How to size a wood burning stove

Written by todd young
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How to size a wood burning stove
Old traditional wood stove. (Old Stove and Antique Chair image by bawinner from

Sizing a wood burning stove to heat your home is an important task. Picking the correct stove directly correlates with how effective the stove is at heating your home. The main reason that as a homeowner you want to purchase a wood burning stove is that it can reduce your heating bill.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Measuring tape
  • Calculator

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  1. 1

    Measure the dimensions of the area you are heating with your measuring tape. To determine the kilowatt rating for the area you wish to heat, there is an equation. Multiply room height in metres by room width in metres by room depth, also in metres. Divide this number by 14. Measure the area where the stove will sit. Keep 15 cm (6 inches) on each side of the stove to the hearth wall and 5 cm (2 inches) on the top and bottom of the stove before it meets the hearth bottom and top in the area the stove goes in.

  2. 2

    Decide which type of stove you want to buy, either catalytic or noncatalytic. Catalytic stoves use a catalyst in the pipe to help ignite and burn gases. The result is that it tends to produce a more long-lasting and even heat. A noncatalytic stove has more direct combustion in the firebox. This will produce a more natural fire and, as a result, the flow of heat it produces can vary more. The main advantage for a noncatalytic stove is that it is simpler to use and maintain then a catalytic stove.

  3. 3

    Judge the variables of your home and environment. Factors that affect your stove's capabilities include such variables as climate and home insulation. A poorly insulated home will also require a larger stove because the heat is lost rapidly. A cold climate will place more heating demands on your stove.

Tips and warnings

  • Keep in mind that a small stove most likely is not capable of maintaining enough heat to keep your house warm overnight. If you want to use your stove as a primary heating source, consider buying a medium to large stove so you can continuously keep your home warm overnight.
  • Be aware of cheap stoves. Some stoves do not meet the EPA heating efficiency guidelines.

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