Which Wood Heaters Are Best For You? - Manna Gum Building And Garden Supplies

Which Wood Heaters Are Best For You?

Wood Heaters Are For More Than Heating Wood

I don’t think there is a more relaxing thing (I mean like zoning out) than staring into a wood fire.  I think it is there, implanted deep in our DNA, from a hundred thousand years of being totally reliant on fire to keep us alive at night and cook our meals in the day.  Fire is our friend and wood heaters are the modern, user friendly version of it.  Today I cover the basic fireplaces you can get and which one might suit you best.

Different Types

All heaters, both wood and electric are referred to as “Space Heaters”.  They heat up a space around them in exchange for the fuel they use.  They can heat up an area from 80 square meters to 400 depending on which model you decide on.

There are basically three types of wood heater on the market.

The first is the traditional Open Fireplace …

Manna Gum Firewood

that is built into the wall and has a chimney that vents the smoke outside of the home.  Open fireplaces are lovely to watch and if you can settle in the right place (close enough without being too close) you will have the best experience available from a fire today. However there are a few drawbacks to the traditional open fireplace.  The main one being that a lot of your heat shoots straight out the chimney.  Then, since they are not that efficient at controlling the burn of the fire, they tend to use a bit more wood than their more modern descendants.

Secondly we have the Radiant Fireplace …

which is designed to replace a traditional open fireplace or be built into a new house.  It tends to sit flush with the wall and like an open fireplace heat fills the room mainly from the single side (front) facing outwards.  These fireplaces differ though because they are enclosed. You can control the air going in and therefore control the fire itself.  You can lower the fire so it doesn’t just roar away at all your wood, burning it as fast as it can.  So they are much more efficient and cleaner.  They are easier to keep at the “hot” stage and heat the room very well. Some of the Radiant Heaters have small electric fans that push air outwards into the room and just like a car heater it helps warm the room even more quickly.

Finally we have the Freestanding Fireplace

As far as wood heaters go this is the best at heating an area as ALL of its surfaces are inside the room (top, bottom, front, back and sides) and that means that NONE of the heat gets away without heating the room. Again this wood heater will allow you to control the fire and therefore burn logs for longer and with less ash.  The big downside to this heater though is the fact that ALL surfaces are literally scolding hot.  So you will need a fence around it if you have young toddlers who are more inquisitive than thoughtful :).

Tips for using your Wood Heater Efficiently

  1. Use Paper Or Firelighters to light Twigs and the Twigs to light Kindling
  2. Wait For Some Of The Kindling To Turn To Red Hot Coals.  Larger pieces of wood should only be added after a hot bed of coals has been established.
  3. Don’t Overload The Fireplace.  A wood heater will burn better with three or four smaller logs rather than one or two large ones.
  4. Leave air controls open for at least 15-20 minutes to start the fire burning and when re-loading.
  5. A little air supply overnight avoids a lot of smoke. Don’t close the air supply totally overnight.
  6. Allow enough fresh air for efficient combustion.  Fires need oxygen to burn.  Don’t stave it.
  7. Closing doors and curtains in your house can conserve heat. Getting the balance right is important.
  8. Ensure your heater is properly installed.  Getting someone qualified to install a heater can save big headaches later.
  9. Have your wood heater serviced each year.  Just like a car,  set time aside to service in spring or early summer so it’s ready for Autumn.
  10. Never use petrol, kerosene or oil to start an indoor fireplace.
  11. Only burn dry, well-seasoned hardwood from a reputable supplier.  This causes the least amount of ash and requirers far less cleaning out.


Installing a wood heater into your home leaves you with a job to do.  And that is to get firewood.  Most people start off getting it from National Parks (make sure you check your local guidelines as there are set times and fines if you are naughty) but end up just buying it from a local Firewood Dealer.  Make sure the dealer is selling wood that meets the Environmental Codes (again there can be fines if this is not so) and check that the wood is a good moisture content.  It should be below 25% moisture and below 20% is better.

  • Cost of Firewood – it’s tricky to calculate but the average ton of wood retails for approximately $390.  Some places (like us) use the Cubic Meter measure.  A ton of wood is approximately 2 cubic meters.
  • When purchasing firewood, check if the seller obtains their wood from registered firewood cutters.
  • Don’t burn green wood and only burn dried hardwood as this will cut down on the amount of smoke produced. Wood needs to be seasoned, which takes time. Burning unseasoned wood is not only less efficient, it can result in a build-up of creosote in the flue or chimney, which can catch alight and possibly burn your house down.
  • Wood is both heavy and bulky.  So you need to think about how you are going to transport it and where you are going to store it.
  • Wood needs to be stored in a dry place and shouldn’t be stored against the house, as it can become a fire hazard and a home for rodents and termites
  • Wood can create mess both before and after burning.
  • Your flue or chimney will need to be regularly cleaned (so that it works efficiently and doesn’t become a fire hazard).

Clean Air Regulations for Wood Heaters

We recommend buying a wood heater that displays a compliance plate that certifies it meets Australian emissions standards.

Burning wood for warmth is very satisfying.  It takes a little extra effort, that is true, but like tending a garden or cooking a meal, you are always rewarded at the end.

Have the best winter snuggled up with someone you love right next to a fire.  Can’t beat that.


Darren Stiles

Darren Stiles

Manna Gum Building And Garden Supplies

03 97522434

Where Do We Supply To?

Supplying quality ready to burn firewood to:

Ferntree Gully, Boronia, Wantirna, Wantirna South, Rowville, Knox, Scorsby, Upwey, Belgrave, Bayswater, Bayswater North, Lysterfield, Waterford Park, The Basin and Ferny Creek.

Any other areas, call and we will quote you on delivery.

About the Author Darren Stiles

Hi, I am Darren and I have been running Manna Gum for the last 20 years. Boy does time fly by. Before running a Building and Garden supply business I ran my own Brick Laying business. I know what it means to roll up your sleeves and bend into the work and I know that getting the things you need, to be delivered on time and be of good quality, means everything. If you have any questions, give me a yell. Cheers.