THERE IS NO DOUBT THERE ARE MANY BENEFITS TO USING FIREWOOD FOR HEAT:
It’s a one-of-kind cozy warmth that only a wood stove can produce. The fires that roar behind the glass door display a beautiful ambient light each and every time the logs are burning hot and steady. There’s the satisfaction of being free from the constraints of the big oil conglomerates and their constant price fluctuations.
The environment benefits too. By using this natural, renewable energy resource – wood – it can successfully be reproduced, unlike our limited fossil fuel supplies. Power outages are less of a worry, especially in the cold winter months, as a wood-fired stove requires no electricity to produce warmth. Your family won’t starve either. By using the stove top, your meals can be cooked using the heat from a fire, bypassing the need for electric appliances.
As you can see, wood heat produces much more than warmth. It adds a sense of security for homeowners.
However…wood heat is not for everyone.
Trying to incorporate a wood burning routine into today’s modern lifestyle can be difficult. In all my years of burning wood, I’ve experienced both the pleasures and the hardships that accompany this age-old practice of starting a fire.
Listed below are a few thoughts to consider if you plan to use firewood for heating your home.
First and foremost, if you are starting from scratch, you will need to consider much more than just the wood stove itself. INITIAL EXPENSES MAY COST MORE THAN A CONVENTIONAL GAS OR OIL SYSTEM. My chimney cost more than the wood stove!
EXPECT TO CLEAN YOUR HOUSE…MORE OFTEN. Wood chips, splinters and bark from the firewood will cover your floors and stick to your clothing as you constantly carry wood into the house.
Where there’s a wood fire, there’s going to be ash. YOU WILL HAVE TO REMOVE THE ASH FROM YOUR STOVE (REGULARLY) AND WHEN DOING SO, YOU’LL CREATE DIRTY AIRBORNE DUST PARTICLES. I got tired of holding my breath while cleaning my stove so I use a dust mask when shoveling the ash into a bucket (see pic below).
YOU WILL NEED TO CREATE A WAY TO CIRCULATE THE HEAT. Yes, warm air rises and cold drops – however, it’s not that easy. It can be a challenge if you need the heat from the stove to get to more than one room in your house.
Do you have access to trees or your own woodlot? EQUIPMENT WILL BE REQUIRED TO HARVEST THE WOOD. Hand tools like axes, saws, hatchets and heavy equipment such as chainsaws, log splitters and motor vehicles are just the beginning.
DO YOU KNOW WHAT TYPE OF WOOD YOU ARE BURNING? It is critical to have basic knowledge of the properties of the various tree species. The energy content of a particular wood plays an important role in how much heat it is capable of producing. Is it a hardwood or softwood? Has it been properly seasoned?
NEED TO KNOW MORE ABOUT TREES? Here’s a quick and easy way to learn about the trees around your home, and the ones you may need to burn for heat!
A FEW MORE THOUGHTS ABOUT WOOD HEAT…
Do you like sharing your home with bugs and little critters? Throughout any given Winter season, you will be transporting hundreds of pounds of wood into your home for burning. And NESTLED IN THOSE LOGS ARE INSECTS WAITING TO EXPLORE THEIR NEW WARM HOME…YOURS.
Who’s going to keep the fire going? To maintain the heat at a comfortable temperature, THE WOOD STOVE HAS TO BE FED ON A REGULAR (DAILY) BASIS. Often times it is when you least expect to – like late night or the early morning hours. When the fire goes down, so does the heat.
So there you have it, a few examples of what you may encounter while using wood for heat.
IT’S NOT ALL THAT BAD…REALLY.
Keep in mind that heating with wood is an expression of self-reliance that reinforces our bond with nature, the outdoors and renewable energy – and for some, like myself, that’s enough to keep me burning!
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