The Pros and Cons of a Wood Burning Stove

All of our homes are built basically the same; there is deviance from the traditional structure of walls, doors, windows, and roof. After the basics are put into place then comes the fun part of making your house your very own home, and included in all of the many decisions is how you are going to heat it! A wood burning stove just might be the ideal addition to your home, and here are a couple of reasons why!

There is a big difference to the research needed for using a wood burning stove as your main source of heat versus adding a stove to your home as an alternate heat source. If this stove is your primary source of heat, the work can be very extensive. Essentially it would be a tradeoff of time to money, as you could potentially save quite a bit of funds. If you are gathering the wood yourself, be sure to check into getting a permit first! By doing the work yourself you could cut down on your electric bill enormously! However, the fire would need to be tended almost full time – particularly in these blustery Idaho winters. Failure to keep your wood dry and fire stoked could lead to frozen pipes.

If you are choosing to supplement your heat with other sources (such as gas or electricity), that is just fine also. This might be the best option for those who want to bring in a bit of romance and nature into their home, without the constant upkeep that a primary heat source might require. A wood burning stove that is only used on occasion would not need nearly as much wood to maintain, so finding a place that could provide you wood might be the better option to felling the trees yourself. This would help keep time in your day AND money in your pocket.

Another side of utilizing a wood burning stove that one should be aware of is the impact this might have on our environment. This is definitely something worth thinking about. On the one hand, wood burning can be so much less expensive because it is a renewable resource. Coal and gas are always taking such a hit to keep homes toasty (and used for so many other things), using wood can be seen as almost a relief to our environment! Though it can be a positive source in this light, one should also think about the pollutants their fires could be putting into the air. Burning wood is going to release “emissions of fine particles” into the air, the very same air that we are all breathing, so this can be a big deal fast! Obviously burning certain woods will release more of less of these fine particles, so being aware is the first step. Burning “green wood” or wood that hasn’t been seasoned (or dried out) will put much more smoke and debris into the air so purchasing or cutting dry wood will help fix that problem.

The ashes are another con that one should be aware of. After your fire has gone out your work isn’t automatically over. If you allow the ashes to build up in a wood burning stove you can create a hazardous situation for yourself. That ashes (and chimney for that matter, they build up there as well) will need to be cleaned out periodically. This brings us back to the money verse time debate. It is not difficult in theory to clean your soot chute, but it can be very messy. Choosing to pay for this service will be much easier, but having to pay for the product can defeat the purpose.

There are many pros and cons to using a wood burning stove. On one hand, they can be very inexpensive compared to traditional heating styles, educational ( you can’t go wrong knowing the ins and outs of starting and maintaining a good fire!), good for the environment as we’re laying off those non-renewable resources, and easy to maintain. On the other, the wood can get expensive quickly, it can take a lot of time and effort felling your own trees, there can be a high amount of fine particles emitted, and the ashes can create problems. The best way to go about choosing is deciding what is going to work best in your home! If you have enough people living with you to manage a fire 24/7, as well as have an excellent wood hookup (or just live in a place abundant in wood), using a wood burning stove as a primary heat source might be perfect for you! If this is not the case and you are either looking for a secondary heat source or just an accessory to your home, maintaining a wood burning stove wouldn’t be too bad, and could still help to save you money! If neither of these is the case, then don’t feel bad! They are not for everyone, and that is the beauty of owning your own home!

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