Heat powered wood stove fan – for what?

I saw this amazing little gadget for the first time in a shop that sells indoor fireplaces. I was mesmerized when I noticed this little fan sitting on the wood burner, pumping a good stream of warm air that circulated through the shop. I knew I had to have one for the motor home. I looked at the price of the fan and quickly decided that I do NOT need one at $140. So, the search began.

Thermal comparison with and without fan

Looking at this thermal imaging display, it is no rocket science to figure why it is a MUST HAVE.

The wood burner in our Motor Home is tucked away beside the kitchen bench and the heat struggles to move toward the front of the RV. I used to stoke the fire until the stainless steel flue turned orange. By this time the inside temperature got up to the high 20 degrees Celsius.

The poor wood burner did not survive it though. The top plate above the coals eventually twisted, buckled and fell apart. I used to burn a massive amount of firewood to properly heat the RV and kept feeding it to maintain the temperature. We find 22 to 24 degrees to be a comfortable temperature to live in.

I found lots of fans on the Internet. Most were highly priced and others had poor reviews. So the search continued. I ended up getting this one:

One would expect it not to work at all, looking at the price difference!

It went straight onto the wood burner after arrival and got its first test run. It was mid winter. I started the wood burner. To my amazement, the fan started turning before I could feel heat radiating from the burner. I still have to get to the bottom of how it actually works but meanwhile it is doing the job very well. It is amazing to see it speed up as the temperature increase.

Long before the burner was close to the severe temperature I used to stoke it to, the heat was flowing passed the bench corner to the front of the RV.
So, when we are occupying the front area, I have the fan facing forward at an angle passed the kitchen bench and when we get ready for bed, I turn it around to face the bedroom. Within 5 minutes the bedroom is cozy. I am saving 50 to 70% on wood depending on outside temperature and I don’t need to turn the burner into a little hell anymore.

Our RV has a lot of wood and gold finishing inside. The little gold fan fitted in like it was part of the package. There are black and silver fans also available to suit most interiors.

 

What to look for when buying a heat powered stove fan:

These fans are not all the same.

Heat Tolerance

Many have higher heat tolerance ratings than others. This one can withstand 350C (660F). Thermostats are available too if you feel you need one to check the temperature of the stove / burner.

 

Start temperature.

Start temperatures differ as well. I like the fan to start sooner rather than later. This unit starts at around 40C (104F).

Air Volume.

Air volume throughput is different and so is physical size and shape. One BIG MISTAKE that many people make is to try and get the most powerful fan, shifting the biggest volume. The problem is that if your wood burner/stove is of RV caliber, the heat exchange surface is too small to keep supplying the fan with hot air. So you end up getting a noticeable draft from the fan but the heat is lacking. The fan actually starts drawing cool air from around the stove which is exactly what you don’t want.

That is why I got a small 2 blade fan for my small wood burner and it works great.  If you would like to heat a massive room in your house or big 12+meter RV, and you  have a BIGGER STOVE, I would suggest this bigger model at approx 200cfm:

Quality is obviously the most important. That is why you will not find anything for sale by RVMega that hasn’t been through hell and back (pun unintended) before it gets the RVMega stamp of approval. That is why this site is not littered with thousands of products just to make money. It is the best hand-picked products at the best prices only.

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