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The Basics on Heating with Wood

You’ve decided to purchase a new wood heating stove, and you want to make sure you get the right model to bring maximum heat to your home. Here are some things you’ll want to know

Choosing the ideal stove

wood burning stoveTo get the most enjoyment out of your wood stove, you need to choose one that’s appropriate for what you want it to accomplish. Different wood stove models produce a wide range of heat levels, so consider the size of the space you’re intending to heat.

When shopping for a stove, here are some things to ask about:

  • The number of square feet various models will heat
  • The appliance’s efficiency rating – this tells you how much of the heat the stove produces will become heat in the room rather than going up the stove pipe
  • Modifications to the house that will be needed for the venting system
  • Does the stove have a circulating blower to push heat into the room? If not, can one be added as an option?
  • Is an ash pan included with the stove?

The type of wood you burn

All firewood logs are not the same. Essentially there are two types: hardwood and softwood. Hardwood logs from trees like oak, maple, beech and ash will burn for longer periods than softwood logs, although they take a little more time to fully ignite.

Cedar, red pine, fir and other softwoods are less dense than hardwood and ignite quicker and burn hotter and faster.

Seasoned vs. wet wood

Firewood for wood stoveThere’s never a reason to burn unseasoned (not-dry) wood in your stove. Wet wood burns unevenly and produces significant amounts of smoke, which means more creosote to clean out of the stove pipe. When you buy firewood from a reputable seller, it usually will be thoroughly dry. If you chop wood yourself, store the logs out of the rain and snow and give them six to 12 months to completely dry out.

Starting a fire

When loading the stove with wood, remember that one of the three components of fire is oxygen (heat and fuel are the other two), so give the logs some breathing room. Packing the firebox with logs will make it a lot harder to achieve a good, quality burn.

Crumpled-up newspaper and kindling are ideal for getting a fire started. Place the paper or kindling on top of the log stack, light it and keep the stove door open to allow oxygen to mix with the flames and strengthen them. Close the door once the top logs have ignited.

A final point

No heating appliance will work well if your home isn’t properly insulated. Add new wall insulation, if necessary, and caulk around window and door frames and anywhere else warm air might escape and cold air might come in.

For many homeowners, nothing beats a wood heating stove to take the chill off winter days and nights. If you’re one of these people, we invite you to visit Yankee Doodle Stove & Fireplace Center at 848 Danbury Road in Wilton, CT. We’ll show you all the latest models from top manufacturers and help you decide the ideal appliance for your heating and decorative needs. Questions? Call us at (203) 544-8111.