Oh my, how I wish we had a fireplace ... or a wood stove .... or even an outdoor furnace .... anything to be self-sufficient by burning wood and heating our home. Our plans were to put in a wood stove this past summer but it just didn't work out. My absence from home, really put a dent in our 'building/adapting our heat source' agenda.
Before my marriage to my dear hubby, I had a wood pellet fireplace installed in the basement of my home. It was wonderful. The heat that it expelled was amazing and oh so cozy. It heated my 1200 square foot home with ease and was simple for this single woman to maintain, load and clean.
Heating with wood has it's advantages. Wood is a renewable fuel, it is widely available in our parts and in most of North America and in some cases, and for some it can save you money. If you live in a forested, rural area and you own a chain saw, trailer and/or truck, you could process the wood yourself. However, if you have to buy split wood and have it delivered, the savings will not be substantial. This fuel cost calculator might help you determine if heating with wood would help you financially. If you take into account all the time and energy need to cut, haul, split, stack your wood, savings drop substantially but if you consider the work as a 'personal weight reduction program' instead ..... well then you would be benefiting two ways from heating your home with wood. You also become less dependent on fossil fuels and more self-reliant.
The disadvantages include but are not limited to; difficult and costly to obtain if you do not have access to free or cheap wood. Wood is bulky and storage can be a problem. Firewood must be seasoned for at least 3 months. When burning wood in the home, fires must be properly prepared, tended and cleared. Fires can be dangerous and many fireplaces leak smoke into the home. Fireplaces are difficult to seal for air infiltration on the inside and for water leakage from the outside. They also must be inspected regularly for tar and soot build-up.
One has to remember that the type of wood burned, whether it be softwood or hardwood will determine the energy efficiency. Softwoods burn quickly whereas hardwoods, like oak or maple, have less resin and burn longer and slower. The amount of moisture in the wood determines its fuel value. This is why firewood needs to be seasoned.
Over the winter, we will look at installing a wood heating system in our home once again. From all the information I have read, it seems shopping for one is best when done in the spring. Retailers are more accommodating on prices when the season is over and they are looking at a dry spell over the summer. Now what do we buy? Do you have a wood burning stove/fireplace in your home? Do you like it? Do you have any advice for us? We would appreciate any and all! All these photos have been taken at our neighbor Dave's property. He burns wood in his home and is ready for the long winter that will soon be upon us. So lovingly and carefully chopped and stacked.
So for now I will dream of a wood stove, the beauty of the natural wood fire, of the warm spot in the house to gather around on cold evenings. I will dream of security knowing that we will be warm and comfortable if the power grid fails in the middle of winter and of being set free from our energy supplier who only cares about our money. In time, I hope all my dreams come true.
I hope you have a great day and remember to give your loved ones a hug!