Our freestanding wood stoves are designed to stand in a room without being surrounded by any other materials, i.e. surrounded by air on all sides.
A freestanding stove is very practical for either new construction or retrofitting to an existing home. It will be the simplest to add, as it does not have surrounding framing nor does it need a fireplace to install into like an insert requires.
Our insert wood stoves are designed to be installed into an existing code complying masonry woodburning fireplace.
You cannot pick an insert wood stove unless your house already has an existing woodburning masonry fireplace. This would not be an appropriate choice for new home construction or a major addition.
When your home already has a fireplace, the benefit is that it allows you to change that inefficient decorative fireplace into an efficient heat producer without sacrificing more floor space.
Otherwise called a fireplace, our built-in wood stoves are constructed out of metal or modular masonry and designed to be enclosed in wood or other materials.
These fireplaces will come in two sub-categories, either high efficiency (sometimes called air tight) and decorative. High efficiency built-in fireplaces are more or less EPA certified stoves that are made to be built into combustible wood framed walls. Decorative fireplaces can be made of metal or modular masonry and are designed to look nice, but not be efficient heat producers.
A built-in fireplace can be just as efficient as a freestanding stove or an insert, if you pick the high efficiency category. It will need to be framed in and surrounded by a wall in your home, or bumped out through an exterior wall and enclosed in a box, which we term a “chase”. You can pick from a large variety of fireplaces and finishes to make this a real architectural statement in your home. A built-in fireplace can also come in a decorative model that will not be an efficient heater. A decorative fireplace is what is commonly thought of when people think of a fireplace, which is why in a cold climate like Wyoming homeowner’s often times chose to upgrade that inefficient fireplace with an insert.
Why our customers in Southeastern Wyoming and North Central Colorado love our wood stoves for heating their homes
Today’s woodstoves are so much more user friendly and efficient than woodstoves from 20 years ago. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) started certifying wood stove emissions in 1988. This caused a monumental change in the wood stove industry. Today’s woodburning appliances are not only more than TWICE as efficient, they are also averaging 20 times cleaner than old technology wood burners! The downside to the introduction of EPA certification was 90% of the woodburning appliance manufacturers discontinued making stoves due to their inability to meet the new standards without investing a large amount of money, but the plus side is we now have a superior product.
Did you know that 99% of all of the high efficiency wood burning appliances have a clear window that stays clean while the fire burns? Not only is this practical so that you can see when it is time to add wood to your fire, but it also allows you to enjoy the beauty of the fire burning in your stove or fireplace.
So a new wood-burning appliance meeting the EPA emission standards is very “green” and environmentally friendly. They can use scrap wood and dead trees and burn the wood so thoroughly that they will not add additional pollution to the atmosphere.
Come visit High Country Stoves in Laramie, Wyoming, where our knowledgeable staff is ready to help you pick the perfect wood burning stove for your home.
Catalytic versus Non-Catalytic Wood Stoves, What’s the Difference?
The EPA has categorized the two different ways in which manufacturers make their appliances meet the new emission standards catalytic and non-catalytic. This refers to the way in which the potential pollution is reburned within the appliance.
A catalytic appliance has a round or rectangular grid shaped like a honeycomb that is made of ceramics coated with a noble metal such as platinum or palladium.
Sounds expensive doesn’t it? They are. They have two passages in which the “smoke” (otherwise called flue gases) can pass thru the stove. One is the bypass mode where the flue gases go around the catalytic combustor and exit the stove without being treated. This method is NOT clean burning and efficient.
The other passage is used when a lever or door is moved closing off the bypass mode and the flue gases are forced to go through the catalytic combustor. This is only done after the flue gases have reached a minimum temperature of 500°. This is the minimum temperature at which the catalytic reaction starts to take place in the flue gases as they pass through the combustor. The temperature at which the gases will burn again is lowered from approximately 1100° to 500° and the gases further combust inside the stove and do not continue out the chimney to cause creosote buildup on the chimney walls and pollution in the air we breathe. This is of course what the EPA is preventing with their emission regulations. This process is very similar to what automobiles began using back in the 1970s when they were first regulated.
The other method in which the emissions are reduced is a non-catalytic reburn. In these appliances a catalytic combustor is not used. These stoves also have a way
to slow down the exit of the flue gases by the use of a baffle. This is some type of rigid plate that does not allow the flue gases to pass directly from the fire in the primary combustion zone (where the wood is placed) to the exit on the stove, usually called the flue collar. The flue gases are slowed down, and more oxygen is added to the gases, usually through a series of air tubes with carefully positioned holes to add air into the gases.
The 3 ingredients we need to make fire are, fuel, oxygen and heat. The fuel is the partially combusted flue gases, the oxygen is from the air that is jetted into the fire from the air tubes, and the heat is from the combustion of the wood that is burning in the primary combustion zone. The key to the gases being reburned is the temperature in this secondary combustion zone, which is kept at a minimum of 1100°. This causes the gases to combust and reburn all of that potential fuel that was previously being wasted by going up the chimney and polluting the atmosphere.
This is why our new stoves and high efficiency fireplaces are more than double the efficiency of their older cousins; they capture and burn all of that energy, even from the previously unburnt flue gases.