Wood Stove

Cord wood, natural gas, or those sawdust fire bricks. Thoughts?

Cord wood.

Hardwood, dried, split, delivered to the drive!

I use these manufactured logs: http://www.northidahoenergylogs.com/energylogs.php

They’re great. They burn very cleanly, produce little ash, and put out a lot of heat for their size.

I heated with wood as my primary source for about 15 years. Six cords a year.

It’s a very dirty form of heat. From cleaning the chimney to bringing in wood to the house. Also, it takes quite a while for it to chase the chill away when you come home from work and light it.

I’ve gone to a propane free standing stove. It’s on a thermostat too. It’s great.

I’ve heated with wood as a secondary source of heat in the event of emergency and ambiance. Mostly ambiance, as I like a wood fire.

I did cord wood for over 20 years, but about 5 years back switched to the bio logs that are available. Have a pallet delivered each year. So much easier to deal with that cord wood, but you do have to be aware not to burn too hot.

I am never going back to the old cord wood.

Yeah, it depends on how much work you want to do to be warm and how often you’re going to use it.

We got a high-efficiency fireplace insert about 10 years ago, which is basically a wood stove in a fireplace. I love it. It heats the whole house. The nice thing about burning cordwood is that if you have the time and you’re willing to cut and split wood, it’s free heat! Just keep an eye on Craigslist for people giving away free firewood. I got wood this way for two or three seasons, and it’s good exercise and a nice feeling of accomplishment to gather it yourself. These days I don’t have the time or the inclination, so I purchased the cordwood we’re burning this year. I did the math once and it’s a little cheaper than natural gas heating to buy the wood, depending on the deal and quality of wood, but not much.

Yeah, it’s a little messy and we get the chimney cleaned once a year, but nothing beats sitting in front of a warm fire in the dead of winter. But we don’t rely on it for our primary source of heat- in the winter we have the fire going often all weekend, and sometimes during the week if it’s really cold out. If it’s your primary source of heat, something that’s less work would be more practical.

Depending on the cost of cord wood where you are, this. If you are some place where wood can get pricey, propane.

I bought an EPA-rated Napoleon wood stove insert about a decade ago. It is very capable of heating the whole house. Mrs. L.A. has bought a cord of wood the last two years. We have propane for primary heat, so we burned less than a cord each year. (Besides, we haven’t had Winter the last two years.) The wood fire is pretty and, as I said, practical.

I say go for wood. If for no other reason, because you can always get wood. You might run out of pellets or whatever just when the store is closed. Natural gas in a fireplace just seems silly (and a waste) to me – except for helping to get the wood started. Sadly, Cascade Gas won’t run natural gas up our street, even though the neighbourhood is between to main lines.

Where do you live and what’s your goal? If you have natural gas fed to the house and are primarily interested in heat, then get a natural gas fireplace or fireplace insert. If you don’t have a gas supply but live in a hundred-acre wood, you should be able to harvest sufficient cord wood to feed a wood stove. But wood fires can be polluting and dealing with ash is a pain. And we had a wood stove in my parents’ house back in the 1970s and the air got very dry. So there’s that.

We have 2 fireplaces with inserts. The one in the basement burns wood, the one upstairs burns pellets. The pellets by far are cleaner and create much less ash. A full hopper is good for about 24 hours based on our temp setting. The basement warms quite quickly with the cordwood, but it requires more tending and more frequent cleaning. Still, with the insert, it’s much better than the regular fireplace.

I’ve never had a gas stove, so I can’t talk to that.

That’s weird, you’d think a wood stove would catch on fire and burn down.

Cord wood.

Harvested from the forest, bucked, split and stacked by myself.


I was wondering how natural gas was an option myself.

If you’re going to burn wood, I’d suggest a closed system like a Blaze King or a Franklin stove. That way you don’t leave open live coals when you go to bed. We had a direct vent gas insert in our last home. It’s like having a small furnace in your living room. It could get hot enough to run you out of the place. The advantages to it are that when you shut it off, it’s OFF; no chimney cleaning required; no ashes to dispose of; no wood to buy, store and haul into the house; no fireplace tools; no CO or smoke in the house; pretty much zero chance of any sort of fire outside the box.

I’ve never burned thoughts. I’ve often thought of burning OPs that end with ‘Thoughts?’ for kindling.
Its only paper…

The set of Smokers and the set of people who crave White Castles. Imagine they intersect at a flash point…

My experience is limited to outdoor fire pits, but based on how quickly a large pile of wood burns down to nothing, I imagine it would take a pile of wood approximately the size of the building you’re trying to heat to last the winter.

As I said up thread, 6 cords got us through our winters. Two bed two bath house with big vaulted ceilings. Lots of cubic feet WAY up in the Colorado mountains. Now the house is passive solar. In that it has a shit load of (bad) windows on the south side. So the sun helps. But we also loose a tremendous amount of heat out of them at night (yeah, I’m working on it)

I used a pellet stove as my sole source of heat for a couple of years. It is easier than cord wood, but it has to have have the ashes cleaned regularly, and it won’t work in a power outage because of the electric auger and combustion fan. They are available with thermostats, though the one I had didn’t have one. It held about three bags of pellets, which lasted all day if it was cold, longer in a mild winter. I used about five tons per year, at about $250/ton. Made the house smell nice too.

I love the whole process of burning with wood.

However, for newbies, with these newer EPA stoves (I was one and have one), the most difficult part of burning with wood is getting properly seasoned wood. In my experience (I have lived and burned with wood in several states on the east coast) buying properly seasoned wood is almost impossible. It might be okay for the old school stoves or for an open fireplace but for EPA era stoves that wood absolutely needs to be well seasoned to burn well.

So that means that burning with wood takes a good amount of planning and somewhere to store wood for 6 months to a year while it seasons.