Posted by: Scott McCullough | February 17, 2012

Wood Burning Cook Stoves

Our wood stove will be our primary source of space heat during the winter. We figure that to make the best use of this appliance it would make sense that it also has the ability to bake.  One of the most energy intensive appliances is an electric oven, and being able to avoid using this from time to time should save us from using a significant amount of electricity.

There are plenty of wood stoves out there that meet our criteria, but finding a wood burning cook stove is a bit more difficult.  After some searching though we’ve found a couple that would seem to work well for us, with the exception of one hurdle, the price.

This first one came highly recommended in an article I found online (http://www.sustainablelivingmagazine.org/living-green/eco-energy/renewable-energy/wood-energy/72-ironheart-cooking-stove).

Esse is a British company, that makes several varieties of wood burning cook stoves.  This author recommends the Iron Heart as it “offered an all round flexibility and balance between form and function”.  I really like the simple lines of the stove, and the lack of decoration.  This stove comes in at $5500.  Yikes.

Esse offers a smaller stove that might be more appropriate for our use called the Plus 1, we would get this in a black finish.  Cost $3800.

A Danish manufacturer HWAM makes a lot of sleeker looking stoves, the Classic 4 with the baking oven compartment being one with a more utilitarian appearance.  As with the Esse stoves, it has a crafted simple design.

The HWAM stoves have an add-on make up air inlet, which we would plan on using a variation of regardless of the stove we selected.  HWAM conveniently has a representative close to us in Plymouth, NH, who I’m sure we will visit before going much further with this.

Come to find out the HWAM Classic 4 is not sold in North America!  The company has not had the stove go through the required testing, which is expensive.  But the HWAM Classic 7 is available, and retails for $4000.  Pretty steep, not sure how that will fit into the budget.  Basically the same as the 4, but it is cylindrical in shape.

Another stove that I feel like I should mention is the Klassic by Wittus.  This one is more industrial looking, and is hand made in the USA.  But the price tag of $14,650 puts this stove well out of our budget.

It may end up that we settle for a stove that we find laying around somewhere, and pony up for either an Esse or HWAM stove later on after the house is done.  We will see.

Speaking of stoves, we scored a GE Profile Induction Cooktop last weekend at a Lowe’s store closing auction (Normally we do not condone doing business with Lowe’s or Home Depot, but we figured since it was a closing auction it was ok).  The cooktop normally retails for $1500, we got it for $373!


Responses

  1. I enjoy the idea of cooking food at the same stove that heats the house, but I wonder how realistic the assumption is that you will use it a lot and save energy. Most recipies require a specfic cooking temperature over a period of time, which I imagine would be hard to control with the wood fire. Have you considered just purchasing a stove without the cooking element to save money? I am sure your wall ovens will be a delight to bake in!

    • To some extent it is sort of a novelty, we may not use it to cook meats or breads. But I think we’ll use it all the time to make casseroles, re-heat leftovers and things like that. But it will depend on how comfortable we get with the tempertaure control, some of the stoves have a thermostat, and they all have draft control that theoretically controls the heat to the oven. Originally we were thinking of getting a regular wood stove without the oven, but I think it’s worth a little additional exoense for the oven to make the stove more active, and to save energy. Ovens are second only to clothes dryers (which we will not have) for energy use, and even though the savings might not be apparent I like that there’s an option. Not to mention when the power goes out.

  2. There are some very different stoves there, you should first decide exactly what it is you intend it to do. I recently installed an Ironheart, and I recommend it highly – but you need to understand that it puts out a lot more space heat than, say, the Plus 1. My house has an open kitchen and lounge with optional air flow to 3 bedrooms, and it heats the whole house beautifully as well as providing hot water, oven and cooktop – which is everything I need to survive winter in luxury. But it would be diabolically hot in a closed kitchen! The Plus 1 would warm a kitchen nicely but it will never space-heat a whole house.

    I disagree that a woodfired oven is not controllable enough for most recipes – I haven’t tried souffles or anything really technical but I’ve done bread, pizza, potatoes (roast and baked), casseroles and roast meats etc and it has done a fantastic job on all of them, even with zero prior experience and often a complete lack of basic attention on my part and the temps sometimes varying wildly. If you have the flexibility to ‘give it another few minutes’ then there really is no problem and it is surprisingly forgiving. Timing a complex meal of different dishes to be ready together will just take a bit more practice in getting the temps consistent and the timing right, but that is half the fun too.

    It was expensive but now that I know how fundamental it is to my winter energy needs I would sell everything I own if I had to replace it! It is a lot more than just an appliance, it is a core part of how the house operates. My winter electricity bills are much lower than my summer ones (no aircon or electric cooking in winter!) and it does it all on surprisingly little wood.

    Good luck with whatever you decide, but don’t let the price tag scare you towards the wrong stove – you’ll have forgotten the price in 10, 20 or 30 years, when the right stove will still be serving you well.

  3. Neil,

    Thanks for the comments. It’s great to hear that your Ironheart can accommodate baking a variety of things. I hope that before we make a purchase we can take a look at one in person, and get some more insight. There is a local HWAM dealer in New Hampshire, but the closest Esse dealer is near Vancouver.
    As far as heat output I think the result may just be that we rely more or less on our backup radiant floor heating. Since we want to avoid using the radiant, a larger stove may help with that.


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