Pros and Cons of Burning Wood vs. Pellets to Beat High Heat Bills
1. Cheapest possible heat in Middle TN area! An average ranch style 2000 sq. ft recently built home may use about 5 “ricks” (A “cord” is 4’ high, 8’ wide, and 4’ deep. A “rick” is also 4’ high, and 8’ wide, but the depth is however long you ask the wood to be cut. Ex. Two ricks of 2’ wood equal one cord.)
1. Average 2000 sq. ft. home will burn 2 tons of pellets in a cold winter in Middle TN. Locally available pellets are now running about $238/ton
2. High-efficiency wood is neater, cleaner, safer and less work than ever before. The smoke and creosote actually are 50% of the fuel value of wood but are normally dangerous waste products. The new hi-tech is ...
Super-clean-burning and boasting a toasty 99.9% percent efficiency, choosing between a vent-free gas log and a vented gas log appears to be a “no-brainer” considering today’s high gas prices. Since there is no vent, every drop of heat remains inside the home… none is yanked up a chimney only to heat the great outdoors.
Everybody knows water won’t burn. Most people who burn wood in a stove or fireplace also know that “seasoned wood” is best. However, what local woodcutters mean when speaking about “seasoned” wood and what the woodstove industry means are usually two different things. In a nutshell, the industry means firewood which has been dried (cured) for at least one year, while somehow being sheltered from rain & snow. This can be in a shed, basement or even simply covered by plastic (black plastic is best) or a tarp.
On the other hand, when talking about “seasoned” wood, local firewood vendors usually mean either wood that was simply cut a long time ago, or was already dead when cut.
Every day, consumers enter fireplace and stove shops across the nation completely unaware that the EPA has been regulating airtight wood burners since July 1988. Huge changes have happened in the 24 years since EPA regulations went into effect. An EPA Certified wood burner now not only burns wood, but it also burns the smoke for fuel. Heating with wood is now cleaner, safer, much more efficient and far less work than you might imagine!
Catalytic or Non-Catalytic: Which is better?
We have both catalytic and non-catalytic wood burning stoves in our showroom, and we find that each has its own unique advantages and disadvantages. First, let's go over the process of what a catalytic stove does to burn the smoke and creosote.
A catalytic stove uses a catalyst (catalytic converter or catalytic combustor) to reduce the temperature that smoke catches fire at. The catalyst looks like a chunk of honeycomb from a bee's nest, placed in the path of the smoke. Ordinarily, it takes a temperature of approximately 1100 degrees for smoke to catch fire. The catalyst lowers that temperature to approximately 500 - 550 degrees, allowing the smoke to safely catch fire while still inside the stove.
The catalyst then quickly gets hotter and hotter, until 15- 20 minutes after reaching 550 degrees, the temperature in the catalyst will typically be reading around 1400 to 1700 degrees, depending amount of wood ...
Vented or Ventfree? Which fireplace is right for your family?
We offer both kinds; each has unique advantages and disadvantages.
1. All exhaust fumes (including odors and moisture) are taken out of the home.
1. Unvented fireplaces burn very clean but not perfect, much like a kerosene heater. Measurable levels of carbon monoxide and other chemicals such as nitrogen dioxide (an irritant to eyes, nose and throat) vent into the home. Some people are more sensitive to this than others. Odor is usually noticable by those with a strong sense of smell.
2. Some vented models ("direct-vent" types) are excellent heaters having efficiency ratings up to 80% plus. Others are meant primarily for "looks" and have low efficiencies. Consumers must be sure to choose a model that suits their priorities.
WHAT DOES THE WOODSTOVE INDUSTRY SAY?
What the woodstove industry means when a woodstove manual states that you should only burn “seasoned” wood is often quite different than what a local woodcutter means when he speaks about “seasoned” wood. In a nutshell, the industry means firewood which has been dried (cured) for at least one year, while somehow being sheltered from rain & snow. This can be in a shed, basement or even simply covered by plastic (black plastic is best) or a tarp.
OUR LOCAL FIREWOOD VENDORS USUALLY MEAN…
On the other hand, when local firewood vendors talk about “seasoned” wood, they usually mean simply that the wood was cut a long time ago, or was already dead when cut. The problem with this is that even if there is a month long dry spell, if the wood is left out in the open, when it finally rains, it absorbs as much or more water than what had evaporated in that dry month! & ...
WOOD BURNING FACTS: Smoke and creosote is actually half of the fuel value in any wood. Today’s high-tech stoves are able to burn these waste products as fuel to heat your home. The more you cut down the air, the less wood you burn, and more smoke is made which then goes to work for you, heating your home. When you burn smoke, you do not have to carry it in, and it makes no ash, so you do not have to carry it back out! Smoke takes up no room inside the stove, so today’s wood burners are much more powerful, yet are compact. The new generation wood stoves use half the wood as stoves from the 70’s and 80’s, hold a fire a very long time, have self-cleaning glass, and you see the smoke burning as a second layer of flame boiling around at the top of the firebox. We heat our 3600 square foot showroom entirely with one stove, which easily holds a fire 15 hours plus. WE HAVE NO HEAT BILL! Today’s wood burners are cleaner, safer, and more efficient than you can ima ...
(As Published In House & Home News Magazine, September 2006)