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How to Get Started with an Indoor Wood Burner Part 1: Your Wood Burner and Accessories

From its humble beginnings in Strasbourg in 1557, the wood burner has gradually integrated into many parts of society from transportation to industry and of course the home. At Big K, we think that a wood burner can be a perfect addition to any home. Today’s models look stylish in contemporary homes and add a touch of class to period properties. Sometimes they are even the main heating source of the house. If you’re just beginning to think about buying an indoor wood burner, where do you get started?

There are a few things to consider before you buy a wood burner. What size do you need to heat your room properly? Do you have room to store fuel? We’ll go through everything you need to get started with choosing an indoor wood burner.

Decide whether you’re heating one room or your whole house

The appropriate size and type of wood burner depends on what you’re using it for. If you want to use an indoor wood burner to heat your entire house, you’re going to need to attach it to your central heating system. But if you just want to heat one room, it’s more straightforward.

To use your wood burner to heat just one room in your house, it’s pretty simple to install as long as you have a chimney. If you don’t, you’ll firstly need to install a twin wall flue system – a wood burning stove specialist can advise you if this is something you’ll have to do.

Decide on what type of fuel you want to burn

We’ll cover this in more detail in our next blog post, but to help you decide what type of wood burner you’re going to buy, you need to know what fuel you’re going to burn. You could go for seasoned logs or kiln dried logs (we explain the differences and the benefits of both in our blog post on choosing the perfect firewood) as well as various coal options or compressed sawdust heat logs.

Make room to store fuel

You’re going to need a lot of room to store fuel, especially if you’re burning logs. You’ll need about 3 to 4 cubic metres of space, based on what the average user burns in a year.

The wood store or other space you use to store fuel will need to be dry and easily accessible for when you get deliveries.

Work out what size wood burner you’ll need

The key to making the most of your indoor wood burner is to ensure that you buy the correct size with the appropriate heat output for your room. Buy a wood burner with too small an output and you’ll get chilly, but buy one that has too high an output and you’ll be running outside in the cold to cool down.

There are a few things that will determine what size of wood burner you’ll need:

  • the size of the room (measure the height, width and length)
  • whether you have double glazed windows and how big they are
  • the layout of your room — if it’s open plan, you’ll need a higher output
  • the age of your property
  • whether you’ve got any insulation

A good rule of thumb is that you’ll need 1kW of heat output for every 14 cubic metres of space to make your room 21°C when it’s 1°C outside.

You can work out the size wood burner you need by multiplying the height, width and length of your room in metres, then dividing this by 14.

For example, if your room’s height was 2.4m, the width 7.6m and the length 6.1m, you would do the following calculation:

2.4 x 7.6 x 6.1 = 111.264

111.264 ÷ 14 = 7.95

So you can estimate that you’ll need an 8kW wood burner. Always speak to an installer to see what they recommend first, as this estimate doesn’t take the factors we mentioned earlier into account.

Buy the accessories you’ll need

Your fuel isn’t the only thing you’ll need for your wood burner. You’ll also need to make sure you’ve got all the tools and accessories to keep the wood burner running efficiently. There are a few tools that are must-haves for an indoor wood burner:

Carbon monoxide alarm

It’s a legal requirement to have a carbon monoxide alarm when you install a wood burner. This is because if your wood burner starts to give off high levels of carbon monoxide, you and your family could be at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Buy an electric carbon monoxide alarm that flashes and makes a sound if there are high levels of carbon monoxide in the air so you can take steps to reduce the harm to your family.

Companion set

A companion set has everything you need to manage your wood burner. It often includes a poker, brush, shovel and log or coal tongs, and they’re usually grouped together in one handy stand.

You’ll have everything you need to load, stoke and arrange your fuel without the risk of getting burnt. You’ll also be able to brush up any ash or splinters that might end up on your hearth.

Log carrier

If you’re burning wood and you’re storing it in a wood store outside, you’re going to need something to help you carry the logs back to your house. A log carrier will help you maximise the amount you can transport in one go, and will help protect your back from carrying heavy logs in your arms.

Moisture meter

A moisture meter is a vital tool to ensure that your wood burner burns as efficiently as possible. The lower the moisture content in the wood, the more efficient it will be. Use a digital moisture meter on your wood to tell you the precise moisture content of your fuel, especially if you’re using seasoned logs.

So, keep all these things in mind when you’re getting started with your indoor wood burner. As long as you consider the size of wood burner you need, the type of fuel you’re going to burn and ensure that you have the right accessories, your wood burner installation will go smoothly without any problems.

Make sure you keep an eye out for part 2 in this series so you can find out more about choosing the right fuel for your wood burner.