October 02, 2008,
L.J. asks from Birmingham, AL on October 01, 2008
Wood Burning Heaters - Safe, Effective ???
My husband is considering putting a wood burning stove/heater in our basement for the winter. Of course, anything that we can do to heat the house and be more cost efficient is great but I am concerned with the safety. If you have one or had one, please give me your experiences with them. THANKS!!
S.S. answers from Lawton on October 02, 2008
We had one when we lived in VA and about $500 worth of wood lasted us 3yrs... and it's gets a lot colder there in the winter than it does here! I did have to vacuum almost everyday because of the woodchips, and there was a BIG safety concern when my daughter was born. We ended up moving before her first winter, but if we had stayed we were going to buy a baby gate that's specially designed to go around stoves and other odd sized hazards.
K.M. answers from Tulsa on October 02, 2008
We have heated with wood for the last ten years or so and find it saves us money for gas or electricity. We get our wood from the city limb drop-off site, off of Freecycle or from neighbors who know we burn wood. We burn just about everything but evergreen types like cedar. Be careful about burning extremely hard woods like osage orange because they spark really bad.
As far as safety, I've learned to stack the wood inside to where it won't fall out when you open the door; lay a fireproof rug in front of the door to catch the sparks; and if your stove has a glass door, don't burn those fire starter logs too close to the door. Last winter I called the fire department because I was sure the glass was about to break it got so hot. It didn't but I learned my lesson.
Both houses we've bought that had wood-burning stoves in them were obviously not designed to be heated with wood. Both stoves were stuck off in a back room and barely heated even half of the house. The one we are in currently heats about 1/3 of the house so DH is considering what he can do to help the heat get to at least the living room. We keep our thermostat at 68 in the winter and wear many layers because the back rooms are frigid. But, it's either do that or go broke paying the gas company.
I really enjoy burning wood because of the smell, the sight of flickering flames and being able to thumb my nose at the utility companies.
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J.P. answers from Oklahoma City on October 02, 2008
I grew up in a home that had a wood burning stove as our only heat source. It was very cost effective and we never had any safety problems. Just make sure you have good ventalation for the pipes and a tiled or concrete area around the stove itself to prevent embers from catching the carpet on fire. It was always nice in the winter when there would be an ice storm and the power went out. We were warm and had a place to cook pretty much anything we wanted to.
R.F. answers from Fayetteville on October 02, 2008
We have had a wood stove since I was a little girl, and now we have one with my boys. It is totally safe as long as you clean out the flue regularly and make sure everything seals so smoke doesn't get out into the house. Another suggestion I have is, use a humidifier because wood heat really dries out the air and can irritate little noses if they get too dry.
C.O. answers from Tulsa on October 02, 2008
Hello, I just want to make a suggestion on another heat source that is awesome. It is a wood pellet stove. We looked into both wood and pellet stoves. The pellet stove won out. First you have to have quite a lot of very expensive exhaust tubes with the wood stove and then you have the stacking of wood and/or cutting wood. I have lived with both over the years and I love my pellet stove. It has a thermostat and turns itself on and lights the pellets and feeds itself. All I have to do is put a 40 lb bag in every 24-72 hours it depends on how high I have it set. The only place it gets hot to the touch is on the glass and where it blows out. You don't have to put up a special wall behind it. It can go up to two inches to a regular sheet rock wall. We have had ours for 5 years now and it was wonderful. I don't know if they are still up and running but I bought mine online at www.stovesdirect.com. At the time no one around here was selling them in the stores. Most home improvement stores carry them now. I hope this helps you do research. It all came down to that my husband lived in Colorado all his life and said he'd be fine never chopping another stick of wood. ha, ha.
G.E. answers from Texarkana on October 02, 2008
How are you going to vent the smoke?
I have seen them in the basement where it was hooked up to some pipe that went up through the other floors and out the chimney. Others pipe out through a window.
Then how are you going to get the heat in the other rooms? Vents?
We have used wood heat before, and the area around the stove gets nice and hot and the rest of the house gets cold...unless you have some way to circulate the heat...we used a ceiling fan.
J.C. answers from Hattiesburg on October 02, 2008
I grew up with a wood stove being the only source of heat in our house, and it was pretty effective. We never had any incidents with burns, only the occasional spark they managed to fly all the way to the carpet when we put more wood on the stove (we kept a pitcher of water nearby. Some of my fondest Christmas memories are of a big thing of water on the stove filled with cloves and cinnamon sticks for aroma. Mmmmm.
The only thing that may pose a problem is if one of your kids has asthma. No matter what you do, smoke and ash will get into the air. You may have to vacuum and dust more frequently.
To this day I love wood stoves, and during the winter I can never get warm unless I have an actual heat source to warm up by!
T.H. answers from Montgomery on October 02, 2008
Hi ...Yes I have had one almost all my life.And I am 38,...as long as he goes by all the codes you will be fine..
J.F. answers from Tulsa on October 02, 2008
We use a wood burning stove for our primary heat source. Their great if you know how to work the stove and start a fire. Wood is messy(luckily yours will be in the basement) but cheap if your husband plans to cut it himself. I would suggest having a professional install it to make sure it draws properly or researching safety tips about installing and using your wood stove as there are alot of fire hazards that come with burning wood. We have used it for years with good luck so far. Luckily my husband grew up with one in his home and knows about them but I myself have had a few mishaps with trying to start and keep a fire going and learing how to turn the flu so i don't smoke up the house. I would also suggest gathering lots of small dead sticks, small limbs, pine cones and old newspapers.