makey-icon
a woman warming her hands by a wood stove

Wood Stove

Originally contributed by Jeff Butler • last updated 1/22/2021

Is there anything more inviting than the image of a roaring hot fire inside a cast iron wood burning stove on a chilly winter evening? It’s no wonder the idea of installing a small wood stove has become so popular, but is it actually a good idea?

Definition

The term wood stove (sometimes called a wood burning stove or a wood burner) refers to a wood burning apparatus that is meant to supply heat, typically indoors but sometimes outdoors as well. An indoor wood burning stove installation consists of a closable metal firebox (i.e. a cast iron wood stove or stainless steel insert), a firebrick lining, and air controls known as dampers to control the air supply and temperature. A wood stove fan is sometimes placed on top to help distribute heat. Wood burning stoves generally need to be ventilated through a stove pipe or chimney flue to allow gases and smoke to escape while retaining the most amount of heat possible.

Is A Wood Burning Stove Worth It?

Modern day wood stoves come in a variety of designs, styles, and materials, as well as with increased safety features and automated performance functions. Still, a wood stove installation is often considered more dangerous and inefficient than some other heating options:

  • Newer wood stoves are designed to be much safer than previous models. However, older or improperly working wood stoves can be dangerous if not updated and maintained.
  • Some of the best wood stoves today are designed to maximize efficiency. However, there is always the potential for excessive heat loss unless the airflow is monitored and adjusted accordingly.
beta