.

flue and fittings are part of the stove imho and need to be safe and effective,hard to block and easy to clean.(no buzzard tragedies)

as to look ,if it does what it should ,in the place it is for ,it will be a thing of beauty whatever the materials or style.

a place for a pan or coffee pot is nice
pollyanna

That reminds me. Access to chimney for sweeping without moving the stove. I kid you not, I've seen it! roobarb

Is there a reason for ripping out the radiators and not having central heating at all? Could you not get a woodburner with a back boiler for hot water and upstairs radiators? You may regret pulling out the central heating system if the woodburner doesn't heat the house like you thought.

We installed a Clearview with back boiler (heats the hot water tank and 8 radiators) in the kitchen, and manage to do some cooking on the top when its going full on. In addition we had a small Charnwood Country 4 (4kw) put into the lounge so that in the autumn/spring we could heat the living area without having to fire up the main woodburner. This really cranks out the heat and doesn't take much refuelling (it all depends on what you're burning). We have found that we still tend to light this in the winter as well as the Clearview, as it does stay cold in the living room, which is the last radiator on the system so doesn't always get very warm.
Pilsbury

We are so planning to have little woodburner in the front room just to take the chill off before we put http heating on for the winter and sitting round and toasting marshmallows.
I would want one I can put a kettle on or a small casserole so I coukd use it to cook on should the mood take us.
Treacodactyl

Is there a reason for ripping out the radiators and not having central heating at all? Could you not get a woodburner with a back boiler for hot water and upstairs radiators? You may regret pulling out the central heating system if the woodburner doesn't heat the house like you thought.

Yes, I don't like central heating. Laughing I've put it in in a previous house and it seemed more hassle than it's worth for the two of us. Our new house currently has an old system that needs replacing but, the way we tend to live, a couple of wood burners and a couple of electric heaters may be more comfortable and a cheaper option.
wellington womble

Just woodburners worked well for us. I kept the kitchen stove in all the time we were home, pretty much so the kitchen was warm (you can't cook on ours, though) and then just lit the teeny stove if we were going to be having an evening in front of it. We bathe in the evening rather than shower in the morning, so the bathroom was warm by the time we got out if the tub. An electric heater in the morning might be nice - it's cold getting dressed before the fire warms up! We also had an electric blanket on the bed and I had a blanket and a hot water bottle for curl to up to read if I wasn't going to be long out if bed and couldn't be bothered to light the fire just for hand an hour. You can get fancy electric throws, now too. RichardW

We had it as our only heat in a 35 x 12 foot caravan & now its in the main living space which is 3m x about 11m & 2.1m high.

It gets used mainly in the ends of the heating season as once its cold the rayburn goes on which is in the same area & it also heats the DHW & feeds a few small rads in the bedrooms. If it got real cold then it would top the main heat up but not needed it for that yet. Oh & also for a quick heat boost in the mornings if the rayburn is on a go slow.

On its own it gets the room to hot. We are well insulated.

Re keeping it in all night. Yes it can be kept in all night. However Why would you want to?

It lights easily, gets hot quick & burning it slow overnight just tars up the flue & stove / glass. Burn hot to keep it all clean.
Treacodactyl

Thanks for the details Richard.

Re keeping it in all night. Yes it can be kept in all night. However Why would you want to?

That's my thoughts as well, I have no plans to try and keep the fires in overnight, just get one of them going quickly the next morning.
perlogalism

I put 2 Acorn 4's in the upstairs bedrooms. They're tiny but more than enough to heat 16m2 rooms. We usually only light one in the winter and leave the room doors open to allow the heat to circulate. OK, it never gets "toasty" but then we don't want hot bedrooms. Might be worth mentioning that I've internally insulated the walls so not much heat escapes! Mistress Rose

We have a Clearview. We can cook on the top as we got a flat topped one, so I use it for long cook things like cassoulet and bolognaise sauce. Also useful for melting wax. We keep ours in all winter and it keeps the chill off the house quite well, as well as keeping the lounge warm.

Some fires are designed not to shut down. For some reason this is a design feature to prevent carbon monoxide formation, but to my mind it is dangerous as in case of a chimney fire you can't do anything about it.
dpack

plenty of steam should do it if needs be

dousing the fire a bit at a time will often work but then using the slurry to block the air intakes and shutting the door is sensible with a flue fire .this may crack some stoves.

keep the flues clean and use dry wood(and no buzzards)
joanne

We have a 5kw Aga little wenlock.

You can get a decent sized log in it once its going well. Burning just wood it does not need emptying that often. Using to much paper to get it going does up the emptying needs.

This is my next door neighbors company linky if you are after quite small, dif features or UK made (in wales).

Just rang him about a Fat Penguin stove, they are lovely looking!
wellington womble

Thanks for the details Richard.

Re keeping it in all night. Yes it can be kept in all night. However Why would you want to?

That's my thoughts as well, I have no plans to try and keep the fires in overnight, just get one of them going quickly the next morning.

I prefer to keep ours in overnight. I do not like cold mornings. Also, this is a stone house, terraced with neighbours with central heating. It is much, much easier to keep warm than it is to get warm, so it worked better to keep the stove ticking over. We don't have gas, and I never learned how to use the storage heaters we have. It does depend a bit on how you live though - if I'd been working out of the house a day, I'd probably have put the bathroom and kitchen radiators on and kept a fire in in the evenings.
gz

I'm looking for a secondhand jotul F118 for my workshop..small but quite long and takes 60cm logs.
I think Morso did a similar one.
Very good when the house get a power cut Very Happy

Trefor Owen,the potter in Maentwrog has a forty year old one in his workshop...it works a treat Cool
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