Money can be saved when heating with firewood or pellets, but there is maintenance to keep your your stove and chimney efficient, safe and clean. This guide is about heating with wood.
Read and rate the best solutions below by giving them a "thumbs up".
If this winter, you are going to be using a wood burning stove or a free standing fireplace to heat all or part of your home, try this tip.
Place a box fan or small fan behind your wood burning stove or beside your fireplace to circulate all that warm air. You might be surpised at how much more square footage you can keep toasty warm.
By Debra in Colorado
Use the heat from your wood-burning fireplace insert to do so much more than heat the house! The top of my insert forms a 12 x 30 inch shelf. We keep a big pot full of water and a full tea kettle on it at all times. Put a metal trivet under them and the water stays piping hot. Remove the trivet ahead of time if you know you'll need boiling water for pasta, or just transfer the hot water into a pot on the stove for a huge head start.
Make tea any time without turning on the stove. Use the hot water for dishwashing, handwashing or even taking a sponge bath to reduce water use. All of these uses eliminate the need to run gallons of cold water down the drain waiting for hot water to reach your tap from the water heater. Reheat soup. Heat canned foods in a pot (don't heat them in the cans, even if you've pierced the rim to let steam escape they will bubble over and make a mess!). "Flame dispersers" used for propane cooking achieve a simmer. "Roast" vegetables in a covered casserole dish or dutch oven. It takes longer than an oven (2-3 hours), but uses no extra gas or electricity. Experiment, have fun!
Source: "Original" idea (if any such thing exists!)
By Denise-Christine from Eugene, OR
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Here are questions related to Heating with Wood.
Can or has anyone burned wood pellets in a hi-efficiency wood fireplace. Are they OK to use in a fireplace, metal, 0 clearance, Napoleon nz-26 unit?
By jto from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Non-pellet ie Wood Burning air tight stoves.
Yes, and it works quite well. I'm burning multi fuel (wood + pellets). Using square unistrut, I created three parallel andirons to lay across the bottom of the wood stove. One bolt of wood (quarter or half round) goes against the back of the stove against the fire brick.
I make a open ended basket out of expanded mesh (16" long, 10" deep folded up 4 rows in back, three rows in front) with a liner of 1/4" mesh hardware cloth.
Wood splints crosslaid between the andirons with a couple of pitch sticks are the fire starter, set the flat bottom of the basket across the andirons with the back 1-1 1/2" away from the bolt, grab your butane torch and fire off the splints.
As with all wood burning appliances, experiment to make sure you don't over fire (put a stack thermostat on the side of the stove to monitor). Use your handy gardening scoop trowel to refill the basket, the log in the back easily ignites the next batch of pellets. What falls through burns to ash.
I need a wood stove recommendation. It's time for our old Avalon wood stove to go. I've read the manufacturer web sites for Avalon, Vermont Castings, Lopi, BlazeKing, Country, and of course they make their brand sound like the best on the market. My house is all on one level, about 2000 square feet, and a wood stove is my sole source of heat. I want it to have a long enough burn time that I can load it at night and still have embers in the morning to get it going again. What brand/model wood heating stove do you have and would you recommend it for what I need?
Jackie from Rochester, WA
By Marty (Guest Post)01/07/2009
I have a Vermont Casting and would NOT recommend buying one. They have a cast iron hood that covers the converter and it gets bent out of shape just burning the stove. I have talked to others and they have the same problem. I have narrowed my search down to two, Blaze King and Energy king. I hop this helps.
I have a wood burning store, but I want to burn pellets in it. Do the trays that you can buy to convert the burner work?
Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the feedback that was provided then.
Has anyone tried burning wood pellets in a regular wood burning stove or fireplace? My parents have a wood stove and it is getting hard for them to have to haul firewood in from the yard everyday (heavy, messy, etc.). They can't afford to get a new pellet stove, but I don't see why pellets would not work in the stove they have. It would be much easier to just scoop them out of a bag.
If anyone has experience with this (good or bad) let me know. I may just buy some and give it a try, but I would like some advice.
At the price of fossil fuels today, pellet stoves make a lot of sense. But, for the elderly, there is still the lifting of bags and buckets of fuel, and routine shutting down and cleaning the combustion chamber. Consider these in making a decision. (09/10/2005)
By Page H
By Joe M.
By Quinn Smith
By Larry B
We found that wood pellets produced much less smoke and burn almost as hot. We own three pellet baskets and favor the 304 stainless steel perforated basket design, the ones manufactured with the smaller holes. The lager slots or large perforated baskets left a lot of the mess while loading and refilling with pellets, due to the larger openings allowing much too much pellets to fall out.
The pellet basket was a life saver when our community was hit with a storm last winter season which knocked out the electricity for a few days, since we do not have natural gas supply. We keep two pellets baskets on-hand to keep the house warm, using one for the wood stove and another for the fireplace.
We prefer to use renewal energy sources such as solar and wood pellets, because we are definitely not in favor of making oil producing countries rich. Helping to keep our American jobs home! (12/09/2008)
One way I find that works is to fill up the center cardboard roll or toilet paper or paper towels and tape the ends. I feed these small homemade pellet logs in the fire from time to time and they burn much slower and hotter than the scrap wood.
Obviously being retired I have plenty of time to do this so it will not be handy for those that are much busier than me. I enjoy scrounging for the scraps and filling the tubes. These small tubes work great for camp fires, outdoor fireplaces, and patio fireplaces plus act as kindling for large chunks of wood.
For bigger fires I fill up tiny to small to medium cardboard boxes with pellets. I box the tubes and small cartons for storage up in recycled small cardboard boxes. You can store a lot of pellets this way in a very small space, even in an apartment and do not have to worry about dirty wood and bugs. Of course follow all the safety rules of any open flame fire and do not burn chemically treated woods. (01/18/2009)
By Giovanni V.
Only thing, we usually cut the ends off that have the nails in them and break them up. We were not sure if nails in the wood stove were a good idea? Any comments on this? Anybody else just burn pallets "as is", nails and all?
Keep warm :o) (02/26/2009)
The nails (and any other metal parts attached) used in them are often twist or one way and are not intended to be pulled out and have to be left in to burn. Also any metal embedded in wood is deadly if hit with a chainsaw.
Some state and federal campgrounds do not allow wood with metal attached of any kind to be used in their fire pits or stoves. This is to protect the maintenance, staff, volunteers, and campers from injuring themselves cleaning or using the fire pit or stove. The homeowner is subject to the same safety issues.
You can still burn them as long there is a grate for them to fall through to the bottom and care is taken in handling them when cleaning out the ashes. Some folks even collect them and recycle the nails for other projects.
But be careful and do not just discard the ashes with the metal in them in the trash or elsewhere because someone can get hurt. Ever step on hidden a nail? It is just common sense. You play with fire you get burned, you play with red hot nails, well. Nothing wrong with lighting a candle when the power goes out, but don't burn your house down doing it. Many a Red Cross responder has walked through burned out homes caused by open flame fires and candles. Don't mean to lecture just want everyone to be safe. (02/28/2009)