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Wood-Stove Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the advantages of a wood stove?
A: Wood stoves have a number of advantages. Perhaps the greatest advantage is that they require no electricity to run. If you are concerned about high electric bills; if you live somewhere that wood is plentiful and cheap; or if you live in an area where the power frequently goes out, a wood stove may be a smart choice for home heating. Recent increases in oil prices have included heating oil, and electricity prices also fluctuate, making furnaces more expensive. So if you have woods on your property or there is a supplier nearby, a wood stove can be more economical. On a different level, many people find wood fires appealing for a variety of reasons. They appeal to our instincts, reminding us of the primeval value of fire, as well as remind many people of happy camping trips or summer camp.

Q: What are the disadvantages of a wood stove?
A: They can be messy. Because they burn wood, you will have to clean out the ash regularly and may have to sweep your hearth often. Burning wood that is moist can create a lot of smoke, which is obviously unhealthy to breathe. And if you live in a city with high pollution, there may be restrictions on wood burning. EPA certified stoves emit less pollution, so check the certification of a stove before you buy it.

Q: What kind of maintenance does a wood stove require?
A: Yearly cleanings of your stove and stovepipe to remove ash and creosote buildup are required. You will also need to clean the ashes out of your stove regularly; obviously, the more you use your stove the more ash you will have and the more often you will need to clean it.

Q: What should I burn in my wood stove?
A: There are a number of choices of wood fuels. Obviously, if you have access to a supply of trees, you can cut them down for fuel. Keep in mind that you should always burn dry wood; if you are cutting your own wood, you should allow a year or more for it to properly dry and store it in a dry place. You can also buy wood from a local dealer. Many hardware stores sell wood pellets as well.

Q: Where can I put a wood stove in my house?
A: There are different types of stoves, some designed as stand alones, others that can be inserted into an existing fireplace. What type of stove you want will depend on how much space you have available, whether you have small children or pets that you will need to isolate the stove from, if you have an unused fireplace, etc. There are even stoves designed for outdoor use, so you can have a heat source that will allow you to enjoy the fresh air of your yard on chilly evenings.

Q: Can I cook with a wood stove?
A: If you get a model designed for it, yes. There are a limited number of models with ranges built in. Mostly, though, wood stoves are used as heat sources.

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