What Fuel Should I Burn in a Stove?
Stoves are a necessary requirement not only for those environments that encounter winter conditions but also for those weather conditions whose temperature falls below 16° C. Due to many considerations such as the size of stove, stove’s efficiency and the design and size of room or house, you would definitely be tempted to ask yourself ‘What fuel should I burn in a stove?’ An answer to this important question depends on a host of factors.
Factors influencing the kind of fuel that should be burnt in your stove include
- The kind of place requiring to be heated
- Cost factors
- Efficiency factors
- Health factors
The kind of place requiring to be heated is a critical determinant of the choice of fuel to be used in burning a stove. Closed places such as bedrooms are not good for those fuels that generate a lot of carbon monoxide such as charcoal. Carbon monoxide is an extremely toxic nervous gas whose high concentration levels within a room may result into death. Therefore, charcoal should only be used for open places such as balcony and verandas if not completely outside. One the other hand dry dung, due to its pungent fumes should also not be used indoors. For closed places, gas fuel is highly recommended as its emission is less toxic and less dense.
Cost consideration is an extremely important factor in this increasingly energy-starved planet. Gas is the most expensive source of fuel, followed by kerosene. Biomass fuel and wood fuel becomes the cheapest option especially where heat effect expected is required to be large scale.
Efficiency factors refer to the convenience and ease of use of stoves. If you want a stove whose output in terms of heat can easily be controlled then gas fuel is the most viable option since the flow of gas can easily be controlled unlike wood and Biomass products.
Health issues such as allergies, respiratory infections and risk of suffocation are critical issues to consider when choosing the right fuel. Wood, Kerosene and Biomass products such as cow dung release pungent smell and dense particles in air while burning. Those people who suffer from asthmatic and allergic conditions or other respiratory infections such as bronchitis are generally discourage from using wood, kerosene and biomass products as sources of stove fuel.
As you are reading this post on a Wood Burning Stove site then we assume that you have already decided that you wish to use wood, however which wood is best for you?
Whatever wood you use you must make sure that it has been properly seasoned. This means that you should leave at least 12 months between felling the wood, cutting and splitting it and actually burning it. Make sure that the wood has been seasoned in a dry ventilated place, preferably with a through draft sch as an old barn or shed.
Hardwood burns much better than soft wood and will give you the most heat. You should also make sure that the moisture content of the wood is 20% or less before burning it.