• Heating With A Woodstove

    by  • January 21, 2014 • Eco-friendly, Featured, Home & Family, Homesteading • 8 Comments

    We bought a woodstove at Menard’s on clearance last spring. In October, Kicking Ash installed it for us. Heating with a woodstove is a romantic homesteading ideal and we do enjoy it. But today I thought I’d uncover some of the not-so-fun reality:

    pets by woodstove

    1. The hearth will be messy. Keeping a fire roaring requires moving and adding logs every few hours and clearing out ashes every couple days. This will necessitate sweeping at least every other day, something that annoys my lazy housekeeping self.

    2. The entrance to your home will also be messy. We store a week’s worth of kindling in the not-quite-finished mudroom and bring in bigger logs daily. Every movement of wood fuel creates a trail of sawdust, bark, and leaves.

    antique kettle humidifierdrawing by woodstove

    3. The air will be dry dry dry. After getting by with an open stainless dish of water for a little while, I found a large vintage cast aluminum tea kettle that we now keep filled with water to humidify the air.

    4. Your daughter might see wood ash and a slate hearth as an art medium. Her kitten might erase all the images with a swish of his tail. Now the kitten will be, you guessed it, messy.

    messy wood storage mudroom (2)cats cuddled by woodstove

    5. Your pets will gather as close as possible to the radiating warmth. This is charming and you will feel sorry that you have to disturb them to add another log to the fire.

    6. You will underestimate the amount of wood you need for a given day or week or season and be out at the woodpile chopping in all weather. Splitting logs is good, empowering exercise. It’s also a never-ending exhaustive task.

    splitting lumber

    7. You will feel deep satisfaction from harvesting renewable fuel and using it to fill your home with beautiful warmth.

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    I live to eat and eat to live, planning every meal to include as much local and seasonal abundance as possible. My favorite color is purple, my favorite vegetable is whatever is fresh and local, and my favorite drink is whatever you're pouring. Follow me @racheltayse


    8 Responses to Heating With A Woodstove

    1. January 21, 2014 at 7:26 pm

      Do you heat the house with a furnace too, or is it all woodstove? We have a woodstove, but we mostly don’t use it. It would keep our unheated basement which is our cold storage, too warm.

      • January 23, 2014 at 10:00 am

        The furnace is still on very low temps (mid 50s) to supplement if the fire dies back overnight. It’s been running the last couple nights because it’s just soooo cold.

    2. Amy
      January 21, 2014 at 8:43 pm

      Thanks for this honest account of the not-so-romantic components of wood heating. We’ve dreamt of adding a wood stove to our house, and to heat the house efficiently the best spot would be in the basement. But, as another commenter suggested, that’s where our cold storage is. So we either lose efficiency or we lose cold storage, and then there are all of the fun things you mention in this article!

      • January 23, 2014 at 10:01 am

        There definitely are tradeoffs. Our woodstove adequately heats the first floor, the second floor is cold but we don’t mind because we only sleep up there. Basement cold storage remains cold.

    3. January 21, 2014 at 9:00 pm

      I really enjoyed reading this post. I love the romantic notion of having a wood burning stove. I live in Florida and it would never occur to anyone. We get giggles just for havng a gas fireplace.

      Stay warm, It is going to be crazy cold again.


      • January 23, 2014 at 10:02 am

        Yes, a woodstove wouldn’t be very useful in Florida. 😉

    4. Glennis
      May 22, 2014 at 9:50 am

      FYI, there is a style of heating called a “rocket” stove or fire place. This new design was engineered to combat blindness, lung disease and heavy fuel consumption in developing countries. They can be tiny to boil water and cook food or built large enough to heat your home. There are many samples of Rocket Stoves on YouTube. Rocket, refers to the whooshing sound they can make. The idea is brilliant.

    5. October 14, 2014 at 7:24 pm

      You’re so cool! I do not believe I’ve read through anything like this before.
      So good to find someone with some original thoughts on this
      topic. Really.. many thanks for starting this up.
      This web site is one thing that’s needed on the internet, someone with some originality!

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