Wood Heaters – a great choice for many reasons
There is something about wood heaters that no other heating product can offer. It’s not just the atmosphere and ambience they provide, especially on those cold and wet nights when you can snuggle up and keep cosy and warm by the fire. They are also the environmentally friendly option.. no gas or electricity in sight. And importantly, wood heaters are an effective way to heat your home. Most models have adjustable air intake vents and an ability to control the burn rate of the wood so that you can have a fire that will burn safely overnight and a fire that never goes out at all! No switches, no keypads just constant, even warmth all day, every day.
How do I choose the wood heater that is right for me?
There are two main types of wood heaters: Freestanding Wood Furnaces which don’t need a fireplace or chimney and the whole wood heater is on display. Or Fireplace Wood Furnaces using existing fireplaces and chimneys. Neither one is better or worse than the other and it will usually come down to personal choice and the look you want to achieve in your home. Of course, you may already have a fireplace or chimney so a simple furnace will work best. Then again, freestanding furnaces are a real feature and focal point – it’s completely up to you. One thing we can promise at Jim’s is that we only stock the best. Names likes Saxon and the mahogany, rosewood and blackwood range, Kent, Jindara, Heatcharm, Settler, Coonara and Arrow. With Jim’s you also have access to fully qualified tradesmen you can trust who deliver prompt personalised service across the metropolitan area. No job is too big or too small and it will always be great value for money – that’s our promise to you.
What specific features should I consider?
If you’re thinking about buying a wood there are some important things you need to consider. First of all, there’s the height of your flue which will allow the combustion gases to disburse appropriately. If an adjacent or adjoining property has a different height, the flue should be at least one metre higher than the building. Sometimes, it is simply not practical to install and use a wood heater because the flue would just be too high to achieve minimun clearances. Luckily our low density form of living means that this is not usually a major problem. Secondly, safety is a vital factor. At Jim’s we only stock wood heaters that have been tested to Australian/New Zealand Standards. That way you can be sure it has been manufactured to all the rigorous Australian standards that apply to wood heaters. It means you have confidence and peace of mind that you have invested in a wood heater that is safe and secure. There won’t be any nasty surprises. Thirdly, think about what you and your family are looking for in a heater. Do you spend a lot of time in one room? Does your home allow for good air flow? Do you live in a cooler area like the hills or country? Do you want to wake up to that lovely warmth on a cold morning? Have you got good and regular access to wood ? How much will that wood cost? Without being too technical, heat is rated in kilowatts. How many kilowatts you need will depend on where you live, how big your home is, how much glass and how many windows you have, and your level of insulation. Jim’s heating and cooling follows national recommendations which suggest that heaters should be sized to accommodate the average rather than the extreme temperatures. You can make a room too hot and uncomfortable by installing a heater too big for your needs. If you match the heater to your needs you will be far more satisfied with its performance. Jim’s is happy to come out and visit you, walk around your home, look at the floor plan and help find the right size unit and the best position for installation.
General day to day maintenance
Some people love the idea of a wood heater but worry about the maintenance and cleaning. Well, it’s nowhere near as hard or onerous as you may think. The key to clean and efficient wood heating is not just installing an efficient wood heater, it is also operating the heater correctly. This means getting a good, hot fire going as quickly as possible and then keeping it that way. Thankfully, this is easy to do with modern, efficient appliances, as long as fuel is sufficiently dry and the heater is lit and loaded correctly and well maintained. Efficient burning happens when there is enough air to keep the fire going so all you need to do is ensure all air inlets are fully open during starting and reloading. No matter which wood heater appeals to you, they will have slightly different features. The friendly Jim’s team will talk you through and explain the characteristics and we are also only a phone call away for those quick questions you may need to ask.
I’ve bought my wood heater…how do I start it?
Well, you have the heater and the wood, so what happens next? Invest in some kindling which you can buy from your local hardware store or service station or even from a walk through a local park. A bag of firelighters is also a great way to get the flames started. Once you have a nice bed of hot coals, add some bigger pieces of wood and you will see that the fire becomes well and truly established. It’s important to leave air vents open for at least 20-30 minutes to start the fire burning. You can expect some smoke from your flue when you first start, but it should not last longer than 10-15 minutes.
How do I keep it going?
The common rule of thumb is that most wood heaters burn better with 3 or 4 logs rather than 1 or 2. Logs should not be too big – 2 to 4kg for 40 cm logs is pretty standard. Again, remember every time you add fuel to your fire, leave air controls open for 15-20 minutes to start wood burning properly, then keep your fire burning at a steady rate. One thing you want to avoide is dark, smouldering wood that is doing nothing but creating a lot of smoke. This is a result of incomplete burning because there is not enough air intake. Open the vents and kickstart the fire with kindling. Remember, never use petrol, oil or kerosene to help light the fire. They could cause an explosion. One of the reasons many people choose wood heaters is because they are safe to burn overnight and you wake up to a warm and cosy home. To achieve this, load the heater at least half an hour before going to bed. Turn the air supply down to low once all the wood is charred. This should take about a quarter of an hour. Most heaters will burn for a minimum of eight hours. It will probably take you some time to get the “feel” of operating your heater for long periods. You might even find that once you have a good lighting method worked out and you house is well insulated you don’t need to burn overnight except on the coldest nights. You will quickly get the hang of it and you will be an expert before you know it!
Fuel for the fire
The team from Jim’s will advise you what’s best. Manufacturers also provide some helpful tips. One of the main things to ensure is that likely any fire, you don’t want wood that is too damp. Moisture content should be in the range of 12-20% so it’s a good idea to start buying and stocking up in summer and then stack the wood somewhere dry. Wood heaters operate best when wood is completely dry and well seasoned.