How to choose the right wood stove?

Step 1: determine your type of use. Do I need to use my stove occasionally or intensively?

Occasional use

Many people want a wood stove to have an alternative heat source during winter in the event of a power failure, for example. Others will just want to create a comforting and warm atmosphere on a cold day. For this type of use, the size of the appliance is less important than the aesthetic aspect, since the stove will have a dual function: to be decorative and useful at the appropriate time. For occasional heating, the vast majority of appliances will be able to meet your needs.

Intensive use

If you are looking for an appliance that will heat most of your home every day to the point that it becomes your best friend, the construction of the appliance and its size are the two key things to look at. While there are several factors to consider, the durability of the unit is associated with the thickness of the steel (mainly on the top of the unit), a strong cast iron door with ceramic glass, as well as stainless steel secondary air tubes. In the case of intensive use, it is strongly recommended to use non-catalytic appliances to avoid complex and expensive maintenance generated by the replacement of the catalyst. The other major point to validate is the size of the unit. It is recommended to choose a wood stove that is a little larger than too small.

Step 2: choose the right size. Do I need a small, medium, large or extra large stove?

Choosing the right location for your wood stove in the house is essential when selecting the size of the appliance. Three important factors must be taken into consideration: where will the chimney go? Will the heat circulate easily? How many floors will need to be heated?

If you wish to heat an area of 1,000 ft² on one floor, you must choose an appliance with a capacity of at least 1,000 ft². Always allow a margin of comfort. For example, if you require an appliance with a minimum capacity of 1,000 ft², it would be safe to get an appliance with a capacity of up to 1,200, or even 1,400 ft². There are three main advantages to a more powerful appliance: the increased heating capacity, the ease of loading with longer or bigger logs (due to the more generous volume of the combustion chamber), and finally, longer burn times (due to higher loading capacity). Finally, if you need to heat more than one floor, keep in mind that heat rises. Thus, an appliance located in the basement will help you heat the ground floor. However, the opposite does not apply; a unit located on the first floor will not heat the basement. In addition, a space with a large number of divisions will be more difficult to heat due to the complexity of distributing heat evenly.

Here's how to calculate the heating area. If you need to heat two floors, calculate the total area of the floor where the unit is installed. Then add 50% of the area of the upper floor. So, if you are installing a wood stove in the basement and you have 800 ft² per floor, you will need an appliance with a capacity of at least 1,200 ft² (800 + 400 = 1,200 ft²).

Finally, if you need to heat more than two floors, calculate the total area of the lower floor (where the unit is installed). Then add 50% of the area of the middle floor, and finally add 25% of the upper floor. Thus, if you are installing a wood stove in the basement and you have 800 ft² per floor, you will need an appliance with a capacity of at least 1,400 ft² (800 + 400 + 200 = 1,400 ft²).

REMEMBER: this is a space heater, not a central heating system. The room where the stove is located, or the rooms directly above the appliance will always have higher temperatures than rooms further away. Finally, you must keep in mind that the size of the appliance you need may vary depending on the level of insulation in your home, exposure to the wind, and the windows.