Buying, Installing and Maintaining a Woodstove
Before you buy a woodstove or haul that old stove out of grandpa's barn to hook up in your living room, inform yourself!
Heating your living space safely and efficiently with wood requires thinking through the many aspects of matching your living space and chimney to a stove, installing it properly, and understanding what's involved in maintaining your stove, stovepipe and chimney.
Talk to friends, neighbors, and heating experts who've had long-term wood-heating experience. Ask which features of the stoves they use they like or don't like. Ask about a stove's efficiency, ease of operation and maintenance requirements.
Some stove vendors offer one-stop shoppng for wood heat households, even coming to check out your home so they can recommend the right stove and location to meet your needs. Before you buy, ask your vendor about a stove's routine maintenance requirements. which may include cleaning the stovepipe and thimble and replacing gaskets, firebricks, baffles, catalysts and other stove components.
Chimney professionals can assess the condition and suitability of your chimney, clean and repair chimneys, and teach you how to check and clean your stovepipe and thimble.
The following (offsite) links offer information to get you started
Burn Wise U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Web site offers a wealth of information on burning the right wood, the right way, in the right wood-burning appliance to protect your home, health, and the air we all breathe. A good starting point for new or prospective wood-burners, with plenty of new information for homeowners who've burned wood for years.
Ten characteristics of successful stove and fireplace systems This fact sheet by a Canadian nonprofit promoting safe, efficient domestic wood heating defines "perfection" in a good wood heating system (including the need for an informed operator) to help homeowners judge their own.
How to Buy the Right Wood Stove Read this before you go shopping.
Choosing the Right Woodstove EPA primer on selecting a modern, efficient wood-burning appliance.
Maintenance of modern stoves, fireplaces, inserts, furnaces and boilers An excellent primer on replacing gaskets, baffles, firebricks, refractories, air tubes and catalysts; adjusting doors; touching up paints and enamels and more.
All about chimneys Demystifies the role and operation of chimneys.
Consumer Guide to Wood and Pellet Heating Good basic information about types of wood heating appliances, sizing and locating a stove, chimney placement and sizing, stove maintenance, and sourcing fuel supplies.
Proper installation and maintenance Basic information from EPA.
Heating Your Home: Why Open Fireplaces Don't Work "With fireplaces, you really can’t win: if you burn a hot fire, you lose most of the heat up the chimney. If you burn a slow fire, you get very little heat, and lots of pollution."
Successful Fireplaces in Tight Houses Technical information on why traditional fireplaces fail and ways to overcome their problems.
Photo credits: Peg Boyles