Wood is a renewable, green, and efficient energy source. Today’s wood stoves are EPA Phase II certified as extremely low emission, are incredibly clean burning, and are more efficient than ever.
- Often the least expensive to purchase
- Typically heats the fastest
Cast Iron stove
- More decorative
- Retains heat longer
- Comes in enamel which is easier to clean and more decorative. However, it can chip.
- Typically somewhat more expensive
- Beautiful and retains heat the longest
- Takes longer to warm up.
- Typically more expensive
Adding to an existing home
Wood stoves can be easily added to an existing home and vented through the existing roof or out the side of the house and up. Floor hearth pads can be used if the existing flooring isn’t non-combustible.
In new construction, venting is installed during framing and the stove is placed on the finished floor/hearth near the end of the job.
Hearth mounted and vented up fireplace
If a wood stove has a rear vent option, it can often be installed in front of the fireplace and vented up through the fireplace like an insert.
Zone heating saves money
An insert delivers heat most efficiently to the general area where it is located. If located in a central part of the house and the central heating is turned off or down, the insert will heat the common areas while delivering less heat to the hallways and bedrooms. Heating in this manner generally saves about 20% on heating bills.
Large common areas are often too cold
Large common areas often have large windows and not enough heating ducts. A wood stove can offer supplemental heat and comfort.
Open wood burning is heavily regulated. EPA approved, low emission wood stoves are typically either exempt from “no burn days” or far less restricted.
Key decision points
The general rule is that wood stove venting must extend two feet higher than the peak or two feet higher than 10 feet away. For example, venting coming out of a roof with a 4/12 pitch with the exit point more than 10 feet from the peak, requires 4X10 plus 24 inches or 64 inches protruding out of the roof line. Interior stove pipe from the ceiling down is single wall. Double wall can also be used for reduced clearances.
Floor protection is required
Check your stove manual to determine hearth pad/non-combustible flooring requirements. The non-combustible area must be big enough to allow for clearances around the stove. Manufactured hearth pads are an excellent choice when adding a stove to an existing home.
Stove size is critical
Wood stoves primarily function by heating up the stove mass to 300-400 degrees and generating heat like a giant radiator. In general, the larger the mass and fuel load, the larger the space a stove will heat. Key considerations are cubic feet of the firebox, stove weight, and stove efficiency. The air shutter only offers limited adjustment. If the stove is too big for the space, you will roast, too small and you won’t be warm enough. Optional convection fans are not terribly effective at increasing the overall heating capacity but they are often helpful in speeding up the heating process.