As summer turns into fall, we tend to look for ways to make our homes cozier for the upcoming winter months.  Throws and blankets come out of the closet.  Shorts and T-shirts are replaced with jeans and sweaters. Now is the time to think about other ways to warm up your house.  If you don’t have a fireplace, a wood stove is a good alternative. From heating a single room, to heating the whole house, a wood stove can be an economical addition.

Wood stoves are considered a green energy alternative.  They are more energy efficient than a fireplace because burning logs in an open grate is only about 20% energy efficient, but a wood stove can be almost 80 percent efficient.  Since wood stoves have doors and a contained chimney, they are clean burning.  There is very little smoke and ashes need to be emptied out only every couple of weeks.  Newer wood stoves now burn clean enough that the emissions from them are so low that they can even be used in cities that are smoke free.  Wood is the original carbon neutral fuel. Burning it produces no more carbon dioxide than letting it decay naturally in the woods.  It is a renewable resource and it’s sustainable.  Most of the time when a tree is cut down, another one is planted in its place.  This makes using wood carbon neutral.

Wood stoves can burn a variety of materials, not just wood.  Some stoves are multi-fuel, burning both wood and coal. Some burn pellets made of sawdust.  There are even compressed logs made out of waste-wood products.  When using wood, care should be taken to make sure that the logs are dried for at least a year so that the moisture content is reduced.  Waste wood can be used, but not if it is treated with any chemicals or has been painted.  Using treated wood releases harmful chemicals back into the air, so always take care to ensure that wood is untreated.

There is a variety of styles of wood stoves, from the traditional to the contemporary.  A black cast iron stove looks terrific in a traditional home.  For a more modern home, there are models with lots of glass windows to show off the flames.  Stoves can come in any color, and dozens of designs to complement any décor.

Wood stoves use their air flow structure to burn the fuel at high temperatures.  There are 2 different types of high efficiency stoves, advanced combustion and high efficiency catalytic and there are benefits to both kinds.  An advanced combustion stove uses two chambers, burning the fuel in one and keeping the high temperature smoke in the other.  In a high efficiency catalytic stove, catalytic com-busters work to destroy the smoke that comes from a lower temperature.  Talk with Dr. SOOT about the benefits and drawbacks to each kind.

There is nothing better on a crisp fall day or in the cold of winter than sitting in front of the flames of a fire.  Let Dr. SOOT Chimney Sweep keep you comfortable this season!

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