Do Wood Stove Fans Really Work?
How Well Do Wood Stove Fans Work?
My wife and I use our woodstove for supplemental heat and to help keep our energy bills near zero in winter since we have a rooftop solar panel system providing most of our home's power.
Wood stoves are a great way to use a low cost, domestically available resource to heat your home. Because they help reduce foreign oil imports the U.S. government has made them eligible for energy rebates of up to 30%. There are now over 13 million wood stoves in the United States alone and that number is growing year by year as energy costs rise. While older wood stoves may be notoriously inefficient, newer models feature catalytic chambers to help them burn cleaner, reducing their impact on the environment.
Fans That Generate Electricity From Wood Stove Heat
We use an Ecofan wood stove fan to help circulate the heat coming off of our woodstove and improve its efficiency. These fans work by creating electricity from the heat of the stove and using that energy to turn a DC fan motor. When the stove is cranked up and hot the fan spins away and draws air across the surface of the stove and into the room. This helps keep the surface of the stove cooler and helps reduce the "hot spot" effect.
Because wood stoves radiate heat only in one part of the room they tend to heat a room very unevenly. There are a few stoves on the market that feature a blower system but most are very expensive and not that attractive.
The Ecofan moves up to one hundred cubic feet of air per minute. This is impressive considering it uses zero outside energy. Tests have shown that after the Ecofan wood stove fan is placed on a stove, a wall thirty feet away warms up as much as 30 degrees that it would without it.
We have had an Ecofan on our wood stove for over a year now and it has made our stove more efficient overall. In addition to helping the wood stove perform more efficiently it lets us know the temperature of the stove at a glance. The cooler the stove, the slower the blades of the Caframo Ecofan wood stove fan turn. As the blades get close to stopping we know it is time to add more wood.
Why Not Generate Electricity From Wood Stoves?
There seems to be a lot of potential for similar inventions that generate electricity from wood stove heat to be developed. Imagine if you could sell power back to the power company from an inverter connected to your woodstove. The problem is that the solid state devices that make this possible are still fairly expensive. For now wood stove fans are a great way to harness free electricity from wood stoves and use that energy to make the stove itself more efficient. You can find these clever gadgets on Amazon.com and eBay, as well in fireplace stores.
Other Ways To Make Your Wood Stove More Efficient
A clean flue not only helps your woodstove burn more efficiently, it helps protect your home from a devastating fire. Soot that builds up inside the flue or chimney of a wood stove should be cleaned at least once a year, perhaps more, depending on how much you use it. Also, to help your woodstove burn more efficiently, learn how to use your damper to control the amount of air entering the stove. A smoldering fire inside the stove creates pollution for your and your neighbors. Try to burn only dry wood and never green wood or waste wood from construction. Waste wood, such as scrap pine boards, leaves more resin in your flue than normal firewood, and burns hotter, possibly damaging your stove. Avoid burning household trash such as junk mail and paper bags, as these also cause air pollution.
A very handy gadget to have is a wood moisture meter. A moisture meter will let you know if your firewood is seasoned enough to burn, before you end up with a smoky, smoldering mess of a fire. You can also find these online, in fireplace stores and home improvement stores.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.