Solid Fuel Stoves For Modern Homes – Once an essential feature of nearly every home, business and institution, wood burning stoves and their coal burning counterparts are making a comeback as designers incorporate them into modern retro-style homes or renovated period houses. Woodburning stoves are very efficient space heaters that have been a popular and sometimes only means of heating, especially in the country areas of Europe and the pioneer lands of America. Made of cast iron or steel plate, and in some cases incorporating heat retentive soapstone, they have been manufactured in a wide variety of sizes and styles. Nowadays restored originals and modern reproductions of old designs are available from specialist dealers, many of whom have informative websites.
Solid fuel stoves are mostly designed to be freestanding giving them a degree of flexibility in their positioning, although sometimes they are fitted into fireplace openings. Essentially a stove is an enclosed chamber that is provided with a form of regulator for controlling the flow of air. The fuel burns slowly and completely, the heat being absorbed by the casing and then radiated out into the room. A stovepipe fitted into the top or rear carries away the smoke and also continues the heat radiation process. Access to the stove for loading the fuel is either through a hinged door (which may be glazed), or through a removable top plate. Some stoves have a decorative top, while others provide a flat surface that serves as a hotplate.
The general trend towards the use of cleaner fuels and central furnace heating in the 21st century meant that old stoves and fireplaces became redundant in many homes. However there is now a resurgence of interest in traditional heating methods, as oil and gas prices rise, and many disused fireplaces are being reopened or fitted with stoves. So what should we consider when looking at installing a solid fuel stove?
It’s easy to be tempted by an attractive antique stove, but make sure when purchasing one that it has been properly restored or is in good order. If you buy an antique stove and intend to use it, make sure it is safe to use and that it meets your heating requirements. Any reputable dealer should give you full and clear advice. A modern reproduction stove that can burn a variety of fuels may be a better option if you are planning to use it as your main source of heating, since most antique stoves are not that airtight and as a result much less efficient heat producers.
In theory the installation of a freestanding solid fuel stove is straight forward and not beyond the remit of the seasoned DIYer. Nevertheless, it is advisable to employ or at least fully consult a specialist installer, as the relevant installation standards and regulations are constantly changing. Most stoves suppliers are only too willing to offer advice and an installation service designed to suit their customers’ needs. The reinvention of the traditional solid fuel stove as a practical design feature within the home, allied with modern heating technology utilizing modern fuels, has become a present day success story.