How to choose a wood fire heater

Nothing beats huddling around a roaring wood fire heater in winter. But how do you choose the right one? Heating specialists Scandia share their top tips on how to select the right wood fire heater for your home.

Radiant wood heaters

Radiant heaters (pictured above) use a different process to convection heaters to warm your house. The outside of the heater radiates heat, warming things around it. The closer you are to the heater, the warmer you'll feel. This style of heating is ideal for outdoors as well as indoors, and is also preferred for the “fire-like” warmth it gives off.

Due to less heat rising than the convection process, this may be a more effective style of heating for houses without much insulation. One thing to note with radiant heaters is that you need to make sure combustible materials aren’t too close to the heater. To increase performance, Scandia recommends leaving open a number of doors within the room to promote natural air flow and a more consistent and comfortable warmth. Another good tip is to use a ceiling fan, which will also help distribute heat evenly.

Scandia heater

Convection wood heaters

When choosing a wood fire heater, you have a choice of two heating styles: convection or radiant.

Convection heaters give out a consistent heat that is often considered gentler and more even than radiant heat. They work by drawing air in from the floor of the room that gets heated and pumped back into the room. This hot air rises and pushes colder air into the heater. This cyclical process is best suited to insulated homes with standard ceiling heights.

 

Scandia heater

Free-standing or in-built

If you have an existing fireplace, you may want to install an in-built wood fire heater into it. This is an efficient and cost-effective alternative that will provide you with clean heat and is a sustainable choice. Even if you don’t have an existing fireplace, you can still create space for an in-built fireplace by installing one into a timber-stud wall. This is a great way to save space at home by avoiding a freestanding unit.

Freestanding wood fire heaters stand on their own, away from a wall. They will need a metal flue installed through the ceiling and roof so this will also need to be considered. With a wide variety of freestanding heaters to choose from, it’s easy to find the heater to suit your style and interior.

The location of the heater

Choosing the location of your wood fire heater is important. If the heater is too large for the area it is heating, it could create a build-up of creosote, which is hard to clean off, and cause too much smoke when burning. A fireplace that is too small may not heat up the area required, which will result in over firing the unit and this will affect the lifespan of the product.

It’s also important to note how close surrounding combustibles are to the fire heater. The type of floor, furniture, window dressings and plaster walls are all things to consider when choosing the location of your wood fire.

Installation and maintenance of wood fire heaters

Whatever type of wood fire heater you choose, make sure you have both it and the flue installed correctly by a quality, licensed installer whose work conforms to local council and safety regulations. 

Maintaining a wood fire heater is easier than you may think. Other things to consider are ensuring that the wood you burn is dry, that you regularly clean out the ash when it is cold and keeping the glass door clean.

View the full Scandia range

Check out Scandia’s full range of wood fire heaters and accessories.

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Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.
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