Wood Burners

I’m quite interested in getting a wood burner with a boiler (or wetback if you’re from NZ – which isn’t a racist term, but rather refers to the water running through a unit in the back of your wood burner).

I’ve looked at wood burners for a while, my observation is that those available in Australia and NZ are really not as good as those available in Europe.  The typical burner down this end of the world is relatively inefficient, puts out a fair amount of particulate smoke (which are very bad for health).

In Europe, there are more interesting units.  I have a lot of interest in this unit from Germany, which is relatively small in footprint, and pushes about 1.2kw into the room, 14.4kw into the water.  You combine these with a water accumulator such as this unit, which stores hot water for a couple of days after the burner goes out.  In theory you could run your domestic hot water and underfloor heating off a combination of these units plus a solar hot water unit – probably evacuated tubes – more about that in a later post.

Having said that, this thread is also interesting, indicating that Australian eucalyptus timber gives issues with resin buildup in a unit not built for it.  It also suggests some NZ made units that could be interesting.  These are more pure boilers than combined fireplace/boiler.  Remember that my better half likes the look and feel of a fireplace in the house, so probably I need something that is a combined wood burner and boiler.

Another interesting point about the German units is that they are sealed – they don’t pull in air from the house, they take outside air into the combustion box, and then vent out the flue.  This should reduce dust being dragged into your house, and also if you’re building a house that is very airtight for insulation reasons, avoid issues with lack of airflow and/or with dragging in cold air from outside.

If I ignore that fact that the better half wants a wood burner, I’m more than half tempted to just go with a heat pump instead, much lower maintenance, no cutting and carting of firewood, no ash to clean.  But it’s not quite as heart warming in winter as a fire in the corner of the room.



2 thoughts on “Wood Burners

  1. I arrived to you care of Kiwiblog and Australian politic. You are somewhere in Australia so you don’t need the raw heat into the room like we do here in Christchurch New Zealand . It sounds wickedly expensive to import form Europe. Over here we used to have units which heated water but I have not seen one for ages. now. I do not know why . My electricity bills regularly go over
    $200. per month.
    I have just pulled in to the garage 6meters of bluegum and 6meters of old man pine.
    I go to Thailand for winter and I have tenants in here in the winter and these characters burn all that in a few months. Christchurch is cold and not a nice city now after the earthquakes .
    I will wait till the house price peaks and get out I think. A good price for a good house here is $NZ400,000 so thats about $AUD320,000. Its not easy for a New Zealandfer to shift to Australia

  2. We’re in ACT, which has a very continental climate – cold in winter. The better half has aspirations to live somewhere colder – somewhere with snow.

    There is a unit that heats water available in NZ – http://www.productspec.net/products/31070/central-heating-new-zealand/attack-dp-series-log-gasification-boilers.aspx as an example.

    Moving to Aus isn’t as hard as it sounds. There are plenty of places outside the main cities that aren’t too expensive. And remember that pay here is substantially better than NZ – basically assume that you’re going to have take home pay about the same in Aus $$ as you had in NZ $$. That makes a big difference.

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