Wood Furnace Basics, A Guide To Heating With Wood
Our wood furnace guide will help you to understand the basics of heating your
home with hot air from burning wood. These units can be installed indoors or outdoors depending on the
model/brand you choose. An indoor model can be more convenient to put the wood in but this can be messy.
An outdoor model takes that mess outside but they can also lose some of the heat to the colder outdoor
In many areas, regulations determine which unit you can install. The
regulations govern the amount of particulates (smoke) that can be released into the surrounding air. The
EPA regulates the particulate emissions from the units and it is based on the type of combustion system
they use. There are two basic types; those that use a catalytic combustor and those that do not.
For wood burning appliances that use a catalytic combustor, the limit for
particulates is 4.1 grams/hour while the limit for units without a combustor is 7.5 grams/hour.
A catalytic combustor is a device that resembles a honeycomb and has a noble
metal (usually palladium) in it. The gases that are given off as wood burns will burn if the temperature
is about 1000F. The noble metal in the combustor lowers the burn temperature of the exhaust to around
500 degrees which means less smoke is released. The catalytic combustor usually only lasts about five
years and then it requires replacement. They can fail sooner (crumble) when contamination occurs from
burning foreign materials.
The non-catalytic units usually use a small fan to force the exhaust gases down
around the burning wood where the temperature is the highest and allows the smoke to be burned.