Multifuel woodburners are becoming more popular as people who like the idea of heating their home with a stove look into the possibility of using fuels other than wood. While wood burning may be ideal for some, others would like the flexibility to choose other fuels. Sure, wood burning stoves do a terrific job of heating the average home, but people may want to hedge their bets by getting a multifuel woodburner so that in the future, should they decide that chopping and splitting firewood is no longer practical, they can go to another fuel that will be less expensive than buying seasoned and chopped firewood.
Multifuel stoves have special grates in them that allow air to flow underneath, so you can efficiently burn several kinds of fuel, such as wood pellets, corn, wheat, olive pits, or cherry pits. The ashes drop into a removable ash pan, so that it is easy to keep the ashes from piling up and affecting the efficiency of the stove.
Even if you have a good supply of seasoned firewood, you might want to invest in a multifuel woodburner so you can burn another fuel that may become easier to use or less expensive. Environmental concerns are important, too. For example, in certain parts of the UK, wood burning stoves aren't allowed, but stoves that burn other fuels like corn pellets and other biomass fuels are permitted.
Although soot and particles can be problematic when burning wood exclusively, wood is a carbon neutral fuel. When a tree grows, it absorbs carbon dioxide in the process of photosynthesis. It then releases this same carbon dioxide when the wood is burned. Firewood should be seasoned for a year or two before burning so that the moisture is drawn out of the wood. It will not only burn more efficiently, it cuts down on the production of smoke, and smells better too.
While burning coal is not as environmentally friendly, some people prefer to burn coal in their stoves, at least part of the time. For this, a multifuel woodburner is necessary. A multifuel stove won't burn wood as efficiently as a stove designed solely for wood burning, but for some people the option of using other fuels is a deciding factor.
Whatever kind of stove you choose, keep it in good trim to keep it working well year after year. Check that the grate is not cracked or distorted, and check any firebricks, if the stove has them. Damaged firebricks should be replaced because if a chunk falls out, a cast iron stove can crack, and steel stoves can develop deformities.