Monday, January 23, 2012

Heating Our House: Wood Stove or Outdoor Furnace?

Heating Our House: The Problems
Heating Our House: The Inspection & Results

Once we felt like we Jamey had most of the tightening up projects done or planned, our thoughts turned (naturally) to how we would heat the house.  Our goal was to implement the plan this summer so we'd be ready to ditch the oil heat by next winter.

But deciding proved to be quite the process.  We knew we wanted to heat with wood (surprise, surprise) but the question was how.  We needed to decide between an outdoor furnace and an indoor wood stove (we do not have a fireplace in spite of our three chimneys).   There were pros and cons to each choice and they really balanced each other out (in our minds), so deciding was tough.  Here are things we considered...

Outdoor Furnace

~ larger pieces and more junk-type wood could be used, making for less cost as well as less work cutting and splitting
~ all the wood mess would remain outside
~ no chimney is required
~ our existing duct work would be used, so heat would be blown into all rooms (as it was with oil heat)
~ the hot water generated by the furnace could be used to help heat our water, so less electricity for hot water would be used
~ our homeowner's insurance would not be affected if the stove passed inspection
~ the furnace would require electricity to function (to blow the hot air into the house)
~ if the electricity went out, we would have no heat
~ the fire is outside the house (less chance of a house fire)
~ a thermostat would still be used to control the temperature in the house
~ the furnace would need loading only once or twice a day (per a friend who has one)
(photo credit)



Wood Stove

~ quality wood (both in species, size and moisture content) would be required (to prevent the build up of creosote in the chimney) which would increase the cost of the wood
~ would require us to repair or rebuild (if possible) one of our old chimneys or have a stove pipe installed up through the house
~ heat would likely not be even throughout the house
~ we would always have at least one warm room
~ it would need to be fed more often throughout the day
~ requires no electricity to operate
~ if our electricity went out, we could still heat the house and boil water/heat food on the stove
~ we wouldn't have "blown" air anymore, allowing for a warmer feeling
~ wood "mess" would be inside due to loading the stove and bringing wood in from outside
~ temperature would be regulated by feeding the fire (and outdoor temps) versus a thermostat so we would not know for sure how it would heat the house until it is installed
~ there would be the risk (albeit small if we're conscientious) of chimney fire
~ our homeowner's insurance would not be affected if the stove passed inspection
~ we would enjoy the ambiance of a wood stove
~ air quality might be an issue (both in moisture content and unknown potential allergies)
~ the cost of the stove could be as much as half that of an outdoor furnace
(photo credit)


Now, I can't promise that we'll listen to you, but we are incredibly curious what you all think.  Do you heat with wood?  Do you have an outdoor furnace or wood stove?  How do you like it?

Given the points above, which would you choose?

Heating Our House: The Decision Pin It

49 comments:

  1. My parents, grandparents, and uncle all have outdoor furnaces and are VERY happy with them. As you said, they only need to be filled once or twice a day and can take scrap pallets, branches and brush without cutting it down into small pieces and dragging it through the house. My dad's theory is if it fits through the door, it burns, so waste from his biofuel processing, twine from hay bales, scrap paper all go in and provide heat. And the house stays quite toasty! Good luck with your decision.

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  2. Dear Jane,
    everyone's answer should be different on this b/c no two homes are the same. older homes may have less insulation etc,etc.

    for us:
    we have 800 square feet in a 1920 home with no insulation. we heat with an outdoor furnace and while it keeps us toasty and our hot water very hot, we like you have forced air{heat ducts}. and in my opinion radiant heat is much better. since we have such a small space we are considering switching to an indoor stove to simplify and save even more.

    It is good you are considering everything here. this is big {but very good decision to make}
    our home was heated with oil heat 8 years ago when we moved in and after one winter of paying the oil bills we quicky began looking for an outdoor stove.

    I'm certain I will miss my hot baths if we do decide to switch to an indoor woodstove:)

    good luck to you!

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  3. We heat with wood and we have an indoor stove. We put up a new stainless steel chimney liner through the existing chimney and this was done by certified professionals. Our stove is the most efficient one we could find and it burns the burn if you know what I mean. There is no creosote formed because of this. We use half the wood we did before with our old stove. We know several people with the outdoor furnace and I don't like them. The main reason being the smoke outside the house. We could smell the smoke from a house half a mile away at my mum's. It is horrible and I find they pollute the air much more than a clean burning inside stove.

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  4. We have an outdoor wood boiler--after many years of heating with an indoor wood stove, and a pellet stove. We LOVE it. The dirt and mess from the wood is outside. We can buy wood much cheaper because we can use large chunks, and it doesn't matter what kind of wood we use. Allergy sufferers in our family are not exposed to the mold and dust on the wood. The heat is much warmer than you would expect--even tho it is still a blown heat. The initial expense for the wood boiler was actually less than we would have spent in one year of heating with a propane gas furnace. The only thing I miss is being able to cozy up to the wood stove. :)

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  5. We have a wood stove...and I love it.. It is a wonderful heat source :) It is great to have when the electricity goes out.. I can also use it to cook on.

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  6. I have a friend who uses both! I can put you in touch with her if you'd like to know the pros and cons of them both. If it was my decision, I would choose the outdoor furnace. Refer to the statements above..."all wood mess would remain outside"...and "less chance of a house fire." Good luck deciding!

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  7. We heat with wood (in Oregon, so theoretically you can get free or very cheap wood, with a permit, from dead trees in the forest). We put in a quadra-fire wood stove insert into our fireplace. Our home is only 1100 sq ft and it heats the whole house, as long as doors are open, with one hot fire in the morning and one hot fire in the evening. Again we are in Oregon so outdoor temps are higher on avg. This brand of stove burns the smoke before it leaves the stove, but it has to burn hot for this to happen. It results in almost no smoke from the chimney. We've found buying wood is cheaper than our natural gas option.

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  8. I'm interested to hear what the commenters have to say about this as well as what you decide to go with. My husband and I want to be "off-grid" when we build our house and this is an area we're looking into.

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  9. We're going to begin heating our new house with an outdoor wood furnace this weekend!! We have not moved in yet, and haven't been using it on a daily basis so I don't have tons of info to offer you.
    Our will be heating hot water to run around the house for baseboard heat and radiant heat in the floor. We are also off the grid with solar and a backup generator so electric going out isn't an issue.
    That being said, I would probably lobby pretty hard to keep the wood mess outside!! And from reading your blog, I know you guys are busy, busy busy! So less work getting wood ready could really be a big help.

    Good luck in your choice!! We're going to be firing up the stove in the next week (hopefully!! WE all know how projects go....) so stop over to my blog to see how we fare!

    ~Linzie

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  10. When we moved to this old farmhouse 30 years ago we insulated it much better and converted an old oil furnace to wood and coal combination and it has worked well for us. The dirt of wood and coal is in the basement and can we stored there for a reserve. We also put it an oil back up but really do n9ot use it a lot. Just so nice when it is extra cold and are away. Thsi year we put a small electric stove in the sunroom for the ambiance effect!

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  11. I rarely comment on blogs but this one is close to my heart! My husband and I have always had a wood stove, like the one in the picture. We have been married almost 12 years and we both agree that no matter where we live we will ALWAYS have a wood stove; we live in northern Alberta and it gets cold. The idea of a wood furnace outside is appealing in some ways, except when the power goes out, and the cost, and the fact that you never get to warm up by the stove. We have had our power go out in the middle of winter and I am always so thankful for the luxury of owning a wood stove. We have found that using a lightwight rubbermaid tub allows us to haul in wood with zero mess. My husband has always installed our stoves up to code using double walled pipes and making sure the clearances are right. We have never yet had an issue and we are conscious of teaching our children the potential dangers. However, keep in mind that although it may heat great in the room where it's at, the heat also needs to move throughout the rest of house. Closed in, small rooms are not ideal for this type of stove. The heat has a hard time moving around corners so it helps to put the stove in a central open area. Enjoy the shopping and hopefully, a new stove!

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  12. We just moved into our new house (built it ourselves) and are heating with wood heat (in a stove my handy husband designed and welded himself out of a huge propane tank) and I have to say that I LOVE IT!! This is the first time I've lived in a house with wood heat, and the quality of heat is different than anything else I've ever experienced. My sister was just here and she called and said that after her visit, she had a hard time feeling as warm in their house, even with the temperature the same.

    The apartment that we built and were living in prior to this had radiant heat in the floor, which was nice, but this is a whole step up. Granted, I have to remember to stoke the fire, and have had a learning curve related to not letting it get too cold in the house as it takes a bit to get the temp back up (and learning just how to build a fire...my hubby has been patient. He grew up with it), but I love it. He's talking about an outdoor unit someday, and we have the floor ready to run the tubing for a radiant floor (for when we get too old to do the wood thing, or when we go away during the winter...a definite consideration), but for the next really long time, a wood stove(or Our Upcycled Biomass Burner, when we want to impress my sister's friends in Portland, OR ) is the way we're going. Anyway, I think you'll like it better than buying oil! :)

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  13. We are planning to move next week to our first house heated with wood, something we've wanted for a long time. My husband grew up in very rural VA and his family and extended family all used wood. This house is a small older block house, but the chimney was so poorly built, he decided to build a new masonry chimney outside. Since this will probably only be our home for several years, we plan to rent it out at the end of that time. With that in mind as well as living in SC where it gets quite hot, we went ahead and put in a central heating and cooling system now which will allow us to better circulate the hot air using the fan. You're not legally supposed to rent a home without a permanent source of heat. I don't know if thats something you would have access to if you went with a stove. We also bought our stove secondhand. Craigslist has a fair number of nice stoves listed, which would allow you to cut costs on a stove, if you didn't have a particular one in mind. Try it in the summer though as there's a lot of competition in the fall. On the other hand, I know you may be able to get a tax credit with the furnace as well. I've really enjoyed the blogs on heating your house. Crystal

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  14. I would do an outdoor furnace for sure, but down the road put in a wood stove, for 'just in case'.

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  15. It is interesting this is your post today, because I am working through the same decision right now. I will be interested to know what you decide. What brand of outdoor stove are you considering buying?

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  16. I would use an indoor wood stove. There's no real need to have all the house hot as hades.....The stove heats in a central area, can be used for cooking, you can get a water jacket and heat water too. In either case, you will need to keep the oil furnace functional and set at 45 in case the heat otherwise disappears---you really don't want to find out what happens.

    We have a stove, my neighbors have a furnace, and the furnace is awful for pollution.

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  17. we use wood as well,and so far no issues.Our heater is inside,and I love it,our home is toasty. As far as the smell,well I guess I am lucky there too,as I love the smell of wood smoke.we do use abt 4 cord of wood per winter. We are very happy with our heat system. Blessings Jane

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  18. We use an indoor woodstove and love it. Love the security of knowing if the power goes out, we'll still be warm. We also leave our furnace fan turned on so the air circulates and there are not as many hot or cold spots in the house.

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  19. I love all the qualities you listed for the outdoor furnace and a week ago that would have definitely been my choice. That said, I live in Washington State and this last week we went through one of the worst storms in years. The power was out for days leaving us with no heat. I live in an old farm house which once had a wood stove but the previous owners removed it and preplaced it with a furnace. Last week while we waited for electricity, freezing and having to cook on a BBQ in the snow, I was really wishing we still had that wood stove. My vote is definitely for the wood stove.

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  20. We've considered both, and settled on a Woodstock Fireview indoor stove. This particular stove will NOT burn you out of a room and radiates heat very evenly. That being said, looking at the layout of your house, possible locations for a stove (keep in mind that you can get piping and not go through a chimney), and which rooms are used most and need the most heat are some factors we considered. In addition, how often do you lose electricity? Do you own, or are you willing to buy, a generator if you get an outdoor burner? Burning junk wood is certainly something we wish we could do, but we're okay with the alternative.

    If you decide on an indoor stove, sometimes you can find good deals on craigslist. You porbably won't find a Woodstock, but Hearthstone and Jotel are also good brands. Hearth.com is a good discussion board/resource you might want to check out.

    Wood that is available to you is a factor, but if you're resourceful (and willing to be something of a chickenhawk) you can usually find people who will let you take hardwood they've had cut from their property.

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  21. We heat our house with a wood stove and love it! We live in Alabama though. It doesn't get extremely cold here.

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  22. My husband has been interested in an outdoor furnace. While I love the idea of the dirt staying outside & less fire hazard in our home I balk at the idea of traipsing outside in the snow, wind, cold, freezing rain, etc. to fill it. Also, when I think in term of someday selling or renting our house I don't know how many people would be willing to put the work into operating one.

    Currently we have a large coal/wood furnace in our basement. The heat is wonderful. And, our house is actually overwarm sometimes. The furnace heats the water that circulates through our old-fashioned radiators. However, if we ever lost electricity, the circulator pump would lose power too.

    We have had a small wood burning stove on the first floor of our home in the past. It does heat well although we found that the area near the stove was often too hot and farther away would be too cold. Also, there is the issue of the dirt.

    Decisions, decisions. I can't wait to hear what you do.

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  23. I can't speak to the outdoor furnace, but we have a wood stove and I think you've covered all the pluses and negatives pretty well. So you have a realistic picture of what you're up against. The only thing I would add is that you have to go outside to add wood to the outdoor furnace (right?), but you don't have to with the wood stove, you just have to stack wood near the back door on a regular basis (although I know one blogger who stacks it in her basement. They make a shoot that is connected to a window and they slide it through the window, down the shoot into the basement and then stack it. Also, we use a ceiling fan on our wood stove to circulate the air better - we have high ceilings (12 ft) and you get an inversion layer. I use a little ash vac regularly to keep the area tidy, but we still must dump the ash in a metal trash can about twice a week (maybe 3 times). Our bedrooms were cold, so we ended up installing a small heating unit that is on a timed thermostat to warm up the rooms just before we get up and then it drops back down during the day; back up around bedtime and low again during the night (this is a natural gas heater with an electric blower). I'm hoping that in time we can find a small wood stove to put in our master bedroom and then heat that portion of the house with wood, but of course, the master bedroom will be hottest and the girls rooms cooler. Sighhhhh... there just isn't a perfect solution, is there?

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  24. We've not used our wood stove in years...husband had COPD and, subsequently, developed allergies and it bothered his breathing dreadfully. He's passed away and I'm looking at buying an outside stove...it would be hooked into our house generator which kicks on twenty seconds after the electricity goes out. I just had to buy oil for the furnace; for 519+ gallons it was more than $1,800! That's about 1/3 the cost of an outside wood stove or so I'm told.

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  25. I'd vote for the wood stove. :) You can't exactly snuggle up to the outdoor furnace on a cold and stormy night with a mug of hot cocoa now can you. :)

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  26. We use a wood stove to heat our house, but we do have a furnace as well that kicks in on occasion, and a gas stove in our bedroom. We keep a pot with water on the stove, and run an air filter on occasion to help with all of that stuff you mentioned. We just love the coziness of a wood stove, wouldn't want to be without one despite the mess. I know there are stoves out there that will burn both coal and wood, that may be worth looking into as well. Good luck with your decision!

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  27. I think both methods are spectacular, but obviously you are looking for input from interested parties. If I was making the choice, I'd go with indoors. Although I have full confidence in the outdoor furnace, I think the options of usage on the stove (cooking) & not needing to blow the air in the house with electricity are excellent.
    We are currently living in a traditional neighborhood--not homestead-ish, but I'd love to put the whammy on our powerbill & put a wood stove at the top of our stairs(landing) & convert out downstairs fireplace. At least the winter/fall power bill-months would be diminished. & I could cook on my stove in my keeping room!
    Can't wait to hear what you decide. :)

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  28. We are a young couple and we heat with a indoor wood stove, and live in Central New York (significantly colder, than where you've hinted you are). I love wood stoves. LOVE them. Our woodshed is semi-attached to our house so we don't have to go outside in freezing temperatures to get wood.

    Our experience:
    -Never had allergy problems with the stove. No blown air= no filters, no dust in the ducts, etc.
    -Great heat! We heat the whole house with it. The upstairs bedrooms are colder, but I like breathing colder air when I sleep, and we don't LIVE in the upstairs of the house.
    -You can adjust the humidity by putting a cast iron enamel pot of water on top of the stove and it lets out pleasant steam all day. You can also put spices in there for a lovely smell if you have company.
    -If you come in from the cold, you can get close to the stove to warm up!
    -You can cook on the stove if you want (or if the electricity is off and you don't have a gas range). If you want to do this, make sure you get a stove WITHOUT a soapstone top.
    -SUPER easy to dry laundry around the stove on drying racks. Wet clothes dry lickety-split.
    -Easy to start up a new load of wood from the coals of the last, and by banking the fire at night, you have coals in the morning.

    My husband and I both grew up with wood heated houses, so it is what we are used to. Our current stove is too small for our house, but we are renting and it is what the house has. Make sure you get a stove the correct size for your square footage.
    -Perhaps because I grew up with it, but I think indoor stoves are pretty.
    -We have a hearth stone on the floor to protect the floor from hot coals if any fall out- it is bluestone and very very easy to sweep off, or scoop up any ashes/dirt.
    -My mother-in-law has bricks (about 4'x4') on top of some metal sheathing. Coals are still easy to grab, but tiny ashes can fall between the bricks. I would suggest putting mortar in-between bricks if you are going that way.
    -Hauling wood indoors has never been that messy for us. We have a wood rack, and the mess is contained to underneath it. You can't see it, and it has never seemed to be a problem. Growing up, we had a piece of canvas with two wooden dowel handles for carrying wood. It worked well. We just use our arms now.

    I wish you the best of luck!

    -Virginia

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  29. i am not familiar with an outdoor furnace, but we had a wood burning stove installed last winter...and we LOVE it. we got the stove to supplement our heat pump...we have replaced our windows and doors...and we were still super drafty and i was always chilly. our electric bills were $300+ and when we were shelling out that much, i wanted to be WARM! :) so, we got our stove and i love it.. it's in our finished part of our basement (we have a split level) and the heat does a good job of radiating up the stairs and into our living room and kitchen... i'm still trying to figure out how to get the warmth to the back of the house as our bedrooms are chilly. my in-laws got us an EdenPure heater (safe for kids, pets, etc.) to use in the back of our house (bedrooms). it's wonderful and does a fabulous job at heating a pretty decent square footage... :)
    we live in central Virginia, also, and it's a fairly mild-ish winter area, but we do have our fair share of chilly times, i think...and i'm from PA, and my husband is from upstate NY...so we're used to cold...
    as for the wood stove, yes, it makes a mess bringing wood and whatnot in and out...as well as some ash dust, etc. that we deal with when we empty the ash drawer and clean the area of the stove where the wood goes.
    but, you have kids who can help you with cleaning up... :)

    i've noticed a pretty significant drop in our heat pump output when the stove is up and roaring...and i can also notice when we need to have a fire (like right now :) it's chilly :))... and, of course, the drop in cost for the electric bill helps, too :)
    and we don't notice issues with allergies here, either...
    i love our wood burning stove a lot... if you get one for your house, spend the $$$$ it takes to get one that's going to heat the square footage of your home... we got a Yotul stove...amazing :) sometimes, when i go to the basement to load her up again, i just wanna give her a little hug :) hehehehe :)
    many blessings to you on this big decision... :) lots of ideas and opinions floating around there, but i hope you're excited about the one you choose :)

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  30. We live in Ca and heat exclusively with a wood burning stove. We use almond wood because is burns hotter and longer. It's amazing how differently wood can burn. We have had some issues with our wood being too big for the stove, so my husband has to cut them down to size. Once you get the fire going, loading more wood is very easy and minimal work. The ash and wood fragments need to be vacuumed up periodically, but the mess isn't really bad. We also put a large pot of water on the stove to help keep the air from drying out so much. Ceiling fans help to circulate the heat throughout the main part of our home but the bedrooms are still a bit chilly. We use space heaters for the bedrooms if it is really cold. We love our stove but just like anything else, there is work involved. Temperature regulation has been our biggest challenge. Good luck!

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  31. We heated with an indoor wood stove until last year and really loved it. But we are thinking of the future and cutting wood is getting harder for my husband so we switched to a pellet stove which we also like. If it wasn't for the thought of someday not being able to take care of getting the wood for the stove, we would still be using the indoor wood stove. I miss the smell of the burning wood but we are satisfied with the pellet stove also.

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  32. which one option pollutes the air less?

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  33. I've never experienced the outdoor furnace type heat, but have experienced a wood stove. It was a long time ago and ours was a big bulky thing (not the pretty one pictured above). The air in the house was dry, my clothes smelled of wood smoke from opening the doors to feed the fire, and the house was heated unevenly (much too hot in the room where the stove was and much cooler on the other end of the house).

    Given the points you listed I would tend to go with the outdoor furnace. You could have a backup plan in place, for the "if the power goes out" scenario, such as a generator or kerosene heater. If you don't have frequent power outages in your area I would think this would be the way to go. It sounds like it would be the most economical in the long run too.

    Blessings,
    Missy

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  34. We love our Vermont Castings wood stove. It heats the downstairs wonderfully. We do have a heat pump but mainly use the furnace fan to circulate the air and attempt to minimize our utility bills. We bought the stove out of the classifieds 10 years ago and it is a 1989 so vintage really, compared to modern technology:)

    Our stove is top loading and really, our house does not smell of smoke and the mess is minimal. I vacuum the hearth every other day or so. We store our wood in an attached garage and haul it into the house in an old copper broiler twice a day with an occasional third load. We live in the Pacific NW so our weather is perhaps a little milder but my husband works from home so in the winter, the fire is usually burning. We live without a microwave (health reasons) and find the cast iron plate on top of the stove useful for heating left overs for lunch.

    Wouldn't be without it especially as we are a little ways out of town and not the power company's priority, apparently:) We sometimes have to go for a day or two w.o power (usually once a year) and love the heat and cooking ability the stove provides. Sometimes the neighbors (who have a fireplace) visit during power outages to stay warm:)
    Good luck with your decision!

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  35. You might also want to consider travel - having a neighbor/friend come over once a day to throw wood on might be a bit easier than someone to come over all day long.

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  36. wow ,you really have a lot of followers ,good for you and things are good here so far, no news is still good news because we did not here anything we did not already know on Jerry's health. I have a LOT OF FAMILY THAT HEATS WITH WOOD BUT WE JUST HAVE A FORCED AIR FURNACE ON GAS

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  37. Have you looked into a rocket mass heater? You only burn them once or twice a day. The smoke recombusts and the exhaust is mostly steam. The heat from this heats up a big thermal mass that then gently warms the house. Just a thought!

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    1. I've never heard of those (although Jamey may have). They sound fascinating, though. Thanks for the suggestion.

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  38. We have a small wood stove in our basement that we added to keep it warm & comfy down there & it does a fantastic job of warming the main floor as well. (We have electric hot air in the rest of the house) We were very happy to discover if we keep the wood fire going it comes up the stairs, keeps our thermostat from kicking in & therefore we were able to cut our electric/heating bill in half this month!! That wood works!

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  39. I have to laugh because I grew up in a home heated mostly by a wood stove. I could never have one now because of the horrid memory(I am being sarcastic) of helping chop, stack and bring in wood all winter long. The big room it was in would be warm and cozy and the rest of the house would be freezing-but our house was very "spread out" so that I am sure was the problem. And once my little brother, in spite of my mother's constant vigilance, put his hands RIGHT ON the side of the stove and oh boy, that hurt my heart. :) That of course was 30 something years ago-my parents have replaced that wood stove with something like your picture above- and it works for them living on the first floor.

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  40. My father sells outdoor wood furnaces and you can't hardly go down a road in PA that doesn't have one. The water is very hot and I believe that you can pipe the heat into your house a variety of ways, baseboard heat is what my parents have. I would suggest that whomever you purchase it from that they also provide repair services if needed in the future. My Dad has his stove fixed so it runs sawdust from a conveyor belt that feeds it I think.
    L in Elkton

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  41. we have a woodstove in our house. our other heating source is a very old coal stove that was converted to a natural gas stove. it is a steam system and is VERY inefficient. we used to spend a lot of money to be cold in the winter as we could not afford to heat the house. our options were a new heating system for the entire house (~$10,000), an outdoor furnace or an inside woodstove. we opted for the woodstove because we live in a small town (at that time there were no restrictions on outdoor furnaces) (we own 6.5 acres within boro limits) and we were concerned about resale value. i like the idea that when the elec goes out, i can still be warm and cook my food. we so have natural gas to the house, but we have an elec stove (my hubby is dearly afraid of gas anything.....) though we do have a gas hot water heater, so with living in town we have water and a way to heat it since neither requires elec. i think the woodstove and liner were installed for around $4,000.

    our house gets dusty in the winter from the woodstove, the rooms farthest from the living room (where the stove is) are chilly (we have drafty doors & windows), but i think i still prefer an indoor woodstove. i am at home most days to keep supplying it with wood, so our house stays comfortably warm. and, we use far less wood. i would venture to guess you'd need almost twice the amount of wood for an outdoor stove than an indoor woodstove.

    -June

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  42. I realize you have made your decision but I thought I'd share our experience. We have heated our 1800 sq ft ranch for 15 years with an indoor wood stove. We are building our new home this spring and will be installing an outdoor wood stove. We are gladly giving up the constant layer of dust and all the mess that goes along with the indoor wood stove. I will be extremely glad because I have a dust/dust mite allergy.

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    1. Goodness. With a dust/dust mite allergy, I can see why a wood stove wasn't working for you. I'm so glad you have the option to move to the outdoor furnace soon- what relief (and less dusting) that will bring you. Thanks for sharing your experience and best of luck on and in your new home!

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  43. We have an indoor wood furnace. It heats the whole house. It works in parallel with our propane furnace. The propane is used when the wood furnace is not running. An indoor wood furnace uses less wood than an outdoor furnace or boiler, but it needs to be filled more often and you have to split the wood into smaller pieces. Outdoor wood burning equipment can also often take longer pieces so there is less cutting. Our furnace is in the basement of the home so it's not much of a hassle to sweep the small pieces of wood and bark. After sweeping the mess gets burned and disappears. An indoor wood furnace costs much less than an outdoor boiler and is simpler to install (in most cases).

    One tip - Keep your wood covered and keep it dry.

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  44. I have an Empyre wood furnace and it's been great so far. I'm pretty warm during the winter and have seen my costs go down. I would definitely recommend it from my own personal experience.

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  45. So just curious what you ended up opting for? We are looking at heating options for our house, as it is $3600 a year for heating oil.

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    1. Hi, Lydia. Oh, I remember the days of heating oil bills! We opted for an indoor wood stove and love it. At the very bottom of the post above there is a link to "Our decision" with pictures. We're heading into our second full year of heating with wood and are very, very pleased. Best of luck to you as you decide what's best for your home and family:-).

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  46. Glad to see you chose the woodstove. Everything I've read about outdoor furnaces points to ineffeciency. Not to mention how good the room that the stove is in feels!

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