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5 Money Saving Tips for More Efficient Wood Heating & Stoves

energy efficient wood burning stoveIf you have been using wood stoves to heat your home, then you know how economical wood-burning can be. In fact, wood is not only a renewable fuel source, it is among the cheapest fuels to heat a residential home, especially during a prolonged winter season. But wood is not necessarily the most efficient source of heating and many homeowners may find much of their savings going up in smoke. To help get the biggest bang for your buck, here are 5 money-saving tips for more efficient wood heating.

Source Woods with High Heat Values

Not all types of wood burn the same. Some types of wood burn hotter than others. High quality woods like hickory, oak and birch are readily available in Georgia and have high heat values that are equivalent to 200-250 gallons of fuel per cord. This compares to 100 to 150 gallons of fuel per cord for lesser quality woods with low heat values such as cedar, spruce and alder. Since woods with high heat values burn hotter for longer periods of time, you will use less fuel for the same amount of heat which more than pays for the higher cost of sourcing a higher quality type of wood.

Burn Seasoned Wood

Wood that has been seasoned for at least 6 months has a much lower moisture content (less than 20%) which not only burns more efficiently, it produces less creosote in the chimney. Also, the high moisture content in green or unseasoned wood results in smoky fires and is a higher risk for a chimney fire. Seasoned firewood is commercially available, or you can season fresh wood yourself by cutting the wood into logs and storing it in a dry, ventilated area to prevent rotting. The wood should be neatly stacked a few inches off the ground. You can use a moisture meter to check the moisture content. When its less than 20% its ready to use.

Don’t Use the Fireplace Damper to Control Air Flow

When the room gets too warm it can be tempting to partially close the damper to reduce the heat. But this only starves the fire of oxygen an important element in the combustion process. It can also prevent the escape of toxic fumes increasing the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. And by the time you want more heat, there may not be enough oxygen left to burn the remaining wood in the stove or fireplace. It’s like turning an oven off and then back on again. Instead of using the damper, simply add wood more or less often to control the heat.

Start with A Clean Wood Stove

The inside of your wood stove or fireplace may look like the sign of a workhorse, but months of caked on creosote, soot and other chemicals makes for an inefficient fire. Also, creosote is a flammable by-product that attaches itself inside your wood stove and chimney and is the number one source of chimney fires. Make sure you clean your wood stove, fireplace and chimney before the first burn of the winter season. Better yet, give us a call to schedule a chimney cleaning and inspection with a certified chimney sweep.

burning seasoned wood in stoveUpgrade to a EPA-Certified Wood Stove

Newer EPA-certified wood stoves burn cleaner with less creosote residue and are up to 90 percent more efficient than older wood stoves. To receive EPA certification, a wood stove cannot discharge more than 4.5 grams per hour of particulates into the atmosphere. Save money on energy costs with an EPA-certified heating appliance.

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