wood heat

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Vermont House Uses Only Half a Cord of Firewood

In Ripton, Vermont, this fuel-stingy replica of Chris Corson’s Maine Passivhaus was heated last winter by a small wood stove

Posted on Jun 6 2014 by Martin Holladay

When my friend Laura Murphy mentioned that her neighbors in Ripton, Vermont, Chris and Zoe Pike, stayed warm last winter by burning just half a cord of firewood, I was intrigued. So I tracked down the Pikes to learn a few more details about their house.


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Image Credits:

  1. Image #1, #3, and #4: Chris Pike
  2. Image #2: Alex Carver
  3. Image #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12, #13, and #14 : Zoe Pike
  4. Image #15: Chris Corson

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Heating System Safety In Cold Weather

Most house fires occur during cold weather, when wood stoves are cranked up and portable electric space heaters are brought out of the basement and plugged in

Posted on Jan 9 2014 by Alex Wilson

The morning paper had yet another story about a destructive house fire — fortunately no fatalities (this time*), but the total loss of another home and another family’s belongings. And like many others, the culprit appears to have been the wood stove.

So many of the home fires we experience in Vermont result from trying to keep warm. Some have to do with faulty installation of wood heating equipment; many others result from improper operation of that equipment or management of the ash.


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Image Credits:

  1. Alex Wilson
  2. Vermont Castings

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All About Wood Stoves

It might make sense to heat your home with wood — even though firewood is the least convenient of all common fuels

Posted on Sep 13 2013 by Martin Holladay

If you’ve been heating your house with wood for years, you probably don’t need to read this article. By now, you know all about the disadvantages and inconveniences that accompany wood heat, and yet you still heat with wood — either because you genuinely love wood heat, or because you love the low cost of the fuel. If you haven’t burned down your house by now, you may even have figured out how to install and operate your stove safely.

This article is addressed to a different audience: those who are thinking about buying their first wood stove.


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Image Credits:

  1. Erica Breetoe

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Heating With Wood Safely and Efficiently

Steps you can take to minimize pollution from your wood stove

Posted on Oct 18 2012 by Alex Wilson

I’ve been heating primarily with wood since I bought our house 31 years ago, though there were a few years following our installation of an oil boiler when wood consumption dropped considerably.

Wood heat has a mixed record, though. It’s a renewable fuel and, assuming that new trees grow up to replace those cut for firewood, it is carbon-neutral, meaning that it doesn’t have a net contribution to global warming. But burning firewood produces a lot of air pollution; in fact, it’s usually our dirtiest fuel.


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Image Credits:

  1. Vermont Castings

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Wood Stoves: Safety First

Wood stoves provide reliable heat, but make sure that yours is safe and efficient

Posted on Oct 19 2011 by Tristan Roberts

Nobody speaks of this contest but everybody knows who’s winning. It’s how we get out the competitive impulse in rural Vermont: we race to have the neatest woodpile. Admit it: even as you’re reading this, saying “that’s not me,” you’re mentally comparing your woodpile with the neighbor’s.


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Are Masonry Heaters a Good Match for Superinsulated Houses?

Or would this high capacity heater be too much of a good thing?

Posted on Jan 24 2011 by Scott Gibson

In New York City, it's been considered a real coup to land an apartment with a fireplace. Now, according to The New York Times, those once lucky urban dwellers are having second thoughts. New concerns about the environmental and health hazards of wood smoke, an article this week said, are outweighing the charm of those cheery winter fires.


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Image Credits:

  1. Temp-Cast

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How to Live Comfortably Off the Grid

Choose heating and energy systems with care and build a tight house

Posted on Jan 3 2011 by Scott Gibson

UPDATED: 1/3/11 with expert opinions from Mark Sevier and Peter Yost

Chris Koehn will be building a 1,600-sq.-ft. home in British Columbia for owners who want to heat primarily with wood. They envision a wood-burning cookstove and a fireplace, and they'd also like to incorporate some solar capability.

Because of its island location, the house will be off the electricity grid.


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Should Green Homes Burn Wood?

Extracting fossil fuels like coal, natural gas, and oil — by mountaintop removal, fracking, and deep-sea drilling — all entail environmental risks

Posted on Jun 4 2010 by Martin Holladay

Environmentalists often argue over the wisdom of heating homes with wood. Strong arguments can be marshaled on both sides of this debate, so I’ll do my best to represent both positions before summing up.


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Image Credits:

  1. Martin Holladay

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Quebec Town Bans Wood Stoves

Posted on Jan 7 2009 by Martin Holladay

Town Orders Existing Wood Stoves to Be Removed

HAMPSTEAD, QUEBEC — The town of Hampstead, Quebec, a suburb of Montreal, has banned the installation of wood stoves and ordered all existing wood stoves to be removed within the next seven years. The new bylaw covers stoves, fireplace inserts, furnaces, and boilers that burn wood or wood pellets, all of which must be removed by November 3, 2015.


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Image Credits:

  1. Vermont Castings

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