We have all seen pictures of pioneer women cooking over an open flame in a fireplace. This fireplace is usually in a central location of the home. From this we know that, our forefathers have been using wood fireplaces to heat their home. This tradition has continued until the present day. The wood fireplace stayed pretty much the same until Benjamin Franklin invented the Franklin stove. The Franklin Stove was made of cast iron. This allowed to stove body to heat up and then radiate the heat into the home. The stove also had two swinging doors which allowed combustion air to be regulated thus increasing the efficiency of the stove.
Wood stoves have only improved since the pioneer time. One of the next major improvement was to remove the swinging door and add air tight door with controlled air flows for combustion of the fire again increasing efficiencies, these stove were commonly know as air tight stoves, evolving into using glass doors to help enhance the beauty and viewing of the flame to simulate a little of the open fireplace. The window glass technology became available with the space programs and a ceramic glass was invented that could withstand the heat produce by the hot fire of the stove. This radical change was more for appearance then efficiencies. Even today, it is very rare to see a wood stove without a glass door.
The EPA got involved to help reduce the emissions content form solid wood burning appliances. The EPA mandated particle emission standards that the stove manufacture had to meet certain standards or face fines for selling stoves that did not meet the standards, similar to the automotive industry. The solution was our modern high technology stoves with controlled airflow combustion, utilizing either a reburn system or a catalytic combustor. Now the wood stoves are peaking at 60 to 70% efficiencies. The new technology stove Wood Stoves has virtually eliminated these harmful particles as long as the stove is used and burned correctly. Laws have been passed to restrict the use and selling of the old non-certified Wood Stoves. In most states now, hearth stove dealers and not allowed to sell, professional installer are not allowed to install the older stoves, and homes that are sold are required to remove the old non-certified stove, all in the attempt to help clean up our air.
Wood has heated our home from almost the beginning of time. Now we are able to harness the full value of efficient wood heat.
Over 30 years in the Hearth and Spa industry, Experience includes, but not limited to, Installation and repair of stoves and hot tubs. Sixteen years as an owner and manager of a retail store. Eight years on the web selling hearth products. Developing the web site to become one of the largest online dealers.
Photo. Yinan Chen