People either love or hate
wood stoves! However, by understanding what
you want it to do for you,
what wood you should burn, how much wood
to order, and how
to look after it so that it lasts many years. All in all,
be a pleasant experience.
Unless you are homesteading,
smallholding or farm, most people would not consider using wood as a
fuel source for either cooking or heating. And there are those again,
who are homesteading, and still would prefer alternative fuels
heating and cooking because, when it is all said and done, using wood
not a fuel that is considered particularly efficient for generating
This is especially so for open fires
where a lot of the heat is
lost going up the chimney. Wood stoves are a lot better if they are
enclosed and air-tight.
Coal and oil, are far more efficient
sources of heat, but can be more expensive. I am an advocate of wood as
of all, wood is a sustainable
energy source, secondly,
oil now a reality, we shouldn’t be reliant on oil as a heat
there is nothing more comforting than snuggling up on a couch
beside a log fire, being totally mesmerized by the dancing blue and
yellow flames as they move along the wood throughout the evening.
Wood stoves and your Health
consider wood fuel bad for the
environment, however this is not the case if proper
used. Carbon dioxide released from burning wood is equal to the carbon
wood releases as it rots. One might increase carbon emissions using gas
powered saws and splitters in the production of firewood, but when wood
heat replaces carbon-producing fuels such as propane, heating oil or
electricity from a coal-burning plant, then wood burning has a positive
impact on the carbon footprint.
How much Wood to Order for your Wood Stove
ordering your wood
for the winter make sure
that you have ordered enough. Wood can either
be sold by weight as a metric tonne, or my volume as cubic meters. You
will also hear people buying wood by the cord. 1
tonne of wood is equivalent to 2 cubic meters. This means that if you
were to stack it, it would measure 1 meter wide, by 1 meter high, by 2
You will also have to take into
consideration the BTUs. BTU's (British Thermal Units) are a standard of
measurement which represent the heat value of any type of energy used
to create heat.
The amount of fuel that a fireplace will consume per
hour is calculated with the BTU value of the fuel it uses to determine
the input of that fireplace. BTU values of any type of energy are
determined by the actual amount of heat required to increase the
temperature of one pound of water, by one degree Fahrenheit.
how much fuel do fireplaces consume
and how much do they cost to operate? This is easily
provided that you have the local price of the fuel to be used. The BTU
of the fireplace is divided by the BTU value of the fuel to determine
the amount of fuel consumed per hour. Example: A wood stove that has an
input of 30,000 BTU per hour consumes 30,000 / 1000 = 30 cubic
feet/hour. If the price of the fuel is .35 cents ($0.0035) per cubic
foot then 30 cubic feet x .35 = 10.5 cents ($0.105). Therefore the cost
of operating a 30,000 BTU wood stove for one hour is 10.5
Wood Stoves and Seasoned Wood
really need to make sure
wood has been well-dried. Green wood of course won’t burn,
but will just
hiss and smoke, making things very unpleasant. To check that your wood
is good, it should be free from sap and bark, and if you check the ends
of the wood you should be able to see the radial cracks.
will also be able to feel how dry your wood is by just picking it up.
If it feels heavy, they wood is still too wet. The lighter it is, the
better it will burn.
Of course, you can also find free wood
for your fireplaces. We are lucky enough to have a small
forest that is
part of our property that we manage, and which will provide us, in
time, with a fair amount of wood for our wood stove for cooking, as
as the fireplaces. If you don’t have access to woodlands that are
yours, then you can find wood freely available at other outlets such as
factories, packing or transportation companies.
However, there is a word of warning
here, and that is that some wood may have been treated and when burned
can give off toxic smoke. If the wood has a greenish or yellowish tinge
stay clear, as it probably has been treated, and you will need to ask
first before deciding whether it is safe to use or not.
Wood Stoves and Safety
Wood stoves, as mentioned earlier, are
not as romantic as an open fire, but definitely more efficient in
generating heat from the same amount of wood. Not only can wood stoves
be used to generate warmth and to cook on, but they can also be used to
heat your water supply. After you have made sure that your stove
airtight, it can be loaded, closed, and then forgotten about, long
after you have gone to bed still working away, keeping your house warm
while you sleep, with no worries about stray sparks or logs.
Wood stoves these days are rather
sophisticated and the top of the range models have built in thermostats
that can be set at the preferred temperature. So no longer will you be
subjected to a stuffy room from overheating. They have also been built
to be more efficient so that they burn less wood than in the past, as
well as being fitted with emission retarders so make them more
What Size Wood Stove should you Buy?
The size of the wood stove
really needs to fit the space for which it is required. If it is too
big for the space needed for heating, it
will always be turned down low leading to a build up of creosote in
your flue, which in turn causes air pollution. If you are aiming to
live green, this is of course not what you want. And a small stove in a
large space will be inefficient and under-productive.
Where to Place your Wood Stoves
Choose the location well for your new
stove taking into consideration how far it is from your wood
source, which could mean muddy footprints trailing throughout the house
every time you go and get some wood. Also using an existing flue is far
cheaper than having a new flue constructed. However, one may be forced
into not using the existing flue if it doesn’t have what you need for
Your flue should be wide and straight,
minimizing kinks in the pipes, and the chimney should be 1 meter higher
than the roof line, and 3 meters away from other structures, and be
covered by a rain excluder cap. The flue should also have a good, even
draft to ensure that the stove doesn’t smoke. If the flue's capacity is
either too high or too low, smoking will occur in both cases.
Installing of Wood Stoves
If you don’t know what
you are doing,
never install a wood
yourself. By getting a professional in to do
the job you are lessening the risk of ending up with a non-insulated
flue that could end up burning your house down.
When making your purchase,
your council to make sure that you have all building permits in place,
as if you haven’t had a wood stove before, alterations to your house
will be required.
Also check with your council about
of smoke emissions for your area. These two things should be done
before making the purchase.
The Dangers of Wood Stoves
Finally, don’t let the creosote build
up in the flue year after year, as again this is a
and the chimney could catch fire. Creosote is caused by incomplete
combustion of the wood. The unburned matter, or tar, mixes with the
water vapor given off by the fire and goes up the chimney as smoke. As
the smoke travels up the chimney, it passes cooler, upper-surfaces of
the chimney where the vapor and the tar condense forming the black,
sticky substance called creosote. As it builds up it drips down the
chimney flue, onto ledges, elbows and junctions and if not cleaned,
will ignite. If you have used your wood stove throughout the winter,
call a professional
chimney sweeper in to clean it out in the spring.
In order to reduce your creosote build
up during the operational months in your airtight wood stoves burn a
small but hot fire to burn freely for about 20 minutes every time you
use it. What happens is that some of the condensed creosote is then
revaporized and blown out of the flue. This also works well for open
fireplaces, but only after they have been well cleaned by a
chimney sweeper first.
Buy some Wood Stove Accessories
Click on any of the pictures to see the prices and details of each
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Love my wood stove. I have had a fireplace for years but due to the inefficient burning of my fireplace I decided to buy a wood stove. I found that I was burning way too much …