wood stove

Choosing a New Wood Stove

Posted on April 28,2015 by ScottG in heat

Patricia Appelbaum is in the market for a new wood-burning stove, one without a catalytic element, to provide mostly supplemental heat for her 1,600-square-foot home. There are a lot of models to choose from, and that's part of the problem.

Vermont House Uses Only Half a Cord of Firewood

Posted on April 28,2015 by user-756436 in Corson

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.

When the Gas Pipeline Shuts Down

Posted on April 28,2015 by user-756436 in Armenia

In the wake of the recent military crisis in Crimea, energy experts have been discussing whether Vladimir Putin will be tempted to gain political advantage by shutting the valves on the Russian natural gas pipelines that supply Ukraine and Western Europe. Regardless of whether this scenario is likely, such speculation raises the question: How would urban residents in a cold climate cope if the supply of natural gas were suddenly turned off?

Why Is This Wood Stove Misbehaving?

Posted on April 28,2015 by ScottG in backdraft

Clark Agnew should be the envy of his neighborhood. He has a tight house, a high-efficiency wood stove with its own fresh-air intake, and access to free firewood. A heat recovery ventilator (HRV) keeps indoor air healthy. What's not to like? But, as he writes in a Q&A post at Green Building Advisor, the situation is far from ideal. "I have run the stove about 6 or 7 times since we moved in," Agnew writes. "Three of those times it has backdrafted."

Heating System Safety In Cold Weather

Posted on April 28,2015 by AlexWilson in house fire

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.

Providing Outdoor Combustion Air for a Wood Stove

Posted on April 28,2015 by westychris in air sealing

In November 2012, I started on a deep energy retrofit of my 1976 raised ranch in northwestern Vermont, in the shadow of Mount Mansfield. As a Passive House consultant, I wanted to make my leaky (8.25 ach50) house with fiberglass-filled 2x4 walls and a tuck-under garage much more energy-efficient.

All About Wood Stoves

Posted on April 28,2015 by user-756436 in firewood

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.

Is There an Alternative to a Heat-Recovery Ventilator?

Posted on April 28,2015 by ScottG in energy-recovery ventilator

The tighter the house, the more it needs mechanical ventilation. That's become a rule of thumb for energy-efficient builders, and designers often turn to heat-recovery ventilators to get the job done. These relatively simple (but not necessarily cheap) devices use the temperature of outgoing air to moderate the temperature of incoming air, thus lowering the energy penalty for providing fresh air to the whole house.

Masonry Heaters Burn Hot and Clean

Posted on April 28,2015 by AlexWilson in burning wood

Over the past two weeks I’ve written about wood stoves and pellet heating. This week I’ll focus on another way to burn wood cleanly and efficiently: using a masonry heater.

Heating With Wood Pellets

Posted on April 28,2015 by AlexWilson in firewood

My wife and I have a sort-of love-hate relationship with our pellet stove. She leans more toward the latter, while I see the benefits outweighing the negatives. In this column I’ll outline the primary advantages and disadvantages of pellet heating.

Heating With Wood Safely and Efficiently

Posted on April 28,2015 by AlexWilson in burning wood

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.

How to Provide Makeup Air for a Wood Stove

Posted on April 28,2015 by ScottG in combustion air

Wood stoves used to be pretty uncomplicated devices. Even though they weren’t airtight and they weren’t especially efficient, these cast-iron stoves warmed plenty of New England farmhouses in the dead of winter. Our forebears never considered the source of makeup air to replace all the heated combustion gases that were going up the flue. They didn’t need to, because back then, houses were leaky. As the stove burned its load of oak or maple, makeup air had no trouble finding its way into the house.

Wood Stoves: Safety First

Posted on April 28,2015 by Tristan Roberts in firewood

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.

What’s the Greenest Option for Home Heating?

Posted on April 28,2015 by AlexWilson in firewood

I've always gotten a lot of questions from friends, neighbors, and casual acquaintances about energy issues, and those questions picked up dramatically when I started writing this column two-and-a-half years ago. Beginning with this week, I'm going to devote an occasional column to answering some of these questions. (Feel free to e-mail questions to me, mentioning Energy Solutions in the subject line: alex@buildinggreen.com.)

What's the greenest option for heating my home?

Are Masonry Heaters a Good Match for Superinsulated Houses?

Posted on April 28,2015 by ScottG in masonry heater

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.

How to Live Comfortably Off the Grid

Posted on April 28,2015 by ScottG in grid-connected

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.

Should Green Homes Burn Wood?

Posted on April 28,2015 by user-756436 in burning wood

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.

Farewell to the Chimney?

Posted on April 28,2015 by user-756436 in backdrafting

For thousands of years, the chimney has been closely associated with our concept of home. Upon spying smoke curling from a distant chimney, the weary traveler ends his journey with lightened steps. When I built my house in Vermont, as a much younger man than I am today, I designed a house with two chimneys. The house has a cellar, first floor, second floor, and attic; because I wanted the chimneys to rise five feet above the ridge, they had to be 40 feet tall.

Understanding Pellet Stoves

Posted on April 28,2015 by AlexWilson in firewood

I resisted buying a pellet stove for a long time for a number of reasons. First, I would be tied to a fuel source that I don’t have control over — and whose price might go up if demand exceeds supply. Second, pellet stoves don’t work without electricity, and I didn’t want to risk freezing pipes in the event of a power outage. Third, I don’t really like the noise of the fan and the blowtorch-like flame. Fourth, I had heard about technical problems with early pellet stoves. And fifth, good pellet stoves cost a lot.

Quebec Town Bans Wood Stoves

Posted on April 28,2015 by user-756436 in Energy from Biomass

##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.

Register for a free account and join the conversation


Get a free account and join the conversation!
Become a GBA PRO!

Syndicate content