6 Ways to Optimize Your Wood Stove Usage

Do you use a wood stove to heat your home? Whether your wood stove is your primary or secondary source of heat, it takes a considerable amount of time to maintain a routine for heating your home.

If you’re using a pellet stove, your fuel comes in a bag, but you still need to buy it, unload it, and store it somewhere accessible. Unlike split firewood, you can’t easily store bags of wood pellets outside because the bags can rip from moisture or be torn apart by animals. However, storing firewood has its challenges, too.

No matter how often you use your wood stove, here’s the best way to optimize your usage:

  1. Choose the right wood stove

Creating an efficient system for heating your home with a wood stove begins with buying the most efficient wood stove you can get. An efficient unit will burn your fuel completely, and will emit more heat because of its efficiency.

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The most efficient units come with a catalytic converter that will burn the excess gas and convert it into even more heat, which will minimize the emissions that come from your wood stove. This is ideal for areas that require highly efficient EPA-approved wood stoves.

  1. Only burn dry seasoned firewood

Technically, you can get any kind of wood to burn, but you’ll get more heat from dry seasoned firewood. If you burn wood that is still too green, it won’t burn very well, and you’ll get a major build-up of creosote in your chimney.

The same goes for burning wet wood. Even if your firewood just sat out in the rain for a few weeks and is soaked, it’s not going to burn well, and the moisture content will produce more creosote.

  1. Use a heat-powered fan

You’ll heat more of your home by setting a heat-powered fan on top of your wood stove. These fans are fully powered by the heat from your wood stove, so once you get a fire going, the fans will move the warm air in whatever direction you turn your fan.

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You can get two or three fans and point them in different directions, or you can get fans that have a dual blade. They look nice, so you don’t have to worry about ruining your style.

  1. Buy green firewood and rotate it

When heating your home with a wood stove, you’re going to cycle through a lot of firewood. Firewood isn’t cheap, either. You can expect to pay between $175 and $450 for a full cord of wood, depending on whether it’s green, the type of wood, or if you have it delivered and/or stacked.

By the time you get a cord stacked, you’re going to need more. The easiest way to cycle through your wood is to have enough dry, seasoned split wood on hand to last at least one full winter. 

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Then, start collecting cords of green wood. By the time you use your original cord of seasoned wood, the wood you bought green will be seasoned and ready to use.

If you go through 2-3 cords per winter, try to keep at least 6 cords on hand at all times and have a system for rotating.

  1. Clean your chimney regularlyClean your chimney regularly

Your fires will burn much cleaner if you clean your chimney after every winter season. Regular cleaning is also recommended for safety reasons. When creosote builds up in the chimney, it creates a fire hazard. Creosote is flammable and the inside of your flue pipe can catch on fire.

Chimney fires can be pretty serious and aren’t easy to put out since the fire is inside the chimney. You can prevent this from happening by cleaning your chimney at least once every season.

  1. Don’t let your last pieces of wood burn completely

When you’re winding down your fire for the night before going to bed, try to preserve at least two pieces of wood that have been burning for a while, but are still solid pieces of wood. This wood will be extremely dry, and you can use it to start a fire more easily the next morning.

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About two hours before you want to go to bed, turn the damper on and keep your stove door closed to put your fire out faster. The wood will smolder for some time, but if you cut off the supply of oxygen, you’ll end up with some very dry pieces of wood for your next fire.

Find what works best for you

To get the most out of your wood stove, you just have to create a system for acquiring and storing fuel and cleaning your unit. Once you have those details down, you’ll enjoy your wood stove to the fullest.

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