//Wood Burner Heater vs Electric Heater
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Wood Burner Heater vs Electric Heater

Wood Burner

Due to innovation, the latest wood burner heaters are highly efficient and can be relied upon in terms of energy saving. They also emit little or no carbon therefore ensuring limited air pollution from their renewable source of energy-wood. The following are other benefits associated with the use of wood burner heaters

  • To those who purchase firewood, running them is still cheap. Some people have free access to firewood and this will drop the running costs to almost zero
  • Due to the fact that they do not operate on electricity, they work freely and efficiently despite blackouts and power cuts, unlike electric heaters, even cheap halogen heaters.
  • Wood being a renewable and sustainable source of energy, trees can be successfully generated and harvested for firewood
  • Recent wood burners can be used to heat household water, thanks to the incorporated wet back system
  • When trees grow, they take in carbon dioxide. This carbon dioxide is released when the same trees die, are processed or burnt. This therefore completes the cycle of carbon neutrality.
  • Open fires are very inefficient and they lose a lot of heat. In as such much they are important for warmth, they create draft by drawing cold air into the room. The same applies to pot belly stoves and older wood burners. Also known for air pollution. Problems. all these are solved by newer wood burner heaters.

When deciding on the purchasing a wood burner, a lot of factors have to be taken into consideration. Including;

  • Building consent; usually obtained from the district council to allow installation of a wood burner. To be given this consent, other requirements may come into play.
  • Seeking authorised wood burners;for installation in properties situated in less than two hectares, certain efficiency and emission standards have to be met. These standards are usually spelt out by the Regional council or the ministry of environment.
  • Insulation; before wood burner installation, ensure proper insulation is done to the floors and ceiling. This will make heating easier and cheaper in the long run.
  • Size of the burner; the size of the burner will depend on the size of the rooms to be heat. By professional guidance and the heater calculator, specific heat requirements can be easily matched to the size of the heater.
  • Number of rooms to heat; the number of rooms to heat will also influence the type or size of the wood burner. Most burners produce sufficient heat that can reach other rooms if internal door openings go high up to the ceiling. Heat transfer kits are also recommended to assist in pumping air to other rooms
  • Heat Emission; wood burners work by both Radiation and Convection. Radiation is essential for heating objects and convection for heating air. Both radiation and convection vary depending on the burner model. For large rooms with high ceilings, drought problems and poor insulation, wood burners with more radiant energy are advised. Air heat by convection wood burners rises to the ceiling leaving the lower air layers cooler. A ceiling fan for mixing higher hotter air with lower cooler one is therefore recommended.
  • Certified installers;for maximum performance, quality installation by certified technicians is key.

Using the Wood Burner

Like other heaters, proper measures should be ensured when using the wood burner. Safety recommendations coupled with the manufactures’ instructions should be adhered to the latter. Some other measures include;

  • Using the right wood at the right time. For starting fire, use soft woods like pine.After burning coals is attained, denser hardwoods that will burn for longer periods are then used.
  • Fire wood to be used must be well-seasoned and dry. Storage should be under cover and in a sunny place
  • Unless specified by the manufacturer, coal should not be burnt in the wood burner since it might cause damages.
  • Do not dampen the air control in the name of adjusting the heat output, do it by adjusting the amount of fuel loaded into the burner
  • Some woods are salt impregnated e.g. driftwood. Such types and chemically treated ones will corrode the wood burner and therefore should not be used.
  • Too much or too low air will lead to unclean burns and production of smoke. The air settings should therefore be set to standard and wood placed on glowing coals for high temperature.

Maintaining the Wood Burner

For longevity, safety and performance, the wood burner should be maintained as per the manufactures instructions. Some parts can be cleaned or replaced. For regular servicing, seek services of a qualified professional or consult your manufacturer.

Electric Heater

An electrical heater is an equipment that uses and converts electric current to heat energy by the use of resistors. Resistors work by joule heating and are supported by a Nichrome wire as the active element. In as much as electric heaters are cheap, they are costly to run and maintain.

Note: You can find out a lot more information from this Facebook and Google plus page which has some relevant posts on the topic of halogen heaters.

Electric Heater

Electric heaters are safe and suitable in heating smaller rooms so as to cut on costs. In larger rooms or poorly insulated ones, more than one heater will be used for sufficient heat energy to be produced. When this happens, it is always recommended to employ the use of one power outlet per heater so as not to overload the system.

Electric heaters are very efficient (except heat pumps) as they tend to convert all electric energy into heat energy. They are also of different types and each type should be used for different heating needs. Examples include;

  • Radiant heaters; it has a heating element and a reflector. They are suitable for object heating and can be mounted on walls. Radiant heaters are suitable for large rooms with high ceilings for instant heat. The only problem is, they are not safe to children and are great fire risks if kept close to flammable materials.

Latest models include; marble, panel and stone-store. They are known for good distribution of lower temperature heat but are not more efficient than other electric heaters.

  • Fan heaters; also referred as ceramic heaters. They efficiently distribute heated air throughout the room. Their only setback is the noise produced during this process. The fact that they are very safe makes them suitable for use in homes with small children. With better heat distribution, they are most effective for providing quick warmth in smaller rooms.
  • Panel heaters; most panel heaters are very cheap and do not get hot to pose risks to pets and children. Despite this, they emit relatively low heat energy and cannot be relied upon for standard home heating.

An alternative to panel heaters is a high wattage heater controlled by thermostats. It will heat the room quickly with thermostats switching on and off for desired energy levels and temperature.

  • Convection heaters;a column heater is the best example of a convection heater. Having a heating element with grills that allow air flow, they heat the air rather than surfaces.

by constant air Warming and circulation through convection, Convection heaters are suitable for use in bedrooms, living rooms and other medium size rooms that require heating for long time durations.

When hot, convection heaters can burn the skin. It’s therefore advised to be cautious when getting too close. With their weight and sharp oil fin columns, convection heaters are not very safe to children.

  • Electric under-floor heaters; this form of heating is installed between the floor board and floor covering. For efficiency, the floor should be well insulated to prevent from downward heat loss. Although it is an expensive form of heating, it is efficient and reliable in heating large areas.
  • Night store heaters;considered very economical, they utilise cheaper (night) off peak electricity to store heat energy in masses e.g. bricks and release it during the day. They are only suitable for houses that will be preoccupied during the day.

When purchasing an electric heater, it is always important to take into consideration some features as below;

  • Timers and fans;timers allow on and off turning of heaters a few hours before going to bed or getting out of it. Fans on the other hand are vital for warm air distribution throughout the room
  • Thermal cut-outs and tilt switches; being an important safety feature, heaters with thermal cut-outs automatically switch of if overheating occurs. A tilt switch is another safety feature that turns the heater off in the event that the heater overturns
  • Thermostats;although they are not accurate resulting to temperature fluctuations, thermostats can maintain desired and standard heater temperatures. For optimum results, temperature sensors are located far away from the heated parts e.g. below the heater, a position where unheated room air is drawn.

Using the Electric Heater

When using the Electric Heater, adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions and safety measures so as to be free from burn injuries and sometimes electrocution. Also remember to heat only the rooms that are in use so as to cut down on wastage and costs. Again, conserve heat by closing doors, windows and sealing drafts. Lastly, do not forget to set the thermostat to standard, recommended temperatures.

Considering all the above information, it is important to choose a heater that is efficient, cheap to maintain and one that solves all your heating problems.

Or you could have a look at this video and take some advice from it to create a great source of energy for your home this winter.


I'm Doug or Benny as my friends refer to me. I am a retired carpenter and I love to research, design and play around with all things in the home. I like sculpting wood but I also love anything which requires time and effort to forge into something more useful or decorative.