What to Look for When Buying a Wood Heater

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No type of heat can compare with heat created by burning wood. However, for homeowners who are interested in having a wood-burning stove installed in their home, there are a few things they should know first.

With increasing fuel costs, wood heat is a smart, money-saving investment. However, it’s essential to plan ahead and make smart choices. Certain things need to be considered to make the most of any wood-burning stove.

Make Sure There’s an Ample Supply of Dry, Clean Wood for the New Stove

Some of the best types of wood to use in this type of stove include hornbeam, beech, oak, hickory, red maple, and sugar. Hardwood species, such as those, provide the best ROI because they burn longer and produce a large amount of heat.

It’s a good idea to learn more about the types of wood in the local area to find the species that are best for a wood-burning stove. Keep in mind; the wood used needs to be dried or seasoned for approximately six to 12 months before burning it to reduce air pollution and creosote accumulation.

Wood-Burning Stoves Represent a Significant Investment

Most wood stoves cost a few thousand dollars to buy and install. It’s important for homeowners to realize what type of investment is required.

Pellet stoves are often a better choice for more urban areas since there’s no need to dry or to store an entire year’s worth of fuel. Another option is an outdoor boiler.

With an outdoor boiler, some BTUs are lost because the stove is installed outside of the home and the water must travel under the ground and be transferred through a heat exchanger. If an outdoor boiler is selected, radiant heating is a preferred choice to forced air systems.

Stove Size

In addition to the considerations above, it’s also essential to find the right size wood-burning stove. Size matters when heating a home efficiently.

A rule of thumb to keep in mind with the higher efficiency stoves available today is to choose one that’s ranked as being medium-sized. However, for bigger and open-plan homes, a larger stove is needed, and a smaller stove is ideal for one large room or a cabin.

When trying to select the right stove size, using the services of an experienced professional is recommended. This isn’t a decision to make based on recommendations from the local hardware store salesperson.

Understand the Local Restrictions

Some areas put limits on using or installing wood-burning stoves due to the particulates and other types of pollutants produced, such as carbon monoxide. This is more common in older stoves.

It’s a good idea to contact the local government agency considering specific regulations for the area. In some locations where there is poor air quality, wood-burning is often banned, which means an alternative source of heat is necessary.

Is a Wood-Burning Stove the Right Heating Option?

Each person is going to have to determine if purchasing a wood-burning stove is the right or best option for their home’s heating needs. While it does represent an investment, for many, it is one that is worth it in the short- and long-term.



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