Open Fireplaces vs. Slow Combustion Heaters
People are becoming more and more aware of their carbon footprint and impact on the environment. This leads to searching for the most environmentally friendly way to heat a home in the cooler months. You may assume that wood-fire heated could be detrimental to the environment due to the production of smoke which is released into the atmosphere. Well you’ll be happy to learn that this couldn’t be further from the truth! Modern wood-burning heaters use slow combustion technology, which allows for a much slower rate for wood to burn. This increases the burn time, the overall heat and the safety of the heater, plus also is low in emissions.
Three different components are required to ignite a wood fire; fuel, heat and oxygen. When the fire is exposed to excess oxygen, it will burn uncontrollably fast. Slow combustion heaters are entirely enclosed, which allows for complete control over the air-intake. Most slow combustion heaters burn for 6-8 hours on a single fuel load, whereas open fireplaces need to be refuelled every hour.
Emissions and Efficiency
In open fireplaces, the smoke from the wood burning is released straight up the chimney and into the atmosphere. Open fireplaces release up to 50g of emissions per kilogram of wood burnt. Slow combustion heaters use special baffle plates and air design to keep smoke in the combustion chamber for longer. This allows for a secondary burn to take place, during which much of the smoke is burnt off as additional fuel. This results in less than 2.5g of emissions per kilogram of wood burnt.
Open fireplaces must not be left unattended; it’s vital to be present at all times to ensure no embers or are come into the room. Slow combustion fireplaces are completely enclosed systems, meaning once the door has been closed, they are safe to be left unattended as no fire could escape. There’s no need to put the fire out when you go to sleep, and your house will stay warm all night!