Wood Burning Stove..

09/19/2009 - 14:24

 Our house: 170 meters divided over 2 floors, 500 years old, 4 meter high ceilings and located 800 meters up the Maritime Alps.  We have a small wood burning stove on the 2nd floor that does a wonderful job of heating the upper floor.  The first floor kitchen has an open fireplace that looks gorgeous when blazing, but sadly does little to heat anything other then the kitchen (leaving two bathrooms & master bed rather chilly). I’m looking to buy a wood burning insert, with fans, for the open fireplace in the kitchen.  Fans on one side of the stove will blow directly into the hall leading to the 2 bathrooms and bedroom as well the stairway to the upper floor. (photo shows view from bedroom to kitchen with bathroom doors on right & stairway on left)  Questions: Would this stove adequately heat our whole house? I’ve been quoted 2,500 euros for the stove without installation, does this sound about right? Very open to suggestions. Cheers, 



As you are thinking of putting a wood burner in the kitchen area, then I would suggest also putting a door to the upstairs steps. Heat rises, so most will go up the stairway. You also have to consider, if the bathroom doors are closed, then the heat will not have any access, so another problem, especially if you want to shower on a cold winters day. May be better to have radiators connected to the unit. 

 There is a door on the upstairs steps:)  and  I have thought about the whole water boiler/radiator set-up.  I'm concerned about all the piping that would be required.  I seems to me that it would not be all that pleasant to look at… 

 http://www.edilkamin.com/default.aspx?lang=en  most probably one of the more famous producers ... widely available and suggest you get a quote from them and maybe go through their tech stuff .. i pointed the link to the english versioni  like this one.. most probably very expensive ... but worth a look... didnt see an english pagehttp://www.biofire.com/it/index.phpinserts and fan assisted heating will not provide much comfort i would say with 4 meter high ceilings because the air will be warm at the top... and never reach you... maybe bunk beds..  placing fans directed towards the stairwell will mean that it gos up there too..discount this if you are not living there in the winter ... because you might get enough heat that way to make you feel warm... for quick visits...the other point is they eat wood ... if you do want to attempt to get warm... to a level thats civilised..so i reckon you will feel a difference but will still have to wear coats in the house.... the immediate surround of the insert will be warm..  if you are planning to live full time .. i would look for  better solutions... best of all would be if some of these rooms do not require that height because they have no architectural features... would be to put in false ceilings...  then attend to if not already in double glazing and shutters... and finally work out your requirements and then look for the best solution re heating... saying all that your choice providing you have plenty of space to store wood is most probably the least invasive in terms of building work and in terms of initial cost cheapish... check out your local DIY shed to see what they have on offer.. you should be able to beat that price quoted i would think... you might well have to add on a steel chimney liner in fact i would say almost certainly for safety and draw... and that costs as well ..  so make sure you add that in ...  so you will be warmer... am sure .. cannot offer any alternatives that would be as cheap, as visually pleasing but i dont agree with paying to heat space that you will never ever get to feel unless your painting the ceiling...

Carl,  I see you are thinking of fitting an inset stufa in the kitchen... wouldn't a wood fired cooker be more useful? See Ebay.it for hundreds. Otherwise some nice flat tops from the UK might do for lots of heat, quality, and a bit of cooking... eg Clearview, Parkray and Charnwood. Assuming you have something of 14Kw or more you should have enough energy to heat the house to a bearable level but maybe you could get away with not having fans blowing it around. Instead of shutting doors to trap heat I think you should go the other way; opening up the house and taking off all the wood cladding round your stairs. Have excess heat production in the kitchen and let it all spill out and circulate naturally. Your downstairs rooms will be all the better for it especially if you plan the airflow. A curtain hung along the corridor just away from the stairs should channel the return airflow from above back into the kitchen and then the hot flow will be pushed nearer the downstairs doors. There - so none of us agree!

In reply to by Carl

 Jotul's italian website has prices on it, I think you would be able to check the technical specifications and heating volumes there or on one in another language.  But as someone else has said you will be feeding it wood at a considerable rate to achieve the maximum calorific potential.  If it isn't heresy what about gas central heating?  Less labour but a higher installation cost.

 Don’t suppose you could throw me a link??  I found the Italian website, but can’t seem to find any price…I’m not real keen on the oil/gas option.  Our house was heated with a wood burner in the winters growing up in the states and I really love the feel/sound/smell/look it gives.  As for lugging wood around.. I could use the exercise:)

 http://www.jotul.com/it/wwwjotulit/Strumenti/Campagne/Promozoni/ pdf link for leaflet with promotion prices is herehttp://www.jotul.com/FileArchive/Files/IT/Campaign/Sept09/Operazione_cal...Look here this is their autumn promotion 25% off finishes early October.  This is always done at this time of year but the models vary.Catalogue link here - but perhaps you already have one.http://www.jotul.com/it/wwwjotulit/Strumenti/Cataloghi/

We looked at a German company called 'wamsler' I think - they do a woodburning range for cooking and heating radiators for about £2,000 new.You could get your pipes put inside the walls if you can bear the mess!

There is a fire called (I think!) a Volcano, which connects up to your boiler and radiators which comes HIGHLY recommended. I have not got one as it needs an early decision as you need to plan your plumbing (we already had ours all sorted ) . Given the chance again I would DEFINITELY go with this one...........because we had already progressed beyond he scope of the Volcano, we put in two Jotuls (the F3 and the F4 models)..............VERY efficient, we also have 'on tap' gas(via a bombola) central heating, but it's a bit like burning 20 euro notes!..........................as I said given the chance, I would have gone with the Volcano.Good Luck,S

Carl, While checking the market, have a look at the Parkray range in UK. They are very unpopular at the moment  - with their competition - because their prices are so low... the quality is not quite up to some of the competition but they are slaughtering them with cheaper production methods. With the € so strong of late the UK prices are pretty good for all this sort of stuff (solar controllers etc) and you can buy VAT free for export if the product is shipped directly to you from the factory... although you might feel inclined to pay it in Italy on arrival. I should get your wood ordered now too while the 2009 cut is still being sold - 80 quintale should leave a bit over for a dry start to next year.I feel you are wondering about rads etc ... you could try a plain stufa first and then upgrade it to a boiler if you find you need it... in that case go for a Clearview 750 flat top which can be upgraded with a clip in boiler later.... mmmm lovely lovely. £1,704 last time I looked and that was with the boiler fitted.If and when you do decide to go for a wet system you really ought to store and smooth the heat output in a heat bank and get hotwater too. I won't go on about it but have a look at www.heatweb.com for case studies etc.As for gas ... you are well on the way to eliminating your horrible gas bills and relegating that boiler to boosting and back up duties.

Anyone come across  a termostufa by Klover or has one fitted!!! Wood fired, will heat water and radiators. No need for expansions tanks etc as all is fitted into the stove. We have a gas central heating system with combi boiler. This stove can be connected into this system so we can use wood and switch over to gas when needed. www.klover.it     go to product, wood stoves , and termostufa  about 3000 euros and about 200 euros to fit

Excellent thread! I was wondering if anyone had any experience of a Helios biotermocamino - the HTC33C, for example. Is it a feasible/sensible choice, burning either pellets, logs or other biofuels such as sunflower seeds? I know it's a bit on the expensive side - around €3800 - but if it does what it claims to do it would be very interesting to us.   Thanks.

Thanks for the link to Klover... I've been looking for a flush fitting stove with water heating built in but unfortunately these ones pull heat out of the exhaust smoke which is OK in principle but hard to keep clean and probably needs a pumped circuit which is much more expensive than a gravity circuit straight to a heat store. I love the German SPARTHERM range for really big windows on the fire but again not very powerful and not good enough to do serious heating duties. I'm still looking so if anyone comes across the perfect kit please post. Meanwhile a Clearview 750 with a clip in boiler putting out 7kW to water is a good solution for many applications especially on a simple gravity circuit. The pumped circuit costs almost as much as the stove - E 2,210 delivered - because you need: pump, controller, sensors, heat dump valve, heat dump radiator... all this to accomodate a power cut and pump  failure.

hi! our neighbours were in the predicament and bought a wood burning insert from La Nordica, with fans and all the rest. They didn't have much joy and eventually had to buy a free standing burning stove. On the other hand we bought a pellet burning stove ( I cannot recall the brand just now but something like: http://www.lanordica-extraflame.com/it/56/2/2/16/prodotti/prodotti-a-leg...) . It had 3 exits at the back that could be piped into diffrent rooms, so the stove is heating the kitchen and living space and two upstairs bedrooms. It works great. If you have any doubts on which stove to by you can easily do a calculation on which capacity do you need to heat up the volume of space you have...if you need any further info I can look through my files and rememebr how I did it at the time!   Paola

Working out heating power needed is easy enough. Have a look at 'The Heating Guide' on www.heatingitaly.com there's a graph where you can locate your house size and read off power needed to warm you for any temperature outside. The other interesting graph shows how much energy Eur 1,000 buys you. You will be quite clear after seeing it that wood burning is the way to go.

I don't have any problems with advertising as such.............. PERSONAL views..................... Three years actually here in Italy........... First year.......Open Fire (as central heatins as backup)......... HARD work.................receive a lorry load of wood, stack it............(hard work).............in and out, in and out, in and out, etc etc.............................. Second year........4,000 euros for two stufas(wood burning stoves). Again SLIGHTLY less HARD work.................receive a lorry load of wood, stack it............(hard work).............in and out, in and out, in and out, etc etc.............................. Third year (this year - oor-err!)................HARD work.................receive a lorry load of wood, stack it............(hard work...............but save it).............BUT.................focus on gas central heating..........expensive but EASY, ZERO smoke, flick of a switch for the boiler...............watch this space!(gulp!!) Caio e buona foruna, S

As none of the experts seem to know what a Helios Biotermocamino fire is, I will pass on what I know of it.   It is a fire that burns both pellets as well as wood in the form of logs - it has a very large firebox for woodburning. It also is able to burn other fuels such as maize and sunflower seeds without any modification. The largest model has a 34Kw output split to both air and hot water, which will heat a 300m2 house fairly easily (800m3 volume), although smaller models are also available if you have a smaller house. You can get both an 'open circuit' model as well as a 'closed circuit' pressurised model to fit in with your existing or planned plumbing system. The largest model has a 100kg hopper for pellets, so can be left for quite a while if you are going out or away for a couple of days. What else can I add? Mabe a link in English? http://www.heliostecnologie.it/ING/BIOTERMOCAMINO.asp Whilst I am here, for anyone wanting a kitchen range type cooker, it might be worth pointing out that the Brosely range are actually made by La Nordica in Italy and sold as La Nordica throughout Italy - so no need to rent a van and drag one back to Italy. Also whilst here, if Patrick Littlehales is reading this here (no need to put your hand up to your real name) might I suggest you check your spelling of agriturismo on your "Big Heating" page - you have it wrong. Cheers.

Hey! I'm not advertising anything! I'm just looking for some help and information. Is the reason I got no response before because you thought I was advertising? I wouldn't mind owning the company - come to think of it, I wouldn't mind owning any company. But I don't. Nor do I work for any of them. I'm just trying to find out the best way to heat a house, with the minimum of costs - and gas certainly doesn't push any of my buttons! Good luck with paying the gas bills though. surprise

I love this, it just goes on & on. We are trying to sort out heating & hot water for our house as well & keep wavering between doing the least-2 woodburners & a new hot water heater & going all out with 2 woodburners, one with a back boiler to heat the water & radiators, solar power for hot water in summer or even enough photovoltaics to by pass ENEL altogether. It's so complicated! add to that the mess & expense of getting it all installed & we keep doing nothing, just not using the house at all during the coldest months. I have looked at all the links-I don't think anyones advertising & they have all been interesting. We love the Edilkamin Klima, it's soo expensive but seems to be the only vaguely modern looking woodburner with a boiler facility-any other suggestions gratefully received. Please keep up with the posts it's the most interesting one (to me anyway) by far! thanks

Lovely description of the fun of woodburners. Our experience:- Year 1: Heat pump plus 50 quintale of wood if needed for emergencies for the L'Aristico fire in the sitting room. Hard work to stack, but only used a few kilos as not needed unless wanted to see some flames. Gets far too hot though!!! Year 2 to today(4 years later); Still only using a few kilos of wood a year, so still about 40 quintale left from original purchase.   Cost of heating the house 24/7 in all rooms still around E1500 p.a. Result: Happiness and very little wood carrying

I've posted a new thread on thermal stores and this seems the way to go if you are using a wood/pellet boiler as you burn it high for a few hours ( more when it's really cold) then collect hot water in the store or tank which is released into the radiators.The bigger the store the better the heat. If you invest in a good sized store and place it in a well insulated room you should be able to keep heat loss down to 1-3%. Therer's lots of info on the greenbuilding forum. www.greenbuildingforum.co.uk www.myabruzzohome.com

OK, I guess no one here has heard of any of the biotermocamini type cassette fires (assuming there are more than one brand), so I'll try to find out in other ways. The only comment I'd make now is for people to think twice before buying a stove/boiler/fire/anything in the UK to bring over here and install. Firstly, you can't fit a stove yourself unless you are an Italian approved installer. Straight forward and just the same as in the UK. There are sensible reasons for this requirement with any fuel burning item as whatever fuel you burn, it makes lots of poisenous gasses which, if not properly fitted, will kill you. It pays to be safe here unless you want to commit suicide, of course. The other reason to think twice is that you will have forfeited the guarantee by importing it into Italy and you won't find anyone in Italy that is qualified to repair it either. It might be comforting to have a nice shiny stove 'made' in your mother country, but it will cost you loads to have something that was quite probably made in Italy in the first place - but without the pretty little badge with a union flag on it. You pays your money and take you chances, I guess. Or, better still, if you are in Italy, buy Italian as it will be both guaranteed as well as repairable here. Now for a look at the accumulo solare thread. :D

Agreed Beery, except that there wasn't anything in Italy like the UK one I brought over; have had replacement parts sent over no probs and it took a lot to persuade my Italian builder to fit it properly (ie with a flue that its higher than the roof ridge).  Had to prove my point through one smoky winter. I'd have to say that this was an impulse cosmetic purchase (though it does a bl&&dy good job) and not a serious attempt to heat the whole house.  I wouldn't dream of advising on that when there are experts around on this forum

Oh, I nearly forgot. "or even enough photovoltaics to by pass ENEL altogether." You can't by-pass Enel, sorry. The electricity your panels would make is sold to Enel at a contract rate, changeable each year and credited to your electric bill account. The electricity you use is still bought from Enel (or Edison if you fancy a gamble) at the same rate as it costs you now. The only way around this is to have a huge and expensive battery bank for storing the electricity you generate. Not sensible at the present time though - unless you are a ecowarrier millionaire with a desire to burn money, that is. :D

I undertand you point, Annec - although, for most of us, money is a very real concern. I am familiar with your 'stove' and it does have a look that is hard to find in anyone elses product. I see that you have not used it in the kitchen as a kitchen range though - which was what it was actually designed for originally. Now, don't get me wrong here, I'm not criticising you at all, just pointing out that your choice was because of considerations other than pure practicality, which is a nice position to be in - especially with such an expensive cooking stove. Esse actually sell a more conventional stove as well as the 'old-timer' that you have, but it is actually a very average cooker when compared to a 'Brosely' (actually an Italian made La Nordica stove) or a Sideros - to name but two brands readily available here in Italy. I have, in my time, had both a Rayburn and an AGA 4-oven cooking range and have to say that it would be nice to find something similar. However, the AGA really doesn't burn wood and the Rayburn makes a very poor fist of it - although it's pretty good when you feed it with peat (yes, I have done).  So, my point is to suggest that the Union flag is left firmly at home when it comes to spending your hard-earned cash on something that needs to last for many years. If you are comfortably off, however, life becomes more of a hobby than a struggle and actual costs don't really matter much. Italians are pretty good when it comes to making things - far better these days than in the UK, in fact. So don't think that Italian made means that it is badly made. It might, if you buy cheap, be cheaply made, but if you spend the kind of money that (excuse my bringing it up again) an Ironheart cooker costs in the UK, you can buy a very, very good Italian one - although the design will be Italian to suit the Italian design sense. Again. I'm not having a go, just trying to suggest that people not waste money on English stuff when they are chosing to live in a 'foreign' country and things can be easier, cheaper and much better suited for use in that 'foreign' country if actually bought there. Enjoy the baking and, especially the insulated covers (not as good a the AGA ones though!).

In reply to by Beeryspice

Absolutely agree with most of your points BSpice - .  Have to say though that in the scheme of things the cost of an Esse stove compared to the total restoration costs was a very small percentage.  I'm just a hardworking girl who has to look to her pennies like anyone else. Actually the kitchen is just out of sight in the photo. And as an AGA owner of 20 years' standing I'd have to say that my Esse boils water just as quick as the AGA ever did! 

Have a look at AArrow stoves in the UK, Brilliant! built in boiler,water temp' control, very efficient, ours is 12Kilowatt and doe's 5 rads and 150L hot water. They models up to 24Kilowatt   Ciao Brianm

Have a look at AArrow stoves in the UK, Brilliant! built in boiler,water temp' control, very efficient, ours is 12Kilowatt and doe's 5 rads and 150L hot water. They models up to 24Kilowatt   Ciao Brianm

Good morning,
I have read this thread and I think I can give some insight being an engineer.

The standard Italian house has got stone walls which have got bad thermal insulation and they don't "hold" heat very well therefore this is something that has to be accounted before chosing an heating system.

Moreover the air has got three times less capabilities of storing heat compared to water due to physcal properties ( Cp, etc.) therefore this is something else that has to be accounted before chosing the heat "courier" (water or air).

This will mean that a "full-air" system will be three times less efficient than a water system and it will need three times more "fuel" to run. Due to the cost of wood compared to gas it will be more "cheap" to run the system due to fuel consumption before deciding which kind of "courier" will be used (water or air).

The size of the wood burning stove has to be chosen based on the size of rooms, human "usage", heat loss additional heat sources etc.

Once decided the size of the burner the air/water needs to be "piped" into each area using ducitng/piping properly disguised into the walls/ceilings.

I am sorry if I can't be precise when dimensioning each component (size of the wood burning stove, insulation required, fuel consumption per year, etc.) as I don't have numbers (size of the rooms, etc.)

Please send me a PM with rooms description and I will tell you, in layman's term, the size of the wood burning to be installed, using ducting to be disguised in boxing or fake ceiling.(unfortunately I can't provide for a proper design/working drawings as I need many more info and time)

Hope this will help in your renovation project.