Wood burning stoves have long been a popular choice with consumers looking for efficient and natural ways to create heat in the home. The multi-fuel stove however is a relatively new addition to the market and it is quickly becoming popular for a variety of reasons. So might it be the perfect solution for your home?
What Are Multi-Fuel Stoves?
As their name suggests, multi-fuel stoves are able to burn different materials and are also referred to as mineral-fuel stoves. Typically, they can burn wood and coal as well as smokeless fuels although some do have different facilities and react differently depending on the fuel in use.
Because coal needs air to reach it to work properly, most multi-fuel stoves have what is called a riddling plate. This lets in air under the coals to generate the heat and also make it easy to remove ash that builds up once the coal has burnt. Wood works a little differently and burns best when sitting on ash, known as a firebox while the air circulates above.
Which Type Of Fuel Should You Choose?
As with most things, the fuel you choose to use in your stove will often depend on its cost. So let’s take a look at the pros and cons of some of your fuel options.
Wood – This is a very popular fuel given that it is a renewable and natural source which makes it cheaper than most other fuels. Using wood will also create less ash which means that you wont have to clean out your stove as often. On a negative note, seasoned wood can be hard to get your hands on in the winter, therefore you will need to stock up on it in the warmer months.
Smokeless Coal – A smokeless coal such as anthracite will burn for longer and create more heat than wood. There are also still smokeless coal delivery services available making it less necessary to store it over the winter. As with wood there are some downsides to using coal. One of the obvious negatives is that it is quite a messy fuel to store and use. There is also more maintenance required as the stove will need to be cleaned out after each use and your chimney will also need cleaning more often than if you used wood.
Choosing A Multi-Fuel Stove
One of the issues some people have with multi-fuel stoves is that they may not be laid out correctly to use both coal and wood and tend to be limited to one or the other. Therefore, when choosing a multi-fuel stove look for ones that allow you to control where the air circulates depending on what fuel is being used.
You might also want to consider what type of fuel you will burn the most and go for a model that is primarily optimised for this. So if you plan to burn wood 75% of the time and use coal and other fuels only occasionally, then look for a model that is laid out for wood and can be easily adapted for other fuels. Also, make sure that if you are in a smoke controlled area that the stove can burn smokeless fuels – these are normally DEFRA approved.
Heat Output And Physical Size
The other two main considerations when choosing a multi-fuel stove is the physical size and the heat output. The size is a very variable area so there is almost always one to fit any space in your home. However, you should have enough space to leave a gap between the stove and other items, at least 150mm is recommended to the sides and 50mm at the back.
Heat output is how much heat the stove will create and this should be appropriate for your home. Too small and it won’t heat the room but too big an output and your room will be uncomfortably hot. Heat output is measured in kilowatts and the amount of heat you need can be worked out roughly with a simple measurement. Multiple room length by width x height in metres and divide the figure by 14 – this tells you the output you need from your stove to adequately heat your room.
We sell multi fuel stoves from renowned brands such as AGA, Henley and Firewarm that allow the customer to burn a range of fuels such as wood and coal. This allows the customer to decide whether they want to use the stove purely as a wood burning stove or use a range of fuels.