Domestic Wood Stoves

Everyone loves a wood fire, it really turns a house into a home. But open fires and old-fashioned stoves can be polluting, inefficient (typically only 20-30% efficient) and inconvenient. Modern wood pellet stoves offer the warmth and comfort of wood heating but are highly efficient, clean burning and totally automatic, saving you time and money.

This section contains information on:


Stove Types

The most common form of stove is used for heating the room in which it is located. A key benefit of a stove located in this way is that they are very efficient due to heat being released directly into the room, i.e. casing losses are emitted directly as useful heat. A number of different types are available including:

Image of stove insertInsert - stove is housed within the chimney breast or wall with a flush front. Free standing - stove is located away from the wall or chimney with a flue connected to the chimney.Image of free standing stove
Stove Styles
Image of traditional stoveImage of free standing stoveImage of contemporary stove
Traditional - e.g. metal with old fashioned look (normally log burning)Modern - typically upright style with metal / ceramic casingContemporary
Heating distribution arrangements

Stoves are normally used to heat the space in which they are located. Heat is emitted directly to the room without the need for a primary heat distribution system. Variants on this include:

  • Stove with centralised water heating. These stoves look like room only heaters but have a water circuit and pump incorporated allowing them to work in the same way as a conventional boiler. The water circuit can be used to heat radiators in another room or used for domestic hot water purposes. For smaller and/or low energy dwellings a stove with a water heating circuit is a practical means of providing all space heating and domestic hot water without the need for additional primary heating systems.
  • Stove with ducted air units for supplying heat to other room(s). These are less commonly used but can provide a way of heating more rooms within the same dwelling.

Many modern stoves use a fan to provide forced convection over the heat exchange units and gently blow air into the room.


The type and level of control varies considerably.

Limited Manual Controls. Basic log burning stoves generally control the rate of burn and hence the heat output via a manually operated shutter on the fresh air supply vent. Wood logs are simply placed into the burning chamber. When heat is no longer required, no further fuel is added and the fire burns out naturally.

Electronic Controls. Pellet stoves use electronic controls to closely control all aspects of the stove operation. These include automatic on-off timing, air ratios, output, thermostatic and automatic shut-down in the event of unstable operation. A room temperature sensor is normally mounted on the stove to enable room temperature control.

Remote Control. Many pellet stoves now offer remote control units in order that the main functions can be activated from anywhere in the room, e.g. output & on-off operation. Some manufacturers offer the ability to control basic functions such a on-off and temperature settings using text messages from a mobile phone.


Stoves use two types of fuel: Wood pellets or wood logs. Wood pellets offer the convenience of automatic operation.

Further information on wood fuels can be found in the wood fuels section.

wood pelletswood logs
Wood pellets
Wood logs
Fuel Storage

Pellet stoves normally have a storage hopper located at the top of the stove. Pellets are loaded into the hopper from bags (approx 15kg). Storage is usually sufficient to operate the stove for 1 - 2 days under typical operating conditions.

wood pellet stove with storage hopper
Wood pellet stove with storage hopper

Some manufacturers also provide larger remote pellet stores with a blower or suction system that delivers pellets to the stove hopper thus eliminating the need for manual loading.

System sizing
As with all heating systems, stoves should be sized to give a heat output appropriate for the space being heated under design heating conditions unless the stove is to be used as a supplementary / secondary heating system in a single room where sizing becomes less important.

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