Wood Burning with Wood Stoves

The Benefits of Wood Burning Stoves and the Selection and Preparation of Wood

By Mark J. Donovan

There are a number of supplemental heating solutions that can help heat your home during the winter months, however the traditional wood burning stove is still the most popular choice for many. Wood burning wood stoves offer a number advantages over other supplemental heating stoves, including gas stoves, pellet stoves, coal stoves, and portable electrical heaters.

One of the main advantages of a wood burning stove is the fact that wood is still a relatively plentiful resource in many regions of the world, and thus is fairly economical to burn compared to natural gas, propane, electric, and wood pellets.

Also, unlike a wood pellet stove where the pellets are manufactured and have to be purchased from a store, a traditional wood stove allows a homeowner to cut and prepare the fire wood him or herself. Consequently the cost of burning wood in a wood stove is typically much less expensive than burning any other type of combustible material in another type of stove.

Depending upon the size of a wood burning stove, it can pump out a tremendous amount of heat. In some cases it can be used to heat the entire home. Most other supplemental heating stoves are typically only capable of heating a portion of a home. Besides coming in a variety of sizes, wood burning stoves also come in a variety of shapes and features. Many include windows for viewing the flame and are ideal for formal living spaces within the home. Many new wood burning stoves include options that help to blow or radiated the heat out from the stove. Others have unique designs to enable very clean burning of the wood. This is an extremely useful feature as it helps to reduce the risk of chimney fires due to the buildup of dangerous creosote in the chimney, a common concern with wood burning stoves.

When it comes to selecting what type of wood to burn in a wood stove, hardwoods are the preferred choice. Oak and maple are two of the best types of wood to burn in a wood stove. Softwoods, such as pine, which are filled with pitch, should never be used. Burning pine wood in a wood stove can lead to high levels of creosote buildup in the chimney and wood stove pipe, which can cause chimney fires. Many homes are burnt down every year due to chimney fires, caused by wood stoves burning improper types of wood and/or the chimney not being regularly cleaned.

Another advantage of burning hardwoods is that they output higher heat (BTU) levels than softwoods. Thus less wood is required to produce the same amount of heat.

Another factor in the amount of BTUs (British Thermal Units) produced by the wood and wood burning stove is the amount of moisture in the wood itself. The lower the moisture content in the wood the higher the amount of heat produced by the burning wood. Also burning high moisture content wood, or green wood, is harder to start and more importantly will also cause dangerous creosote to rapidly form in the stove pipe and chimney. High moisture wood also produces more soot which will be spewed into the air, causing higher pollution.

Installation of Hood over Wood Stove EBook

Consequently, prior to burning wood in a wood stove it should be properly cut and split and allowed to dry out for at least 6 to 9 months, and preferably a year. By allowing the wood to age and dry out, the wood should be able to get to a moisture content below 20%, which is ideal for burning, both from a BTU output level and a safety standpoint.

To aid in the drying process the wood should be cut to proper length, split and then stacked in a sunny area. Typically the wood is stacked in an organized manner, either in round house piles or long rows. The wood should also be covered during the drying cycle to prevent rain, snow and ice to collect on it.

For information on Restoring Baseboard Heating Element Covers, see the Restoring Baseboard Heating Element Covers eBook from HomeAdditionPlus.com. The Restoring Baseboard Heating Element Covers Ebook provides easy to understand, step-by-step instructions, on how to restore Baseboard Heating Element Covers so that they look new again. Pictures are included for every key step in the process.

For information on how to maximize a wood stove’s heating efficiency, see HomeAdditionPlus.com’s Installation of Hood over Wood Stove eBook

For information on how to clean a wood stove pipe, see HomeAdditionPlus.com’s How to Clean a Wood Stove Pipe eBook.

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