A wood burner’s purpose is heating the interior of your home. How do you figure out the right size wood burner? Below are several thoughts to help you make the right decision:
- Chief or Supplementary Heat – When a new wood burner is utilised to reduce your total heating costs, or used for purely the aesthetic value of enjoying a wood fire, a smaller wood burner is appropriate. If the new wood burner will be your primary heating source, the below calculations must be considered.
- Extent of Heating – Will you heat your entire home, or just part of it? Some wood burner aficionados heat the whole house, whilst others snore the night away in a cool bedroom. Only measure rooms in your home you want to heat.
- House Insulation – Homes constructed after 1990 contain insulation, but if your home is older, it may not have insulation. Homes built between 1920 and 1990 usually have cavities. Solid walls are in homes built prior to 1920. Review characteristics of your home with known clues described HERE to inform you about your home’s insulation.
- House Features – Homes that are essentially square require less heating than long, rectangular construction. Also, houses containing several windows and doors require additional heating. High ceilings need more heat, whilst lower ceilings require lower heat inputs.
- Cubic Metres – To determine the volume to be heated, measure the height, width, and length of each heated room and multiply these figures together. For instance, height 2.8m x width 5m x length 6m = 84 cubic metres, or the room’s volume.
- Insulation Value – Next, use your home’s insulation to match up with a wood burner’s output. If your house is well insulated, divide the room volume by 25. For moderate insulation, divide room volume by 15. When there’s no insulation, divide by 10. When in doubt, divide by 15. In our above example for moderate insulation, the calculation is a room value of 84 divided by 15 to give us a 5.6 kW output heater.
- Wood Burner Output – The total of all heated rooms must be calculated and added together to give you how large of a wood burner you need. Wood burner manufacturers will tell you a burner’s maximum heat output. Take your total figure and add 1kW to account for rapid heating during cold dark winter months. Then compare your heating requirement to wood burner's maximum heating numbers. Remember, an open design will accept heat faster than a house filled with multiple walls, windows, and doors.