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Get the Latest Advice on Fireplaces

Which Stove?

Which Stove? Chinese, South American or European?

The wood burning stove industry has exploded in South Africa over the past 5-10 years. A large part of that ‘boon’ is the influx of very affordable cheaper fireplace products from South America and China (along, of course, with hefty rate increases on Gas and Electricity as heat sources for our homes).

But does it matter what stove you purchase? After all, it’s just a metal box isnt it? Are there really any tangible differences in the cheaper products?

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Over-Firing Your Stove

Over-firing your stove is the phrase you do not want to hear from your stove supplier following damage to your stove! Damage caused by over-firing is not covered under ANY manufacturer’s warranty.

However, any decent stove should last you a lifetime provided it is maintained properly and used correctly. Yes, some internal components will wear out – that is just the nature of the product – but the main body of your stove should last you decades.

So how can you avoid over firing your stove and so avoid costly and unnecessary repairs or even replacement of your beloved fireplace? In this article we provide some valuable guidance.

What is over-firing?

Simply put, it means burning your fuel too hot, thereby running the stove’s temperature hotter than it is designed to handle – hotter than the materials of the stove can take.

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Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide poisoning claims about 4,000 lives a year in the U.S. (figures for SA not available). In addition, about 10,000 people are made ill by lower levels of exposure to carbon monoxide (US).

What is it?

Carbon monoxide is a by-product of combustion. The less complete the burning (combustion), the more carbon monoxide is generated. One of the reasons carbon monoxide is so deadly is that you generally can’t see or smell it: rarely do its victims have any warning. Low levels of poisoning tend to cause flu-like symptoms, so that people think they are just catching a cold. More advanced poisoning can cause vomiting and headaches and even death. Carbon monoxide is deadly because it tricks the body into thinking it is oxygen. The body actually prefers carbon monoxide, choosing it over oxygen when both are present in the atmosphere.

Once in the body, carbon monoxide goes everywhere in the body, including the brain. Children, in particular, are quite susceptible to brain damage after relatively low levels of exposure.

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Are wood burning stoves ‘green’?

This is a question that varies to a certain extent based on the context. In terms of ‘Is a wood burning stove green compared to other solid fuel heaters’ – there is reason to wholeheartedly state “yes” in response. Why?

  1. Wood is a ‘carbon neutral’ fuel.

“Carbon Neutral’ basically refers to off-setting the Carbon Dioxide (CO2) released into the atmosphere (which is bad as CO2 is the primary contributor to Greenhouse gases) with Carbon Dioxide removed from the atmosphere during a given process (which is good as it helps to reduce Greenhouse gases). For a process to be ‘carbon neutral’, it should leave no more CO2 in the atmosphere than was there prior to the process.

In wood-burning terms the positive argument is that a tree will consume CO2 as it grows and release it again only when it is combusted. It will not release MORE CO2 than it consumed provided it is allowed to grow and mature. Therefor it can be considered ‘carbon neutral’.

Carbon Neutral

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Wood or Pellet?

Wood Stove or Pellet Stove – which is best?

 

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I was going to write an article on the ‘pros and cons’ of these alternative solutions for heating your home but it turns out a nice man by the name of Collin Dunn has ‘done’ (excuse the pun Collin) it for me on the website ‘Treehugger’ (nice)!

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Secondary heating and your stove

Secondary heating from your stove

Island_III_B_cut_awayWet Stoves, Boiler Stoves or Back-Boilers are all expressions used to describe a wood burning stove that can also heat water. The water will be used to ‘exchange’ heat to various other areas of the home.

We all want to save money on electricity. In fact, we are all so nervous about the lack of electricity these days that more and more people are sourcing alternative means to ‘get off the grid’ and heat their homes with other methods.

The wood fired boiler stoves do exactly this. They heat water which is circulated in a sealed ‘loop’ system and can be used to transfer heat in a variety of ways :

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Summertime maintenance for your stove

Summer is here and the last thing you will probably be thinking about is your fireplace but before the miserable winter is a long-forgotten memory, some quick maintenance now will extend the lifespan of your stove, ensure a safe heating appliance for you and your family and have you ready to fire up for next winter.

Tip 1) External metalwork maintenance.

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Combatting Condensation on your Stove

Combatting Condensation on your Stove.

The damage caused by condensation is not to be undere -stimated. Your stove is a metallic product. Regardless of whether your wood burner is made from Cast Iron or Boiler Plate Steel, whether you paid R5,000 or R50,000 for it, your stove will be highly susceptible to rust if it sits with a coating of condensation on it regularly.

Here is one example we were called out to view:

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