Monday, February 20, 2012

Stoves Doors Air Adjustments and Efficiency


Letters say:
"Can I leave my Stove Door Open"

I have recently had a couple of letters about the basics of how to handle a stove. One asked, can I leave the door open? Another said they leave the door open so to let the heat out and so the glass does not get dirty.

Sure you can leave the stove door open - just the same as you can let your car door open when driving at 70 miles and hour. Some people are addicted to direct radiant heat, sure you will get that by opening the door, but you will get the rest of the room and house draughtier and colder, and waste two thirds of your fuel.

Stoves are just not designed to have the door left open. They are likely to smoke for one thing. The fuel efficiency is reduced WAY down when the door is open - you might as well have an open fire, as two thirds or more of the heat is going up the chimney, and additionally, you are creating draughts in the room.

A stove properly run will put 80% of the potential heat of the fuel into the room. Open the door, and you are allowing the chimney to suck up gallons of air every few seconds, and along with that air goes most of the heat.

When the door is wide open, especially on a windy day, the chimney is like a humongous vacuum cleaner sucking air from the room.

When you suck air from a room, air has to get in to re-fill the room - so where is that air going to come from? It is going to come from every possible crack, and cranny, every door and window - and along with that sucked in air is going to come the sucked-in cold from the outside.

When the metal of a stove heats up properly, you get great radiant heat directly from it, additionally you get convection heat that spreads throughout the room.

Let me put it very simply, running a stove with the door open, is like taking each bag of coal or whatever fuel you use, and tossing two thirds of it into the bin.

I will talk about the most efficient way of using a stove in a future post on this subject.


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