|Light My Fire: How to Choose the Best Wood Stove for Your Home and the Earth|
|Sunday, 25 November 2012 00:00 | Written by Kim Ridley | Article|
A great wood stove is like the perfect life partner: it makes you feel warm inside and out, while being romantic, reliable and low-maintenance. It’s also environmentally friendly and economical. Whether you want to heat your entire house or warm up a room, choosing the right wood stove makes all the difference. Here’s what you need to know before committing.
Will Mother Approve?
Does Size Matter?
He suggests following a simple rule of thumb to determine the size of your wood stove. Choose a small stove to heat a cabin or large room, a medium stove to heat a small-to-medium-sized, well-insulated house and a large one for heating a big or drafty house.
Keep in mind that bigger isn’t necessarily better. A wood stove that’s too big not only overheats your space, it can also be inefficient and more polluting because you may need to run it below its optimal operating capacity.
Know Your Type
Today’s wood stoves come in two varieties: catalytic or non-catalytic. Catalytic stoves burn cleaner and produce a long, even heat, but are generally costlier and need more daily and lifetime maintenance. They’re a good choice for techies who like to tinker to optimize performance and die-hard environmentalists who want to curb the maximum amount of wood-smoke emissions. Non-catalytic models are generally less expensive and easier to operate.
Use a Matchmaker
Avoid Blind Dates
Instead, he recommends finding a reputable dealer in your area who also can provide installation, troubleshooting and maintenance. Also, it might be instructive to ask your dealer what kind of wood stove he or she uses at home, Gulland suggests.
Materials also affect the cost of wood stoves. Welded steel models are the most popular choice and Gulland says good-quality steel stoves are now just as durable as cast-iron ones because all of the heat-stressed parts are replaceable. Stone vs. metal is mainly a matter of aesthetics. Although soapstone can be a pricier option, some people just can't help swooning over its looks.
Money Can Buy You Love
Even better news is that your stove should easily pay for itself after a short time. The Energy Information Administration’s Heating Fuel Comparison Calculator (xls) estimates that it costs $9.09 to produce one million BTUs from cord wood, compared to $16.44 from oil. Through such savings, the right wood stove can cut heating costs by up to 40%, according to experts. That’s a very attractive number.
Get Uncle Sam's Help
Avoid Long-Distance Relationships
All in all, wood heat is a romantic, affordable and sustainable option. Now that’s something to feel really good about while you’re cozying up to the fire.
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