It’s a good idea to take advantage of thermal mass by placing your woodstove near dense building materials such as bricks, stone or concrete. These materials slowly absorb and then release heat.
Why not heat your home with a woodstove? Wood is a renewable fuel, and it’s often cheap and local, too.
To get the most out of your woodstove, you’ll also want to carefully consider where you place the chimney. A chimney installed outside the house causes sluggish fires.
There’s more than one way to build a fire, but not all fires are equally efficient. It’s worth taking some time to learn how to build more efficient fires: It makes wood heating more convenient, keeps your home more comfortable, and if you’re buying firewood, it can save you money, too.
In the article, the author describes several methods for building fires. This is the top-down approach, the author’s favorite method for building fires because it produces little smoke. Just place three or four split logs on the firebox floor. Place six or eight pieces of medium kindling across them. Then put 10 or so pieces of fine kindling across the heavier kindling. Now take four or five full sheets of newspaper and roll each one up corner-to-corner and tie a sloppy knot in it. Place the knots on top of the fine kindling. Light the paper and watch as the fire burns down through the light kindling, the heavy kindling and into the bottom logs.
Another reliable method for starting fires is to begin with two parallel logs. To build a fire this way, just place two split logs in the firebox and put some twisted newspaper between them. Add some fine kindling — 1 inch square or less — on the newspaper and more kindling of various sizes across the two logs.
A straight-up chimney installation is a much better choice for efficient fires.