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Should you buy a Cast Iron or Steel Stove?

Which is the best stove material for you - Cast Iron or Steel?

Many stoves, particularly those made in the UK are now made from steel, the traditional material for stoves is cast iron but due to there being very few cast iron foundries in Europe and none in the UK most of the cast iron stove models are manufacured in the far east.

The main difference between the two metals when used in a stove is the heat retention properties available from Cast Iron. Cast Iron will retain heat for a few hours after the fire insie the stove has gone out, which means it continues to radiate heat keeping the room warmer for longer while the castings slowly cool. Most Cast Iron stoves work using radiant heat, this means the fire inside heats up the castings and the castings radiate heat into the room.

Note: When first firing a cast iron stove it is advisable to expand the castings as these will be cold, an easy way to do this is to put a small fire into the stove for the first few days, gradually increasing the amount of fuel until you are using the fire to its full capacity. It is also a good idea to follow this practice if your stove is stood cold for a long period of time e.g. summertime.

Steel stoves can heat in two ways. A radiant heat like with cast, but in the case of steel stoves the heat is lost very quickly when the fire goes out.

Steel stoves can also work with a convecting heat. These stoves usually have twin walls and the heat is pushed up between these walls and out of vents made into the steel.

This method works particularly well with inset and cassette stoves as the cool air is drawn into the stove helping the fuel to combust and warm air is pushed out into the room giving immediate warmth via a continuous jet of hot air.

A radiant stove that is inset without the appropriate clearances will transfer a lot of heat to the bricks and the surrounding fireplace and these areas will need to warm up before you feel the full benefit of the fire inside.

Convector stoves can also often be installed closer to other objects as the exterior walls are cooler to touch, which makes them very popular for freestanding in the room insallatons where there is no fireplace.

Often steel stoves are more controllable than Cast Iron models, meaning the stove is potentially loaded less often and is more responsive to changes in the air controls.

This is due to differences in the manufacturing processes. Steel stoves are usually welded inside and out to create an airtight box, so the only air able to enter the firebox is when you open and close the air controls.

Cast iron cannot be welded which means the firebox must be sealed using other materials such as fire ropes and high temperature sealants which over time can become loose as the stove expands and contracts with heat.

North Wales Stoves has hundreds of stoves available in both Cast Iron and Steel. If you would like further information or advice on choosing the right stove for you then why not contact us or visit our HETAS registered stove showroom.

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