How does this wood stove work? My current understanding is, that a fire is created in the stove shown on the first picture bottom left. Then coal is transferred to the wood stove in the middle of the picture. The second picture shows the back of the wood stove which is accessible from another room.

What I find confusing is that given this installation large amounts of coal must be transferred to heat the whole house (which is about 100m2).

The metal plate above the wood stove in the first picture serves as to put coal in the wood stove, but I may be mistaken here.

Is my current understanding correct? I want to replace this whole kitchen. What would be the best course of action, especially I don't want to "transfer" any coal, but rather have an oven directly connected to the exhaust. Then connect this oven directly to the heating pipes.

Location: Northern Switzerland close to Germany, house was built in 1874

Wood stove connected to heating system

enter image description here

  • That "wood stove" seems to be more gas type. Replace the whole thing with something modern and safe.
    – crip659
    Jul 8, 2023 at 9:37
  • 3
    No, it probably is a "wood stove" with water heating pipes and a heat exchanger, of the Scandanvian "masonry stove" flavor, but being described somewhat confusingly and with parts removed or damaged. The fact that the person describing it hasn't operated it does not help with the description being accurate. There appears to be a flue temperature sensor and damper in the right hand wall, for instance. Replacing it will involve replacing significant parts of the house, if I am correct in assessing what I see here. There may well be a gas or electric section beside the wood cooking section.
    – Ecnerwal
    Jul 8, 2023 at 10:34
  • Since this sort of thing usually has considerable local flavor, where on the planet is the stove? (or "mass heater with water heating integrated")
    – Ecnerwal
    Jul 8, 2023 at 10:48
  • @Ecnerwal It is located in Northern Switzerland, close to Germany. The house was built in 1874. The hotplates are electric as is the oven below the hot plates. What I find confusing in this setup is that coal has to be transferred manually, which seems very inefficent Jul 8, 2023 at 11:58

1 Answer 1


You should seek competent local advice.

While it's difficult to ascertain exactly how the setup is used based on what we see here, my best guess is that most of the house heating is via the straight mass heater part of the setup, and any "transferring (char)coals" (if needed at all) would be to support cooking on the "apparently in pieces or missing pieces" wood side of the hob, and that side may also be supporting domestic hot water (though you are not clear in specifying which "stove" we are looking at the back of in another room with the pipes.)

The small metal doors without handles (thus indicating infrequent use) are probably clean-out access for the extensive flue channels typical of a large masonry or mass heater. That may be 5 or 10 tons of masonry in the middle of your house, so replacing it would be very expensive and a non-trivial disruption.

The dial on the right hand wall is likely either flue temperature or water-tank temperature, and the handle above it likely controls a damper.

  • The pipes shown in picture 2 are connected to the wood stove in picture 1. (The hole is visible in the first picture, so there is no doubt to which device the pipes are connected to). The house also has several radiators connected to these pipes and in the cellar below the room in the second picture has a circulating pump. Jul 8, 2023 at 12:01

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