There’s something romantic and festive about the crackling, wood-burning fire. Over the centuries they’ve been used to heat the home and cook on. In Europe, wood-burning stoves are still very popular. In Italy, every third house or so is heated using wood. In eastern provinces like Quebec and Ontario, the tradition of wood burning stoves is also thriving. However, does that make it the best option for you?
Access to Wood is one of the biggest factors in whether a wood burning stove is right for you. When you’re heating your home with wood, you’ll need access to plenty of dried, dense wood. Because it’s very hard to know how long wood has been dried and burning green wood in your stove is not a great idea, if you choose to buy “dried” wood, you should probably treat it like green wood. That means having a wood shed large enough to hold all the wood you need for heating this year and all the wood you’re drying for the next. Wood is measured in units of cords. One cord is about 128 cubic feet or 3.6 cubic metres. A cord of wood weighs about 3700 lbs or approximately 1700 kgs which is far too much for your typical pickup truck. And, for the typical Canadian winter, you’ll need around 4 cords of wood.
Cleaning and Convenience. Not that we’re pointing any fingers, but a lot of homeowners aren’t the best at remembering to change their furnace filter. Changing the filter take just a couple minutes and you only have to do it once every three months or so. We want to be honest with our readers, wood-burning stoves are a lot more work than that. The ashes need to be cleared away and stored safely. The chimney needs to be kept free of debris as well. With a wood-burning stove, there won’t be a furnace to kick in when the temperature drops — you have to kick in and go haul in wood and start a fire. Unless you have a backup heating system, this means you can’t leave your home for even a weekend without risking frozen, burst pipes.
Where Wood-Burning Stoves Make Sense. While this blog may seem a bit of a downer for anyone who was excitedly doing research for their suburban Calgary home, we’re just trying to be the voice of reason and hopefully save you the costs of a stove you may not actually want. But, there are places that a wood-burning stove makes a lot of sense. If you live in a rural area or an area that experiences a lot of power outages, than a wood-burning stove might just be one of the best investments you ever make. A wood-burning stove means being able to keep your house warm, being able to cook food, and melt ice for water all without electricity or gas.
If you have the space for a large wood shed, access to cheap or free wood, don’t mind the extra chores, and like the independence of not relying on the grid, a wood-burning stove can be a great investment. Just remember to choose a model (new or used) manufactured after the 90s. They produce the same heat with a third of the wood. If you have any questions about wood-burning stoves, contact Plumbing Paramedics today at (403) 452-2911.