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Choosing your wood fireplace

Summer may be upon us, but if you’re in the early stages of planning or building a house or renovation now is a good time to consider the options available to you for heating.

A quality wood fireplace will always add an unmistakable romance and character to your home, but it definitely pays to do a bit of homework before you install anything.

Here are seven things to consider that will help you make the best-informed decision about which wood-heater or fireplace will prove the right fit for you and your residence.

1. ESTABLISH HOW MUCH HEAT YOU’LL NEED

Wood-burning fires have come a long way when it comes to efficiency. With the rise of passive design and improvements in energy efficiency standards, they can now provide most of the heat you’ll likely need while also reducing your energy bill.

It all depends on making the right choice when it comes to the size of your wood fireplace.

Calculate the amount of heat you’ll need, as expressed in kilowatts (kW). How much you require ultimately depends on what role your fireplace will play, such as whether it is to be your main source of heat, or only for occasional use.

For a modern occasional burner, aim for 1kW to heat 10m2 with average insulation, and 15m2 in a low-energy home. Stuv for instance make highly efficient wood-burners, outputting with 80% efficiency rather than the 20% once common with the open hearth or fireplaces of old.

2. FIND THE RIGHT PLACE FOR YOU FIREPLACE OR STOVE

There are three main things to consider when it comes to finding the right position for your fire: where the smoke outlet is placed, where you want the heat distribution and view of the fire to be, and whether you have sufficient floor space to place it in your preferred spot.
We recommend talking through your plans with Oblica to properly determine your requirements, and ensure you have sufficient room to carry out your desired installation.

3. DO I CHOOSE STOVE, BUILT-IN OR INSERT?
It depends on what you have in mind. They’re all a little different, and all have arguments in their favour.


Wood-burning stoves
These are independent heating systems that can be installed relatively easily. Wood-burning stoves produce heat by radiation and convection, and some can even be fitted with a heat storage system to aid in heat distribution around a building. They can be sleek and contemporary like Pharos, while others like the Tennessee can add a distinctly rustic charm to the home.

Wood-burning insert
Inserts are a compact solution to transform an existing hearth or chimney into a modern, efficient wood fireplace with very little effort.

Built-in fireplace
Built-ins take a little more effort to install, but offer a wider range of options for customisation and integration. The Neofocus and Stuv 21 in particular are excellent examples of modern, efficient built-in fireplaces offering panoramic style views.

 

stuv 21

4. THE NEED FOR FRESH AIR
Wood requires roughly 8m3 of air per 1kg of logs in order to burn. The air can be collected in two different ways; either from straight outside the building via a direct air inlet in the floor or wall for room air independent operation, or from inside the building.

Given the installation requirements of room air independent operation you’ll generally need to plan for it from the outset of your project. If your wood heater is to share the room’s air, you must ensure there is sufficient air for both the fire and the building’s inhabitants.

5. ACCUMULATORS
Some products can be fitted with a heat accumulator, storing some of the heat output and redistributing it gradually via radiation for about 8 to 12 hours after the fire has extinguished, to maintain a pleasant temperature in your chosen room.

Skantherm’s Elements range for instance utilises an optionally integrated Thermostone module for sustained heat retention, lowering the peak burning temperature but sustaining greater warmth over many hours.

6. ASH PAN – DO I NEED ONE?
While ash pans are certainly practical, they can also lower the combustion temperature of your fire. In fact, Stuv fireplaces do not feature an ash pan, for this reason. These fireplaces tend not to produce much ash, and the ash that is produced helps insulate the logs from the bottom of the fireplace to generate an optimal combustion temperature.

7. OPEN VS CLOSED FIRE
The crackle of the flames, the ambient glow, that unmistakable smell of wood as it burns. What can be better? When looking for your ideal fire, consider units that can work as both stoves and in hearth or open modes.

That way, you can choose whether you wish to experience the glow and direct warmth of an open fire, or maximise thermal efficiency with the slow combustion effects of a sealed burning chamber.

Oh, and don’t forget to make life a little easier by planning for any wood storage and other fireside accessories you may need!
There are many ways to build a beautiful wood fireplace for your home. Oblica has carefully selected some of the finest examples of fireplaces anywhere, all of which combine utility and efficiency with striking design. With the above in mind, we invite you to view our range or talk to us, that we might help you find the ideal fireplace for your environment.