Stoves are more efficient than open fires – but only when the doors are closed. We receive the question of whether or not a customer can use their stove with the door open on a regular basis, and the answer is always the same – no.
The issue here is that the door is designed precisely, in order to control the amount of air going into the fire. The body of the stove gets hot and eventually radiates heat in the room. Some people believe that they will enjoy the heat better with the door open, which defeats the object of owning a stove.
By opening the door, the air flow is no longer under control. The fire will hungrily draw all the oxygen it can get, increasing the draught and sending much of the heat up the chimney. Also, the increased oxygen will cause the fire to burn at much higher temperatures than it should, tearing through your fuel reserves and running the risk of over-firing your stove.
Stove manufacturers only test and approve their stoves with the door shut, and so firing your stove with the door open goes against the manufacturer’s instructions, potentially voiding the warranty.
The only exception to this is a stove with an eight inch flue, designed to become a kind of hybrid between open fire and stove. With the door open, you are able to use the stove as an open fire as it has been tested for this kind of operation. An example of this type of stove is the Stovax Regency. The doors are not fully air tight when closed, acting more like a spark guard. With the doors open you should consider using a spark guard to catch any sparks leaping out of the stove. However its efficiency is quite low compared to other stoves on the market.
Many modern stoves have beautiful, panoramic views of the flames so you won’t miss the views of an open fire. The control capabilities of a stove far exceed that of an open fire, which is what makes them such an effective and efficient means of warming your room. There is no valid reason to use the unapproved stove with the door open.