If you live in an area where you can cut your own wood, your fuel will be local, inexpensive and environmentally friendly. Gone are the days of the old, smoky fireplace. Today you can choose from a vast selection of wood- and pellet-burning appliances that are energy efficient, cleaner burning and powerful enough to adequately heat a mid-sized home. If you are considering adding one to your home to improve its energy efficiency, we suggest you consider the following:
- Location – Where the stove is placed in the house will determine how well heat is distributed. An appliance should be placed in a room where you and your family spend most of your time. In addition, you should also have a system of circulating the heat to the rest of the house.
- Pollution – Wood smoke contains chemical compounds that may be unsafe if inhaled in large quantities. Because of this, many urban areas restrict wood burning when local air quality levels become unacceptable. Before installing a new wood-burning stove, contact your local government for more information about regulations.
- Size – When choosing a heating appliance, it's important to choose one that is properly sized for the space. If it is too big, you will have to burn fires at a low smolder to avoid overheating the room. Doing this wastes fuel and is also a source of air pollution. If the heater is too small, the room will never get warm enough. A good rule of thumb for heating is that a stove rated at 60,000 British Thermal Units (Btu) is sufficient for a 2,000-square-foot home, while a 42,000 Btu stove can heat a space of 1,300 square feet.
For your own safety, you should consider hiring a professional to install a new wood stove in your home. He or she will be able to determine what type of stove works best in your home and where it should be placed.