An increasing number of people are turning to woodburning boiler stoves for their home heating, both to reduce their carbon footprints and to save money. Boiler stoves vary enormously in heat output, from stoves with small add-in boilers for hot water only right through to dedicated boiler stoves with large integral boilers capable of heating a large home. The latest generation of boiler stoves offer excellent efficiency, ideal for achieving financial savings as well as being environmentally friendly. This post covers the basics of woodburning boiler stoves, and includes links to some useful resources.
Uses of Woodburning Boiler Stoves
There are three common ways wood burning boiler stoves are used in the home
- Hot Water - Woodburning stoves with low output boilers can be used to heat hot water as well as giving direct heat to the room.
- Hot Water and Radiators - Whether you want to heat 2 radiators or 22, you will be able to find a wood burning boiler stove with a suitable output. Only boiler stoves with thermostats should be used as primary heat sources.
- Link-up - Multiple boilers (for example wood & oil or wood & gas) can be connected to the same central heating system. Although two boilers is the norm for a Link-up system, it is possible to use more appliances. This option can be complicated and dangerous if not installed correctly, so professional help is essential.
Open Central Heating Systems
Most woodburning boiler stoves are for use with open systems only. Where more than one heat source is connected to an open system it is necessary to use a neutral point manifold which balances the temperature, pressure and volume of water in the pipes connected to it. The best known neutral point manifolds for woodburners are the Esse Centraliser and the Dunsley Neutralizer. Although I have provided links for both of these so you can get a better idea of how they are used, please bear in mind these are not DIY items and should only be installed by a professional heating engineer.
Sealed Central Heating Systems
There are a limited number of woodburning boiler stoves suitable for use with sealed heating systems on the market, but stove manufacturers seem to be trying to cater better for this need. A good example is Broseley Fires, who recently developed SCWS (“Safety Cold Water System”) boilers for some of their stoves. Currently Broseley SCWS boiler stoves are only available through local showrooms, so be prepared to pay more than internet prices.
Installation of Woodburning Boiler Stoves
I strongly recommend anyone considering installing a woodburning boiler stove to start with a professional installation survey. A suitable engineer will be qualified to deal with wet systems as well as being HETAS certified for solid fuel appliance. We are able to arrange stove installation surveys in many areas, and HETAS has a register of solid fuel fitters throughout the UK.