Whether for roasting chestnuts or toasting toes, the cheerful blaze of a real fire really comes into its own during the winter months, which goes a long way to explain the growing popularity of wood burning stoves. Now even town dwellers are opting for their cosy country charm.
Like a puppy, though, wood burning stoves are not just for Christmas. In combination with a thermal store they can transform the efficiency of your heating system with a renewable energy source that saves on your fuel bills all year round.
So what exactly is a thermal store? Well think of it as a hot water bottle for a house. It’s a sealed hot water tank that draws its heat from a wood burning stove, then stores and transfers it, on demand, to your hot water and heating system.
The heat (not the water) is transferred through a plate heat exchanger that is so efficient it can heat mains cold water instantly and deliver mains pressure hot water at your kitchen or bathroom taps.
The beauty of the system, apart from being a colourful centrepiece of your living room, is that the thermal store is only filled with water once, so there’s no necessity for connection to a cold feed tank, and no need for an overflow or discharge pipe. Installation is relatively simple, and no servicing is required, which means the cost of fitting and running it is greatly reduced.
So if you thought that a wood burning stove was just a romantic rural dream, think again. In combination with a thermal boiler it can, like solar panels, provide a valuable supplementary energy source and what is more, one that is sustainable. And if, perish the thought, power cuts or boiler breakdowns leave you temporarily in the cold, you have a sure fire alternative!
A thermal store can, of course be boosted by a traditional gas or oil burner or immersion heater to deliver constant hot water during the summer months, when heating is not required.
It should be added that specifying the right type and capacity of thermal store for your home is important, especially if other renewable energy sources have been installed, or are likely to be added in the future. But we at Harpers are here to advise you on all the technical aspects. We’ve made a bit of a speciality of renewable heating installations, including wood burner fuelled and solar panel energy sources, as well as related applications like underfloor heating.
They say with a wood burning stove you get two warms for the price one: once when you chop the logs and again when you burn them. But add a thermal store and you get three warms for the price of one. You can’t get better value than that!