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Inset Vs Freestanding wood burning stoves

Posted on 01 February 2017


Besides the ability to choose between multi-fuel stoves and just wood burning stoves, you can also choose between inset and free-standing stoves. So that you're able to make an easier decision, this blog discusses both the advantages and disadvantages of the two options.

Conventional free-standing wood burning stoves require a considerable amount of space (minimum 6 inches around the sides, and a minimum of 12 inches along the top of the stove), in order to function properly and generate a maximum amount of heat. If you have a larger living room or kitchen with a generously sized fireplace, this wont be an issue. However, if you are tight on space or/and don't have a particularly large fireplace, then an inset wood burning stove would be a better idea. 

An inset stove is built into a wall and as a result it can be enjoyed even in the smallest of rooms. Both inset and free-standing stoves can be placed just about anywhere as long as there is proper outside ventilation. They can not only just heat your home but, both can be used to heat water, and create a central heating system. Both insets and free-standing stoves are available in multi-fuel versions.

Many people wrongly think inset stoves generate less heat, and that they're not as efficient as the conventional free-standing versions. However, you can find inset wood burners with efficiency's of over 80%, the output depends on the chosen size. By choosing an inset, you do not have to sacrifice neither efficiency or output.

If an inset stove is putting heat into the chimney breast then it has been wrongly installed. An inset (cassette tape) stove has two skins between which cold air is sucked up and convected back into the room as hot air. Insulation (mineral wool like rockwool or vermiculite) should be put all around the outside of the outer skin. This will then allow ALL the heat to be convected into the room.

Both inset and free-standing wood burning stoves are available in a wealth of styles and designs, this allows them to easily be incorporated into any style of home. Both can be used to compliment a Traditional or Contemporary furnished home, whilst creating a relaxing and inviting atmosphere.

Both inset and free-standing heating appliances can be DEFRA approved for if you live in a smoke control area as long as they're not on the list of exempted appliances. Keep in mind you are also obliged to burn exclusively approved fuel. If you produce too much smoke, you can be fined even if you are using a DEFRA approved inset or free-standing wood burner.

The cost will depend greatly on the size and brand you are buying but, in comparison to the conventional free-standing stoves, the inset versions do tend to be slightly pricier. However, sometimes the insets are easier to install, and the overall costs for either will often work out the same.

Whether you decide on a wood stove insert or a free-standing wood stove, you cant go wrong with the most economical method of heating your home.

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