What is overfiring a wood-burning stove?

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If you’ve been reading up on operating a wood-burning stove, you might have seen people advising you to avoid overfiring. So, what is overfiring?

Overfiring is essentially the process of operating your stove at too high a temperature. Woodburners are supposed to operate at high temperatures, but there are optimum temperature levels and going above them can result in damage being caused to your stove. In particular, the stove body and the internal parts are susceptible to becoming warped if your woodburner is being overfired.

What causes overfiring in a wood-burning stove?

To overfire your woodburner, you must be operating it incorrectly. In other words, something you are doing is causing the stove to burn hotter than it has been designed to burn, so the prime suspects are:

Too much oxygen

Allowing too much oxygen into your firebox can result in overfiring. For instance, leaving the door open, having the vents open too wide or operating the stove with faulty stove rope in place could all result in too much oxygen getting to the fames.

Too much fuel

Another possibility is that too much fuel is being added to your stove. This might result in a fire that is too intense and therefore cause damaged to the appliance.

Avoiding overfiring with your woodburner

The easiest way to ensure that you are not overfiring your wood-burning stove is to install a stove pipe thermometer. This will measure the temperature of gases leaving your woodburner and help your to ascertain whether your stove is being operated within its optimum levels or if you are overfiring it.

Equally, it will show you if the stove is not being operated at a high enough temperature, which results in an efficient and environmentally unfriendly burn, fuel being wasted and creosote build-up in your chimney.

Click here to buy a stove pipe thermometer.

Getting your woodburner in place for the post-Brexit financial meltdown

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Following the surprise news that the United Kingdom has voted to leave the European Union in the in-out referendum, the world’s financial markets are responding in precisely the manner expected in the case of a Brexit vote.

While the politicians and bankers frantically try to get to grips with that, it is time for you to do the only thing in your power right now: prepare for the worst and get a woodburner installed ahead of the impending financial meltdown. Here is our (slightly tongue-in-cheek) advice for doing just that.

Buy your woodburner now

With the £1,000 you had set aside for a summer holiday budget now only enough to buy your bucket and spade in France or Spain, it’s time to take back control of your spending and invest that particular European budget on your new stove.

Heat output

Our stove size calculator will help you determine the correct heat output to ensure that the warmth from your woodburner is not overpowering in your bunker.

Four-day heat

Using the central heating when you’re at home around your new three-day working week will really push up energy bills and we can’t afford that now. Your humble woodburner, accompanied by your chopped up wardrobe and dining table, will stave off the cold for the first few weeks at least.

Energy bills

Watch your energy company’s profits go the same way as its share price as you shun the central heating in favour of heating autonomy with your new stove.

Hotplates

Opt for a woodburner with hotplates on top, such as the Evergreen Ashley, so that you can conveniently heat your canned produce and ration packs while also heating your home. You will also be able to boil rainwater for your weekly bath and cup of tea.

There you have it: our tips for woodburner-assisted survival in a post-EU landscape. Click here to see some of the appliances you might like to consider.

England vs Slovakia: the wood-burning stove edition

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England’s national football team face Slovakia this evening in their final group game of Euro 2016. Ahead of the match, we thought we’d have a little England vs Slovakia game of our own (with a wood-burning stove twist, of course).

Representing England is GBS (Great British Stoves), whose appliances are manufactured on these shores. They are going up against Slovakian brand Thorma.

The lineups

GBS are going with their biggest stove for the crucial match: the GBS Mariner 7kW multi-fuel stove.
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Thorma are deploying the Thorma Andorra 7.5kW Wood Burning Stove.
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Heat output

There’s very little to choose between the two sides here. The GBS Mariner claims a heat output of 7kW, while the Thorma Andorra is 7.5kW. That makes both suitable to use in medium to large rooms. Use our stove size calculator to check.

Size

The Slovakians have the edge here. The Andorra 7.5kW is designed as a freestanding appliance. At 1100mm high, 510mm wide and 455m deep, it is much larger than the Mariner 7kW, which is 507mm high, 406mm wide and 376mm deep. But the English stove has the advantage that it is suitable to be used in a fireplace.

Style

Both appliances offer a sleek, modern design. The GBS Mariner retains some tradition in that it still boasts the traditional stove silhouette, while the Thorma Andorra has an unusual cylindrical shape. Both look great in the modern home, so it’s just down to personal preference here.

Price

England take the lead late on. With the GBS Mariner 7kW currently available for just £350 (down from its regular price of £540), they have a big advantage here. The Thorma Andorra offers good value at £992.32 (down from £1,653.85), but cannot compete with the heavy discount on the GBS stove.

Final score

A tight game that could have gone either way, but England and the GBS Mariner 7kW edge it due to that bargain price tag. Well played Slovakia and the Thorma Andorra 7.5kW – a great effort from an excellent stove.

Click here for a closer look at the GBS Mariner 7kW.

Click here for a closer look at the Thorma Andorra 7.5kW.

Great European woodburners

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This week the United Kingdom will go to the polls to decide whether to remain in the European Union or leave it. While we won’t get into the politics here, we will mark the occasion with a tour around Europe to see some of the woodburners manufactured in different EU counties that are available to buy from Gr8Fires.co.uk.

France: Invicta
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French brand Invicta has built a reputation for eye-catching contemporary stove designs. The usual notions of what a woodburner should look like are frequently ripped up in favour of new and exciting looks. Invicta stoves tend to make brilliant feature pieces within the decor of a room, but that shouldn’t (and doesn’t) detract from its primary function of making your home cosier.
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Click here to see more Invicta stoves.

Denmark Aduro
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If national stereotyping is part and parcel of the EU, at least the one we’re about to level at Aduro is flattering. Scandinavian design is renowned for combining practical function with beautiful form. That’s certainly true of this Danish stove manufacture, whose appliances are also well known for their eco-credentials.
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Click here to see more Aduro Stoves.

Slovakia: Thorma
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A lot of wood-burning stoves are either the traditional black boxes we’ve always had in the UK or Scandinavian-influenced freestanding stoves. One of the joys of the Thorma range is that it exposes some of the heritage of woodburners in eastern Europe. As such, the stove designs are often unusual and interesting.
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Click here to see more Thorma stoves.

United Kingdom: Aarrow
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And so back to the UK to complete our little tour. We stock several British stove brands, but we’ve picked out the Aarrow range by Arada to fly the flag on this occasion. Predominantly using high quality steel for its appliances, Arada offers a collection of sleek, minimal and modern woodburners.
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Click here to see more Aarrow stoves.

Weighing logs: an experiment on the wood seasoning process

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Our attention has been caught by a little experiment that promises to give an insight into the wood seasoning process.

As we regularly mention on this blog, it is important for the well-being of your woodburner and the efficiency of your fuel use that all logs are fully seasoned before burning them. The easiest way to check this is by buying a moisture meter to measure the water content in a log.

Robert Pumphrey has opted for a slightly more laborious process that continues to garner some interesting results. Rather than use a moisture meter, Robert has deployed his humble kitchen scales to regularly weigh a sample of logs. He is working to a hypothesis that when his logs stop losing mass, they will be ready to burn (because this will suggest that all or most of the moisture in the log has evaporated).

This approach is probably not manageable as a preferred method of checking your wood is seasoned, but it does provide some interesting data on the seasoning process.

Robert used just eight logs as a sample for the experiment. He took weekly measurements of the mass of each log, then recorded his results.

He quickly discovered just how much water a log holds and also learnt why we recommend seasoning logs outside under a covered but open-sided structure.

Summarising his observations to date, Robert said:

Logs contain a lot of water. If you have 100kg of fresh logs in your shed, that may be around 35 litres of water

 

When you fill a shed with fresh logs, you can expect a significant volume of water condensing on the roof. Perhaps it makes more sense to dry logs outside first if you have the space

 

Logs put on mass when the weather is not very warm, get your logs in the shed by April if you need to use them next winter

 

I want to keep tracking this set of logs to see if they lose a significant mass of water on their second summer in the shed.

You can see a graph of Robert’s findings to date above.

If weekly weigh-ins are not for you, you can use a moisture meter instead. We’ve previously calculated that using a moisture meter can save you up to £206.55 each time you burn a tonne of wood.