Maximize Your Wood Stove Heat Output Using a Damper
Heating your home with a wood stove is a great way to save money on your monthly energy bills. Ever since wood stoves were originally designed for heating indoors, they have had a feature called a damper. The most basic wood stove damper is a metal disc, located in the stovepipe. This metal disc can be used to control the amount of heat that is lost through the chimney. By using the damper on your wood stove correctly, you can maximize the amount of heat that is channeled into your home, without compromising the safety of your home.
One of the best ways to control the level of heat that is produced by your wood stove is to carefully choose the wood that you will burn. Different types of wood actually burn at different temperatures. If you have access to denser woods such as cherry and maple, these woods burn hotter and are great for the coldest winter days and nights. Lighter woods such as aspen and pine produce less heat. Also, avoid burning wood that is green and not properly dried.
The wood stove damper is usually placed relatively close to the stove so that its position has more of an effect on the temperature of the stovepipe. Most manufacturers place the damper in the stovepipe within about 12 or 18 inches of the stove.
Positioning the Damper
On the outside of the flue pipe, there should be a metal handle that allows you to position the wood furnace damper. With most stoves, the damper is fully open when the handle is positioned horizontally and fully closed when the handle is vertical. When you are first starting the fire, it is helpful to open the damper completely so that smoke will be drawn up the stovepipe and out the chimney. When the fire is going strong and producing the maximum amount of heat, closing the damper at least 2/3 of the way will help to direct heat into your home.
Using a Flue Thermometer
A flue thermometer allows you to use the flue temperature to decide how to position the wood stove damper. The temperature of the flue should be between about 400 and 900 degrees Fahrenheit. This may vary depending on the type of wood stove that you have.
By maintaining a controlled flue temperature, you are also regulating the amount of heat that is directed into your home. When you close the wood stove damper, the temperature of the flue will drop. When you open the damper, it will rise. Using the damper correctly allows you to maximize the heat output of your wood furnace.