Using wood as a sole heat source, without backup systems?

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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
30,254
central pa
We’re exploring a similar scenario for a seasonal cabin in WI. I’ve called around to insurance companies and have yet to find coverage for woodstove only (we’re far enough away from the volunteer fire department); for woodstove as secondary, it’s an additional $200/year in premiums relative to gas.

We’ll have a composting toilet and no running water.

We’ll have propane hooked up already for a gas range. In contrast, we’d have a forest full of hardwoods ready as woodstove fuel.

We’re trying to weigh
(a) woodstove with backup propane wall heater
(b) gas stove as primary heat

Any thoughts?
Just put in a propane heater or 2 and tell them that's the primary
 

tabner

Feeling the Heat
Jan 17, 2019
299
Eastern CT
Just put in a propane heater or 2 and tell them that's the primary
I agree with this ^

to my knowledge, they don't come out and do any type of BTU count or room layout / heat loss calculations. They just need on paper to see that there is a heat source, other than the stove. If you end up never turning on the propane units, that's up to you.
 

mcdougy

Minister of Fire
Apr 15, 2014
807
ontario
We’re exploring a similar scenario for a seasonal cabin in WI. I’ve called around to insurance companies and have yet to find coverage for woodstove only (we’re far enough away from the volunteer fire department); for woodstove as secondary, it’s an additional $200/year in premiums relative to gas.

We’ll have a composting toilet and no running water.

We’ll have propane hooked up already for a gas range. In contrast, we’d have a forest full of hardwoods ready as woodstove fuel.

We’re trying to weigh
(a) woodstove with backup propane wall heater
(b) gas stove as primary heat

Any thoughts?
I can't answer for certain to help you, since I am talking about here (ontario canada), We have a seasonal camp in somewhat northern Ontario. Middle of nowhere, 4-5 hour trip into the wilderness. We always had Insurance until they claimed we couldn't be covered anymore. We thought we were hopeless to find a company that would insure a wood only heat camp in the middle of nowhere. With diligent searching we finally reached out to an add offering Insurance from OFAH.....Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters. Long story short....there was zero issue getting Insurance thru their organization and it ended up being even cheaper than the rider policy we had thru our primary house Insurance for decades.....no WETT inspection, no anything, full coverage.
I suggest looking Into a organization similar in your state as they may have a large buying group with leverage as well.
 

Texas123

Member
Apr 12, 2016
138
Stephenville, TX
I have real life experience with wood heat only. Here is the summary.
1/ House is a ranch style 1633 square feet. Brick exterior with the studs, plywood and batting insulation.
2/The plumbing was exterior wall in all but the main bathroom. We kept it from freezing by low running the water and electric
heating in the well house.
3/ We did this from 1997 until we cold afford a new central heat and air system in the spring of 1996.
4/ We burned on the average of two and half cords of wood each winter.
5/Lifestyle change = the stove will become the master of the house. You will awake to empty the ashes and reload it in the mornings.
On colder nights you will have to wake up to reload or have almost no coals as 6 am or so.
6/ When you leave for any extended period like a night at the mall or two late day shifts. Your primary task will be getting the heat back in the house by the stove. Even here in Texas, a house in the low 60s with a strong north wind will take hours to come to temperature.
7/ So, using wood heat only as a source is able to be done. The disadvantage is your stove will become the center of attention from the first fire to the last fire. If you need slight heat on a cold Easter Week night, here comes the firewood. :) :(