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Woodburner not heating room?!
 Started by  oink
 26 Feb 2010, 11:52 AM

Hi everyone. Sorry if this is a basic question but I've been trying to research and I'm having a bit of trouble. I figured the 'experts' could help.
OK, I have a wood burning stove inserted into the fireplace in the living room. Is does heat up the room averagely when the front doors are open. However, when they are closed it doesn't really make much difference. At the moment it is very close to the wall behind it (2.5cm) and I was wondering if this may stop the airflow, and therefore stop the heat entering the room?
Also, although the chimney is draught proofed it seems to me that a lot of the heat goes to heating the bricks to the sides and above the fire.
I was just wondering if it would be worth the cost of getting someone to come and bring the fire out of the fireplace a foot or so? Would this make much difference to the heat entering the room? It should be an easy job as the flue could connect to the back of the stove, instead of the top, and I would still have 1.5ft of non combustible material in front of the fire.
Thanks a lot guys. I am hoping to save for external insulation but I was hoping I could find a cheap and green way to heat the room while I save.

Well, there are a lot of things that can go wrong.
Therefore a proper installer should install the stove and guarantee the output.
Most poeople simply don't know how to handle a stove.
For example that the chimney used for an open fire isn't suitable for a stove.
That a stove, similar to a radiator, shouldn't be 'build-in'.
That a stove should have flaps to control the fresh air volume fed to it as well as the smoke leaving it.
That a stove, similar to an open fire, robs the heat from the room by venting air through the room and up the chimney.
That a chimney is a cooler for the entire house, like a radiator but in the energetic negative. A hole in the roof...
That a stove should never be run with open doors.
I'm afraid you're one of many who was fooled by sales men talk and colourfull advertisings. Close the holes, make the place drought proof and insulate your house/home.
You're not saving anything by a permanent and endless draw on your capital(the fuel costs).
Burning fuel to get the place warm is a Flintstone technology. The energy-plus house will become mandatory in a few years time, buildings can be kept warm without combustion.
Fueling fires keeps outdated imperialistic structures in place, bad buildings habitable.The energy junkies pulling the plough in the poppy fields they don't own... A clean cut is needed to keep this planet habitable.
Get an energy advisor/engineer in and ask what needs to be done to turn your building into an energy-plus building, to get rid of fuel bills once for all and turn the building into a source of an income. If he/she says "no way" leave the place. Or look for another advisor(smiley).

Hi oink
Odd that it should work better with the doors open. Does the stove heat water as well?
If the stove is not new, you might check whether the internal surfaces are free of excess amounts of soot or ash. This could reduce the amount of heat getting through to the metal of the stove. Maybe buy one of those cheap infrared thermometers to check what's happening.
Are you allowing sufficient air in with the doors closed to get a decent fire? Sorry if that's a bit obvious but some of us tend to do it...
What about a small electric fan or fanheater on blow only to improve the airflow round the back/sides of the stove? 25mm does seem rather little.
I well understand your point about doing something to improve things in the short term while planning the ideal long-term way to go.

cheers mike7. the stove doesn't heat water and I do let enough air in - to be honest I've tried every variable with the air in lets! The fan sounds like a good idea, at least it'll tell me if air circulation is the problem.
Sorry heinbloed, unfortunately there's no way I can leave - damn sentimentality! The costs are zero as I have a renewable supply of hard wood. Plus, I quite like the flinstones Wink I actually agree with most of your points and I was as surprised as anybody that the room got hotter with the doors open.
There are some stoves such as the Franco Belge Ardennes that can be run with the doors open but these are the rare exceptions. Almost all stoves should never be run with doors open, to much oxygen gets in and the over heats the fire, this will damage the stove. This is not covered by any warrenty.
Please have a look at the following points in addition to those mentioned by others above;
A, Clearances to non combusibles; your post seems to suggest that the stove is to close to the brick work for optimum airflow. Almost all stoves except inbuilt ones require 50mm of rear clearance, 150mm of side clearance and 200mm above, this ensures a good airflow around the stove and prevents heat damage to your brick fire surround. Details of the clearances for you stove will be in the installtion manual or can sometimes be downloaded from the manufacturers web site. Airflow can be improoved by using an Ecofan, this sits of top and at the rear of the stove and uses the heat from the stove to create an electric current and turn a propellor and create air circulation in the room bringing heat down from the ceiling area.
B, Fuel, I assume you are using wood, if so is the moisture content at or below 18-20%. For optimum heat output and minimal tar and soot deposits in the flue you must use DRY (20% max moisture) fuel, wood mositure meters are avaiable to test this. Burning green unseasoned timber will require three times the volume of green wood as opposed to dry seasoned wood to generate the same amount of heat. The lower temperatures cause tars and soot to be condensed from the fle gases into the flu itself, 6 weeks of burning green timber can block a 6 inch flu pipe with soot.
C, Has the stove been correctly sized to the room ?. Work out the rough volume of the room in cubic meters, if you have average insulation divide by 14, poor insulation 12, good insulation 16. This gives to the stove KW output required to raise the room temperature by 21 degrees if it is 1 degree outside as a primary heat source for the room.
D, I assume the installer has installed a galvanised metal plate into the base of the chimney to seal the chimney and prevent heat loss up the chimney.
Good advise, Alycidon.
The numbers given are minimum and maximum values, exceed them to get a better performing heating system.
The open stove doors should be avoided as said already, the hotter the stove(-pipe) gets the more air is drawn, the more heat created and so on. Similar to a blacksmith's killn fire the cast metal might melt down, rolled steel will be miss-shaped for good and the stove become leaky.
thanks guys, my fire is a dunsley highlander 8.
I used a fan pointing at the fire and the temperature really does increase quite substantially. I've now checked the installation instructions and it does mention that the fire should be AT LEAST 75mm from the back wall. As my fire was only installed 5 months ago does anyone know if the installers are obliged to move the fire forward as it's only 25mm from the back wall at the moment?
Thanks for all your help, I'm sure I'll have that toasty room soon!

The installers are obliged to move the fire forward as it doesn't conform to manufacturers specs.
There's a lot of sense been talked above but the post about been fooled by salesmen is appaling.
I wish you could talk to my thousands of customers who say a wood burner is th best thing they've ever bought!
Yeah you can seal your house up completely and insulate everything.....whilst your at it why not get rid of the windows....they're not very efficient!
Wood burners are a very efficient way of heating a home and the air flow throughout the house is good for the house and good for your health. Also a lot of woodburners nowadays are available with a direct air kit where you can pipe air in straight to the stove from outside thus not removing any air from within the property. Stoves cannot be compared to an open fire though.......a stove is around 8 times more efficient and does not move anywhere near as much air as an open fire.....thats why they put out a lot more heat for the same amount of fuel. Also when your not using a stove there's no movement of air up the chimney as the doors and vents will be closed. Not to mention ambiance. They're gorgeous to sit by on an evening.
The most efficient way to run a stove is with the doors closed.
Light your fire with the vents fully open.....after 20 mins or so when the big logs have properly caught fire shut the bottom vent completely and start to close the top vent until you get a nice gentle flicker of flames. If the flames are moving irratically as if been fanned by the air then the vents need closing further.
Sorry for the rant but it's annoying to see duff information been put about.
I'm suprised nobody has asked you the size of the room your trying to big is it?

Quote from the last post:
" There's a lot of sense been talked above but the post about been fooled by salesmen is appaling.......
it's annoying to see duff information been put about......
I'm suprised nobody has asked you the size of the room your trying to big is it? "
It's the salesmen fault they're considered fools like the one posting above.Trying to lure idiots into spending money on a stove and expecting this appaling behaviour being tolerated by witnesses.
Not the size of the room is the question but it's energy demand. Stove sales men....tzzz.
When hearing sales men statements like the one above:
"...a stove is around 8 times more efficient and does not move anywhere near as much air as an open fire...."
then close the door, save yourself the heat being lost through it.This quoted statement is a plain lie.
Or better: demand that statement in writing or repeated with independant witnesses present. And sue the sales man.
Under EU consumer legislation false promises about a product will give the consumer an eternal come-back.

I hate it when people quote what others have said and then nitpick at it.
Oink was simply after some help on why their woodburner isn't heating their room as they would have liked. There are many reasons why this may be the case and some help on this would be better than telling them to forget the stove, insulate and seal everything up.
Houses have had fires for hundreds of years and most people who have enjoyed the use of a real fire would never be without one again so why not fit a more efficient wood burning alternative in the form of a stove and enjoy that.
The whole green building thing is finding a compromise between how you would like to live your life and caring for the planet.
Your provocative, preaching, hostile attitude is not going to influence people in their decisions. Yesterday was the first time i visited this forum and your posts make it a very nasty place to spend time. Fortunately looking at the posts that followed yours, nobody paid any real attention to what you said nor agreed with it. Oink gets their wood for free so it makes perfect sense to them.
Please don't make assumptions as to who i am and what i'm like. I run a good business, have many happy customers and love my job as i'am proud of what i do and our customers love what we do with their firplaces.
You neeed to offload that huge chip on your shoulder and chill out. Noticed how Alycidon's posts seem to be appreciated a lot morethan yours. Much nicer approach and more helpful.
PS please can you explain why this statement is a lie?
"a stove is around 8 times more efficient and does not move anywhere near as much air as an open fire"


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