You're likely a candidate to run the way I do, so at the risk of boring everyone who's been on this forum for more than a month, here's my method. I'm sure there are many others running the same way:my head is spinning a bit on the btu demand. I understand the concept but am not sure how I would figure out my actually usage. I like the mathematical approach it should be pretty fool proof, however there are so many variables with wood moisture,species,ect im leaning towards just getting a large non cat stove and hopefully dialing in how much to load it. On thing that caught my attention from poindexter was hooking the OAK directly to the stove so you have sealed combustion just like any direct vented appliance. That makes the most sense to me in my situation but seems to be a major no no around here from what I had read. From what I have seen all manufacturers purposely use an indirect connection I assume to prevent the combustion from exiting the intake in a worst case scenario?
1. Buy a big stove (or in my case... two) with very predictable burn times.
2. Decide what you want your reload schedule to be, whether it be 1x, 2x, or 3x per day. The stove should be your slave, not the other way around.
3. Find the air control settings that give you burn time to perfectly match that reload schedule, meaning you're down to minimum coals required for a new load to self-light on that pre-determined reload schedule.
4. Leave all of your central heating thermostats, programmable or otherwise, on the settings that make you comfortable. This is what will keep you happy and warm when your reload schedule doesn't perfectly match your home's complete heating needs.
5. Enjoy the savings. At $5/gallon of oil, you can expect to save over $1000 in oil per cord of quality hardwood burned. Convert to your fuel of choice.
A couple of notes:
1. The most predictable burn times, especially if you're going for those 1x or 2x per day reloads, are going to come from a cat stove, NOT a non-cat. I can hit perfect 24 hour reloads with my BK Ashford 30's, that I'm quite certain no one could ever achieve with a non-cat.
1a. This is where bholler is going to respond that 24 hour reloads won't do much to heat your home, and in the dead of winter, he's right. I step one of my stoves up to 12-hour reloads for the 3-4 coldest months, and will even sometimes step up to 3x per day if it's single-digit weather. But then I also have the luxury of stepping it back to 24-hour reloads for a month or two, either side of that, and I've marked my air control for all three scenarios.
2. A cord of most hardwoods is worth much more than $1k in oil, even more than $1500 at today's prices. However, stoves don't have programmable thermostats, meaning your BTU usage will likely be higher overnight and while away at work, than it would be on oil alone.