By Julie Curnow

Heat your home with a wood fire

Wood fire heating continues to be a popular choice in Australian homes. This isn’t really surprising when you consider its cost saving potential, attractive appearance and ability to add value to a property.

The most common wood fires you will find in homes are called combustion heaters. These fires are enclosed in a sealed firebox with a glass viewing door which can be opened to add wood. New combustion heaters are efficient, whereas an open fire (a fire which is not enclosed and instead directs smoke into a chimney or surrounding area) is very inefficient in comparison.

In order to heat your home properly and economically you need a slow combustion wood heater that can burn 24 hours a day, heating your whole home. As the wood fire continues to burn, the heat circulates around your home consistently. This passive process can be sped up by using a heat transfer system.

Factors to keep in mind

The room where the wood heater is located will be quite a few degrees warmer than the furthest corner of your home. The heat difference will depend on:

  • the layout of your home,
  • its design,
  • its thermal efficiency,
  • the efficiency of your combustion heater and
  • if you operate your heater to optimise its performance

As home heating with wood requires your fire to burn 24 hours a day, it is important that your combustion heater:

  • is sized correctly
  • has a wood burning time of at least 7 hours (or the duration you want to sleep between stoking the fire)

Size does matter!

Quadra 3100 StepTop in situIf your slow combustion wood heater is over-sized your house will get too hot and once this happens you naturally let your fire die down. When your home is getting cool again, you will probably establish a new fire, maintaining it until your home gets uncomfortably hot again – leaving you with a process of frequently establishing new fires rather than letting one burn continuously. This process is both inefficient and time consuming. You end up wasting your time and your money, because establishing a new fire consumes more wood than maintaining one at a steady burn rate.

On the other hand, if your combustion heater is under-sized it will struggle to heat your whole home.


This is the first article in a series that will take you through how to have a wood fire that looks great, is cost effective to run and is easy to maintain. Stay tuned for more great tips and information!

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