Kemencék: Beautiful Hungarian Home Furnaces
Categories: Homes / Dwellings
Because the exterior of an oven stove does not become too hot, there is no danger of burning yourself. This quality is sometimes used to integrate a bench or a couch into the stove, a luxury that no other heating appliance can offer. In Russia it used to be a habit to install beds atop of an oven stove.
Thanks to their warm (but not too warm) exterior, oven stoves offer more possibilities. They are very well suited to keep pots and pans warm, or to dry laundry – metal stoves or radiators are mostly too hot for that. A ceramic stove can be equipped with hot plates and an oven, so that it can be used as a cooking appliance, too.
Oven stoves are an alternative for all modern heating appliances, but compared to wood stoves they have another, important advantage. More and more people choose wood as an energy source for heating, so that they are not dependent on the unpredictable energy prices of oil and gas.
In one sense this is not a bad thing, since unlike gas and oil, wood is a renewable and CO2-neutral fuel (the CO2 that is produced by the burning of wood was taken out of the atmosphere by the tree during the years before). The problem is that wood stoves are not very efficient, and extremely polluting.
Wood can be burned without too much air pollution, but then the temperature has to be high enough: 1100 to 1200 degrees Celsius. In that case, 99 percent of the wood is converted to CO2 and water vapour, almost without smoke. A metal wood stove, however, only reaches a temperature of 650 to 700 degrees, with an incomplete wood combustion as a result.
Wood consists for two thirds out of combustible gases and for one third out of combustible material. In the case of an incomplete combustion, these gases escape as smoke via the chimney. In regions where many people use wood heating, the air quality worsens dramatically (an incomplete wood combustion is more polluting than the burning of oil or gas).
In a wood stove the fire is quelled by diminishing the supply of air, if not the room would overheat by the fast release of warmth by the metal appliance. Because an oven stove does not immediately release the heat of the fire, but stores it temporarily in the masonry mass, wood can be burned at a very high temperature without overheating the room.
An oven stove is always stoked at full power, even if a lower temperature is desired: in that case you simply stoke a smaller portion of wood, or you stoke less often.
A complete combustion is not only advantageous for air quality and efficiency, it is also safer. In the case of an incomplete combustion, the chimney gets ever more densely set with creosote, which can lead to a chimney fire when one day the stove is fuelled at full power (the reason why a chimney has to be cleaned regularly).