What's better radiation or convection?

What's better radiation or convection?

When buying a wood stove, the question of ”radiation vs. convection” often comes up in the process. We explain the differences and help you make your decision.

Radiation heating provides the best comfort

Radiation heating is simply the transferring of heat from a warm element to colder areas in a room. The reason that a room with a radiation stove is often thought to be warm and cosy compared with other rooms, is that a radiation stove heats up surfaces of furniture in the room to a comfortable temperature. In this way, you get a room that is evenly heated from floor to ceiling, while even the floor and furniture surfaces are warm to the touch.

Myth  “Increased convection ensures better heat dissipation in and between rooms.”

Incorrect. The horizontal dissipation of heat via air is already very efficient, so that increased convection from a wood stove will have no significant effect.

Convection provides the least surface heating to the surroundings

Convection heating is defined by air being heated up while it rises between two surfaces. Cold air is drawn in under the stove, heated up and then rises to the ceiling where it is gradually pushed down in a warm “layer”.  Laurent Georges, Associate Professor at the Department of Energy and Process  Engineering at SINTEF, concludes quite clearly in the research project Stablewood (2014) that convection in wood stoves will create a much bigger difference in  temperature between floor and ceiling, which is the opposite effect of what you want from a heat source in order to maximise indoor comfort.

Jøtul offer convection on some  wood stoves simply because not all houses are equipped with a fireproof wall. In those cases, we have to send the heat up under the ceiling instead of into the room and onto furniture, floors and surfaces.

(Top image: Jøtul F 105 combines radiated and convected heat in equal measures. The optional heat shield allows the stove to be positioned only 10 cm from combustible walls.)