May 21, 2019
Stoves: The alternative to central heating.
Stoves are probably the best alternative for cheap heating, especially where there is no fireplace. Can they also replace the other methods of heating, especially in new constructions, and find the place that suits them in the modern home? The stove nowadays has grown a lot from the traditional pockets of the past, while the advancement of technology in both materials and manufacturing methods has increased its performance to high levels. Of course, the use of new combustion materials such as pellets has contributed to this. It would not be unreasonable to say that it can at some point replace the central heating in a home, especially if you are considering the pace of sales in recent years, but also the increasing trend in consumption of solid fuels.
The fact is that the energy crisis that has been observed in recent years, especially in the Balkan countries, has helped enough to turn the attention of manufacturers to the development of their models, investing both in performance gains and aesthetics. The result is that there are currently models on the market with returns far outpacing those of oil boilers, especially when it comes to older systems. So many of the owners rightly turned to the stove market by crowding out oil. The stoves are distinguished according to their specific characteristics.
Solid fuel stoves can be divided into two categories. Thus, depending on the type of fuel, they are distinguished in wood or pellet stoves, while on the basis of the heat efficiency in the space, they are divided into air and hydraulic.
Wood or Pellet?
Fuel selection is a primary factor in the choice of a stove. Most stoves traditionally burn wood to heat the place they are in, but in recent years, with the increase in pellet factories and the gradual decline in its price, this balance is changing. The reason is that pellets are at least two times more fuel efficient than wood and this is due to their extremely low moisture content. If we add to this the increased aesthetics that distinguish the pellet stoves and the various technological innovations they possess, then one understands why they have begun to gain a significant share in the preferences of the world.
Some of their advantages are automatic ignition, supply and adjustment of the desired temperature via an integrated thermostat, but also their great autonomy. They also have a built-in fan that dissipates heat more quickly in space, while some models also have remote control to help scheduling hours of operation. Their unique disadvantage is the increased purchase price, the careful selection and installation of the chimney, and the use of good quality pellets.
The woodworks have also been upgraded in terms of their quality and construction materials, which give them more aesthetics than the past. Incomparable capacity is the ability to operate without electricity and the very low cost of ownership that does not make it prohibitive. They certainly do not offer the comforts and automatisms of their respective pellets, but the fact that one can buy wood at a very low cost, especially in rural and provincial areas where crops are present, is an important asset. Their performance is of course lower than competition, and they also produce high ash and smoke rates, which is not the case with pellets, making it difficult to use in large urban centers. Surely the attention and quality of the woods to be used is of interest. since they must not have undergone any chemical treatment.
The pellet stoves are divided into two categories, the air-heaters and the plumbing. Both types need an 8 cm diameter smoke outlet and not the classic bourgeois, making installation easy enough. The products on the market can have different decorations, enhancing the aesthetics of the space, and offer other “smart” solutions such as their internet or mobile handling.
The peat plumbing stoves operate with the radiators and heat the whole house. That is, the stove takes on the role of the oil burner. Gas heaters have hot-air outlet ports and can only heat above a room when special air-to-air pipelines have been installed. A pellet stove consists of a high-temperature combustion chamber, an ash collection bucket, a pellet container and the appropriate exhaust outlets.
It has a much higher performance compared to a woodcutter
Their use does not require the presence of a large chimney
We can control the quality of fuel
They have storage tanks so they can be fed smoothly
They are more expensive than wood stoves
They depend on the electricity
The pellet is more expensive than wood
Modern wood stoves have kept the philosophy of old stoves so they can combine traditional and natural wood heating with new advanced heating technologies that offer high performance, sophisticated style and significant energy savings. In essence, they are energy heating elements made of cast iron or steel, which have high insulation to allow the development of high temperatures (1200 ° C) in the hearth during their operation.
They consist of an air inlet that introduces air into the combustion chamber (usually via a regulated door opening or front of the machine) to control combustion, but also by a system for regulating the oxygen that combustion takes, which allows for complete control of combustion and fluctuation of the consumption of wood according to the heating needs of the space. With regard to the maintenance and use of a woodcutter, it is much easier than a fireplace, as the energy stoves are flame-burning – that is, they are slow to burn wood – and no need for the constant addition of wood. Maintenance is also simple, since it is enough to clean the chimney and the stove once a year.
Small purchase cost Fairly high availability
Big volume of ash
Difficulty in controlling product quality
Large storage space is required
Air-heating and plumbing
The next separation has to do with whether we want to heat a room or the whole house as a whole using the existing radiator system. Thus, while the air-heaters can be placed in a single room only, the plumbing can themselves be a complete central heating system. There are stoves that have up to 3 air outlets to warm up their respective home areas, plus the one they are in. This is accomplished through special flexible air ducts that start from the stove and end up in each room separately.
This is of course not an economical solution, as the acquisition of such a device costs 2 to 3 times more than a simple one, approaching or even surpassing the price of a plumber. On the other hand, the plumbing has the comparative advantage of greater efficiency, as it heats the space even after shutting down through the radiator bodies. They can also be connected to a boiler to produce hot water, just like a normal boiler. They include their increased price, but in no case exceeds the air-heater stove with the ducts (air ducts). Also, in the total costs, the installation costs should be taken into account only by an experienced plumber.
Stoves and environment
In recent years, there has been a great deal of confrontation between builders and the state in relation to the use of solid fuels for the heating needs of buildings and the pollutants produced. In order to have a clearer picture, it is enough to refer to studies that have been carried out on the exhaust emissions from the various heating devices carried out by the laboratories of the NTUA. According to the results of the research, wood as a fuel produces significant levels of pollutants, whether used in stoves or fireplaces. Its use of modern boiler-stove systems, however, somewhat reduces the phenomenon due to increased efficiency, but in fact it does not cease to be one of the most polluting sources of fuel, even from fossil fuels.
The pellet, on the other hand, is characterized by the total absence of smoke and the minimum emission of particulate matter, while it displays overall significantly reduced levels of pollutants. This makes it suitable for use in urban environments as opposed to wood as long as it is certified and compatible with the stated prices established by the state and which the producer is obliged to observe. Based on these studies, it is now possible to end the scenarios of “demonization” of the pellet, which many accuse it as responsible for creating smog.
One of the most basic conditions for choosing a stove is its safe operation and respect for the environment. But once these two are met by the manufacturer, the consumer’s obligation is always to select certified and branded systems. This protects himself and the ecology of the place where he lives. But selecting the right device is also a result of the specificity of each space, but also the cheaper fuel supply. If access to timber is low, it is reasonable and the answer to what to choose. If, on the other hand, the stove is placed in an urban environment, the use of pellets helps the burdened atmosphere more in relation to wood. In any case, the final decision is always the consumer.