Living a wood heat stove

Published on October 13th, 2011 | by ziggy

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Wood Heat Stoves: 4 Reasons You Should Consider Heating with Wood

There are many benefits to heating with wood, some obvious, and others not so much if you’ve never had the pleasure of lighting a wood fire and getting warm next to a nice tiny wood stove.

Here are five unique reasons you should consider heating your home with wood.

Okay, disclaimer: obviously wood heat is not applicable to everyone — if you live in a dense city, for example, or a part of the country where tree growth is very slim. But for those folks interested in exploring heating with wood, and who live in a part of the country where wood is plentiful and available, check this out.

1.) Wood Heat is more self-reliant

Heating with wood is a step towards becoming more self-reliant. Home heating options such as gas or coal are non-renewable resources, far removed from an individual’s control, while a properly managed forest is a self-propagating, healthy, and renewable alternative. A homeowner can manage, cut, and process his/her own firewood and know exactly where his/her energy source is coming from, while natural gas and coal are completely inaccessible as far as how these resources are handled by massive utilities companies. Forests, if well-maintained, can provide home heat indefinitely, and individuals can become much more self-reliant by managing their own home heat sources.

2.) Get fit processing your own firewood

If you decide to take the wood heat plunge, you’ll get the added benefit of added exercise to your seasonal routine. Cutting, splitting, stacking, and moving firewood involves a significant amount of physical labor. Or a better way of looking at it is — more exercise opportunities! Especially during cold winter months, when spending time outside is often a less-than-appealing notion, splitting firewood brings a welcome reason to be outside and get your body moving. And everyone knows that old adage: you get warm twice when you heat with wood — once when you cut it, and second when you burn it.

3.) Save money heating your home with wood

Wood heat is in most cases much cheaper than heating with fossil fuel sources. (Again, that’s assuming you live in an area with enough forested land, and not in a large city.) If you have the wherewithal to provide your own wood, it can cost as little as the tools needed to cut and process the wood. Even if you have it delivered, it should still only cost between $50-200 per cord. In this age of ever-increasing energy costs, that’s a significant savings over what you’d spend per month on heating costs through giant utilities companies. Not to mention, money spent on firewood is kept within local communities!

4.) Heat your home more efficiently with firewood

A lot of energy is wasted in the conventional home with a typical heating arrangement. Why do we have baseboards in bathrooms, and why do bedrooms get equally heated compared to areas that are actually most frequently used? If you heat with a wood stove, you can place it smack dab in the middle of the space that you actually use most of the time, such as the kitchen or living room. You’ll spend a lot less energy (and money) heating spaces that do not need to be as warm as primary living quarters. That’s good for your wallet and the environment.

These are just a few benefits to heating your home with wood. Others include: firewood is more economically accessible than complicated and expensive solar and geothermal systems, and the psychological benefits of having a fire in the home are fantastic — a live fire is visually warming! Not only that, but modern day wood stoves are much more efficient than they used to be — many stoves hover around 70% efficiency. And did I mention the top of a wood stove doubles as a cooking surface?

The benefits are indeed many.

p.s. Check out my review of tiny wood stoves for your small house!

Image credit: Nathan T. Baker, justtohottotouch via Flickr



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About the Author

I'm a 26-year-old currently living at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage in northeast Missouri, an intentional community devoted to sustainable living and culture change. Things you might find me doing here (other than blogging) are building with natural materials, gardening, beekeeping, making cheese, candlemaking, and above all else, living simply. You can read about my on-going natural building projects at: http://www.small-scale.net/yearofmud



3 Responses to Wood Heat Stoves: 4 Reasons You Should Consider Heating with Wood

  1. RecycleCindy says:

    Wood heat is wonderful and I love that people can use their own resources such as dead standing trees on their property to heat their homes. We don’t have to rely on electricity, oil or other non-sustainable things to keep us warm in the winter.

  2. Owen says:

    Another plus is you can get warmed up much faster by standing next to a wood stove than say baseboard heaters. Also, you can burn all sorts of scrap wood that’s often free — scrap wood from construction sites and woodworking projects, pallets, blow downs from storms, and tree trimming companies (haul it away so they don’t have to).

  3. Uncle B says:

    Hemp for heat? Canadian government has kegalised hemp crops. Can stoves be diesigned for hemp fires? We seek thermal mass styled units suitible for hemp-crete block and Straw Bale sustainalbel sized country retirement homes. Thezase homes must be very cheap to build, near mortgage free, and warm, not big, R 60 possible today, Gardening, Anaerobic sewage digestion, to keep localwater supplies clean, and composting , chicken raising even aquaponics to be accomodated.

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