Stove designers use these three air inputs to create their masterpiece. Changing one affects the other two. If the tertiary is too powerful it can disrupt the airwash, too weak and the stove fails the tests. Move the tertiary lower in the stove and it starts to do the job of the primary air. And so on.
Now primary air is the one the customers love! Open this fully and the stove will roar and crackle and make a spectacle (men seem to find this particularly pleasing). Perfect for starting the stove up or when refuelling. If cranked open when a stove is up and running though it can be very wasteful, like a flamethrower sending heat skyward. Not only that but the nasty large sooty particles are sent skyward at speed, legging it past the tertiary air before it has chance to zap them. It also leads to inflated expectations. Wastefully roar a 5kW stove for ten minutes and then suddenly shut down the primary air to under half speed and the heat output might leap to 8 or 10kW. The customer gets used to feeling this kind of heat output. But it is much better to have a steady 5kW with less logs being used – than ten minutes of useless roaring for five minutes of incinerator style output. Over-firing is bad for the stove (warps baffles, cracks firebricks etc.).
Turning the primary-air down a notch (or having a stove that will not let you roar away) is less wasteful of heat and better for the environment.
So, in the spirit of the new Ecodesign regulations some manufacturers are reducing the power of the primary control with some removing the primary control altogether! It’s not needed they say! But what about getting the fire going? Or adding more logs? Customers of these “no primary air control” stoves have just one way of “revving things up” and that’s the old “crack open the door trick”.
Other manufacturers are keeping the primary air control but suggest it “only to be used for starting and refuelling”. In tests the primary control is closed or taped over. In this case the stoves are Ecodesign Ready but only whilst customers do not use them with the primary air open.It’s like introducing an eco -riendly car with a “Sport” mode that should be used sparingly.
Removing the primary air control altogether certainly stops a customer overriding Ecodesign Ready ambitions. But it is also a brave step – are customers ready for it? It can be seen that manufacturers are working hard to make their stoves as clean burning as possible but are also torn between this aim and keeping customers happy.
Rumour has it that some manufacturers have been struggling to keep customers happy and are re-introducing varying levels of primary air control.
Ecodesign is a good scheme and soon all stoves on sale will be put through the scheme. Use an Ecodesign stove as the manufacturer’s intend and you will have a stove that runs beautifully and consistently emits as much heat as the room requires. You will also be using less logs and looking after our planet.
So for now we are going to test any stove we sell that is Ecodesign Ready. DG (Dik Guerts stoves are all Ecodesign Ready and the DG Ivar 5 is one of the finest stoves on the market – I have one!). The Saltfires are all Ecodesign Ready and burn beautifully (we have tested the St-X5 and Peanut Bignut thoroughly and the other ST-X and Peanut stoves are just size variations). Ekols are also working beautifully.
Please note that there is a lot more to this subject than I have got involved with. I have kept it as basic as I possibly can (it’s about as much as my brain can handle to be honest). Anybody out there feel free to correct me if you feel I have said anything you disagree with.
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