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Unhappy with your stove/fireplace... and using wood? Do tell...!

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Mr. Kelly, Nov 15, 2009.

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  1. Mr. Kelly

    Mr. Kelly Member

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    Good Day All!

    I've been planning the new wood stove installation. My wife is not totally convinced. She thinks it will be too much upfront cash, lots of work to get/find wood, and to stack, transport, and load the stove several times a day. She thinks I'm nuts, and that using wood will take over my life. I go on and on about what people on here are saying about how great having a stove/fireplace is, and how much warmer we'll likely be.

    Here's the point... She thinks that only people who are in favor of using wood will post on here, and that anyone who has thought it was a bust wouldn't post on here.

    So, whaddaya think? Are there people on here that have gone the same route as we are going, and who have determined that it really WASN'T worth it, in the end? Any naysayers?


    I'd love to hear any stories!



    Happy weekend!

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  2. tickbitty

    tickbitty Minister of Fire

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    :p

    Good luck with that!
  3. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    She's right.

    You're right.

    She's right again.

    You've been setup. You cannot win this argument with logic. You need to visit friends with a wood stove and get her hooked.
  4. CarbonNeutral

    CarbonNeutral Minister of Fire

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    Or wire the thermostat so it shows 68, but is actually 62...
  5. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    Just don't be putting your foot in your mouth talking about buying a scrounging truck, trailer, quad, splitter, and four saws. You've got to ease into those slowly. Oh, and when you visit the wood burning friend, choose the one with the nicest looking stacks.
  6. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I pretty much hate it. But less than I hate being cold. :) It is a lot of work and I get more and more allergic to work every year. Heck, every hour. But it keeps getting cold every year and the trees on this place keep dieing or blowing over or being pines...
  7. CO2Neutral

    CO2Neutral New Member

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    Before Zen: chop that wood, carry water. After Zen: chop that wood, carry water.

    Ok, so before I enter into my lotus position I would suggest you do wood for reasons other than economics. My family had a wood heat business for 40 years and I've seen doctors, lawyers, peasants, farmers, yuppies, (ok, maybe not peasants) subscribe to wood heat. After seeing busy surgical doctors splitting 2-3 cord/per year by hand and single mother's runnin' the stove with kids and dogs needin' feedin' I feel strongly that most anyone can handle wood heat if A: you are not a sissy and B: you have caveman/woman indulgences to fire.

    I've mentioned this in other posts but if you are interested in high efficient, green heating then install a 12000-18000 BTU ductless air source heat pump. Much less work, similar heat output and no mess.

    Likewise, if you've got the wood bug then DO IT -- make concessions with your wife, wear her down, include her in the purchase process and life will be good.

    Happy stove hunting!

    - Mark
  8. tickbitty

    tickbitty Minister of Fire

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    Just show her Brother Bart's profile! If true, it's all you need to show her how truly destructive woodburning and hearth.com really is!
  9. Pagey

    Pagey Minister of Fire

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    Last year was the first time in 5 years in this house that we were truly warm and comfortable more often than not. We relied on 2 electric heat pumps for the first 5 years. Sure, they put out some warm air, but in the coldest months it was not uncommon to have a $250-$290 electric bill. And even then, we never felt truly warm. Last year we took the plunge and had the Endeavor installed. All told (stove, new class a flue, double wall stove pipe, prefab hearth pad, and labor), we spent about $5,000. I'm not anything even close to a DIYer, so I ended up spending about a fifteen hundred more than I otherwise might have, but we can't all be masters of everything. Sure, after a given number of years the stove will have "paid for itself," but some home improvements you do simply because they offer your family a better quality of life without ever paying for themselves. There is no substitute for being comfortable in your own home during the winter.

    Is heating with wood more work that walking over to a thermostat and pressing a button? Hell yes it is. But work doesn't scare me. What scares me is the thought that one day I might wake up and find myself unable to do the work I so enjoy. When I was a kid, I hated wood. It seemed like it took all day to fill a small pickup bed with a load of oak. Now I can get up on a Saturday morning at 5:30am and work in wood joyfully for the first half of the day, taking pride in the results as they pile up.

    I work in an office 42-45 hours a week, so I find a certain solace and zen in working in wood. The physical labor is good for me. The pride in a stack of wood is good for me. The heat in the winter is good for me. Knowing my family will be warm is good for me.

    Wood heat is not free. Stoves cost. Flues cost. Mauls cost. Saws cost. Gas to run equipment costs. Trucks cost. But there is NO form of free heat. I don't expect wood to be free. I do, however, expect it to be far, far more warming and gratifying on a cold February night than I do a heat pump struggling to keep up when it's a single digit cold stretch for a week on end.

    And, finally, don't worry about wood consuming your life. You'll be too busy with the other tasks required by living to get all-consumed with wood. If I weren't working in wood, I'd be doing something else with that time, be it something productive or something totally wasteful (watching TV, e.g.).
  10. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    :lol: Somebody read it!
  11. branchburner

    branchburner Minister of Fire

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    Is this a problem for her? Most people are nuts, and things do take over their lives. That thing might as well be wood burning. Research has shown it is not a gateway addiction that leads to the harmful burning of other things such as coal, gas, candles at both ends, midnight oil, and bridges. Typically it leads away from burning those things and towards burning calories.

    Yes, so easy a caveman can do it. But it's a way of life that you (and your wife) won't know if you like 'til you're there. Like making homemade bread, if you factor in your time, ingredients, energy costs, etc. you better not be doing it for the cash. But nobody I know says, "Mmmm, good bread... what a waste of time and effort!"
  12. tickbitty

    tickbitty Minister of Fire

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    That whole thing should be on a sticky at the top. Awesome. You have a way with words.
  13. littlesmokey

    littlesmokey Minister of Fire

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    Use a different tact. Tell her you've given up on the wood. But you feel a very strong need for exercise. Start bringing home brochures and contracts for the very expensivespas and gyms. Get price lists for top of the line exercise equipment, measure the extra bedrooms (note plural) for the new workout gym. Tell her you're branching out and want a great road bicycle for training for the Iron Man competition, shouldn't cost more than eight grand for carbon fiber stuff, Boron's too expensive. Tell her thanks for getting you off doing all this just to save the environment, a few dollars, your utility bills and a finer quality of life. It's all her doing, not us dumb jerks on the hearth full of wood smoke.
  14. tiber

    tiber New Member

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    My background is that I lived a few years on a farm with my grandparents and wood was it. The beginning and end of heat. Wood was plentiful and we never had a problem getting it. Granddad would draw the tress out with his pickup and chop the log rounds down with a chainsaw. We'd let those sit until they started to split (if we were particularly bored we would remove the bark) and then get a wedge and get whackin'.

    Then I grew up and moved to a firmly suburban area with oil heat and oil heat only. So now we're saving up for a chimney and a jotul. I will admit I was really surprised at the price of everything. The jotuls are $2600 and figure in another $700 to $1000 for a chimney if you have to build one. I walked into this with a budget of $1000, so obviously I'm still saving... And the wood stove at the hunting lodge, oops, farm, still works just as it always did.

    When I decided to look at alternate sources of fuel, one of the requirements was first and foremost - can I get the stuff? Wood pellets are at every lowes and home depot, but now it's expensive as oil. Not a huge savings. On the other hand the next exit up the highway has a lumbermill and they sell cords of wood in addition to building supply materials. And yes, they deliver (for another $20). Last time I called it was about $200/cord delivered.

    Took awhile to get my wife sold on it also. We ended up visiting few stove stores to show what was available (she refused the Summers Heat basic stove) and show her they weren't the giant cast iron box we had on the farm. Between that and sitting down and actually showing her that it was about half price to heat the house with wood versus oil and now we've got something to save for.
  15. Mr. Kelly

    Mr. Kelly Member

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    Good luck, Tiber. Hope you get your stove sooner rather than later.

    It's been a long research and decision period for us, too. Thankfully, we have our first 3x cords of wood delivered tomorrow; I'll build the hearth over the next 10 days, and the stove will hopefully be bought and installed within a few weeks of that.

    It will be interesting to see how much of the house it will actually be able to heat, and how well the wood will perform. It's supposedly last year's crop, and most say the best wood takes a couple of years to season.

    So, waiting... impatiently... for the wood gods to strike!
  16. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    Watch that doesn't backfire on you. My wife's bicycles (yes, plural) cost thousands more than mine did and mine weren't cheap either.
  17. joemeintzer

    joemeintzer New Member

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    Hindsight is always 20/20 and while many might regret (myself included) a partitcular installation, undersized/oversized, chainsaw purchase, not thinking the tree was near tall enogh to hit shed etc. However I am confident everyone here can agree on sound principle of wood heat and the satisfaction it brings. I think you'd hard pressed to find someone who hates the ambiance of a fire, this site no exception.
  18. Heem

    Heem New Member

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    Man.. that's what my electric bill is with no heat or AC. Before I had the stove it was over $800/mo with the electric baseboard.
  19. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Whoa! You were doing some serious bread baking.
  20. Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle

    Doing The Dixie Eyed Hustle Minister of Fire

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    Not really, BB. The SO had an electric bill of 500-600 w/o baseboard heat until he started paying attention a few months ago. Depends on the electric rates, I think (for comparison, mine is $184, running the dryer & 2 fridges, on budget for the year, including my summer AC).
  21. Yes Virginia

    Yes Virginia Member

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    Hello,

    Please show your wife this posting.

    I am a city girl( Vancouver BC) who never had a woodstove. Married a man 33 years ago who dreamt of manufacturing 100% wood logs to burn . He was successfull ! Even when we were manufacturinig we still did not have a woodstove- only a fireplace. After many years we decided we should actually burn our product so we installed a stove- what were we thinking! Or not thinking is more the answer.

    Today I would never- could never- won't ever be without wood heat. Even if I could not burn our logs I would still burn cordwood.

    Women must see to believe- please take your wife to a home/cabin/chalet for a weekend- that has a woodstove and that will convince her- wood heat is the only way to heat!!
    Virginia
  22. jadm

    jadm New Member

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    As several have said already, take her to someone's house who uses wood to heat with. That is what got me started.

    You might let her know you have already saved thousands of dollars by finding this forum before buying your first stove. ( I did not and didn't know what I was doing when buying our first insert. I got a good 'salesman' who didn't know what he was talking about and I was clueless....long story short.... we are on our second insert and will probably never need to buy another one because of what I learned here prior to buying it.)

    Down side: I have to sneak wood into the yard at times. Kids and husband hate to see it coming tho' none complain of the heat is makes for us.

    I was pretty obsessed the first couple of years but now have mellowed some.

    I did buy a chain saw - not like some have here - it's an alligator chain saw - protection over the chain and less that 12" long....Cost around $100.00.

    I did buy a few other toys - an infrared thermometer, a moisture meter, a nice sturdy set of fireplace tools.

    She might like to know that the ashes can be recycled onto your garden - nourishes the soil and makes things grow!

    One thing you might beware of though - once she has experienced wood heat she may become the one obsessed. (Yes, most here are men but there are a few women here too. She might like to read their posts.)

    I'm rambling...

    Good Luck in your endeavors.
  23. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    I burn wood because it is free heat. I also happen to enjoy cutting, hauling, splitting etc, but if propane or electricity was dirt cheap I wouldn't bother.
  24. cycloxer

    cycloxer New Member

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    What kind of heat do you have now? If you have oil or electric, I would definitely put in a wood stove. I have natural gas heat (which is actually cheaper than wood right now) and I am still putting in a stove as a hedge against future energy prices. I think the people who have wood stoves and have had them for awhile enjoy wood burning. Here are some things you have to consider:

    scrounging for your wood or paying the wood guy - run an energy comparison calculator
    cutting down trees - do you have a chainsaw?
    lugging it back to home base - do you have a truck?
    splitting your wood - do you have a splitter or a maul and a good back?
    stacking your wood - do you have the space, this is getting fun, now hurry up and let it dry
    putting in your stove - DIY or do you pay the man?
    carrying in the wood & cleaning the ashes - yup, get er done
    cleaning your flue - do you have brushes and can you access your chimney?
    maintenance - these are effectively appliances that will eventually require repair/replace

    As you can see, burning wood does require a lot more effort than spinning a thermostat dial. I think most on this forum enjoy at least some of these activities. If you can't deal with all of that, you probably don't want a wood stove.

    Now, there are plenty of benefits to burning wood too. Some people have access to wood off of their own land or they scrounge for free wood around town and/or on CL. If you do all of your own work to prep your fuel, you are going to burn quite a few calories yourself. Wood stoves will run w/o power making them attractive as a secondary heat source. Burning wood in a modern, energy efficient stove is a fairly green activity when you consider the total impact on the planet.
  25. ddddddden

    ddddddden Minister of Fire

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    Hi, My name's Den, and I'm a burner.:) The folks split up when I was about 10. Mom bought a small house in the woods, and the 2 kids went with her. I think her decision to put a stove in the big stone fireplace and heat with wood was part of her newfound sense of independence and determination to make it on her own. We stumbled across a locally crafted monster of an insert on display in the main entrance of the local mall. It's a real beast with dual blowers and a firebox that'll hold 24" logs, should you desire to stuff them in. It's oversized for the house, but I guess the extra capacity worked in harmony with the enormous 12 x 12" flue, and we managed to stay warm, thanks, in no small part, to 'The Wood Man.' He lived about 5 miles away, on the main road into town, and always had stacks and stacks drying in his yard. Whenever we needed wood, he got the call, and a big pile was dumped in the yard a day or two later. We stacked as much as would fit on the porch, and it always burned beautifully.
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