what i like and don’t like about heating a home with a wood stove

what i like:

  • i get most of our wood for free, and free heat is awesome
  • house stays warm even when the power is out
  • can cook on wood stove when power is out too
  • creates a nice ambience
  • i love splitting wood, plus it’s good exercise

what i don’t like:

  • despite all the bullshit wood stove manufacturers spew about wood burning being “carbon neutral,” the billowing smoke doesn’t lie: it’s a huge source of pollution
  • requires constant attention to keep the fire going, and at the correct temperature
  • it’s easy to mess up and make the house way too hot, and it takes a long time to cool it back down
  • lots of work to find firewood, buck it up, split and stack it
  • need a chainsaw, and need to maintain it too
  • need space to store firewood
  • creates huge amounts of dust in house, especially when cleaning ash out of the stove

i think wood stoves are great as a backup and/or supplemental home heat source but they are not ideal as a primary source. but i’m not really convinced on any heat source so far: heat pumps are expensive to buy and install and seem to require a lot of expensive maintenance; electric baseboards are inefficient and super expensive to run; weird, obscure methods like boilers and radiators are even more inefficient than baseboards, and finding parts and repair people for those systems is becoming increasingly difficult.

at this point, i think the best setup would be using a heat pump until temps approach freezing, and then using the wood stove to supplement. still not great though. ugh.

oh, the trials and tribulations of being a full-fledged adult now.


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