Fans Might Boost Wood-Stove Efficiency

Those fans that sit atop wood stoves and take advantage of temperature differences to create their own power are more than cute. Turns out they might make a whopping difference in your home-heating costs.

That’s the not-surprising news from a company that manufacturers such fans — but Caframo, based in Ontario, Canada, says it has research that proves its claim. The company says a study done with the Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering Department at the University of Waterloo found their Ecofans reduce home-heating fuel costs by 14 percent.

Caframo Ecofan, wood burning stove fan

image via Caframo

These fans go for about $100, so — assuming the research is correct — it’s easy to imagine recouping their cost in the course of a winter or two.

Caframo says researchers did the testing in a room set up like a typical living room, “with a wood stove, a couch, finished floors, ceilings and walls.” A surrounding room controlled outside temperature. What they did from there was feed the stove to maintain a constant temperature of 72.5. And they found that it took a lot less wood when their Ecofan — generating its own power using the thermoelectric effect — was whirring away.

Looking for green gadget gift ideas for this holiday season? We have you covered with our annual Green Gadgets Holiday Gift Guide – check it out now!

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.