Wood heating using an airtight woodstove can be an efficient, safe, and rewarding way to cut home heating costs in half. Be safe, install a woodstove heat shield on walls right behind or within three feet of either side.
Woodstove heat exchangers
can recapture thirty percent or more of heat normally lost out the flue. There are several types of heat exchangers on the market passive ones that use tubes horizontally mounted in a box within the flue system as well as active ones that use a fan to blow through the tubes. Some of the active systems even have thermostatically controlled fans.
DIY (Do it yourself) home wood heating will give you steady warmth without the hot then cold swings that are common with traditional forced air heat systems.
If you use your stove to supplement your home heating as I do there will be days in late fall and early spring that an evening fire will be all you need to heat that day.
Only Use Hardwood For Safer Easier Cleaner Heat
When choosing wood for heating only use well seasoned (dried at least two years) wood. Never use any type of evergreen no matter how dry. Use only hardwood such as oak, maple, locust, and any type of fruit or nut trees.
Keep your wood-pile covered so it will remain dry and your fire will be easy to start and maintain.
Hardwoods burn hot, slow, and clean leaving less ash that can then be used in organic gardening.
Don't use scrap wood because it is usually either evergreens or is painted or stained.
Using evergreens or unseasoned wood will create creosote an oily substance that coats the inside of the flue pipe providing fuel for flue fires.
Never use pressure treated wood because they give off toxic gases when burned.
If you use twisted newspaper to start your fire don't use glossy or colored paper if you plan to use your ashes in your compost pile or in your organic garden because they may contain lead or other heavy metals.
Buying Wood Know What You Are Buying
Measure your firebox to know how long your wood needs to be cut. Either order or cut your wood one-inch shorter than the length of your grating. The thickness of your wood needs to be a variety of sizes so you will be able to build smaller fires, start fires more easily, and bank fires with larger pieces. Banking a fire means to cut back on the thermostat and put larger pieces of wood in so they will last longer into the night.
Each woodstove works differently so read the instructions that accompany it or look up your stove online for best results.
Home wood heating can be a very satisfying way to save some real money and get some healthy exercise.