Wood burning stoves have always involved an element of heat storage which was derived from their traditional cast iron construction. What the early stove makers discovered was, that not only is cast iron strong enough to take the intense heat from the stove's fire chamber, but that the thermal mass of cast iron also delivers heat long after the stove has gone out. It's one of the great benefits of traditionally made stoves which, to some extent, has been diminished over the generations because of the changing methods of stove construction and also our reliance on central heating to provide convenient background heat in our homes. However, the ever-increasing cost of energy, much better house insulation and environmental concerns have encouraged a re-appraisal of the benefits that heat storage from wood burning stoves could bring to the modern home.
Consequently over the last few years in Europe, particularly Germany and Denmark, heat storage stoves have been enjoying a renaissance and cutting edge Scandinavian stove brands like DAN SKAN (their Nuro 160 model is simply stunning) and Stuv(their Stuv 30 Compact High is the highest efficiency stove we have ever seen) have produced some beautiful and practical stove designs with the emphasis on heat storage.
So what are the advantages of a heat storage stove? Well, let's get one myth out of the way first: the heat storage elements (soapstone, stone, ceramic etc) don't make the stove more efficient. That is, they don't make it produce more heat for the same amount of fuel burned, but they do however provide a kind of 'time-delay' to the delivery of that stored heat from the 'charged' heat storage elements. Heat storage stoves essentially smooth out the peaks and troughs of the traditional stove's heating curve during the heating cycles.
As we know, a big fire equals more heat. As the fire dies down though it produces less heat until the fuel is then re-loaded when more heat is again created. This produces a heating curve with distinct peaks and troughs. With a heat storage stove once the heat sink is 'charged' it delivers a fairly constant heat throughout the cycle, which when combined with the traditional cycle helps fill in those troughs to produce a more even heat. Additionally, when the stove eventually does go out the charged heat sink continues to deliver its stored heat for many hours afterwards. In a well insulated house, where a little heat will go a long way, this a heat storage stove can be a cost-effective means of maintaining a higher ambient temperature in the home over a much longer period.
Pictured below is the Dan Skan Nuro 160 Heat Storage Stove you can see this stove in grey colour with visible heat pack in our Cheshire showroom.
For more information on the choice of heat storage stoves please call The Stove Yard's Northern Ireland or Cheshire Showrooms.