One of several chunks of creosote pulled out of a clients pipe.

Radiant Heat vs. Convection Heat

The basic difference between a radiant stove and a convection stove is that radiant stoves heat objects and convection stoves heat air (although convection heat does have a radiant value).  

Most wood stoves today are convection heaters.  They have an outer steel shell that creates an airspace that helps super heat the air.  This air is then moved by a blower attached to the back of the stove.  This helps move the super heated air throughout a home.

Radiant stoves on the other hand radiate the heat outwards.  That heat penetrates walls and furniture and other objects in the room.  Radiant stoves are best suited for large open spaces like a cabin or loft.

Wood Heat

Upgrading to a New Wood stove

Prior to 1990, there were no regulations on wood stoves.  The EPA changed all of that.  Most states, including Idaho, offer tax incentives to residents who upgrade their old, inefficient stove to a newer more efficient model.  Idaho Stove Works is up to date on the Idaho tax offering and can answer any questions you may have.  

Give us a call at 208-530-0320 to see how getting a new stove can save you money!  

Why Wood

Nothing is as warm and comforting as sitting by a fire on a cold winter night.  The warmth you get from a fire radiates and absorbs into everything you touch or sit on and this warmth lasts.

The hearth industry today is committed to finding new and improved ways to better capture heat performance and distribute it throughout your home.  Idaho Stove Works is also committed to helping you find the right fit whether your need is a free standing stove, insert or fireplace - we offer a complete line.  If you already have a stove or are thinking of upgrading, Idaho Stove Works has helpful suggestions and advice to guide you through the process for a successful and efficient burn. 

Highly flammable creosote from poor burning

Creosote build-up of over 1/8" thick needs to be removed to prevent fires.

Creosote & Dangers

What is creosote and why is it bad?  Creosote is a by-product of incomplete combustion and can come from several fuel sources like wood and coal.  The combination of improper cleaning & maintenance along with poor burning practices can create creosote build-up that could cost thousands of dollars in damage.  Creosote is highly flammable and is the main cause of chimney fires.

Idaho Stove Works has all the tools & chemical cleaners required to get your chimney or flue system free of dangerous build up.  If creosote damage has reached a point where your flue or venting is no longer safe, we will go over all the options available to you to get you back up and burning again.  Call us at 208-530-0320 to schedule your cleaning.

What to Burn

The best wood to burn is wood that is dry and has been seasoned.  Seasoned wood is wood that has been cut and stored properly to allow sun and wind to evaporate the excessive moisture in the wood.  Different woods season at different rates.  Softwood generally needs 9 – 12 months of seasoning whereas hard woods can take a bit longer.    The seasoning has everything to do with moisture content.  Fresh wood or “green” wood can have a moisture content of upwards of 60%.  Burning green wood causes dirty burning and produces a plethora of creosote requiring more than annual cleanings.  Creosote build-up is the main cause of chimney fires.  Never burn garbage or treated wood.  These can contain chemicals that emit poisonous gases or cause corrosive acids that diminish the life for your stove, stove pipe and chimney.

Catalytic Vs. Non Catalytic

​There is much debate on which is better, a catalytic or non catalytic stove.  The best answer for that is neither and both.  Both types are effective, but there are performance differences.  Catalytic stoves in general cost more up front than non-catalytic stoves.  Both are EPA approved and meet emission standards.  

A catalytic stove uses a catalyst which is a ceramic honeycomb inside the stove in which smoke & gases ignite and burn.  Catalytics also lower ignition temperatures which in turn allow burnable particulates to stay in the firebox longer.  This give a catalytic stove more of an efficient burn, longer burn times, and reduces emissions.  Catalyst can last up to 5 seasons but require annual cleaning and maintenance.  Not maintaining your catalyst lowers the efficiency and burn time of your stove.  

All non-catalytic stoves (manufactured after 1992) use a process called re-burn technology.  This technology utilizes secondary air tubes above the firebox and below the baffle to reignite smoke particulates.  This gives your stove more heat energy to transfer as well as reduce emissions.  

All industry manufacturers recommend annual cleaning and inspections in order to maintain your stoves function and performance.  Idaho Stove Works certified professionals are trained to efficiently and effectively keep your wood stove in reliable good working order.

What Stove is Right For you?

How do you determine which stove is right for you?  You could drive around town for hours visiting different retailers.  You could spend hours on-line researching different brands and features.  Idaho Stove Works does it a little different.  “We come to you!”  We believe that in coming to you, we can help guide you through the process of: the best place to locate your new stove to maximize heat transfer throughout your home; any safety concerns and clearance issues; complete measurements to determine venting needs; and the installation process.  After installation, Idaho Stove Works will then walk you through all aspects of your new stove; starting a fire; proper burning techniques; draft control & banking; and any other questions you may have.  Call us today at 208-530-0320 to get that professional in-home consulting on your new wood stove.

Buying a Used Wood Stove

Many people today sell their used wood stoves on sites like E-Bay, Craig’s List, or local Buy/Sell/Trade.   If you are thinking about buying a used stove there are some things to take into consideration before purchasing.

The first thing to consider is the age of the stove.  Wood stoves manufactured before 1990 are inefficient and most likely not UL-listed or certified by the EPA.  This can make the stove illegal to install under many building codes.  How can you tell the age of a wood stove?  If the stove is UL-listed or certified by the EPA, there will be a placard on the back of the stove.  It will have all the information about the stove.

For a list of EPA approved stoves:

Next, consider what will your insurance company cover?  Most insurance companies aren’t so concerned with the age of a stove, but who installs it.  All insurance companies require that your wood-burning appliance be professionally installed and maintained by a certified technician.​

Ask about maintenance.  When purchasing a used wood stove, ask a lot of questions in regards to the maintenance of the appliance.  Many parts wear out as the stove ages and how it has been treated.   Have any parts been repaired or replaced?  When was the last time the gaskets were checked or replaced?  Does the stove have a catalytic?  Catalytics should be removed and cleaned annually unless burning has been really heavy, and then they should be cleaned at least twice.  Catalytics should be replaced every 3-5 years depending on burning practices.  Did a professional do annual cleanings?  Check the venting – is there a build-up of creosote?  If the seller of the stove can’t answer these questions, you might want to walk away and look elsewhere.

Doing a Visual Check.  If the above has all checked out and you are moving forward with your purchase, it is time to do a visual check of the stove.  Things to look for are warping, rust or dis-colorization.  Does the stove have a damper?  Does the damper move freely?  What about cracks or leaks?  The best way to check for cracks or leaks is to use a high lumen light and place inside the firebox.  Close the door and walk around the stove.  Do you see any light coming through?  If so, walk away.

If you are thinking about buying a used wood stove and want professional advice first, give us a call at 208-530-0320 for a free, no-nonsense consultation.  We are experienced with wood stoves and can help guide you through the used buying market.

Idaho Stove Works is happy to install a used stove under the following conditions:

  • The stove must meet EPA Certifications.
  • The stove must pass Idaho Stove Works Used Stove Inspection Policy.
  • Used stove installations are only scheduled in our "off season" between March and July.

If you have any questions at anytime, please call us @ 208-530-0320.