How Many of You Heat With Wood?

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How Many of You Heat With Wood?

  • Yeah, I know.  It's August and the mosquitoes are fierce here in Door County.  But I was checking my wood supply in the barn to determine if we need to replenish anytime soon in preparation for the winter blast off the the Big Pond.

    Since we utilize our place year-round we use propane to keep the place at 55 degrees when we are away.  When we are there - we heat exclusively with an EPA-certified wood burner.

    Anyone else doing anything similar?

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  • We burn wood to heat our cabin where we now live year-round. When we bought our place, it had an open fireplace in the dining room.  It didn't take us long to realize that all the heat was going right up the fireplace chimney.

    We replaced the open fireplace with a Lopi Revere insert and it works like a charm. It has an enclosed fire box with a window in the door.  It has a fan to circulate the heat. When the temperature drops well below 0, we have our propane furnace to subsidize our wood burner. 

    Burning wood does make for more house keeping as we are cleaning up ashes, wood chips and smoke. My husband buys the wood from a local lumberjack and then he cuts and splits it. He has the wood drying for about a year before we burn it. We have a wood box by the front door and fill it about every other day.

    Wood burning is more work, but we feel its worth it in the end. We have dropped our heating bills considerably and you just can't beat the warmth.

  • We use wood in conjunction with oil at our home.   Yes, it does lower the heating bills.  We use propane and a pellet stove at the cabin.  We snowmobile and didn't want to be slaves to the woodstove when we could be out on the trails.  We do enjoy our campfires, though, even in the winter.

  • I agree with your enjoyment of campfires. I think I enjoy them just as much in the winter as in  the summer.

    Our cabin is in the deep woods of northern MN. We are constantly brushing and cleaning up branches and downed trees, etc. We have a pile of wood and brush away from the cabin and in the winter, we burn it. 

    It's lots of fun to stand in the snow with a fire warming your face.

     

  • We also suplement our LP with wood.  We purchased a decorative porcelain stove and used it last winter for the first time.  We also have a fireplace but it is not very efficient, so we don't use it that much.

    We mostly go on weekends and this stove let us get through the entire heating season with using just half of our LP tank.  We have a fan on the porch to circulate the air through the entire cabin.  In two weeks we're borrowing a wood splitter to stock up again.  Here in Wisconsin we are in the midst of a humid, record setting heat wave.  Hope it cools down before we have to pile the wood!!!!

  • The weather in northern MN changed on Sunday, from hot, humid weather to cool and rainy.  

     

    I hope your forecast is good for stacking wood. It's a big job but worth it.

     

     

  • My main heating source is a propane-fueled central heating/air system.  About 10 years ago I replaced my living room fireplace with a Lopi wood stove.  At the time I feared I would miss the "romance" but my stove has a glass door, and I have been very pleased with it.  I also have a pellet stove in the master bedroom which I use to augment the other two systems or as backup in case a storm takes out my electricity and I run out of firewood.    

  • The back up pellet stove sounds like a great idea. I don't know much about pellet stoves.  Are they as efficient as a wood burning stove?

    Do you have multiple chimneys in your home for the propane, wood and pellet stoves? How does that work?

    We have a Lopi too and we are very pleased with it as a heat source.

  • There are some significant differences between the Lopi woodstove and the pellet stove.  I believe the pellet stove is more efficient, but I'm not totally sure about that, because my pellet stove also requires electricity to operate. 

    Here are a few points of comparison:

    Wood stoves burn wood (duh) which you can either purchase or harvest yourself.  Pellet stoves use manufactured recycled wood pellets that look a lot like rabbit food.  Therefore the fuel  must be purchased.  It comes in 40# bags that I find a bit cumbersome.  However, because the pellets are highly compressed, I can store a whole lot of fuel in a much smaller space than my wood.   

    The burned pellet leaves only a small amount of ash, so I find the pellet stove to be a lot cleaner than the wood stove, although I still have to clean it out regularly. (I use a special small hose attachment that I have added to my shop vac.) 

    The pellet stove has a hopper into which you dump a load of pellets.  The stove then "feeds" the pellets to the burning area.   You can control the amount of heat that is put out by adjusting the speed with which the stove feeds the pellets.  The pellet stove can be run for several hours without attention, which is great if you want to go out for a while.  The downside of this system is that it requires electricity. Since my area is prone to power outages, I have a car battery attached to the system to serve as a back-up. 

    There are a couple of things that have been a disappointment to me:  1) the unit is noisy. Not only does it have a fan, but each time a pellet is dropped, it goes "plink".  2) the unit is also technologically  complex...which is both good and bad.  You have great control over the system.  I even have a remote control next to the bed so I can adjust the temperature with my head still on my pillow.  However,  I find its sophistication to be a bit daunting.  I'm always getting out the manual for guidance.  3)  My unit has a small window in the door through which I thought I would see a flame, much like the Lopi  (the romance factor).. But the window tends to ash up, and the view of the fire lacks the romance of the wood stove's, 

    Despite its drawbacks, I am glad that I purchased the unit for the master bedroom.  It's very very cute.  It's bright red with gold trim, and lresembles an ornate  pot bellied stove. I  was able to vent the stove directly through the wall, thus saving money on installation.   

    Each of my three heating systems is completely isolated from the other systems.  The main furnace  also requires electricity and provides central heat fueled by propane.  The woodstove has its own stove pipe which goes through the living room ceiling, and the pellet stove has a separate stove pipe.   

    For more information about pellet stoves, you might want to check out the Thelin website.  The company is located in Grass Valley, California.       

     

  • Thanks for all the great information.  

    I had no idea of the negatives with a pellet stoves such as a hopper, the noise and the tech thing with the remote.  

    But also the positives are very interesting too; cute and venting through the wall and the big plus of saving money.

    Again, great info. I will do some more research on these, thanks to your advice.

     

     

  • I kind of like the little "plink" noise.  Also, the pellet stove has a nice fragrance when it burns.  It's sort of a faint wood-burning smell and is very pleasant.  Our pellet stove is in the basement.  Was it complicated to hook up the car battery?  Ours runs on electricity also.  Do you need a converter?

  • Well, the dreaded splitting weekend went on and we split and piled our wood.  Thank goodness my brother- in-law helped too.  We split wood that was larger than we could put our arms around.  I worked for 5+ hours stacking the split wood...my body literally shut down on me.  I could not lift another log!!  My husband and his brother worked 6+ hours.  We now have 3 years of wood.  I'm glad it 's done, but my body aches when I look at it!!

  • Cabin Girl

    We use wood in conjunction with oil at our home.   Yes, it does lower the heating bills.  We use propane and a pellet stove at the cabin.  We snowmobile and didn't want to be slaves to the woodstove when we could be out on the trails.  We do enjoy our campfires, though, even in the winter.

    Yeas and on weekends we often have campfires and enjoy the wood heating. It gives relaxation specially in winter and saves a bit of our electric bills. Generally we don't have time in the week days to do it.

  • We heat with a water heater and pex tubes in concrete floor.  Love it.  It gives us constant, even temp without any drying of the air.  We have a gas direct vent fireplace too...originally was going to be wood buring, but I lost the battle on that one.

  • We heat with wood, as a backup to passive solar.  On sunny days, we don't worry about heating unless it gets below about 40 deg F.  Plenty of good oak and hickory in our area.  Last year, I trade some sawmill work for a hydraulic splitter.  Should have gotten one years ago!