Part 1: Heating Your House with Wood


| 2/16/2017 10:43:00 AM


Hope survives best by the hearth. - Rick Riordan

There is nothing like the comfort of a warm spot in front of the woodstove. Heating the house by woodstove is a way of life. It creates a rhythm to the day, filling the woodstove on a cold day. It is physical and self-sufficient and real. There is no invisible source of heat keeping things comfortable. The source of heat is obvious, tactile and requires your efforts.

Friends talk about coming to our house when electricity goes out and houses get cold. It is known that our house stays warm on those days and provides a haven to others.

woodstove

The key strategy for heating by woodstove is keeping a supply of firewood at the house. Whether you are splitting your own or buying by the cord, you must always think ahead. Running out of fuel is a problem for any system. Know how much firewood you need for the winter. For our 1600 square foot home in Maryland, it is about three cords of wood. Keep at least a cord more than you need, but ideally, stock a whole season ahead. This allows for green wood to ripen before you will need it. Make sure a sufficient stack of firewood is always at hand to keep your heating system at work.



Gathering Fuel

To chop wood or not to chop wood...It takes effort to create woodstove heat. It is not warm with the flick of a switch or the installation of a fuel canister. Phil used to chop our own wood, but started buying cords of wood when we became parents. We have not prioritized chopping our own wood ever since. However, collecting and splitting firewood is a source of exercise and meditation that many enjoy. A tractor and the wood splitter attachment for it are great for processing logs into firewood. Sometimes Freecycle and Craigslist sites will have postings for free wood. Then all you need is a pickup truck and a strong back. Hardwoods are best for woodstove heat.





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