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Having grown up in Northern New York, I remember keeping my butt within six feet of the wood stove pretty much all winter. Wood stoves heat up a house well, if unevenly. To better distribute the heat, Caframo makes the Eco-Fan Airplus Heat-Powered Fan for Wood Stoves (Model# 802CA-KBX). It’s a small (10.5″ x 5.2″ x 12.5″) and lightweight fan that sits on top of the stove and starts moving automatically when the surface temperature reaches 150 degrees F. As the temperature rises, the fan speeds up, and vise versa. Online retailer specs say the fan withstands up to 650 degrees F.

Besides being electricity-free and quiet, one bonus with the Eco-Fan is that when the blades slow down, it’s an indicator to put more logs on the fire. Other folks use these for gas and other stoves as well — as long as it evens out the heat, right? However, online reviews are split. Some of the reviews say it’s great, while others say it doesn’t work at all. Have any Toolmongers tried these stovetop fans? What are your thoughts on their effectiveness?

Pricing starts at around $129, or $79 for the original version of the fan, which is about half the size. You can also find various sized versions with either nickel or aluminum blades.

Ecofan Airplus Heat-Powered Fan for Wood Stoves, Model# 802CA-KBX [Northern Tool]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Ecofan Airplus Heat-Powered Fan Via Amazon [What’s This?]
Caframo Eco-Fan Original, Black Via Amazon [What’s This?]

 

16 Responses to Hot Or Not? Eco-Fan Heat-Powered Wood Stove Fan

  1. Pete J says:

    I have one on the diesel heater on the boat, works great.

  2. There are two versions of this sort of fan. One type uses a Peltier thermoelectric device:
    ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermoelectric_cooling )
    …and the other, older, more expensive type uses a little Stirling engine:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stirling_engine
    http://www.google.com/search?&q=stirling+stove+fan

    This one looks like a Peltier unit. It’ll probably work OK, but not as well as a Stirling fan. The Stirling fans are also famous for lasting a long, LONG time; I don’t know how long the Peltier versions can be expected to survive.

  3. Jason Peacock says:

    Hot. Many a friends’ boat have these, and they work great for circulating the air around the heater. On a boat electricity is precious, so being heat-powered is great.

    They’re also very geeky (yay physics!), which makes them awesome on their own.

  4. Chris says:

    My best friend’s ex-girlfriend’s folks have one of these (not this exact model, but an older one that looks less like an angry raptor) on their wood stove in the kitchen. Works great.

    About the only way one of these things can fail is if it gets so hot that the Peltier junction solder reflows. Simplicity is good.

    I believe I may have heard of a Stirling engine version of one of these, too. That’d be a fun demonstration, and theoretically even more heat-proof than the thermoelectric-based versions.

    cl

  5. casey says:

    why are these so expensive? havent read into how they work much but would love to get one when i finally get around to having a wood stove in the garage/shop.

  6. Jerry says:

    Seems a little pricey but not considering the non-electric functionality. I love the geek factor as well as the idea that a wood stove should not have to need electricity to function well.

  7. Alan Braggins says:

    > I may have heard of a Stirling engine version of one of these

    Yes, they exist, for example http://gyroscope.com/d.asp?product=VULCANSTOVEFAN

  8. Matt says:

    If you can make a fan turn by making electricity with one of these, could you also run wires (rated for high temp) to power a light???

  9. Chris W says:

    You can power any electrical device given enough heat and enough Peltier devices. The problem is they aren’t very efficient. NASA uses them with radioactive heat sources to power deep space probes. Electric coolers use them in reverse. When you pass a current through them one side gets hot, the other side gets cold.

  10. Choscura says:

    I’ve seen get-ups using peltiers on motorcycle exausts and I’ve seen a peltier solar-powered project or two (using heat from the sun instead of directly converting photons to electrons). To anybody who’s interested, all a Peltier really is is a stick o iron between two copper wires: the difference in current carrying capacity means that heat moves when electricity is present (flowing from positive to negative) and electricity (electrons) moves when heat is present.

  11. Andy says:

    My in-laws have one of these (smaller and older, but still peltier-powered). It works well in that it spins when the stove is hot, and spins faster when the stove gets hotter. However, it just doesn’t move much air – unless the stove is really cranking (hotter than it usually needs to be to warm the house), you can barely feel the air moving from more than a few inches away. I assume (and hope) that the larger models with more cooling fins and larger fan blades move more air.

  12. John says:

    Do not try and make your own Fan as Calfire are trying to put a stop to sending out Fan blades to people. As they do not like that people are making their own for a lot cheaper.
    They are now asking for serial numbers for the model of fan you have. Must be nice to sniff away £12.00 for a replacement part. Greedy buggers.

  13. Steve says:

    The purpose of these fans is to redirect hot air that would normally have gone straight up to the ceiling. However dont be under any illusion that you can blow your hair dry with one. If you could see the air being moved you would indeed see a large area of turbulance emiting from your stove outward into your room, it is so slight that it is barely noticeable. If you extinguish a candle out in front of one of these fans you will smell the smoke very quickly as the fan blows it gently into the room. Mine is always a talking point and keeps me warmer at the back of the room when on.

  14. SteveP says:

    These things are toys. I suppose in a cottage with no electricity you could sort of make a case, but in reality you would be far ahead financially and practically by getting a small solar panel, a 12V battery (even one recycled with some life left) and a 12V PC cooling fan. You could also run some useful LED lights off that.All for less $$ (as long as you get a “free” battery).

    If you need to move air around, get out the same fan you use in the summer. It will use a tiny amount of electricity. The “payback” time for one of these stove fans is about 20 years. Not to mention any decent fan will work 100X better.

    Cute, though

  15. Thomas Bator says:

    I am a huge fan of stove fans and am always raving to my family and friends about how great they are. I have had mine for a number of years now and it has saved me a considerable amount of money on my energy bills. I actually first came across stove fans while I was looking online for ideas about how to save money and I have not looked back and I do not believe there is a more efficient way to heat the whole room quickly. I also find the science about how the whole thing works fascinating, and this is another thing that I am boring my friends with on a regular basis

  16. Raymond Paquette says:

    Everybody has an opinion. I’d be interested to see some empirical data. Has anyone actually done real testing on stove fans?

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