Both multi-fuel and woodburning stoves are popular choices. A survey of stove owners by consumer association, Which, revealed:
- 59% have a wood-burning stove
- 41% have a multi-fuel stove
If you’re planning to buy a stove, it helps to understand the difference between the two appliances so you can make the right choice.
How multi-fuel stoves work
As the name suggests, multi-fuel stoves can burn a variety of materials including wood, smokeless fuels, anthracite and peat or turf briquettes and coal.
However, each of these fuels burns differently. For example, coal needs air to reach it from below to burn efficiently while wood burns best when sitting on a bed of ash with air circulating from the top.
Therefore, multi-fuel stoves are designed to burn a number of different fuel types and may have a raised grate with moving bars or a central riddling grate and ashpan.
The advantages of a multi-fuel stove
Generally, the heat output of a multi-fuel stove will be similar if not the same to that of a wood burning stove – and both types are highly efficient.
The main benefit of a multi-fuel stove is the convenience of being able to burn different types of fuel. Instead of having to find a particular dealer, you have a greater choice of suppliers. This can save you money and transportation costs as you’ll be able to shop around.
Not being reliant on just one type of fuel may be a significant consideration if you’re in an isolated location with few suppliers available to you.
How wood burning stoves work
Wood-burning stoves will only burn wood logs, pellets or chips.
You can use a wood burner stove as a standalone heater for one room. They’re usually built without a fixed grate, but with a flat base. Ashes collect as the wood burns and fresh logs are placed on top when more fuel is needed.
Logs combust more effectively when resting on a bed of ashes. As a result, you gain greater heat output and high efficiency.
The benefits of wood burning stoves
Wood burning stoves are considered a carbon-neutral form of energy as a tree will absorb the amount of carbon dioxide it emits when growing as when burned on a wood burning stove.
Plus, wood is a cheap alternative to gas and electricity, and it’s a renewable fuel source. With wood, you waste less fuel, and more heat is distributed into a room, making it cost-efficient. It also carries on generating heat after you extinguish the flame. It’s certainly more economical than turning on the central heating when you only want to heat one room.
However, you should ensure you’re burning the right type of wood for your burner and that it’s from a reputable source.
Another option is to burn briquettes, which are made by crushing recycled wood, paper or peat together. As they have a low moisture content, sometimes 10% or less, they burn efficiently. Bear in mind, briquettes burn differently to wood, so you may need to adjust the settings on your stove.
Would you like to find out more about having a wood burning stove installed in your home?
Peter Capaldi, owner of HGS Home & Garden, is a HETAS registered engineer. He can provide practical advice to help you choose the wood burner stove that’s right for you and your home.
Contact Peter on 07749 863650.