There's a whisper-quiet revolution happening in the world of efficient wood heating. Every year, more and more households are beginning to use wood burner fans (aka stove fans) to get the most out of their heating appliances. In fact, in recent years these little fans have quickly become one of the most popular wood burner accessories.
The reason for their immense popularity is simple: log burner fans are an easy, eco-friendly, and fuss-free way to maximise the circulation of warmth throughout your home without using electricity.
But are they as good as people say? Is the temperature difference truly noticeable? Are they yet another home appliance trend that everyone will forget in a few years? And are you better off investing that money into higher quality fire logs and briquettes?
Let’s find out!
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What Are Log Burner Fans?
Also known as stove fans, wood burner fans are nifty little devices that help improve the circulation of hot air throughout your home without the use of external electricity. They are most typically made of metal and are designed to sit atop your log burner. Most of them are about the size of an iPad Mini. The energy for the movement of the fan blades is generated from the heat of your stove via the Seebeck effect.
How to Install a Wood Burner Fan?
A stove fan can be installed tool-free in just a few seconds. All you have to do to install them is to put them on top of your wood-burning stove, with the fans facing the part of the room you want to move the heat to.
Do Log Burners Need an Outlet or Use Batteries?
No, log burners operate without the need for any external electricity, be it from an outlet or a battery. The electricity that powers the movement of the fan blades is generated by the heat of the stove via the Seebeck effect, which is a well-known type of thermoelectric effect.
How Do Log Burner Fans Work?
Stove fans work by utilising the Seebeck effect to generate electricity. As your burner heats up, the fan blades will begin to turn, moving hot air—which would otherwise simply rise to the ceiling—throughout the room, helping make it warmer. This movement is powered purely by the heat energy generated by the burner.
How Does the Seebeck Effect Work in Log Burner Fans?
All stove fans work via the Seebeck effect, a type of thermoelectric effect that generates electricity from heat. When the fan base heats up (aided by heat-conducting pads), while its top remains cooler, electricity is generated. This electricity is what causes the fan blades to spin. As a result, unlike conventional fans, no external power source or batteries are needed.
Seebeck Effect Diagram
Advantages of Using a Log Burner Fan
- Even Heat Distribution. Due to the laws of physics, most of the warmth produced by a wood-burning stove rises to the ceiling, instead of heating the space around the stove itself. With a stove fan, you can help speed up the rate at which your rooms become warmer.
- Fuel Efficiency. The biggest contributor to wood heating inefficiency in the UK is people using more wood fuels than they need to heat their rooms. By using the heat generated by your burner more efficiently, you can avoid putting more fuel into your stove than you truly need.
- Eco-Friendly & Sustainable. Unlike electrically powered fans, wood burner fans are not powered by electricity. No batteries or outlet connections are needed. The heat from your burner is what generates the electricity necessary to move the fans.
- Easy Installation. Simply place your stove fan on top of your burner, point it in the direction where you want to direct the heat, and you’re good to go. The fan will start spinning a few minutes after you ignite your burner. Once your stove reaches a certain temperature, it’ll reach its optimal speed.
Why Log Stoves Heat the Ceiling, Not Your Rooms
Hot air is less dense than cold air. As a result, when you light a fire in a log burner, the heat will naturally rise towards the ceiling. As most of the people reading this aren’t bats and don’t live on the ceiling, this heat is effectively lost. And until your ceiling is filled with warm air, the rooms you inhabit will remain cold, even if you use the hottest-heating heat logs.
Stove fans help distribute this hot air horizontally, ensuring a more even spread of warmth throughout the room.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Stove Fan
- Size & Space. Ideally, you need to get as big a fan as possible. This being said, you should ensure your log burner's top surface has enough space to safely accommodate the fan. And enough heating power to move the blades
- Blade Size & Number. Larger blades or more blades usually mean more airflow, but they might operate slower, leading to less convection. The key here is to choose the right size for your stove.
- Temperature Range. Different fans work optimally at different temperatures. Make sure the model you choose is compatible with your burner's heat output.
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