Wood Stoves - Size, Style and Price
It was in the chilly climes of northern Europe that closed wood stoves were first developed: Scandinavia 's perpetual winter darkness required some more serious warming up than an ordinary fire could provide. But in the past couple of years wood burning stoves have been steadily gaining in popularity in more temperate areas too, for their looks and for their effect. Consequently there's a big variety out there in terms of size, style and price.
Some of the most established stove companies are, unsurprisingly, Scandinavian. There's the famous Aga brand, of course - mega-stoves which take an equally famous amount of effort to maintain, ending up more like a member of the family than a domestic appliance. But they are only one face of the industry. Smaller wood-burners are considerably more time-friendly and can be very environmentally friendly too. Not only is wood a renewable energy source, but closed stoves can be considerably more energy efficient than other kinds of heating. That's to say, much more of the energy consumed produces useful heat - up to four times as much as the average open hearth. Hence their use on long Scandinavian nights.
Wood stove options include the popular Norwegian brand Jotul. They make clean-burn stoves in sizes varying from about as small and compact as you can get to ones which can heat a whole house. Prices also vary widely, from a few hundred pounds to more than a thousand. But there are many other brands out there. Ceramic is a popular material to be incorporated in stoves because of the gentle way it gives off heat (the same property which has led to its use in saucepans and hair straighteners.)