Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is the difference between a Euro Fireplace and conventional wood heaters?
A Euro Fireplace is a natural convection heater. Natural convection is universally accepted as the most efficient wood heating system, and with correct operation it uses the smallest amount of firewood. More than 85% of wood heaters worldwide use natural convection to circulate warmth.
Q. How does natural convection work?
A natural convection wood heater draws cold air at floor level from your house into the heater. As that air is channelled through the side of the heater it is warmed and expelled from the top of the heater into the living space. Warm air will travel throughout the house and as it cools it again returns to the heater, creating a continuous cycle and resulting in less energy needed to maintain warmth.
Q. What about radiant heat?
In addition to convection, our heaters also release radiant heat from the glass and body of the heater. A heavier heater with more thermal mass will result in longer lasting output of radiant heat.
Q. How does radiant heat work?
Radiant heat is sometimes called “The Healthy Heat”; it acts like the heat from the sun and, like the sun, you need a direct line of sight to feel it. In the direct line of radiant heat 17 degrees will feel like 21 degrees, resulting in a feeling of wellbeing. Radiant heat from a wood heater will linger near the heater vicinity; this may be important in less insulated houses or two storey houses
Q. What is Heat Bank?
Heat Bank is unique in Australia to Euro Fireplaces. By adding thermal mass in form of a tile or stone finish, or the addition of heat absorbing stones between the inner and outer steel layer of the heater, heat is stored and released slowly in the form of radiant heat as well as prolonged convection. The principal of Heat Bank comes from the traditional ancient wood heating building of Kachel Oven (Austrian), where heaters were built with masonry building materials creating around 1000 kg + of thermal mass. Like floor heating, the heater retains warmth for up to 24 hours with minimal wood usage.
Q. Do all Euro Fireplaces have Heat Bank?
No, Heat Bank is not always necessary. If a heater is used intermittently, such as in a business or a holiday home, or as a supplementary (as opposed to primary) heat source, a steel finish will heat quicker and convect warm air further throughout the house than a heavier Heat Bank heater. However, once a Heat Bank heater has charged the thermal mass (approximately 40 minutes after lighting the fire) natural convection will also travel efficiently through the house.
Q. Is there a big price difference between a Heat Bank Heater and a non-Heat Bank Heater?
Heat Bank heaters are more expensive than a steel heater, however in most cases the extra cost is quickly recuperated by even lower wood usage. With many models Heat Bank is optional and can even be added after the fireplace has been installed and operated.
Q. How important is a large kW output?
A natural convection wood heater does not rely on a large kW output. The aim is for the same air to keep coming back and to not let heat escape through the flue. The unique Euro Fireplace burn chamber and air supply is designed to not only burn clean, but also use every last bit of energy from the firewood and, with correct operation, leave only fine ash. This system doesn’t require a big kilowatt output; it creates less energy (using less wood) but effectively transfers those kW from the heater to your home.
Q. Why does a Euro Fireplace have no fan?
Fan forced wood heaters were preferable in older, poorly insulated houses with gaps that let air out. A natural convection wood heater may be unsuitable for such houses, as the heater would draw cold air from gaps under doors or floor boards. A fan forced heater simply relies on warm air forced out of the heater that rises to the ceiling where it sits until it cools. The heater then must continuously force warm air away from the firebox using an electric fan. A fan forced wood heater is simply an outdated technology that is no longer necessary with modern buildings or retroactive insulation of older houses.
Many fan forced wood heaters rely on a high kw output that not only uses more fuel to create the higher kilowatt output, but also pushes heat out through the flue and therefore uses considerably more firewood than a Euro Fireplace.
Q. Is a Euro Fireplace suitable for any house?
If the house is leaky at floor level (gaps under doors) and those leaks cannot be covered then a fan forced heater may be a better option. It is, however, good sense to address gaps at floor level regardless of the heater. Leaks at ceiling level are an issue whether the heater is fan forced or natural convection as the warm air created by the heater can be lost.
Q. If a Euro uses less wood, doesn’t a big load of wood mean more heat?
In theory yes however, a bigger load of wood or big pieces of wood need more combustion air (primary air) which will result in a bigger kw fire. This is counterproductive as on one side there is more immediate radiant heat around the fire, but also a large heat loss through the flue as all the while a lot more wood is used.
A Euro Fireplace needs primary air only to start the fire. Secondary air from the top of the fire chamber (after the fire is established) will give a complete combustion; therefore, in a Euro Fireplace smaller logs will burn hotter, longer and cleaner.
Q. How important is the correct operation of a Euro Fireplace?
Very. From using appropriately sized, well-seasoned firewood to not overloading and correct air control position, only a correctly operated Euro Fireplace will provide the most heat, a clean burn and high efficiency.
Overloading a heater and smouldering (depriving the heater of enough combustion air) instead of a bright burn will result in a blackened glass and a dirty flue. This can not only lead to blackening walls and ghosting (black marks on the ceiling) but also flue fires.
Q. Can I shut the heater down overnight?
With correct operation most Euro Fireplaces Heat Bank heaters will retain embers without blackening the glass or the flue for up to 8 hours. After the embers have gone out the heat bank will retain heat for another few hours. The way in which an overnight burn is executed is important. See our operation manuals for more information.
Q. How does the Australian efficiency rating relate to wood usage?
Efficiency is measured on how effectively a certain quantity of firewood can heat a certain area. The public interest in efficiency relates to what the wood usage of the heater is in relation to the space being heated.
This, of course, depends on the insulation of the house to heat. With many traditional wood heaters, the per hour average quantity of fire wood usage is not made public. A Euro Fireplace uses a small amount of wood; usually from 1.3 kg per hour to around 2 kg per hour.
While the average efficiency of an Australian wood heater is 62%, there is a difference between the wood usage of a traditional fan forced wood heater and a natural convection heater, A natural convection heater such as a Euro Fireplace does not rely on a big kw output heater compared to a traditional Australian fan forced radiant heater.
A natural convection wood heater relies on the circulation of air; this means a natural convection wood heater can heat larger areas with a minimal amount of wood as already warmed air keeps coming back to be reheated over and over, resulting in less energy needed to heat that air.
Q. How much less wood can I expect to use?
With correct operation and wood size, you should be using up to 60% less wood compared to a traditional fan forced wood heater. This is due to many elements of the design, including the use of natural convection, vermiculite lining, primary and secondary air inlets and heat bank technology.
Q. What about emissions?
Emissions are tested in Australia per kilogram of wood burned. Those emissions must not be higher than 1.5g. All Euro Fireplaces are well under that target, with some of our models as low as 0.4 grams. This makes them some of the lowest emission wood heaters currently on the market in Australia.
Q. How important is the flue length?
Very. A Euro Fireplace will minimize heat loss through the flue (more heat in the flue = a stronger draw); therefore, a slightly taller flue than in traditional wood heaters may be necessary. Most Euro Fireplaces require 10 to 12 pascal of flue draw. This usually equates to a four-metre flue from the heater. Certain areas like high altitude or near water may require a higher flue for the heater to draw correctly. Without a correct draw the heater will not perform as intended.
Q. What is a fresh air intake?
A fresh air intake (available with most Euro Fireplaces) connected to the outside, allows the heater to use external oxygen for combustion rather than from inside the house. The result is better combustion, wood savings and maximum air quality inside the house. The fresh air take is always recommended with 6 + star houses.
Q. Does the glass stay clean?
With correct operation the glass should always stay clean. A continuously dirty glass indicates a potential problem with installation, firewood quality, moisture content, wood size, worn seals or incorrect operation. Please note; the glass may get dusty or brown either initially when lighting a fire or when in prolonged burn mode. This is normal and will clear when the heater reaches correct burning temperatures. Some dusty/ashy build up on the glass window is unavoidable, but a wipe down with wet paper towel once a week will remove this build up.
Q. How often should I clean the heater?
Your ashtray should be emptied every 2-3 days. In addition to this, once a week the inside of the firebox should be brushed clean and any ash that has spilled from the ash tray should be removed from below the firebox. This ensures correct air flow and minimizes potential overburn as ash blocks the airflow and therefore causes heat to not be dispersed correctly.
Q. How often should a heater and flue be serviced?
In general, a yearly service before the start of the season is advisable. Continuously clean glass indicates a clean flue; therefore, a flue clean may not be as urgent as when the glass is mostly dirty. Keep in mind however that creosote will burn off the glass but not off the flue, so if your glass is black every morning but clean every afternoon your flue may still need regular cleaning. We recommend a flue clean at the beginning of winter each year.
Q. Can I expect a lot of flaky ash and dust?
Not with correct operation. A Euro Fireplace has a large door compared to the firebox size. This in turn increases the likelihood of ash entering the room, particularly with excess ash built up. When you open the door, it is advisable to hold it slightly ajar for 5-10 seconds before slowly opening it completely. This allows the pressure of the fire chamber to become equal to the pressure outside, reducing ash disturbance.
There is no reason to open the door for reloading until there are no longer flames visible in the firebox. If there are still flames present, the fire does not need to be reloaded yet. If the heater is not cleaned on a regular basis the likelihood of ash flakes out of the firebox is higher. Incorrect burning with too much primary air will also result in excess flaky ash, as will smouldering (incomplete/dirty burn) large pieces of wood for long period of times.
BURN BIGHT BURN CLEAN
Q. What is the life of a Euro Fireplace?
As with most Fireplaces, the average life time of a Euro Fireplace is 15 years +. Continuous over burning or operating the fireplace with worn or missing linings will result in a shorter life span. In general, due to the Vermiculite lining protecting the steel body, there is no direct heat or stress to metal.
Any wearable components of the heater are easily exchangeable.
A Euro Fireplace should be a functional piece of furniture that will cover most of the heating requirements for an average size house (depending on the model).
Correct operation is essential, and some people may not be prepared to do that.
We at Euro Fireplaces are the first to acknowledge that our wood heaters may not suit everyone or every house, however if the circumstances are right or near right, we can assure you that a Euro Fire will not only provide you with excellent heating, an environmentally clean burn and a designer showpiece, but many years of enjoyment and a sense of wellbeing while using a minimum amount of firewood.
Correct wood heating is our passion, and should things go wrong, or your heater does not work to your expectations, then we will do whatever we can to rectify any issues you may have.
Your Euro Fireplaces Team