Dossier: What is the best wood stove? – Part 3
By Martine Rolland
| November 18, 2021
What can we consider when buying a wood stove other than its design and aesthetics or its performance and quality? To conclude our complete file on choosing the best wood stove, we will deal with technological and environmental aspects in order to guide you in choosing “the model that best suits your needs”.
technology and environment
Do you have modest expectations for your new heating system or are you shopping for a state-of-the-art stove? Get a better stove that uses the latest advances and meets the highest environmental standards. Learn more about the technologies and industry advances that stand out in this area.
Respect your ecological conscience
If the environment and the reduction of pollution are part of your values and close to your heart, you should pay attention to the model of space heater you select. The best stove for you will potentially be the one that produces the fewest particles (g/h) in the atmosphere and the most efficient possible. According to the Ministry of the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change, wood heating contributes the emission of fine particles into the air such as carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds. We must not hide it, the choice to heat with wood, gas or pellets brings the result of any combustion, that is to say smoke. Nevertheless, there are some points to consider during your research that will ease your ecological conscience when using a wood-burning appliance.
- Auxiliary Heating: In Quebec, wood heating is used primarily as a secondary heat source. The devices usually operate only a few hours a day, and this during very cold weather.
- Severe regulations: New devices sold in Quebec must meet the most stringent environmental standards, which is to operate with emissions of less than 2 g/h. They produce almost no more smoke compared to older models.
- Carbon cycle: Wood is an available and well-managed resource in Quebec. The combustion of this resource is an extension of the natural carbon cycle and does not generate more CO2 than that already present in the atmosphere and the trees at the start.
- Human Factor: Use dry fuel and carefully read your appliance’s user manual to ensure it performs as designed. A poorly used or maintained appliance will produce more particles in the air due to the lack of adequate combustion of the secondary gases.
Choose a catalytic wood stove
What is a so-called catalytic stove? It is a device equipped with a catalyst, i.e. a material filtration device that is added to the evacuation system. This allows any fine particles to burn off before they are expelled. As far as the environment is concerned, this addition is very interesting for maximizing the secondary combustion of gases. Indeed, the more the materials are burned, the less they will be evacuated by the chimney. You will then make more energy with the same amount of wood.
However, be sure to consider the pros and cons carefully, as there are downsides to these devices. First, it is a system that must be activated manually. Indeed, the catalytic converter cannot be activated during the start of ignition. Unfortunately, to function properly, the device must be very hot and must be operated after the fire is well established. This extra step is always at risk of being overlooked and causing the stove to not work properly and cleanly. You may then end up generating even more emissions than stated by the manufacturer. Finally, a catalytic stove is more expensive to maintain. The reason is that the catalyst must be maintained and even replaced after a few years, which generates other costs and waste to consider.
Although wood-burning stoves are simple devices to use, they now have a host of innovations, often not apparent, that play a role in their efficiency or long-term preservation. To give you an example, here are the two latest technologies developed by Jøtul that demonstrate the environmental awareness of manufacturers and their research and development efforts.
Indeed, in response to the introduction of the new 2020 standard, Jøtul proposed the Fusion technology, which proved to be so innovative that the regulatory framework had to adapt to it, because the definitions enshrined in the laws did not follow their progress. This new catalytic technology effectively no longer requires any human intervention and is always activated. Everything is made possible by the design and the choice of materials used in manufacturing.
Just before it had Turbolator technology. This allows a large quantity of secondary particles to be burned, but without the use of a catalyst. Indeed, the construction of the evacuation creates a turbulence of the airflow which causes the secondary gases to remain longer in the device and to burn more. From the first hour, you benefit from greater heat in your home, which greatly contributes to the efficiency of the product and to reducing emissions during the first hour, usually the most polluting on most stoves.
We took the example of Jøtul, but there are a host of technologies to help reduce emissions and improve your experience. Take the time to learn about the particularities of the brands that catch your eye and do not hesitate to ask questions about the use and operation of your future wood stove in order to have a clear idea of what you look for. These devices seem simple, but it’s the details that will make the difference between a quality product that will respect your values and your needs and the rest. Do not hesitate to consult your specialists who will be able to share their experience with you.
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