A Wood Stove Fan – Why Do You Need One?
How about a wood stove fan? The wood or multi-fuel burning stove is a great way to give a heat source to any room. It is not only practical, but is often a design feature and brings a welcoming feel to most rooms. Everyone who owns a stove knows that a major short coming with a stove is the area in front is the warmest place in the room and the further away you get the cooler the room becomes. Quite often the family pet has the best seat in the house right in front.
Getting an even spread of heat around the room got the engineers working in overdrive to find the best solution and making the stove burner more effective. It was generally agreed that a stove top fan is the best solution, as a fairly small stove fan has the capacity to move a large quantity of air around a room without cooling the air too much and still creating an even heat throughout. The modern stove fan is built around this premise. By using a fire place heat powered fan, the warm air reaches all corners and disperses any heat pockets that gather on the ceiling.
So, you’re looking for a wood stove blower fan?
Picking the right wood stove fan might be a little tricky, as there are quite a few factors that play a crucial role. Luckily, the present heat powered stove fan market offers a plethora of models that will meet almost all demands and budget.
Most fans are constructed for regular stoves that usually operate at the temperature range from 150F to 500F. If your stove regularly reaches temperatures of more than 500F then you need to consider the Stirling engine powered stove fans. The Stirling powered fans are the most powerful devices, so if you wish to circulate warmth in an open plan room or a spacious area they will certainly be worth the money.
Most modern Peltier powered devices are fitted with a safety solution to prevent it from overheating and to protect the Peltier module. Hanza Ltd, the manufacturer of the Sirocco wood stove fan has fitted their fans with three little feet in the base that can be used to lift the fan off a stove top if it gets too hot. Other manufacturers of wood stove blowers use a bi-metallic strip built in the fan’s base that bends and tilts the fan backwards. However, if the stove’s highest temperature reaches 500F not only may the Peltier module melt, but also the motor will get damaged.
Quite recently a few brands came up with stove fan models that can be mounted directly on the flue pipe.
Also, mind any height restrictions above your stove as well as the flue output so you can keep a Peltier fan away from it.
The construction of the Peltier powered wood stove fan is not very complicated. You could build a fan yourself if you’re DIY inclined. TEG modules and motors are readily available, so the design of the fan itself is up to your imagination really. The web is full of tips, ideas and inspiration – it’s certainly great fun and there is nothing to compare to the satisfaction you get when you create something yourself.
Need to push the heat further into the house?
The Ventum 2 wood stove fan by Valiant, creates a narrow and powerful stream that is suitable for boats but also can be used to direct the heat past the door to the other rooms.
A doorway fan is a must-have solution if your goal is to spread the warmth gathered in a stove room to the rest of the house.
How are wood stove fans powered?
There were obstacles in getting a good source of power to drive the fan though. They found that using batteries not only added cost to the whole exercise, but the stove top could reach temperatures in excess of 570 Fahrenheit, which was beyond the safe usage of most batteries bought in ordinary stores.
Electricity was the obvious answer, but with this solution also came added cost to the wood stove fan. Not only the cost in electricity to power the wood burning stove fan – but also added costs to shield the wires inside from the extreme heat of the stove top.
The final solution was to somehow harness the heat from the wood stove to power the wood burning stove fan itself, and so the heat activated stove fan was born. The heat is transferred into power to drive the stove fan blades by using either the TEG Module and Seebeck effect, or by a miniature Stirling Engine.
The TEG Module
TEG is an abbreviation for Thermoelectric Power Generator. The transfer of heat from the heat source or hot body, in this case the stove top, through the electrical conductors to the cold body generates a current and is also known as the Seebeck Effect:
This method generates enough power to run the motor that powers the wood stove fan. With no moving parts it’s very reliable, as there are fewer things that can go wrong or will need replacing.
The Stirling Engine
Created in the early 1800s by Robert Stirling to rival the steam powered combustion engines, this small engine was largely ignored by the powerhouses behind the industrial revolution, but used for smaller household devices over the last hundred years.
The Stirling engine uses the heat from the stove top to heat the air inside a cylinder that is sealed with a compressor. The hot air drives a piston up, which turns the flywheel, when the air cools the compressor at the top plunges and completes the turn of the flywheel and resets the piston. The flywheel is attached to the wood stove fan blades and this is how the mechanical energy is created to drive the fan.
The Stirling engine is at a mechanical advantage and is capable of pushing huge quantities of hot air around a room and is used our models such as the Warpfive and is possible to move a staggering 260 cubic feet of air per minute.
The common factor of both of these power sources is they have a low torque motor that stops and starts easily. With models such as the ones from Valiant they have a low temperature starting point of just 113 Fahrenheit, but most will start at around 150 Fahrenheit. You also have to be mindful of the top temperature limits for the heat powered stove fan. We suggest using a thermometer on the stove, the SFR Stove Thermometer quite clearly shows the maximum temperatures for both the TEG Module fans and the Stirling Engine fans. When your stove gets to this temperature you just move the wood stove fan off the stove.
Where to place a wood stove fan?
Where you place your wood stove fan helps you get the best results. Your fan will usually come with clear suggestions about the best position. Most fans use a Peltier module to guarantee a sufficient heat difference between the cool side and the hot side of the fan, the position of this in the stove fan means the best place for it on your stove top is to the rear of the stove far away from the flue pipe so cooler air can be drawn in.
Other factors will affect the efficiency of the wood stove fan like the position of the stove in the room, is it freestanding? Is there much airflow if it’s set inside a fireplace? The rule of thumb is that the fans for wood burning stoves should be placed away from the flue and never directly in front, so set to the right would be best.
As with all these things, everyone’s room is different and we do recommend that you try different positions to find the optimum placement for your i.e., Ecofan. Of course, fan won’t stop working if you can’t put it in exactly the spot shown in the above diagram.
Stirling powered fans, such as the Vulcan or Warpfive, can withstand greater temperatures and don’t rely on a cooling system in the same way, so their placement on your stove top. We suggest you look closely at these fans if you have a large room to heat, or if your stove reaches very high temperatures.
What about gas stoves & inset stoves?
Stoves whose output are generally a lot lower than regular multi-fuel or wood burning stoves can still benefit from the stove fan – look out for SmartFan marked with ‘LT’, Warpfive Glasshoppers or Caframo BelAir if your stove’s top doesn’t reach 390Fahrenheit.
The wood stove fan for the inset stove has been brought to the market recently, the Sirocco can be mounted to the door front of inbuilt stoves.
The stove fans have been around now for a while, design tweaks and improvements come in every successive model, which means there is very likely a wood stove blower fan which will suit your particular setup.
Whether you’re looking for something that will improve the heat solutions to the largest of rooms or are looking for something to bring your fuel costs down, many manufactures believe having a wood stove fan can reduce your fuel usage by up to 14%. We have taken some of the strain from knowing which is the best one for you by reviewing each wood stove fan model we sell with a reliable and impartial evaluation.
Where are the wood stove fans made?
China has flooded the world with all kinds of Peltier powered fans. Some of the European manufacturers have their products constructed in Chinese factories, but under their own supervision to meet their higher standards. Then, there are a few European brands with their most genuine and sophisticated models that are designed and constructed in Europe. Of course, we cannot forget the pioneer brand, Caframo, based in Canada, who introduced their line of stove fans – The Ecofan.