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Tulikivi - It's About BTU Storage not BTU Output
- What is the BTU Storage of a Tulikivi soapstone heater or bakeoven?
- Can you compare BTU output per hour between a Tulikivi heater & woodstove?
- What is BTU storage capacity?
Understanding the difference between BTU storage and BTU output per hour is key to distinguishing the difference between a Tulikivi soapstone heater and a wood stove. All firewood regardless of species has approximately the same BTU per pound when burned. The amount of BTU per pound will vary depending on the measurement method used. However, if an equal weight of wood is fully combusted under similar conditions in a Tulikivi heater or a wood stove the amount of heat energy (BTU) released by the fire is the same regardless of how it is measured. What is different is how that same heat energy is distributed as the wood is burned.
Given 40-lbs of wood, an EPA certified wood stove, burned according to operating instructions, will register a relatively constant BTU output per hour to the living area as long as the wood lasts. The burn rate and the burn time can be varied somewhat by changing the amount of wood in the firebox. More wood in the fire box - a higher burn rate (more heat) and a shorter burn time. Less wood in the firebox - a slower burn rate (less heat) and a longer burn time. However, once the wood is gone, the fire goes out and the BTU output of the wood stove stops.
40-lbs of wood in a Tulikivi heater, burned according to operating instructions, will result in a significantly higher burn rate and shorter burn time than that of an EPA certified wood stove. Rather than a constant BTU output per hour to the living area during combustion, a Tulikivi heater captures and stores the firewood's heat energy in the soapstone mass of the heater. While there is some heat energy released to the living area from the surface of the unit (especially the glass door) while the fire is burning, most of the energy is stored and released long after the fire is out. The release of heat energy to the living area is not governed by the burn rate or burn time in the same way as it is with a wood stove.
Comparing the BTU output per hour of a wood stove and a Tulikivi heater is like comparing apples and oranges, they are simply not the same. Therefore, Tulikivi does not give BTU per hour figures, instead Tulikivi lists BTU storage capacity figures for its heaters and bakeovens. These storage figures are based on the amount of energy stored in a fireplace during a single heating cycle using the amount of wood specified in the operating manual - see linked specification chart.
By Douglas Hargrave