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River Wood

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I'm sure we are not the only ones considering burning wood this coming winter....

I have NEVER done this in my life.....for those of you who do..crazy question....but what is it like? Is it a pain? How much of your house does it heat? What kind of wood burner would you recommend? How many times of the night do you have to get up to put wood in it?

The prospect of saving a bit of money doing this sounds good but it sounds like a LOT of work....


Oops sorry......hope this topic wasn't covered already
 
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backwoodsnanny

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We burn wood and have for many years. As for it being a pain not if you are set up for it. Is it more work than just turning up the thermostat you betcha. If you have good seasoned wood, wood heat is warmer than oil heat. It also is dirtier with wood chips from the wood and ashes etc. If you have never burned wood I would say be very careful and talk with people in your area who have. Its not rocket science but there are tricks to keep the creosote from building up and causing a fire. We use wood to heat all of our house we have an all nighter woodstove and it does last all night but it doesnt have to here because we are aging each of us is up once or more at night and we put wood on when we are up. We are hoping to put another stove in before winter so we will be totally heated with wood this year now I am working on schemes to get our firewood . If I can help further just PM me with your questions.

Nita
 

Miniv

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Nita, What kind of "all nighter" wood stove do you have???

We have a smallish wood stove and it means having to get up during the night and add wood......which is a pain. Keeping the stove clear of creosote is important, which is messy.......Carrying the wood inside and keeping it stacked near the stove is also messy. A wood stove heats the immediate area very well -- almost too much, and the further away the rooms are the less affective it is.

Even though there are a lot of irritations with having one, I still am glad we have it.
 

Margo_C-T

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We heated our nearly 2300 sq. ft. house ENTIRELY with wood for 18 years, so I know the subject!

We invested in a fireplace insert, as the house has two fireplaces, but no place for a freestanding woodstove. If using an insert,I recommend one that does NOT set back in to the fireplace opening, and does not depend on any 'blower' system. Ours is an ORLEY, a horizontal 'barrel' type that sets fully out on the hearth, so that all of the heat comes outward into the room. I *think* it was 'rated' to heat around 2000 sq. ft, so fell a bit short--but it has really done a great job over many years.

My BEST suggestion to you would be to get all the information you can from those REALLY knowledgable about wood stoves and their use, such as your area extension service?

It IS a lot of work--and depending on what the 'heating medium' costs where you live, may NOT save all that much money. I'd suggest doing some cost comparisons before committing to anything new.

Here, the lowest it has ever gotten is -10 degrees F.--and that's infrequent. How cold you can expect it to routinely be, AND, how well-insulated your house is, are also BIG factors.

My late husband used to be able to go and cut wood off his cousin's ranch down in the timber; in recent years, I had to purchase wood, and it has become EVER more expensive--we have juniper(cedar) and pinon(a pine)most available here; I always got juniper because it is harder, burns longer, doesn't 'pop and spit' as much as pinon. Oak and apple, for example, are MUCH better woods, as they produce more heat, burn longer--BUT, they are very expensive here, because oak would have to be hauled in from a distance, and apple is rare, period.

You have to buy it split, or buy a splitter. You have to 'season' (let it dry;'green' wood is unsafe and ineffiecient to burn) properly, you need a safe, away-from-your-house place to stack it, and cover it against rain/snow. You need to haul it to the house, have a place to keep several days' supply so you aren't ALWAYS hauling it. You need small stuff for kindling. It is messy and dirty to handle and haul. You have to then take out ashes, and dispose of them SAFELY--meaning in a substantial METAL container with a METAL, tight-fitting lid, placed someplace SAFE(a large, and fairly new,house not far from me went up in flames a couple of years ago when someone set the fireplace ashes on the porch in a heavy plastic lidded container. All it takes is ONE coal to do it....and in a bucketful, you may not 'see' that one hot coal....)Once the ashes are DEFINITELY out, you still have to find a place to dispose of them(most trash removals will NOT allow ashes.) You also have to have, or learn properly how to, clean the chimney and flue...MORE work and cost.

As for getting up to feed the fire? Unless it was TERRIBLY cold, I could put a nice BIG log in about 15-20 min. before bedtime, open the stove dampers and let it really get to burning well, then at bedtime, close the dampers,and it would burn slowly throught the night, and I could easily build the fire up when I got up. On REALLY cold nights, though, I'd sleep in the recliner in the family room, so I could get up and 'feed' the fire and keep it 'burning up' all night. We LITERALLY had NO other source of heat, so HAD to not allow the fire in the insert to go completely 'out' over a very cold night!

Heating with wood, properly, is truly an ART, IMO, and takes dedication and yes, WORK, to manage.

That said, it is a 'wonderful' comforting heat. Of course, the room where the stove is located will be the warmest; the rest of the house will stay cooler, and the rooms furthest from the fire, the coolest. IMO, it's NOT for everybody.

I am relieved that I now again have a 'whole house' electric(my house is all-electric); I use a heat 'storage', time-of-use electric rates, heating system-and only use the stove insert occasionally, on REALLY COLD evenings.

Margo
 
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Betty B

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We heat mostly with wood. We only are concerned with the first floor of our home during the heating season. Wood stove is in the kitchen. Yep it gets warmer in there but we use a fan to blow it into the living room. Fill it at night and set the furnace thermo., to kick in at 63 when the wood fire goes out. No getting up at night for us. Of course we are home all day also so that makes it easier to keep the fire going.

It is a fabulous heat but it is a pain to keep ashes and floor clean around the stove itself. Set the old cast iron tea pot on top and you have some good moisture going into your house too.

And we have our own woods so we don't need to go anywhere to cut the wood. Store it in the old garage so it is dry.
 

CyndiM

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We've heated with wood for about 20 years and I love the warmth there is nothing like it. We have our own timber so getting wood is not an issue for us just a lot of work
. And I have to agree it can make a mess with the ashes etc. Hubby is up a couple of times a night so he adds wood, but if he cuts a few large peices I call overnight logs I will put one or two in before I go to bed and shut the dampers they hold all night.

Our furnace is rarely ever used, about twice in the fall and twice in the spring when it isn't quite cold enough for a fire.

Edited to add this wood stove heats the whole house and sometimes it is TOO hot then we are opening windows and running around in shorts and t-shirts.
 
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backwoodsnanny

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Maryann our current woodstove is an All Nighter that is the name of it. It also has a blower so no fan needed. I dont even know if they are still in business the stove is probably not the most efficient on the market today. I surely wish when we put in our furnace 4 years ago that we had gone with the outside boiler that is away from the house it would have paid for itself by now and there is no mess in the house. Worth investigating . I also like the Vermont castings stoves but they are pricey. We are in the same boat as Margo though hubby used to be able to cut wood off our land but cant any more so last year we had to buy wood this year I am going to look for someone to cut next years wood in exchange for their own. Oh and for the OP wood should be done a year in advance to have maximum heating efficiency. So wood cut now should be for 2009. I also think it takes some skill to burn a woodstove efficiently but there is no heat like it when it is right. I carry wood in twice a day after chores during heating season. And hubby does another fill up of the woodbox after tuck in at night in very cold weather ie: below zero we have to carry in more often. "We live in a state where we have to heat from Sept to May so it takes alot of wood but still much better than oil. For those thinking about this please be careful and learn all you can before you decide. We did use the oil backup last year but dont plan to this winter. Plan on adding another stove instead.and more insulation. Also for those who dont know most old timers here figure a cord of wood = roughly 100 gallons of fuel right now that translates to $230 per cord of wood to $429 per 100 of oil.There are going to be many cold people in the Northeast in the winter of 2008 and 2009 A tank of oil is 250 gallons and most use at least 2 tanks a winter and usually more to heat their homes for one heating season. You do the math. Everyone I know is a little worried about what winter will bring its not like we have a choice here to just put on more clothes.
 

Marsha Cassada

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We love our wood burning stove. It is a Lopi and heats our 2000 sq ft house. Ceiling fans are a must with a wood stove. The new stoves are very efficient. We load ours up before we go to bed, and it lasts all night. The first time we ever had one, I was nervous about it. When I'd leave the house to go for a walk, I would keep looking back to see if the house was bursting into flames. What a silly!

The only thing you have to remember about wood stoves, is to keep a window open somewhere in the house. Twice in 18 years, we had "negative pressure" and filled the house with smoke. Keeping a window open is easy, though, as generally the house is so warm.

It isn't as messy as you would think, either.

Here in OK, mesquite is the common firewood. We have plenty of that renewable resource! But juniper is my favorite.
 

River Wood

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Thank you to those that answered......I"ll get a list of questions together and will probably pm some of you...
 

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