How a Wood Stove Warms Your Cockles

We knew right away that the wood stove in our tiny home at Longleaf Breeze made us feel warm and cozy. It just took a while to figure out why.


The key to the effectiveness of a wood stove lies in understanding the simple principle of convection – hot air rises. The rest is just thinking.

Unlike a fireplace, which depends almost exclusively on radiating heat into a room, a wood stove creates a box of heat surrounded by air space. The fire in the stove heats the air that’s touching the stove, which causes that air to rise. It quickly hits the ceiling and fans out throughout the room.

At the same time, the rising air next to the stove creates a vacuum at the stove. That slowly pulls in the cool air that hovers near the floor of the room and heats it. Quite literally, the stove is reaching out and grabbing the coldest air in the room and heating it for you.

The net result of all this convection in the room is that the air is in constant motion. So your next question should be whether it feels drafty. The answer is no, not at all. The air is flowing constantly, but so slowly as to be imperceptible to us humans. The only thing we experience is a deep feeling of warmth and peace. We were uncertain when we built our little home whether the wood stove would provide all the heat we need. We needn’t have worried.

One decision we made that’s worth telling you about: we opted for a stove with a glass front, which allows us to see the fire as it burns. Not only do we find it more pleasant to look in on the fire from time to time; we also can tell easily when we need to add wood.

All this convection works great in the room with the stove. Not so well in other rooms. We have a small bathroom off the main room, and it’s noticeably cooler on a cold winter night than the rest of the apartment. Ditto the closet.

Amanda’s video about all this runs about a minute and a half.

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