There’s something wonderfully soothing about wood fire heating. It goes beyond the sights, sounds, and smells. Some might call it a primal instinct, though it’s far more likely subliminal psychology from all those carefully curated fireplace scenes in (books and) movies. Whatever the reason, burning logs resonate quite deeply, despite their potential hazards.
And because we love them so much, fireplace manufacturers have taken steps to keep the good while throwing out the bad. For example, today’s gas and electric fireplaces are frequently designed to mimic wood heaters. They have the same roaring flames and crackling sounds, but the fuel is fake, so it never turns to ash. There are fans and firelights too.
Still, even with actual fireplaces, advances in design have made them safer and more enjoyable. You no longer have to look like Cinderella-after-midnight or chim-chim-charoo when you light or douse your fire. Ash catchers keep the furnace hygienic and GreenStart lets you light the fire with one touch. No more hissing, coughing, and bellowing. Just press the button.
Shoot ‘em up burn ‘em down
No, we didn’t suddenly shift into a cowboy film. Rather, we have Arrow Fireplaces on the brain. It’s a trusted brand for wood combustion heaters. If you’d like to build your wood burner into your home, consider getting the Arrow 2000. You may have heard fires re-light better when there’s a little ash in the fireplace, maybe an inch deep.
The Arrow 2000 has its own ash pan, which not only eases clean-up, it also ensures you can keep the exact amount of ash you need. The fireplace has metallic parts. The firebox is made of steel plates that are fully welded, and lined with cast iron. The grates are cast-iron. Their conductivity helps your fireplace emit more heat and distribute it better. The quality of your wood plays a big role in how bright (and long) your fire burns.
But even if your logs are sub-optimal, your Arrow 2000 can fix that, thanks to its 3-way air induction. Its triple-burn ensures maximum combustion and minimal wastage. The Arrow 2000 shoots pretty far, with a heating range of 350m2 and an efficiency rating of 60%. And in addition to its 3-way air system, it also has a 3-speed fan, which further aids the spread of heat. It works well with brick chimneys, both functionally and aesthetically.
For some users, going green is a priority, even as they invest in wood heaters in Sydney. They might therefore opt for wood pellets, which are made by compressing sawdust, ‘nut’ shells (peanuts, groundnuts, coconuts), lopped branches, and lumberyard waste-wood. But even if you prefer conventional wood fuel, you can opt to buy it from reliable, sustainable, environmentally friendly loggers (with a delivery service to regularly bring firewood baskets to your door).
Supplement your conservation effort with a green-burning fireplace. Something like the Evergreen, which has a proven efficiency of 65% and emissions of just 0.8g/kg. It’s a GreenStart device, so it has that one-touch-lighting functionality. (The button causes hot air to blow into the firebox, igniting your wood in 15 to 30 seconds.) The Evergreen has a gorgeous mix of curves and lines enclosed behind a cast-iron door. Its body is heavy gauge steel.
If your fireplace is too smoky, you can yank the pull-ring and redirect the fumes, pushing them up the chimney and away from the glass, which gives you a clearer view of your prettily dancing flames and mesmerising embers. The pull-ring controls a bypass damper, and you also have an air control knob, which determines whether your fire is light and slow or roaring all night long.
Finally, for the lovers of free-standing fireplaces, the Regency Narrabri is a good bet. Its four feet point outwards, giving the fireplace a uniquely cute visual appeal. They’re just as sturdy on uneven surfaces, because the height of each foot can be individually adjusted using leg bolts. The Narrabri is on the smaller side, extending its radiant heat between 80m2 and 120m2. It’s not as efficient as the Evergreen – its emission ratio is 2.4g/hr.
It does have draft control though, in a single-rod style, as well as airwash technology. Its firebox is made of steel and lined with brick. The ambience created by the Narrabri is country chique, with a rousing rustic effect. The heater doesn’t cover a large heating area, but you can still add a flue if you’d like to. The piping stretches to 3.6m and can cover a single storey. So as your explore your wood fireplace options for 2019, start with these three, then see what else you like.
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