Are you interested in potentially saving thousands of dollars during the winter and keeping your home more comfortable at the same time? I was in your shoes in the summer of 2005. I recently moved into a house in the Northeast and we suffered through our first winter going through 1600 gallons of propane to heat our 2800 sqft house. That summer Katrina hit and LP prices spiked, which put me over the edge. In Sept 05' we installed an EPA certified fireplace, a Quadra-fire 7100 and have never been warmer. Treated to an abundance of firewood in our area, our house temperature is usually in the 70-75 degree range. My kids are so spoiled that if the temp hits 68 degrees they are whining about it being too cold. How much have we saved since we decided to supplement our heating? Here's a quick breakdown:
2004/2005 used 1600 gallons at 1.89 / gallon. $3024.00 for the year (before fireplace)
2005/2006 used 400 gallons at 1.89 / gallon $756 2006 savings: 1200 gallons @ 1.89 = $2268
2006/2007 used 214 gallons at 2.30 / gallon $492. 2007 savings: 1386 gallons @ 2.30 = $3187
So in 2 years of burning we've saved approximately $5455, which basically pays for the Quad and installation. How many capital improvements have a 2 year ROI? Not many that I can think of. Had we gone for a cheaper alternative like installing a wood stove into our existing fireplace it would have been an even shorter payoff.
So is wood heat for everyone? The short answer is no. It really depends on the person. I like to be outdoors, I live in the country and I like saving money and also screwing over the gas company. Is it a lot of work? You betcha. Hauling, splitting, stacking is a 9 mos process and also becomes an obsession. Do I enjoy it? Absolutely. Keeping my nice fancy Trane furnace turned off is one of the great joys in my life, yes I know I have issues.
If you're thinking about researching whether wood burning is for you, here are some links to some great resources and products. Everything you need to know about wood burning in general, wood stoves, gas stoves, pellet stoves, corn stoves and the entire hearth industry can be answered by visiting this site, Hearth.com. The Hearth.com Forums consist of the best, most passionate group of people on the internet. Poke around over there and you will quickly get up to speed on whether heating with wood or is right for you.
Couple of products that I like:
Quadra-fire fireplaces and wood stoves
WoodStock Stoves - if you want a soapstone stove Woodstock is the best
Jotul Stoves another brand with a great reputation
Stihl Chainsaws only brand I use.