March 21, 2023 Multi-Fuel

While a wood burning stove can only burn wood products, multi-fuel boilers, on the other hand, are devices that can burn various fuels. In addition to logs and wood products, a multi-fuel stove has been known to burn anthracite, soft coal, and petroleum fuels (oil, propane, natural gas).

Multi-fuel boilers are engineered to burn wood and coal of all kinds as productively as possible. These boilers will have ways to introduce combustion air from several places and a grate system. A wood fire can burn very well when combustion air is presented to the top of the fire. On the other hand, coal burns most efficiently when the combustion air is brought up through the ash/coal pile.

Having grates is vital for Multi-Fuel boilers. Grates allow airflow up through the fire. Grates allow wood and coal fires to burn hotter and more efficiently. Grates also make it easier for the user to remove the ashes, even with a full firebox. Ashes in a multi-fuel boiler are easily shaken out of the fire into an ashpan.

Wood-burning boilers do not have grates, so the fire must be out before manually shoveling the ashes out of the firebox. Wood fires do not get nearly as hot as coal fires, so wood furnaces are made with lighter materials. In comparison, wood/coal furnaces must have heavy-duty materials to withstand the extreme heat from a coal fire!

Choose From a Variety of Burning Materials

The primary benefit of multi-fuel boilers is convenience: a multi-fuel boiler can burn many fuels like coal and wood. You can select from various suppliers, hence zero in on the nearest and cheapest. The ability to consistently burn the cheapest fuel will help to lessen the amount you spend on fuel and the time and money you will need to transport it to your home. Multi-fuel boilers are perfect if you live where firewood is inaccessible or want to switch from burning one type of fuel to another. In our multi-fuel boiler, switching fuels is very quickly done. You simply flip a switch.

Air Controls in a Multi-Fuel Boiler

How combustion air enters a fire can make a big difference. A multi-fuel stove helps you adapt to the different air requirements of the various fuels. Here are the different air dampers in a multi-fuel boiler:

  • Top air –This comes from the top of the stove. Typically located on the loading door. This is mainly for wood burning. You can use this as secondary air when burning coal as well
  • Bottom air –This comes from the bottom of the stove in the base. This is mainly used for burning coal.
  • Forced Air – This typically takes the place of the bottom air. A blower forces air into the fire. This increases the airflow to the fire, which will enable the boiler to produce more BTUs.

With a multi-fuel stove, you will need to know how to adapt the air supply for whatever fuel you use. Generally, you will need to open all vents to get a fire going. You can adjust the top or bottom vent accordingly when the flames are sufficient. In our boilers, we use an aquastat to control these different dampers; this allows the boiler to automatically maintain your desired temperature.

Although our Multi-Fuel boilers are designed and built to burn wood safely and efficiently, they do not meet the newly imposed regulations. To learn how this affects you, give us a call.

Turn to Alternate Heating Systems For Your Boilers Need

At Alternate Heating Systems, we have a vast array of heating systems. We are well-positioned to advise you on the best heating systems for your residential or commercial building. Contact us today to know more about how you can stay toasty through the seasons.