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Old 12-14-2009, 11:06 AM   #1
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Default wood burning stove

I was thinking of putting in a wood burning stove to heat my house some so I can cut down on the energy bills. I am not trying to heat the entire house just warm up the 1st floor some. I dont know anyone that has a wood stove so I was just trying to get some input on if it is worth it or not. I have access to wood so that isnt an issue. Just wondering about any other issues I am not thinking of. I can pick one up off craigslist for around 250.00 minus the pipe for chimney. Any input would be appreciated
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Old 12-14-2009, 02:16 PM   #2
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Default stove

I put my stove in last October and love it. During the winter I cut my gas bill by more than half. I have a 2 story house with about 2200 sq ft and I can keep the first floor around 74-76 with ease, and sometimes it can get a little too warm in the family room where the stove is. I also keep my t-stat at 69 degrees and the only time the heat kicks on is around 2am for about an hour or two. Good luck
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Old 12-14-2009, 02:46 PM   #3
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Default Think safety

I am a wood burner and a fireman. I have had every type of wood burner going in my last three homes. The first was a cast iron unit in my living room. It was great and warmed most of the house. I was dirty carrying the wood in and the ash out. I sold that place and moved to a house that had an add on wood burner that sets next to the furnace in the basement. It has its own fan and thermostat. The heat from that wood burner went into the duct work of the furnace. The heat came out the registers. They sell these new at tractor supply for about $900.00.It was cleaner cause I had an outside set of steps. I now have the cats A$$. Its a outside wood burner that heats water and sends it into your home. I have a big old farm house that sits in the open next to a field. I also heat a 4 car garage at the same time. My house is always 74 and the garage is 45 until I turn it up. I paid $10,000 for the system 5 years ago. It was a hard check to write but it paid for itself is under 4 years. I don't have a gas bill. As for safety, please don't cut any corners on the chimney. We go on a lot of fires caused by wood burners and dirty or bad chimneys.
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Old 12-14-2009, 03:04 PM   #4
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thanks guys. My house is about the same sq ft as yours float tube. So finding out how warm you are able to keep it. Because having to freeze my ass of and still give all my money to the energy nazis is getting old. I would love to get the outdoor version but dont have the money for it. Plus I think the 30% tax credit is good either way.
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Old 12-14-2009, 03:56 PM   #5
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Default stoves

Heated my house for 12 years with wood, lots of work. We did love it tho, now i have a pellet burner, I have a 2 story walk out basement so it heats the whole house. Still work and the pellets cost but still cheaper than propane. Had the pellet burner 3 years now and has paid for it self already.
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Old 12-14-2009, 04:06 PM   #6
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Had a wood burner for many years. I saved a lot of money, but it was a LOT of work. A whole lot of work. Going to the woods, cutting the wood, lugging it home unloading it, cutting it to length, splitting it, stacking it, feeding the wood burner, hauling out the ashes, keeping the chimney clean. Just thinking about it now makes my back hurt, but I did save money.
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Old 12-14-2009, 05:54 PM   #7
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I have a split level with a walk out basement.
i have a old style iron stove in the basement and a "Napolean" fire place insert unstairs in the living room/kitchen.

I have a forced air propane furnace that hasn't come on in over 2 years.

It is alot of work & its dirty but the warmth is better then any furnace- for some reason 70 deg. from a wood stove "feels" warmer to your bones then a forced air furnace... (I go to friends house and freeze!)

I enjoy the cutting of the wood / splitting / stacking- its good exercise and I love being outside... as much as possible.
The Napolean insert cost around 2500 complete with S/S triple chimney liner.
The potbelly cost 200 at a garage sale. The insert is awesome cause it has a fan that kicks on when the temp gets high- it circulates the air and the house warms 10degrees in an hour or less.

I have friends that have paid $600 a month for heat in the winter- so you do the math.

I'm 37 now- I'll probably do this for another 15 years or so- then I may get the pellets.... or something easier on the back!

Gathering the wood is not so bad if you do it year round.... cut trees down in Dec for next years winter and just keep it going- I try to get everything cut up by March/April so it has all summer to dry- then I start stacking by Sept.

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Old 12-14-2009, 06:26 PM   #8
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We have a add on wood furnace that connects into the return air of the propane furnace. The furnace has a blower too. $750 plus $1500 professionally installed. BTW my insurance company required pro install from licensed contractor.

My propane bill the year before we installed this was $2200.

The first year we used 50 Gals., the second we used less than 25 Gals., and this year I plan on even less.

It is dirty. I built a chute through the window to shove the wood in, believe me that alone made this whole thing a lot easier. Great exercise. I'm 55 and plan on doing this until it kills me and it may.

One thing about those outdoor models that use water to tranfer the heat is that they are smokey because the water tends to cool the firebox and make the fire burn cooler. Chopper can tell you more about this since he has one, and correct me if I'm wrong. You also have to really watch the flue in those for excessive creosote build up. There are a lot of really good websites that explain all of this.

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Old 12-14-2009, 07:09 PM   #9
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Default they smoke some

hey gonefishin, I live in the country and the smoke don't hurt anything. The EPA is getting on these outdoor stoves because of it. They want the new ones to be cleaner. If thats the case they will ruin it. I burn really green round wood. The first year I used cured split wood and could not keep wood in it. The idea is a slow smoldering burn. The round wood thats pretty green works best. As for creosote, thats no problem. I have alot of people haul me pine trees that have blown down. You know how that builds up. It just burns out once in awhile. My stove is 200 feet from my house. I put it there so it would be close to the wood in the barn. I love it but its costly. I will keep cutting wood as long as I can. I am 58 now. Even if I had to buy my wood from now on I would. I bet you could get green round wood pretty cheap.
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Old 12-15-2009, 08:49 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by imalt View Post
I was thinking of putting in a wood burning stove to heat my house some so I can cut down on the energy bills. I am not trying to heat the entire house just warm up the 1st floor some. I dont know anyone that has a wood stove so I was just trying to get some input on if it is worth it or not. I have access to wood so that isnt an issue. Just wondering about any other issues I am not thinking of. I can pick one up off craigslist for around 250.00 minus the pipe for chimney. Any input would be appreciated
If your looking to heat with wood, you would be wise to consider a new (or fairly new used) stove. The newer models are much more efficient in terms of heating and cleaner burning. Most have a secondary burn cycle that burns up most of the gasses so you don't even see smoke when it burning properly. They also use less wood than the older models.

The costs associated with flue pipe (double, triple walled pipe or metal-bastes pipe) usually far exceeds the price of the stove itself. Then there are the building code requirements that must be adhered to when installing a wood burning stove inside your house.

Wood storage is another potential issue. Most wood types take at least 12 months to properly season (Oak takes even longer). Do you have the room to keep ahead of your yearly wood consumption?

I keep a minimum of 2 years worth of wood seasoned and stacked. I usually have on hand at least another 2 years in rounds waiting to be split. I use around 6 cords of wood a season.

I heat a 2000 SQ FT house and have not had my furnace on in the past 5 years. I use a gas dryer, hot water heater and a gas cook top stove. My natural gas bill runs about $48.00 a month year round.

It's a lot of work, but I love cutting and splitting my own wood. I never pay for wood and I always seem to have plenty waiting to process.

I also love the fact that if the power goes out, I can still keep my family nice a warm...
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Old 12-15-2009, 09:08 AM   #11
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Have a wood stove, love it. You will want to think in one more investment though. A log splitter. You are going to want to get as much free wood as possible and that usually does not come split.
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Old 12-15-2009, 10:36 AM   #12
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First and foremost dont skimp on what you use for the chimney.
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Old 12-15-2009, 10:46 AM   #13
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I will second what has been said on the chimney/DO NOT SKIMP!
Also try and make sure to run your chimney straight up. If you can avoid any angles your stove will performe at it's best. If you have a second floor if at all possible try to run your chimney up through the highest point in your house. Obviously not the peak but if you have a split level or you plan on putting the stove in a single story part of your house you can have downdraft issues. This is an excellent website that discusses wood burning.

We have had wood stives in all 3 houses we have owned and I put 2 of them in. Like has been said before 74 degrees in a home with wood heat is far better than 74 degrees from a furnace.
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Old 12-18-2009, 09:26 AM   #14
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Chimneys very important, choose the diameter wisely. Stainless flex, if you're going through existing fireplace chimney. Outdoor boilers are going to be regulated because people are literally burning junk in them. January and February are great times to gather wood for next season, other than ice fishing, usually not much going on then. I am 43, and enjoy cutting, splitting and stacking, it's good for me. My father in law is 65 and he still burns in his insert, getting his own wood. A good gas log splitter is worth it's weight in gold! I have a small Napolean wood insert in my 1750 sq. split level, I put in 5- 6 - split 18" logs and it will burn about 8 hrs, w/the damper on low. The furnace might kick on 2-3x, on COLD nights. Knock on wood, I haven't had a natural gas bill over $100 in 3 years. Always remember put the stove on a non-flammable surface, i.e. tile, concrete, etc.,or use a hearth rug on an insert. Something hot WILL always fall out! Buy a unit that is fire bricked lined and has a blower, you will appreciate these! Glass doors are nice too. Use a ceiling fan in that room, on low - reverse, and it will help heat the whole house. Stoves are well worth the efforts. Hope this helps.
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Old 12-21-2009, 12:18 AM   #15
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For only 13 post in this thread, I've learned a lot. Very good information!!!
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Old 12-21-2009, 10:22 AM   #16
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Here is a great chart on types of firewood and the heat they produce..
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Old 12-21-2009, 06:28 PM   #17
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thanks for the help guys. I think I am going to take out my gas fireplace and put a stove insert in there. I don't use the gas fireplace never saw the point of burning money up.
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Old 12-21-2009, 10:50 PM   #18
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Default Save on the wood

It's a great idea to save on the gas bills but what happens when you get a little to old for cutting, hauling, and splitting the wood?
This happened to my father 14 years ago. When he did not heat with wood he was paying almost $300 per month for January thru March to heat up his 113 year old farm house in northern Michigan. I installed closed cell polyurethane foam in the walls and attic in 1997. To this day he is still well below $100 per month in the coldest months of the year when he doesn't burn wood. Keep in mind the house is an old dairy barn that was remodeled into a house in the 1970's and is around 3500 square feet. It's all in the insulation that one has in the house.
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Old 01-13-2010, 04:14 PM   #19
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Sounds like you did a great job insulating that old barn.
Found a great chimney liner for my fishing cabin.
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Old 01-14-2010, 03:08 AM   #20
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Default Pros and CONS

Since I have an all electric home and there's no gas on my street(very rural), I've been burning wood for twenty some years in a hearthstove and now in an outdoor furnace. I have wood available(most of the time) so my heat and hot water are basically free! Anyone who says they "like" to handle and burn wood is not being totally truthful, or is deluding themselves. Yeah, it's great exercise! It's also "cool" and "romantic" to live like a freekin pioneer! Those are the the only pluses! That's it!
If one do not have access to (lots) of wood(free wood), you are kidding yourself if you think you are going to "save money" by installing a wood stove. Not only is a stove and installation not cheap, a firewood chord is 4 feet wide by 4 feet high by 8 feet long, it's very expensive to buy($160-200), a "chore" to stack(heavy-maybe up to 2 tons), will demand abt. 10 % of your awake time, can be full of some nasty bugs that can get into your beautiful solid oak trim-or bite you, and must be hauled out in as dirt(ash) from inside you home. your wife will vacuum and dust more than she ever thought she'd have to. Pellets are cleaner, but over $5 a bag, and you will prob. use at least a bag(or more) a day in cold weather to get any real heating benefit from it! Assuming you can "grub" up enough firewood to use and don't have to pay for it, you still have the expense of the stove, pipe, installation, cleaning the pipe regularly, truck to haul the wood, chainsaw(s)/saw repairs-(I have four!), log splitter, and maintenance to keep your stove safe and/or in good working condition. An outdoor furnace (even more expensive!)will start to leak(even stl. steel) in approx. 5-10 years due to corrosion or cracking and then you have major costs to repair them!(Mine is just starting at age 6! Forget the 10 and 20 year warranties-the mfg. will find ways to keep from honoring them.The dealers also lie about the longevity of these units).
If you still want to add wood heating or supplemental heating after reading this, I wish you well-and much luck! I am speaking from many years of personal experience. Some of the previous answers to this post are obviously relatively new to stoves and burning wood and will, in time, come to some of my conclusions.
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