Author Topic: Does anyone heat the home with woodstove(s)?  (Read 10588 times)

Wendyimhome

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Does anyone heat the home with woodstove(s)?
« on: January 03, 2015, 09:41:41 PM »
If so, a few questions for you:

How well does it work - really?

Do you pretty much need one stove for each room?

Do you have to get up through the night to keep feeding it wood?

And does it kill the enjoyment of a fireplace fire, i.e., by taking away the sight and sound of a fire?


Spork

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Re: Does anyone heat the home with woodstove(s)?
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2015, 09:50:14 PM »

Yep.

How does it work?   
awesome... to a point.   We sized it sized it small and could have gone bigger.  We have a relatively open floor plan on the first floor and it heats it great.  It is difficult to get it to the extremities though.

How many? 
we have one.  If I had to do it over again with what I know now.... I would have made it more central to the house.  It is in one far corner.  As I mentioned... getting it to the other corner is challenging.

Feeding:
We feed it during the day and let it burn out over night.  We are in the south.  If you're in northern climate, my info may be absolutely useless.

Ambiance:
No... it is still "pretty".  In fact, it can be more interesting.  Once it is up to temperature and you close the damper, you can get very neat looking flames.  The wood off gasses flammable gas and it will ignite in really cool patterns.

---

What I would do differently:
* more center to the house
* put your MAIN HVAC air return very close to the stove.  We try to circulate the air with the HVAC on "fan".  I added a return near the stove... but... It is one of several and gets diluted.
* you can also do some neat stuff with a heat exchanger... where the HVAC blows across it and really heats the house.

What I did right:
* pull the air from OUTSIDE.  Don't use the heated house air to feed the fire.  That just sucks the nice warm air out the chimney.  Feed the fire with a fresh air vent.  Ours comes in the back.... but after seeing how they plumbed it, a friend put theirs under the platform it sits on.  I'd do that if I did it over.

Wendyimhome

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Re: Does anyone heat the home with woodstove(s)?
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2015, 09:56:25 PM »
Excellent.  So how much has it cut down on heating costs, and how much did it cost to buy and install?

swick

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Re: Does anyone heat the home with woodstove(s)?
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2015, 12:11:28 AM »
My parents heat with wood - there are definitely pros and cons.

My parents live in a 900 sqft. house in the mountains of BC - lots of snow. 1 woodstove is enough for them. They do have to stoke it overnight and my dad gets up super early for work 4 am and feeds the fire again...this heats up the house enough that my mom is willing to get out of bed around 7.

They pay more for house insurance.

My dad gets his own wood, so has a truck, chain saw, log splitter etc. It takes a fair amount of time and physical work to collect, cut and stack the wood. A cord of rounds (you have to do your own splitting and cutting) here goes for about 250.00. My parents usually go through 2 1/2 to 3 cords a winter.

Very handy to have when you have frequent winter power outages. My parents also heat up water for dishes and do lots of their cooking on top of the woodstove.

Air quality is not so good, there is much more dust and air pollutants. Makes my mom's asthma worse for sure.


Frugal_Red

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Re: Does anyone heat the home with woodstove(s)?
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2015, 01:35:11 AM »
Howdy! I grew up in an old farm house that was heated by wood with oil as backup.  There were two wood-stoves in the house. My parents were rather frugal so oil was rarely used.

The first one was an old cast iron woodstove / fireplace that was located in the living room on the first floor. It was use to heat the living room, the kitchen and dining room (as well as the bedroom above it via a small vent in the ceiling). The wood stove was also used to cook on in the winter months when electricity was lost, or to open up to display the flames and sit around in the evenings.

The second wood-stove was a big steel affair located in the basement and was connect to a number of vented shafts to distribute the heat throughout the first floor. The second floor was unheated.

How well does it work - really?
Woodstove #1 - It worked well for basic cooking, boiling water and keeping the living room nice and cozy.  We used to dry all our winter jackets, gloves, etc around it while warming our backsides. Many a game of cards was played nearby.
Woodstove #2 - very effective in heat distribution. It could last well through the night.  Mornings were always cold but a few logs added in the early AM and things were pretty cozy by breakfast.

Do you pretty much need one stove for each room?
Nope, just the one in the basement did the trick. The one in the living room was more for cooking, drying and coziness.

Do you have to get up through the night to keep feeding it wood?
(see above)

And does it kill the enjoyment of a fireplace fire, i.e., by taking away the sight and sound of a fire?
I've never found fireplaces to be magical, romantic or any other such thing since I grew up with them.  I love the idea of being able to gather your own wood and heat your home for just a few days work.

stripey

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Re: Does anyone heat the home with woodstove(s)?
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2015, 01:58:41 AM »
If so, a few questions for you:

How well does it work - really?

Do you pretty much need one stove for each room?

Do you have to get up through the night to keep feeding it wood?

And does it kill the enjoyment of a fireplace fire, i.e., by taking away the sight and sound of a fire?

Different perspective from an Aussie here.

My parents do in south-eastern Australia (winters get down to about -5*C typically, about -10*C at coldest, and snow is a novelty not a mundanity of living). I grew up in a two-storey mud-brick 'shed' (think cottage- comfortably large enough for two adults and three children) that had a slow-cumbustion stove which did all heating, hot water service and cooking all winter. Never required additional heating. Insulation from the mud brick was pretty decent though, despite not having double-glazed windows.

Parents moved into their two-storey owner-built mud-brick house (four bedroom/two bathroom plus study plus games room) and they opted for nearly the same model slow-combustion stove as in the 'shed'. Gets down to just below comfort in winter (13*C) but not enough to be bothered to turn on the central heating that has virtually never been used.

In response to your questions:

1- Works decently, to be honest. Pretty much it is something like this, but a much much older 'cooking only' model: http://www.agashopaustralia.com/rayburn/better_food.html

2- We only really needed one for the entire 'shed' (cottage) which was an area equivalent of a 2BR/1bathroom apartment. Larger than that, you'd need more than one heater but not one per room.

3- Mum and dad both worked, filled up the furnace with wood and shut it up for the day, always going when the got home and just needed re-stoking. Repeated in the evening if it was cold, but it wouldn't go out if it wasn't tended overnight.

4- Different cultural perspectives here. If you hanker for the sight of licking flames and the smell of wood-smoke (and all the mess that goes with it) then yes it will wreck the enjoyment of it. That's not part of the enjoyment of an open fireplace for me, and the hassle of having to more regularly tend it, clean it, deal with soot, etc. wins out.


Hope that helps

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Does anyone heat the home with woodstove(s)?
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2015, 04:49:16 AM »
We heat our two-level, 2,700 sf house with one large wood stove on the 1st floor (8" round stovepipe; takes fairly large splits, but not as large as those used in outdoor wood furnaces).  The stove is located at one end of the 1st floor, and the fairly open stairwell to the second floor is located about 2/3 of the way toward the other end of the house. 

The way we run the stove in moderately cold weather, temps typically vary from about 70 F in the family room where to stove is located to about 60-65 F in the rooms that are farthest from the stove.  Air circulates throughout the house without any vents or fans.  In very cold weather (0 F), it can be difficult to get the distant rooms up to a comfortable temperature.  We have electric baseboards that we can use as back-up, but we really limit use of those.  We use them the most during spring and fall, when it is cool enough to need heat, but too warm to keep a fire going all day.

We're fairly tolerant of temperature variations, so it works well for us.  It also helps to know that we're saving probably $2k a year on electricity.  For people who have to have every corner of the house exactly 68 F all the time, it probably isn't going to work very well.

I load the stove and choke down the air intake before I go to bed at night.  When I get up 8 hours later, there usually are plenty of coals left so I can just throw a couple of logs on, open up the air, and the fire is going well within a few minutes.  I burn good quality hardwood (mostly oak).  I probably couldn't do that with the conifers and soft hardwoods that are prevalent in Canada and the western US.  Of course, the house is chilly when I get up, ranging anywhere from 63 F on mild mornings to 55 F on below-zero mornings.

I cut, haul, and split my own wood, which is a major time commitment and requires me to be pretty physically fit.  I view it as a win-win: I save money on electricity, and I save more money by not having a gym membership.  I burn around 5 cords a year.  It sounds like a lot, and when you are splitting it all by hand, it is a lot.  We keep a fire going almost continuously from late October to early April, which is why we consume so much wood.

Other people have mentioned the mess - this is definitely something to be aware of before you commit to heating with an indoor wood stove.  The area around the stove is going to get dirty from all the dust and dirt that falls off the wood as you are putting it in the stove, and from the ashes that you inevitably will spill when you empty the ash pan.  We keep a broom and dustpan by the stove and sweep up dust/dirt a couple of times a day.

Don't forget that you are going to have to have your chimney cleaned (or do it yourself) at least once a year.  Charcoal/creosote build-up is inevitable after just a few weeks of use, so be sure you know how to manage your fire such that you don't have a chimney fire.

Alchemilla

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Re: Does anyone heat the home with woodstove(s)?
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2015, 05:32:08 AM »
They are much more efficient than an open fire and create less dust.

Depending on the model you can load it up and turn it down at night and then wake it up in the morning.

It is just as romantic as an open fire, without the sparks
escaping.

If I were doing it again I would go higher on the kW than the advice, which assumes you keep all doors to all rooms closed.

I have Franco Belge stoves which are pretty, but by far the best I have had was a Woodwarm Fireview.

My understanding was that having a woodburner or open fire was better for the

Alchemilla

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Re: Does anyone heat the home with woodstove(s)?
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2015, 05:33:07 AM »
Asthmatic. Sorry.

Spork

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Re: Does anyone heat the home with woodstove(s)?
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2015, 07:40:53 AM »
Excellent.  So how much has it cut down on heating costs, and how much did it cost to buy and install?

We effectively do not use our central heat at all.* (See note)

We put it in when we built the house... so with new construction it was just under $7k.  I believe this did not include the rock wall behind it (which is both "pretty" and has a nice radiating thermal mass to it).  The chimney (double wall stainless steel) is included -- and as I recall, the chimney cost more than the stove.

I can't say how much we are saving... as I don't have a "before" figure.  I burn 2-3 cords of wood a winter.  If I didn't do that, I would be paying for propane, which is ungodly expensive.  With the stove we fill the propane tank about 2 times a year (2500ish sqft house, gas inline water heater, gas cooktop and stove).   We live in the woods, so wood is "free."  There is usually a tree that falls in a storm or a relative/neighbor that has one they don't want.  If that fails, there is always a recently dead tree somewhere that can be taken out.  We burn mostly oak/hickory that I cut/split myself.


edit to add:
I also have to clean the chimney about twice a season...  Probably more if you live further north.  Since it is stainless steel walled, this is pretty simple.  I just do it myself
---
*This isn't totally true.  We set the central heat at about 60-65 degrees.  We just never hit that temperature because the stove keeps it above that line.  We found that it is MUCH easier to maintain a temperature than to re-establish it.  We used to just turn it off entirely, but with concrete floors providing a huge thermal mass -- it can take several days to re-establish a target temperature.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2015, 07:46:36 AM by Spork »

NinetyFour

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Re: Does anyone heat the home with woodstove(s)?
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2015, 09:04:32 AM »
This may just be particular to my quirky house:

I bought a small wood stove, thinking it would save me a lot of $$.  I buy wood at a place about 45 miles away that process aspen and sells the bits they can't use.  About $35 for a truck load.

The problem was that my water supply pipes down in the crawl space would freeze if I depended only on the woodstove.  After a couple winters with frozen pipes I finally figured out the solution.  I could use th wood stove during the day, but quite feeding it at about 9pm.  Then after the house cooled down, the in-floor heat would kick on, nicely warming up the crawl space.  Rinse.  Repeat.  No more frozen pipes.

I'm not sure that the wood stove ended up saving me any $$.  I'm actually thinking of getting rid of it.

Anyway--you would need to pay attention to the location of you water pipes, and make sure that the heat will reach them.

bdub

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Re: Does anyone heat the home with woodstove(s)?
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2015, 09:33:45 AM »
My parents in Michigan heat their 1100 sq. ft. single level home with a wood pellet stove.  They also have a LPG system.  They use whichever system cost the less to operate at that point in time.

The stove keeps the house nice and toasty through all of the winter weather central Michigan sees.  Since it is a pellet stove, there is less mess but they do have to buy bags of pellets instead of being able to buy cords of wood.  This convenience does cost more.

The stove saved them a lot of money 2 winters ago when there was the LP gas shortage causing the prices of propane to skyrocket.  They heated last winter and this winter almost exclusively with LP because it is cheaper now than using the pellets. 

totoro

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Re: Does anyone heat the home with woodstove(s)?
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2015, 09:33:50 AM »
We have a wood stove.

It works well, but it is not a primary source of heat for us.  It reduces the cost of using electric baseboard heating in a fairly mild climate which rarely drops below freezing, plus it is an emergency backup in the event of a power outage.  We put it on in the evenings and sometimes start in the morning on weekends on colder days in Oct-March and it heats the home up quickly (1400 square foot). 

We enjoy watching the fire through the glass - it is pretty.  House does need more sweeping when we use the woodstove and sometimes it can get a bit too warm inside.

Katy Stache

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Re: Does anyone heat the home with woodstove(s)?
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2015, 06:12:57 AM »
We love our woodstove. The quality of the heat is much better than our forced hot water. It keeps our house warm enough throughout until the temps start dipping below 20oF during the day. Then we turn on the heat in the basement first to warm the floors. We are in NH where a home without a woodstove just isn't a home. The stove helps with heating costs but I am just now beginning to analyze it. Last winter I was in an unmustachian frame of mind and ran the furnace a lot. We went through as much as 5.54 gallons of propane per day. The year before it was 3.3 gallons per day. We use about 3.5 cords of wood per year. Buy it green, split in spring when it is least expensive and stack it ourselves. The whole cut, split, stack thing is tedious.

Indio

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Re: Does anyone heat the home with woodstove(s)?
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2015, 07:43:17 AM »
I put in a pellet stove 3 years ago and I'm very happy with it and how much it has saved on heating costs. I didn't want to get into chopping, splitting, stacking wood so the pellets were an easier option for me. I still have to store the pellets and usually purchase about 2 tons which lasts about two years depending upon the severity of the Winter. Last year, we went through a lot because it was much colder. A tone of pellets is comparable price to a cord of wood.
My Harman pellet stove is scoped to heat a 1800 sq ft house. Since my house is 900 sq ft there is no problem heating the whole house. I use small doorway fans to push the heat from room to room because it isn't an open floor plan. There is a little more dust in Winter than there was before the install and it does need electricity to run it. I have a whole house backup generator using natural gas that keeps the power running and the stove when the grid goes down.

Elk

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Re: Does anyone heat the home with woodstove(s)?
« Reply #15 on: January 05, 2015, 08:24:26 AM »
We put in a wood stove, quadrafire millenium 3100, last January.  The cost was $3500 for stove, pipe and installation.  We heat 1400 square feet which includes 3 bedrooms, 2 baths and main room with vaulted ceiling.  It saves us easily $500 to $1000 per year easily especially if there is a propane shortage again like last winter.  We have two fires per day basically load up the stove light and forget it.  i don't mind the temperature swings which range from 65 to 75.  I set the thermostat between 60 and 65 so the furnace doesn't kick on much.  We really like fireplaces for ambiance but once living with a wood stove with a nice big glass viewing window it is really nice too plus you get a ton of heat.  Get and energy efficient wood stove because you will get way more heat out of less wood plus you get a tax credit.  Invest in a electric blanket if you want to sleep with your door closed because the heat won't get in your room.  If you are going to be running space heaters in bedroom and bathrooms and or have to pay for wood you may not be saving much money at all.  The best part of the stove is sitting in 80 degree heat when it's 0 degrees outside for free.  Good luck!

Greg

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Re: Does anyone heat the home with woodstove(s)?
« Reply #16 on: January 05, 2015, 10:55:18 AM »
I recently installed a small woodstove in my home.  It is not a cheap thing to do, the double-wall insulated stove pipe cost 2x as much as the stove (2 story house).  Be careful not to go too big, you need a good hot fire to burn clean and if the stove is too big, you will quickly overheat your space.  This information is available from the manufacturer.  They work best for homes with open floor plans (like kitchen, dining, living all one space).  Hot air rises, so if you have a second floor some heat will rise and help heat the upstairs.

It's very cozy, and will work when the power goes out.  It increases the dust and woodsey smell in the home no matter how tidy you are however.  Wood supply is an issue you'll have to contend with somehow.  It creates work and/or cost regardless.  Chopping wood is a great way to get/stay warm.   As they say, woodstove wood warms you twice.

For my home, it's created a new focal point in the living area where one didn't exist before.  In the summer it will be forgotten but for now it's very enjoyable.  Ours has a glass window in the door which allows us to see the entire fire.

QajakBoy

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Re: Does anyone heat the home with woodstove(s)?
« Reply #17 on: January 05, 2015, 11:46:26 AM »
Great responses above.  I grew up with a wood cook stove in the kitchen.  Lots of positives, but woodstoves also come with a bunch of negatives, but if you don't mind the negatives a good woodstove setup can be great.  Here's a great article on choosing a woodstove: http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/qa-spotlight/choosing-new-wood-stove.

chops

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Re: Does anyone heat the home with woodstove(s)?
« Reply #18 on: February 17, 2015, 04:49:39 PM »
I had a wood furnace which heated the baseboard pipes throughout my 2 story colonial in cold NE (I had an old oil furnace as a backup that I rarely used.)  Worked fantastic, it's very efficient and heats rooms/floors evenly and I added a domestic hot water coil to heat up water as well!  I got one which could burn for about 8 hours, letting me sleep through the night before I had to resupply.  Amazingly, wood furnaces are not much more expensive than wood stoves.  I think the additional cost is well worth it.

I did run through about 4-5 cords of wood a year - this takes a lot of time cutting, splitting and stacking.  Personally, I enjoyed it.  And it saved me ~$3500 year.

 - Chops

MikeBear

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Re: Does anyone heat the home with woodstove(s)?
« Reply #19 on: February 17, 2015, 05:02:24 PM »
How does a pellet stove work for a person with asthma, that can't tolerate ANY wood smoke?

Davin

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Re: Does anyone heat the home with woodstove(s)?
« Reply #20 on: February 17, 2015, 05:59:23 PM »
It works fine... if you get cold, you build a fire. It requires manual labor, but I heat exclusively with wood because it costs me nothing but a little time.

I have lived in three houses that we heated exclusively with wood, all had only one stove. Rooms farther from the stove do not get as warm as the room with the stove in it, but if you leave interior doors open it is usually no big deal. All three houses had existing stoves in them, none were very fancy, but they all worked.

Most modern stoves will keep going through the night if you damp them down. If you live in a cold climate and are purchasing a new stove, get one that does this.

Many also have glass windows that allow you to view the fire although they cost a little more.

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Does anyone heat the home with woodstove(s)?
« Reply #21 on: February 18, 2015, 03:50:48 AM »
How does a pellet stove work for a person with asthma, that can't tolerate ANY wood smoke?

If the chimney is clean and the door gasket is in good shape, you shouldn't get any smoke inside the house from a wood stove.  Door gaskets need to be replaced every few years, which is a cheap and relatively easy DIY task.

A pellet stove is no different.  If you get ash built up in the heat exchange baffle, a dirty chimney, or a leaky gasket, you will get smoke in the house.

KD

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Re: Does anyone heat the home with woodstove(s)?
« Reply #22 on: February 18, 2015, 05:21:46 AM »
Love my woodstove.  I grew up with a massive open fireplace and it's not the same w/the flame view, but still the glass door is okay.  We use the heat pump as an auxiliary heat source as most of the time my adult disabled sons spend time in their rooms away from the main living area.  Our home has an open-ish plan in the living, dining, kitchen area and down the hall bedrooms (ranch style home) could easily be closed off during a power outage so the living area can be kept warm/cook on stove.

If it were just me here I would leave the heat pump off and just use the woodstove.  Mine came with this house, it's a soapstone covered one which helps retain heat.  If I were to buy one for here I would get one that had a baking side to it, but still has a firebox window (I like to watch).  As is it takes much longer to roast/bake anything and it has to be w/a metal campstove ($30-40) on top.  I could buy one of those bake-boxes that fit onto the stove pipe ($250) but have yet to do it.  I do use mine as a part of my laundry set up as I hang things around it to dry in the a.m. hours when everyone else is still asleep and leave the electric dryer off. 

We use about 3-4 ricks a year.  As everyone else has said, I damp it off at night, burns all night, sleep w/master bedroom door ajar as to keep some warm air flowing.  Mine is slightly off center to the master bedroom end of the house and the other bedrooms and den down the hall are colder at night.  Blankets are cheap.  Sweaters & house slippers can be added/tossed off at any time.

This is a great article - Heating People Not Spaces:
http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2015/02/heating-people-not-spaces.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+typepad%2Fkrisdedecker%2Flowtechmagazineenglish+%28Low-tech+Magazine%29

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Does anyone heat the home with woodstove(s)?
« Reply #23 on: February 18, 2015, 06:36:18 AM »
Ben Falk's book on the Resilient Farm and Homestead has a good section on wood stoves, the primary resource being a massive table of the BTUs per species of many trees. When managing your own land long term, the trick is getting something with fast growth and high density. His #1 by far was black locust.

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Re: Does anyone heat the home with woodstove(s)?
« Reply #24 on: February 18, 2015, 07:44:25 AM »
How does a pellet stove work for a person with asthma, that can't tolerate ANY wood smoke?

If the chimney is clean and the door gasket is in good shape, you shouldn't get any smoke inside the house from a wood stove.  Door gaskets need to be replaced every few years, which is a cheap and relatively easy DIY task.

A pellet stove is no different.  If you get ash built up in the heat exchange baffle, a dirty chimney, or a leaky gasket, you will get smoke in the house.

If a stove still smokes after these measures, the chimney is probably too short and needs to be taller.  A modern house can also be too tight, not allowing the stove to draw. In this case outside combustion air can be piped in to aid the draft. 

We heat 100% with wood in zone 7.  House is two story, 1400 square ft, with low end double panes and 4 inch walls.  Stove is an early 80's model Vermont Castings Resolute.  I usually warm the house up to around 70-75 in the evening and it is 60-65 in the morning (downstairs, add 5 degrees for upstairs). We have an open floor plan and with the doors open the heat self distributes pretty well.  I close the upstairs doors if the house is cool and I want to heat it up in a hurry.  We burn a lot of pine because it grows on our property, but if I was burning nothing but quality hardwoods, I would probably use around 3-4 cords a year.  Even if I bought it, it would still be cheaper than propane (probably $600 vs $1000 or so).

My wife as allergies/asthma which is pretty well controlled with medication. The stove does not seem to make any difference.  Where as standing around a campfire will aggrevate it.  Humidity seems to be a factor.  We keep a pot of water on the stove and will also run a humidifier at times.  It keeps the humidity high enough to where I rarely get a static shock.

I was just thinking this morning that I appreciate the fact that heating with wood keeps me up and moving in the winter quite a bit more than if I relied on a furnace/heat pump.

Spork

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Re: Does anyone heat the home with woodstove(s)?
« Reply #25 on: February 18, 2015, 08:00:45 AM »
How does a pellet stove work for a person with asthma, that can't tolerate ANY wood smoke?

If the chimney is clean and the door gasket is in good shape, you shouldn't get any smoke inside the house from a wood stove.  Door gaskets need to be replaced every few years, which is a cheap and relatively easy DIY task.

A pellet stove is no different.  If you get ash built up in the heat exchange baffle, a dirty chimney, or a leaky gasket, you will get smoke in the house.

If a stove still smokes after these measures, the chimney is probably too short and needs to be taller.  A modern house can also be too tight, not allowing the stove to draw. In this case outside combustion air can be piped in to aid the draft. 


I would suggest that outside air *always* be piped in to aid the draft.  If not, you're drawing in cold air from the outside through either leaks or air exchange.

As to smoke:  The only time we ever get any smoke is when we do something dumb like forget to open the damper before opening to load a new log.  Ours has both front and top load -- and even with the top load open, there is no smoke.  It all draws up the chimney.

This probably varies with stove model and with chimney design.

Highbeam

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Re: Does anyone heat the home with woodstove(s)?
« Reply #26 on: February 26, 2015, 02:11:11 PM »
I heat 100% with wood heat. We use a Blaze King stove which is very common in the western states and Alaska. These stoves are special in that they use a catalytic converter and a thermostat to allow them to burn 30-40 hours on one fillup. Or less hours if you want more heat. This is hugely important for full time wood heaters since it takes away the constant loading, starting, fiddling and "tending" chores that make wood heat hard work.

You can buy firewood cut and split and even have a kid stack it for you for cheaper than just about any other mainstream form of heat.

We do of course have backup electric resistance heaters hardwired in each room with thermostats but those haven't been used for many years.

Oh and I too recommend and installed an outside air connection for combustion air. It is a requirement in my jurisdiction.

WranglerBowman

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Re: Does anyone heat the home with woodstove(s)?
« Reply #27 on: March 16, 2015, 11:43:07 AM »
I've been burning wood as my primary heat source for the last 7 years.  I've gained a lot of knowledge over those 7 years through trial and error and research.  If you plan to use a woodstove as your primary heat source I would hands down use a stove with a catalytic converter, you'll get longer burn times, cleaner burns and better efficiency, which equates to less wood being burned, which means less work for you splitting or less money buying wood.  I'm heating a 2,600 SF house with a Buck Model 91 in Maryland and have been pretty happy with the performance, however the stove is a little undersized for my house based on the home's efficiency.  I would estimate burning wood full time for 5 months a year saves me about $1400 to $2200 a year based on weather and the price of oil.  However, I save that much because I do all the work myself; finding wood, cutting it, splitting it, loading it, hauling it, stacking it, burning it, cleaning up, cleaning the chimney liner, cleaning the catalytic converter, maintaining the stove seals, which all adds up in time but it's well worth the effort to me!

Spork

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Re: Does anyone heat the home with woodstove(s)?
« Reply #28 on: March 16, 2015, 12:31:48 PM »

I'm not sure that is a generalization that is 100% true.  There are good and bad stoves that are both cats and non-cats.

If you'd like to do a direct compare of BTU output, efficiency, and particulate output -- the EPA has a list that allows direct comparisons:  http://www2.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2013-08/documents/certifiedwood.pdf

ephillipsme

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Re: Does anyone heat the home with woodstove(s)?
« Reply #29 on: March 17, 2015, 07:04:22 AM »
How well does it work - really?

Yes, we live in Maine cold climate and run a wood stove as a secondary or supplemental heat for all my life 40+ years. We have a 2200 sq ft house and run the wood stove late Oct - April round the clock.  This reduces the oil cost drastically as we generally burn 3-4 cords a year. One item you need to take into account is the wood supply, are you going to buy cut & split cord wood, are you going to cut s& split your self.  If so do you have access to standing timber.  These effect the cost of running a wood stove. Cord wood is messy no getting around the fact there will need to be though about storage and drying wood.  Also where you move the wood into the house.

Do you pretty much need one stove for each room?

No you do need to look at the size and layout of the house and size the stove appropriately.  Stove are rated on BTU out put and have specifications to the size are they will heat.  Depending on your house you may also need a fan or other item to move the air to some rooms.  We have a fairly open floor plan but one room is a little closed off from the others and the heat dose not flow as well into this room, a small fan helps circulate into this room,  Also upstairs bedrooms don't get direct heat, the floor is warmed from the first floor but indirectly.   there are also wood fired boiler options to replace a furnace and run hot water off a wood furnace.  Cord wood is messy so placement of the stove close toa door with access to the woodshed/pile is helpful to not track through eh house. 

Do you have to get up through the night to keep feeding it wood?

No once again,  stove sizing and look at the firebox volume,  a larger volume can load more also look to have an airtight mechanism to shit down the airflow over night and get a long slow burn.  this then allows for a long burn and ability to get the embers up and running in the morning.  So a couple items, wood stove produce ash and watch the amount of ash as this will help.hinder airflow and effect the fire in the stove.  Maintenance also comes into play as the doors have a fire rope that seals the stove off, these need to be replace every so often to seal the stove. 

And does it kill the enjoyment of a fireplace fire, i.e., by taking away the sight and sound of a fire?

Our stove has a glass panel in the front door and we can see the fire.  The dog bed is right next to the wood stove and dog and cat share all winter long.  Also great as we have a clothes drying rack next to it to help with drying outdoors clothes for us and kids after playing out side.  I clean the stove and wash the glass weekly to get the enjoyment of seeing he fire. The heat a wood stove gives off is very enjoyable. 

On to the finance side,  So I have some land and can cut my own wood, this is not a big chore as also is exercise for me,  If i was just buying cord wood the cost might not be as great a savings from oil or other heat,  many Mainers heat with wood, primary and supplemental and wood heats you three times they say, cutting & splitting, stacking and burning.  enjoy
« Last Edit: March 17, 2015, 07:27:18 AM by ephillipsme »