How'd you start?

Ashful Posted By Ashful, Dec 21, 2012 at 8:44 AM


How'd you start with woodstoves?

  1. Came with the house I bought

  2. Grew up with one

  3. Thought of it all by myself

  1. Pierre902

    Member 2.

    Dec 23, 2009
    Western MA
    Grew up with one in our finished basement. It was a Hearthstone and I remember sweating in the basement,being comfortable on the first floor, and freezing in my bedroom on the second floor. I have fond memories of helping my dad split and stack with mountains of stacks in our backyard. Now it is has come full circle doing the same with my kids.
  2. Mackj

    Member 2.

    Nov 25, 2012
    Fruitport MI
    When my wife and I built our house on 15 wooded acres 4 years ago I knew I wanted to supplement the furnace and heat pump with wood. A couple of friends were wood heating and I thought it was cool. I was right! My wife and I love it!

    We are heating about 90% through the coldest parts of the winter with great wood heat. We installed a Lennox Brentwood insert on the advice of our Hvac guy. If I were doing it again I would probably do it differently. But it does a pretty good job.

    Wish I would have been on this site back than with all the resources and experience here. IHave learned a lot here on how to get the most out of my stove. Will never be without one again. I just had my 500 gallon propane tank filled and plan on that lasting close to 4 years. I have talked to people that use 2 or 3 every winter!
    oldogy likes this.
  3. DickRussell

    Burning Hunk 2.

    Mar 1, 2011
    central NH
    Our first summer camp, an open stud wall cabin, had a small woodstove, hardly more than a large, black tin can. But it did throw out the heat nicely. Of course, the inside temp dropped quickly when the fire died off.

    Our second cottage was more or less livable through the winter months, had a propane forced warm air furnace, and a nicely built fireplace. The fireplace got used now and then, but it sucked combustion air through all the other rooms and really chilled them. When we enclosed the side porch to add living space, my wife suggested a woodstove. We got a small used Regency, relocated the insulated chimney from the original oil heat system, and wound up heating the whole house with it all day until it burned out after midnight. Of course, given the house it was in, that new room was nice and warm, while the more remote rooms were chilly, but not as bad as when the fireplace was used. It's been over 15 years now since that fireplace has been used. Cutting, hauling, splitting, and stacking firewood a year or so in advance of its use has been just a nice part of the outdoor life, from mid-fall well into December, and then again from late winter to mid-spring.

    When I retired and we built the new house, I didn't want any cold rooms or even rooms with cold spots. From the early 80s I had been following energy efficient house construction techniques, and my chance to build the superinsulated house I wanted had come. The location of the small woodstove (Quadrafire 2000 Millenium) and its inside chimney chase was designed into the structure, although the addition of the duct for the OAK was a last minute thought, something I'm very glad I did. During the first winter, when inside construction was being finished up, that stove kept the nearly 4000 sqft of conditioned space quite comfortable for the crew, running perhaps half time. The next winter, when we were actually living in the house, we didn't use the stove too much, but this year, with a new HD TV nearby on the lower level, we spend much more time down there in the evening and so like to have a fire going. It feels nice, and it looks nice. Still, we don't use wood nearly as much as before, and even without counting the unsplit wood sections I have on hand I have several years worth of nicely seasoned wood ready. Sometimes I go out and gather dead, dry kindling to save for winter use, and at times I go out for a half our or so and just split some of the stacked sections, just because it's nice to do at the end of a day as darkness approaches this time of year.

    A couple of years ago, my son (the one in Maine) installed a used stove in his basement and cuts the heating oil bill somewhat by using it during the winter. So I guess maybe he got that from me, ayuh.
    oldogy and raybonz like this.
  4. TradEddie

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Jan 24, 2012
    SE PA
    I grew up in a house with two open fireplaces and no central heat, probably never had a bath between November and March! When I was about ten, one fireplace was changed to a wood/coal stove/boiler that supplied hot water radiators. My father and uncles would "buy" a tree as needed from a relatives farmland, and share the effort of bucking, while us kids got to do the splitting, must have spent hundreds of satisfying hours in my uncles yard smashing logs. That stove never worked well unless fed with quality coal, and from what I have learned here, it is so obvious why.
    Moving on ten or fifteen years our first house had on open fire that we used occasionally. Next we moved into a house on a wooded lot with an old slammer, there were dead trees overhanging the house that needed to be taken down immediately, the tree service was going to charge $250 more to remove the wood... and they lived happily ever after.
    Happy Holidays

    suprz likes this.
  5. rijim

    Burning Hunk 2.

    Jan 19, 2009
    Had both wood and coal stoves as a kid. I would cut split and stack about 3 cord/year from age 10 on, always thought the coal was nice because they would deliver it all ready to burn. I never realized it but I always like the wood flame better and hands down the wood smell better. Now I will always have a wood stove; my better half wouldn't let me get rid of it even if I wanted to as she is quite happy with the living room at 74-78 deg.
  6. gregbesia

    Feeling the Heat 2.

    Jan 26, 2009
    central CT
    I grew up in 3 different houses, every single one had a coal boiler in the basement -hot water baseboards. I know, not as romantic as wood, but it was always nice and warm. My brother and I would always make extra money as kids shoveling coal to the basement. .My grandparents had a nice wood cook stove in the kitchen and I remember splitting birch for it a few times as a kid. When we bought this place 4 years ago there was a fire place with a glass doors in the living room. After spending a thousand dollars on oil in the first 6 months and still being cold we started experimenting with the fireplace. Yep you alredy guessed it -that thing is just useless. A coworker told me about inserts and we bought the cheapest one we could find. We just love it and hope to use as long as we can.
  7. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage
    Minister of Fire 2.

    Feb 14, 2007
    When I was a young lad almost everyone we knew heated with wood or coal or a combination of those two. I do remember though whenever we went visiting during the winter months we had to put on extra clothing when we went to a house not heated with wood. When we got married (wife grew up under similar conditions) we had oil heat and about froze! Happy to get back to wood heat and we never plan on heating in any other way.
    oldogy, Pallet Pete and raybonz like this.
  8. mcollect

    Member 2.

    Jan 23, 2008
    Garrett County, Md
    We had this house built 20 years ago with a two sided fireplace between the living room and the dining room. It looked really great but when it was fired up it sucked all the heat out of the house, in floor heat. For a Christmas gift to the wife I gave her an open ended gift of a wood stove for the sunroom. We went to a dealer and she found a Jotul 550 that would fit in our fire place. Had it installed and have been heating with it every wqeekend, it is a vacation/ retirement house. We have 36 acres of woods so we have a lifetime supply of wood. Now the house stays above 70' and the look is better then the fireplace!
    oldogy and raybonz like this.
  9. oldogy

    Member 2.

    Oct 28, 2012
    SE TN
    Sixty couple years ago I spent some time living with my widowed grandma in her big old farm house. She had a wood burning kitchen stove and a fancy decorated pot belly stove in the parlor. Now grandma did not think it was right for an 11 YO young man to spend much idle time so I was assigned the job of splitting slabwood, that she had delivered and cut to length, and keeping the wood box full. And since I kept the wood box full she taught me how to build, feed and control a fire. Daily ash clean out was part of the job.
    So my fire experiences evolved to the smoke house, different type fire.
    Fast forward to my first house and I decided I needed a Franklin type stove. Second house had a box stove that did an decent job of heating a small area but it did go through some wood.
    Third house has a beautiful field stone fire place which I used for quite a few years. I knew and the wife finally admitted the fireplace was a net heat loss so last year we bought a Jotul 500 and placed it on the fireplace hearth.
    So you can see, I've played with fire for a few years.
    raybonz likes this.
  10. BrowningBAR

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Jul 22, 2008
    Doylestown, PA
    In the summer of 2008 oil hit about $150 a barrel and we got a pre-buying oil heating bill that was at about $5.00 a gallon. Which would have meant $7,500 for the winter.

    If you notice I signed up here July 22, 2008. Which was about two weeks after we got the pre-buy oil bill in the mail.

    I'm not a smart man, but I ain't dumb.
    Ashful, oldogy and raybonz like this.
  11. osagebow

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Jan 29, 2012
    Shenandoah Valley, VA
    Bought my house in the woods 12 years ago. Closest neighbor has a smoke dragon that almost burned her house down, this reinforced my fear / loathing of "dirty" wood stoves. Her house was always warmer than ours though, and we had to retreat there in a power outage.

    Put a pellet stove in our house after that winter, planned on a marine-battery backup that never happened. Vented it through a sound existing masonry fireplace that was "almost unused".according to the stove guy. Enjoyed the heat and savings. A few years later, gave away and/or passed on several cords worth of oak, locust, hick and maple when the power company came through and cut... :mad: All within 200 yards of my driveway...D'Oh!...

    Read about EPA stoves and "modern" woodburning, got a chimney liner,EPA stove, and a coupla saws. Loving the heat, workout, and feel good about getting my neighbor ahead a bit with safer fuel, too. I should be burning 100% "Ready" wood next year, and most of hers will be ready too.

    Saw one of the kids that scrounged some of that wood recently and he laughed and said " Finally saw the light..huh? Glad you waited! "
    oldogy and raybonz like this.
  12. Beetle-Kill

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Sep 8, 2009
    Colorado- near the Divide
    Cool thread.
    Dad built a house with 2 fireplaces when I was 7, all downhill from there.
    Worked on various ranches from 11 to 18, and if you wanted to warm up, you fed the stove. After school of course.
    18-25, I put out wildfires in the summer, and made fire in the winter. (On one day, I backfired over 6 miles of mountainside on foot- burned more wood that day than I'll burn the rest of my life. Fire was called "Big Sandy", I'll never forget that one.)
    F/F- 20 yrs.-Burning right now, with no intention of stopping. It's all good.
    jeff_t, DTrain, oldogy and 1 other person like this.
  13. bboulier

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Feb 9, 2010
    NE Virginia
    Grew up in the sandhills region of Nebraska. No wood, so no fireplaces. Did cook over a buffalo chip campfire, however.

    Moved to NC after high school and was introduced to the mysteries of flame. Really enjoyed the fireplace at my girl friend's (now wife's) home. When we finally bought our own home in Virginia, we didn't even look at any without a fireplace. The 1957 split level we bought had a heatalator insert that worked OK, but was pretty inefficient and really not usable if the power were to go out. I looked around at alternatives, was impressed by my sister's wood stove, and decided to make the jump when tax credits reduced the cost.
    raybonz likes this.
  14. DTrain

    Feeling the Heat 2.

    Nov 7, 2012
    Stow, MA
    Had a nice chalet style sun room over looking a pond and wooded area at my old house. It was a three season room. I wanted it to be a four season room. The base boards couldn't even come close to making it comfortable in winter. So went on CL and found a VC Resolute (1979). $350, came with a corner boxed hearth stand, tools, and chimney. Did a crap load of reading and stuck it in. Was awesome. Spent Xmas out there. But only burnt a cord of would for occasional fires.

    New house in MA is drafty and oil is expensive. The power went out for 4 days a month after moving in. Wife's said, get me something to keep warm and cook if the power goes out. She was thinking generator. I was thinking stove. CL again. House is toasty warm, I'm in better shape, and it looks great I front of the old fire place.

    In the poll I said I thought of it myself, but mom and dad did have an insert. Never heated with it really. When I was a kid I'd spark up a fire if I couldn't fall asleep. By the time a fire was going well, it didn't take long for the flames to mesmerize me and put me to sleep.

    A wood stove will be part of the family from now on. We love it. If only it could kiss me back!
    raybonz and Ashful like this.
  15. northwinds

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Jul 9, 2006
    south central WI
    I bought a solar envelope home back in 1993 that had a Hearthstone soapstone stove, and some really expensive electric floorboard heat to supplement the stove.
    I had no idea what I was doing back then. I was buying wood at the beginning of the season and during the middle of the season because I had no space to
    store wood other than what fit in the garage. The home had award-winning gardens, and there was no way that my wife was going to let me stack wood in
    the yard. I got that thing cranking out the heat to avoid running the electric baseboard. I remember burning a lot of birch.

    Years later, we built a home with a prefab fireplace, glass doors and fan. We burned a ton of wood in that fireplace, but while the upstairs was always hot,
    the lower level was always cold. That was when I found this site and bought the Isle Royale, figuring that it would keep the downstairs warm. Little
    did I know that it was capable of heating the entire house, and I never ran the prefab fireplace again. When we moved again, the stove came with us.

    A this point in my life, I can't imagine living in a cold climate without a woodstove.
    raybonz likes this.
  16. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart LLC Mid-Atlantic Division 2.
    Staff Member

    Nov 18, 2005
    Northern Virginia
    I can't imagine living anywhere without one. That first one of mine was in Texas. That stove was installed the day after we closed on the house. The one here was installed the day after we closed on the house. Been making the mortgage payments on that ten years dead from lack of use heat pump for 28 years.
    raybonz likes this.
  17. Nissan_Ranger

    New Member 2.

    Dec 10, 2012
    I started out poor and cheap. Burned used motor oil in one of those old brown space heaters. That worked until companies started PAYING for used motor oil. Remember the energy crisis of the 70's? So I got my first wood-stove; an old Findlay Oval exhausting into a plain unlined brick chimney. Second stove was a Fisher Baby Bear. Rebuilt the chimney and installed a 'liner' of 1/8 inch walled 8 inch diameter stainless tubing that ran below the thimble into a clean out in the basement and adapts into 17 gauge 7 inch SS tubing at the thimble.

    I fired the insurance company after some shenanigans in which I was supposed to pay for someone to tell me what I already knew (The Fisher was one of the last production models which actually did have an Underwriters tag on it) when we had a fire-chief that could do the same thing for nothing. I like being kissed when I get.... errr, never mind. I offered to allow a rider on the policy 'No claim paid if fire was caused by the wood stove'. No dice for those bottom feeders. So I told the insurance company that my 35 year record of no claims showed that they obviously needed me more than I needed them and fired them.

    I thought I should up my safety game some more after that and retired the old Fisher in favour of a VC Challenger. (Savannah predecessor) for $1300.00. Put in tiles in which replaced the old concrete panels and extended them further than code required. No throw rugs or other such flammables are allowed on the tiles in front like I see in other peoples places. It was a good choice. It doesn't use less wood, but the house is warmer longer, is smoke free out the chimney plus it is soooo quick to light off even from cold, and it's virtually zero clearance compared to the old Fisher. It is the only source of heat. No oil or electric back-up. And no nanny state interference. I'm old fashioned and like to be left alone. I can run my own life without a nanny state bureaucrat to 'help' me.

    It sure was a challenge getting used to the new stove. I had to take everything I 'knew', toss it out, and learn afresh. I had to reprocess wood that was cut for the Fisher. Some wood just doesn't do well in it that worked well in the Fisher and vice versa. I could swear that the non-cat Challenger is designed to burn wood that I would have considered crappy for the Fisher. Anyway, I'm still poor and still cheap, so that's my story and I'm sticking to it.:)
  18. metalsped

    Feeling the Heat 2.

    Jul 24, 2011
    In the slight space between dark and light
    Growing up my parents had a monstrosity of a wood stove in the basement... probably 4' long and 30" across. It would absolutely decimate a wood pile in short order. My dad went through 11 cords (plus $1000 worth of oil) in the first winter we lived there. He hated wood heat after that, due to the amount of work. He only burned a couple years after that. It was a zero insulation house seemingly. I did love splitting and stacking the wood with him though. Have always spent time outside, and soak it up any chance I get.

    Fast forward many years... my father in law is an avid wood burner (two Dutchwest stoves in the house, and an unknown brand above his garage). Got me rekindled about it. Joined hearth a while back, and the rest is history. I will probably (hopefully?) narrow down what I want out of a stove soon enough.... built a kickass wood shed though, which will hold 8 cord. Its a third full now, with time being the only limiting factor on filling it. Maybe I can find some time today :)
    Ashful and raybonz like this.
  19. begreen

    Mooderator 2.
    Staff Member

    Nov 18, 2005
    South Puget Sound, WA
    I was a firebug as a kid. Dad showed me how to turn a paint can into an inferno (aka fire can) and I was hooked. That was until my lil brother set his down in some dry grass on a vacant lot. First stove was an Ashley Columbian in a very basic New England cabin. Necessity taught me how to keep warm. In the dead of winter, if the sides were glowing red, it was just about right.
  20. MaintenanceMan

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Feb 25, 2010
    Southern IN
    Never had a stove, but always wanted one. I was once a HVAC contractor and wood heat was one method of heating that I was always attracted to but never had much experience with. I liked walking into the folks houses who had a broken furnace but it wasn't the end of the world because they had a stove or insert for backup. Everyone else that needed my services in the middle of the winter,it was like the end of the world because the furnace was the only source of heat. I also wanted to save money on utilities. A wood stove was a must for our home remodeling plans. My wife loves it because she was always cold before. Now our favorite adjective is "toasty".

    Most people thought I was crazy to want to do all that work and spend all that money installing a stove when all they have to do is set the thermostat. Heck I love it. A buddy of mine said he "had to all that crap growing up" and "wouldn't want that dirty stuff in the house" and that I was nuts. I'm saving money and enjoying myself. What's not to love? When my friends comment on how cold it is that day I always say something like "It's 74 degrees in my house and the gas meter's sitting still".
    burnt03, DTrain and raybonz like this.
  21. Dix

    Minister of Fire 2.

    May 27, 2008
    Long Island, NY
    Mom got ticked off when oil went to 12 cents a gallon, and put coal stoves (3) in this house in 1975.

    Used coal until 1987 or so, discovered that the Dixette & I were allergic to the dust from the damned things, and oil was cheap ( bought the house from my Mom in 1986), so with oil we went.

    Fast forward to about 5 years ago, got tired of the oil going up, and started researching. Took me 1 year to come to a decision. Put the PE into the FP, and figured I was good, heating the accessory apartment with oil.

    Oil went up more than $1 a gallon over the summer, installed the 13, and an electric HWH, and never looked back.

    The Dixette is moving in January to to a new for her house, going back to oil for the apartment, might as well use the oil burner for HW in the winter, ill switch to the electric HWH for the warmer months.
    raybonz likes this.
  22. dafattkidd

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Dec 11, 2007
    Long Island
    We bought a drafty ranch which is really a converted beach bungalow. We spent one winter here without an insert. It cost me $4000 in oil that first winter. I remember one day the following December it was windy, in the lower 30s , and the oil burner could not keep the house above 64°. I had to go to work knowing my wife and baby were cold. I had an insert installed a few weeks later.

    I've been a pyro my whole life. Now I leverage those tendencies to heat my house. At this point we have saved over $7,000 by heating with wood. What a blessing!
    gd9704 and raybonz like this.
  23. Doug MacIVER

    Doug MacIVER
    Minister of Fire 2.

    Nov 21, 2012
    se mass
    started with ex-father-inlaw and brother back in the 70's. i had a jotul 602 and a coal stove in those days. in 2005 went back to jotul in different house, f100. cut oil bill from a high of 1400 gal. to as low as 560 last year. burn a cord or so of splits and 1/2 of pallets. have added sawdust bricks this year and love the consistant temps and burn times from them vs. split.
    raybonz likes this.
  24. chvymn99

    Minister of Fire 2.

    Nov 20, 2010
    Been around it most of my life from family and friends. Then when I moved up here to live with my Uncle till I could get my feet on the ground. I had just been laid off from my first job out of college at the one year mark and took a major salary hit. We would cut and splt on the weekends. Then that Jan/Feb. of 2002 KC got hit with one of its worst Ice Storms. We were out of power for like 4 days. He had that old stove (cant remember what it was) but it kept us unthawed. I then realized how wonder Hedge wood was and how wood stove would be in my life when I got a house of my own. Well 3 years into it, loving it. The first two years of getting and gathering wood was rough, but I got er done. Glad I did listen to those words of getting 3 years ahead, because of my hours at work today. I'd never be able to keep up now. Ive got wood ready to be cut and split, but just lacking the time.
    raybonz likes this.
  25. Iembalm4aLiving

    Feeling the Heat 2.

    Oct 3, 2008
    N.E. Ohio
    I grew up with an open fireplace and always loved having a fire. We didn't heat with it, it was a treat on a cold day. When I bought a house of my own it had an open fireplace and a worn out heatilator grate. Pitched the heatilator and wasted good money on a "high tech" grate that was supposed to rival a wood stove on heat output. Discovered this site and learned about modern inserts and had to have one. Took about 3 years of convincing the wife that it would be money well spent. Wife now LOVES the insert and I love being able to actually heat the house with my fireplace--something my open fireplace failed at miserably.
    raybonz likes this.

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