To be more specific, burning wood to heat the home.
As many of you know, we have a wood stove which is our only source of heat at the moment. When I bought the wood stove, I knew that the furnace we had was on its last leg. But I had no idea that it would would go up as soon as it did. It is/was original with the house, which was built in 1986. As one of the guys who came to look at it said, it’s “ancient”.
So, I thought I’d share some of the benefits of burning wood to heat the home!
Hope you enjoy!
Many people see using wood to heat as an evil, even though it has been a source of heating and cooking fuel for forever! Many people are starting to burn wood again to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels, and save money on energy bills. There are many benefits to wood heat as a primary or secondary heating source. There is also annual maintenance to be done on the system.
Wood is renewable. Trees keep on growing, but they need to be harvested sustainably to keep a woodlot or forest producing for decades. A home woodlot should have ½ cord removed per year to be sustainable. (A chord of wood is 4x4x8.) Many national forests (outside of California) will allow people living in that county – local citizens – to come in and take dead wood for a small fee.
Newer wood stoves are very energy efficient, and they release few emissions. Any pollution they do create is offset by the CO2 that is captured by the planet’s forests. Which is why, for every tree my boyfriend cuts down – either dead or mostly dead – I plant a baby. I do try to leave some dead standing for the critters. I know that it takes a while for the baby to get big enough to fully replace the dead tree but something is better than nothing. Even dead trees are good for the environment, which is for another post.
Firewood is a local product that creates jobs. The money stays in the community as income for wood sellers, property taxes for woodlots, and permits for cutting on public land.
Burning firewood is a buffer against unexpected fuel increases over the winter. A wood stove is excellent back-up heat during power outages, and it provides ambience. Who doesn’t like to cozy up to a fire during a snowstorm and a blackout? There is nothing in the world that can beat radiant heat, which is what fires are. It feels oh so much better than electric heat on achy bones.
Wood stoves are versatile household items. You can cook on a wood stove, heat water for domestic use, hang laundry to dry, and spread the ashes in the garden to raise the pH of acidic soils. Splitting and hauling wood is good exercise, too! The old saying goes, wood warms you twice – once when you split it, and once when you burn it. In other woods, very good exercise!
Connected to nature. You are living with the planet when you heat with wood. Each year, your wood fire shows you what the weather is doing. In the fall and spring, you build a small fire to take the chill off the mornings. In the coldest spells, you can’t seem to keep enough wood in the stove to stay warm. It’s easy to see the cycles of the seasons. If you collect your own wood, you are out in the forest day after day, working with the elements, and enjoying the scenery and wildlife. You are unplugged and connected to nature.
At the moment, it is 77 degrees in the house and 49 degrees outside. Most days, if I can help it, shorts and a sleeveless tee are my normal dress. Even during the winter. This wood stove is very efficient – most days I only have to put a new log in the stove every few hours. Load it up at night before bed (around 830pm) and it’s good to go until morning. Of course, someone is usually up around 330am.