Technology in stoves has moved towards greater efficiency in recent years. Many stoves now have a sophisticated airwash system, where; once the fire is properly alight; preheated, secondary air is sourced from above the fire-bed, which “washes” down the glass to provide the oxygen to keep the fire burning, which also has the effect of keeping the glass front clean. Other stoves rely on tertiary air, which comes in at the back of the appliance, to re-ignite the remaining gas, which provides a much cleaner burn, with fewer emissions and a much higher efficiency. A well-insulated chamber means the firebox can burn at a higher temperature, again giving better combustion and the same eco-friendly credentials. Finally, some stoves now come with catalytic converters – just like a car! This honeycomb shaped metal, when up to temperature (approx. 200°C), will cause a chemical reaction, which converts the carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide, once again reducing particulates and unburnt carbon.
EcoDesign is a new standard, approved by European countries, including the UK, which is due to be implemented in 2022. However, many manufacturers, have pre-empted this standard, and now manufacture EcoDesign Ready stoves. These stoves have all been tested by an independent test laboratory, and will emit approximately 80% fewer particles than a stove manufactured 20 years ago, and approximately 90% fewer than an open fire. That not only helps save the environment, but also helps your pocket! Along with burning very low (less than 20%) moisture wood, this will ensure that your stove is as eco-friendly as possible.
Naturally when choosing a stove, the first consideration is the visual look, but this has to be combined with a number of factors. The stove must “fit” the room, by that we are talking about the output of the stove. As a general rule of thumb, work out the cubic metre capacity of the room and divide by 14. However for modern and well-insulated homes it is probably more accurate to divide by 20. One must also make sure that the “distance to combustibles” is observed, as individual stoves may have very different space requirements around the stove itself. Finally, do ensure that the stove is professionally installed, by a HEATAS registered engineer. Your home insurance may be invalid if not.
As has been the case for a few years now, the most popular fuel used in stoves is wood. It is an eco-friendly option, being largely carbon-neutral. The traditional market for stoves, be it older homes converting open fires, or self-build one off homes will usually choose a traditional stove shape (that is a free-standing box with legs). Most of these are tested to burn both wood and coal, but the fuel of choice, due to its eco-credentials, is usually wood. Coal is less acceptable since it is a carbon based fossil fuel, but can still be found in certain areas of the country with a strong history of coal mining, and can be popular when a longer burn is required. However, electric stoves are growing in popularity, especially in the new-build market, where high density housing means that the areas are often marked as smokeless-zones. As well as this modern houses often have no chimney, ruling out wood, coal or gas. Gas fired stoves are growing in popularity, but still make up a small proportion of the overall market.
£10 will be donated to the Woodland Trust for every Mendip Stove sold.